Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from January 13, 2020 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options January 13, 2020: Aaron Roth, co-author, "The Ethical Algorithm"

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Tonight: Aaron Roth, co-author, "The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design"

Algorithms are all around us: employment, college admissions, mortgage applications, criminal sentencing, and (increasingly) health insurance and other financial decisions.

The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design by Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth

Prof. Aaron Roth - homepage at U. Penn

Recent tech news:

• via Chris Gilliard, referencing this IEEE transcript from CES, where surveillance tech ruled (Jan 8). "Actual quote from Facebook’s VP of public policy: 'We don’t do surveillance capitalism, that by definition is surreptitious; we work hard to be transparent.'"

I Was Google’s Head of International Relations. Here’s Why I Left (Ross LaJeunesse, Jan 2): "Standing up for women, for the LGBTQ community, for colleagues of color, and for human rights — had cost me my career. To me, no additional evidence was needed that 'Don't be evil' was no longer a true reflection of the company’s values; it was now nothing more than just another corporate marketing tool."

Auditing Algorithms in New York City (Human Rights Watch, Dec 4, 2019): "Coalition Calls for Stronger Oversight of City’s AI-based Decision-Making."

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Aaron Roth co-authored the new book "The Ethical Algorithm" to explore how (and if!) algorithms can be programmed to generate fair and ethical outcomes.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Interview with Aaron Roth  
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0:17:56 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments  
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0:46:20 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Andy Rehfeldt  Can't Touch This / Tiny Dancer (Andy Rehfeldt mashup)   Options
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0:56:58 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 5:58pm listener james from westwood:

::peeking in amid this lush bed music Olivia's got on to say hey hey::
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:00pm melinda:

Hiya!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Flaming Techoalas!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:00pm Phillippe Bastille:

Hey Mark and technoids
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:01pm Bas NL:

Mark! Algorithmoids!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:01pm Handy Haversack:

Yay! Home on a Monday evening! Let's do it! Hi, everyone.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:01pm geezerette:

Howdy, Mark!
Pals!
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:02pm John from Florham park:

Hello fello technoids
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:02pm chresti:

Hi Marlk and techtonicles!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:02pm Beast of Boonton:

Hello Mark and all
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:02pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hey, techtonaria! Since we've about reached the saturation point for human smartphones, we need to get dogs and cats hooked as well.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:03pm chresti:

*Mark
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:03pm geezerette:

Tech tonsils!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:04pm chresti:

Haha geez!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:05pm geezerette:

Now I'm going to cry.
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:06pm Dave Miss:

Howdy all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:07pm Webhamster Henry:

Some of the headhunters I work with read resumes, but I have a lot to say about how lousy resumes are in terms of determining applicability for a particular job.
I get plenty of job offers for things that have clearly found the word "Cisco" in my resume and think I know something about networking hardware.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:07pm geezerette:

Chresti@6:02, Haha U2!
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:08pm Peter from Dover NJ:

Mark, let's call it what it is: the department of inhuman resources. Love your show.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:09pm Webhamster Henry:

Speaking of algorithms: gerrymandering.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:09pm Carmichael:

Heya Mark and Byte Brains. I downloaded the Jumbo app after reading about it here.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:09pm Folsom:

I could have sworn on one of Tim Harford's podcasts the recidivism for parolees was less with algorithms than judges because of biases.
Avatar Mon. 1/13/20 6:10pm JakeGould:

Ohhh… Automated employment resume/application screening… What garbage. I have a pretty solid professional tech resume, but because my college degree is not tech related, I have had applications “rejected” within less than 24 hours of submission.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:10pm ultradamno:

CES! Porn Awards!
Avatar Mon. 1/13/20 6:11pm JakeGould:

Maybe the Internet coming through the phone like robots screaming was a wee bit of a warning?
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:11pm duck:

oh no... algorithms!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:11pm listener james from westwood:

You're almost safer going to DEFCON. At least they're honest about trying to steal your shit there. Not so CES 2020.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:13pm Webhamster Henry:

@ultrademo - yes, this year CES allowed porno-tech demos!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:15pm listener 126464:

my lightphone II is here! waiting for sim card. downgrading(?) from verizon iPhone 4.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:15pm Webhamster Henry:

The only way to stop a bad guy with an algorithm is a good guy with an algorithm!
-- signed,
an Algorithm (moral value not yet assigned)
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:15pm Dave Miss:

I got an email the other day saying that I had a job interview on Wednesday that I should confirm with some ad agency. I didn’t apply for anything. I was stumped.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:16pm geezerette:

Stopped crying. Just straight up screaming. Where's my blankie.

