Emotion A.I., affective computing, and artificial emotional intelligence are all fields creating technology to understand, respond to, measure, and simulate human emotions. Hope runs so high for these endeavors that the projected market value for emotional A.I. is $91.67 billion by 2024. A few examples are revealing: The automotive industry sees value in algorithms determining when drivers are distracted and drowsy. Companies see value in algorithms analyzing how customer support agents talk and computationally coaching them to be better speakers. And researchers see value in children with autism using A.I.-infused …
Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics are probably the most famous and influential science fictional lines of tech policy ever written. The renowned writer speculated that as machines took on greater autonomy and a greater role in human life, we would need staunch regulations to ensure they could not put us in harm’s way. And those proposed laws hark back to 1942, when the first of Asimov’s Robot stories were published. Now, with A.I., software automation, and factory robotics ascendant, the dangers posed by machines and their makers are even more complex and urgent.
In April, OneZero’s Brian Merchant made the case that the pandemic put an end to the Amazon debate: Considering a long list of abuses at the company, he argues, shopping on its platform is unethical.
It’s a case worth keeping in mind during Amazon Prime Day, the company’s annual shopping holiday — actually two days long — that runs on October 13 and 14 after being pushed back from July this year.
Welcome to General Intelligence, OneZero’s weekly dive into the A.I. news and research that matters.
While American cities and Congress weigh whether facial recognition technology has a place in the U.S., the world’s largest facial recognition companies are trying to get out ahead of legislation by publishing a new set of ethics guidelines.
This week, the Security Industry Association, a trade organization representing the world’s largest security firms, like NEC, Idemia, Dahua, and Hikvision, published broad principles for what they consider to be responsible use of facial recognition. The document also warns against broad regulation of facial recognition technology. …
If you’re looking for a job at a tech company like Facebook, Amazon, or Google, you’re probably also looking for a referral. Top tech companies make it extremely easy for their employees to refer job candidates — usually it’s just a matter of uploading the candidate’s resume — and offer incentives for doing so. Motivated candidates often ask friends of friends to refer them or even cold-message random employees in hopes that the connection will boost their chances of getting an interview. But for the last several months, there’s been another option for landing a referral: Just buy one.
Few companies are benefiting from Covid-19 as much as Amazon. Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man and Amazon is now larger than Walmart, so big that Elizabeth Warren, during her presidential campaign, argued for breaking up Amazon due to the fact that it now controls nearly 50% of all e-commerce sales nationally — a figure that has likely grown in the past few months.
Most corporate slogans do not double as the actual key to a company’s success, but Amazon’s does — the online retailer’s dedication to being “Earth’s most customer-centric company” has been the main driver of its explosive growth. Between Alexa, predictive shopping, one-click ordering, and two-day shipping, Amazon has engineered a user experience so intuitive that it has transcended “convenience” and sent us onto whatever plane — cyborg consumption? — we’re on now. In the process, it has entirely overridden our standard-issue moral compass.
I’ve tried to give up Amazon before, but this time I mean it. While people everywhere are suffering and dying (in unequal measure) from the coronavirus pandemic, scrapping Amazon feels like one of those small, helpful changes that’s actually in my control. I can’t come up with a cure for Covid-19, but I can wash my hands, stay inside, and stop supporting a company that treats employees badly and then targets those who object to that treatment.
Quitting Amazon has never been easy. The company’s scale powers unparalleled choice and convenience. Before the coronavirus, for example, I had a decade-long…
Right now, my Silicon Valley friends are feeling a lot of things.
Quite understandably — we all are. This is a perilous, slippery moment, one where straightforward precedents are hard to find. We stay home to the greatest extent possible. We hope the ground doesn’t give way from under us. We just don’t know. We wait and see. We work from home if we can.
Many tech workers are fortunate enough to be able to do so. (Though certainly not all of them.) Those who are currently working away from their supervisor’s physical presence and far from the influence of…
When I was young, my parents gave me cassette tapes of old-time radio broadcasts to listen to. One of my favorites was a 1948 episode of Quiet Please. In “The Pathetic Fallacy,” an engineer named Quinn brags (in glorious ’40s tech-speak) to a pair of journalists about the giant computing machine that his organization has constructed:
The actual machine is behind those walls. Three rooms full of tubes and motors and stroboscopes and several thousand miles of wiring and some devices that are not public property yet. The machine took six years to build, and a total of eighty-one expert…
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