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Our Dystopian Future and the Next Cold War

November 17, 2018

My newest Bloomberg Opinion column just came out, about the international competition for AI dominance:

Want To See Your Dystopian Future? Look at China


See the rest of my columns here.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 29, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Dr. O’Neil, what are your thoughts on the US’s credit card system and scoring in comparison to China’s social credit score? Recently I’ve had some international friends try to apply for rent, and they were struggling because they hadn’t had credit cards or built credit; they were both new to the US and didn’t have that requirement in their home (European) countries. Furthermore, I’ve heard on some Vox pod that the social aspect of China’s system downplayed; so I’m not (and it’s not clear to me if any one is) quite so sure on how they’re acting on or using it yet, if they are.

    In discussion of the Chinese social credit score, one was noting the credit card system here as almost comparable– it’s limiting and almost damning. The problem is noted too in Machine Learning; one lacks data on individuals who don’t have credit history and are thus penalized from the beginning. Recently I’ve noticed as well that companies like Walmart can and are tying your in-store purchases to your online account (if you have one), and the only connected data they have is your credit card (if used).

    Just wondering your thoughts on this. Hope you have a wonderful day and happy holidays :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lars
    December 4, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Have you heard about this?

    Homeland security will let computers predict who might be a terrorist on your plane — just don’t ask how it works

    I wonder how many billions are being spent on this garbage.

    The contract assumes the software will produce false positives and requires that the terrorist-predicting algorithm’s accuracy should increase when confronted with such mistakes.”

    I realize they will never tell the public, but I’d be curious to know how that could ever be made to work. You certainly can’t do that quickly unless you are simply clearing people for flight based on the usual brief inspection for weapons and explosives. And if you are using such clearings to train the system, you are making a big mistake because all a real terrorist would have to do is go through security one or more times with nothing on them in order to dupe the system in the future.

    Then again, perhaps every flagged individual (and there will undoubtedly be many, at least in the beginning) will have to be extensively investigated and cleared by some set of criteria before they are allowed to board an airplane.

    It’s hard to see how you could ever hope to train such a system to reduce false positives without such thorough investigations of anyone who was flagged. And that would take lots of time and money and meanwhile the people (most of them probably innocent) would not be allowed to fly.

    This whole thing seems like an incredibly dumb idea.


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