Hey, we are living in a totalitarian state. Not a conspiracy, just a practical reality.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 1/13/20 6:17pm coelacanth∅:

stop whispering; start shouting
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:18pm geezerette:

Hiya,Coel!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:19pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Strange game.
The only winning move is not to play.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:19pm brainiac:

Panopticon prison food is deep fat fried
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:21pm Handy Haversack:

Trust me, as someone without a cell phone or any social media presence, people think you are full on crazy when you opt out of the tech dystopia. As if I am the one with the problematic drives! I mean, sure, maybe, but unrelated!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:22pm geezerette:

Interesting emphasis in book title.
Wouldn't "The Ethical Use of Algorithims" be more accurate?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:22pm ultradamno:

With all this surveillance, I'd think we'd have enough to get all candidates out of all political contests.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 1/13/20 6:23pm coelacanth∅:

hey g!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:23pm geezerette:

:)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:23pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all! Thanks for joining in tonight.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:27pm ultradamno:

I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling geneticists!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:33pm geezerette:

Consumer Trojan Horses..."Mirror" full of various fitness programs, slim down and "share" information on the daily status of various body systems...with whom?
Voluntarily!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:33pm Webhamster Henry:

I've posted this before but it freaks me out!

liveramp.com

LiveRamp's product is a massive identity graph connecting each individual to their online identifiers like cookies and device IDs.
Our engineering workflows can be broken into three parts: Data Ingestion, Data Manipulation, and Data Distribution. We ingest behavioral data indexed by offline and online identifiers from our clients, resolve every index to a single LiveRamp ID through our Identity Graph, and then distribute ingested data to other technology platforms in the industry.

Yes - it's the B2B stomach and intestine of big data identity mapping infrastructure.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:34pm Handy Haversack:

Super freaky, Henry! Yeesh.
Avatar Mon. 1/13/20 6:38pm JakeGould:

@HandyHaversack: “Trust me, as someone without a cell phone or any social media presence…” In your case your data might not be as rich of people who do have smart phones and a social media presence. But many data collection firms work with data you genuinely don’t control.

How do you think bulk mailing lists come to be? Or calling lists? And it’s even creepier when you realize that how many retail outfits collect profile data from people just walking through their doors?

Biometric profiling of faces, gait, speech patterns, etc… is very common nowadays. That is creepy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:41pm Mark Hurst:

@Jake it's true that there's a lot of passive tracking - Facebook maintains "shadow profiles" on everyone who doesn't have a FB account - but I'm with @HandyHaversack - it's still worth trying to opt out where we can!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:41pm Handy Haversack:

Re: humans vs. tech, part of the problem with capitalism is that it's most true to itself when it eliminates humans that you have to pay and care for in favor of any kind of automation, which algorithms are the new(ish) instantiation of. Until capital is controlled, it's hard to see this changing.

@JakeGould: Oh, I know. I do my best to control what I can control, but I think one big takeaway from tonight's interview is that our control is superl limited even without willingly signing on to give personal data away.

Though I do have a robust home-shredding hobby!

And put my hood up when walking by the new buildings in my neighborhood that are absolutely festooned with cameras. I can't imagine the developers have any ethical sense with the data they collect ...
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:41pm ignatatus666:

Knowing how evil google is and organized Government
How do we trust those robots.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:44pm ultradamno:

The karma of the eye twitter.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:45pm Mark Hurst:

@ultra he should get that checked out.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:46pm brainiac:

Roth seems loath to be pinned down on an ethical judgement. Here's an ethical statement regarding algorithms:
Anything - and I mean anything - that impinges on human autonomy is wrong.

It's not that hard to say.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:46pm Handy Haversack:

Deep Thought!
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:46pm ignatatus666:

A clockwork Orange Park two
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 1/13/20 6:49pm coelacanth∅:

brainiac speaks the truth ^
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:52pm ultradamno:

Can an ethical algorithm compete with the current psychopathic one?
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:53pm geezerette:

Ultra, I'd watch!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:55pm geezerette:

More of us are "being made redundant" all the time.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:57pm Handy Haversack:

Thanks for the show, Mark. What ethical algorithm can make essentially unethical capitalist systems ethical ...?
  Mon. 1/13/20 6:57pm castor:

They don't even care about their own employees, google fires workers for trying to unionize!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:58pm chresti:

Can being ethical be profitable?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 6:58pm melinda:

@Handy do you follow the Team Human podcast? The problem of capitalism is one that he addresses along with tech.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 1/13/20 6:59pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark! Thanks Aaron!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:00pm listener james from westwood:

Danke, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:00pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:00pm ultradamno:

Hammering times
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:00pm Handy Haversack:

@melinda -- no, but I will try to listen. Thanks!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:01pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:02pm Chenzo_Lotus:

How about thoes search enins that claim to plant trees when you search with ad revenue. google is so 1998
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 1/13/20 7:02pm ultradamno:

I'm putting my money on evil in the subway battle royale
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