Feb. 7th, 2019

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
A day late, but I felt more like this than throwback Thursday.

Reading: I have just belatedly finished Thick as Thieves the latest in The Queen's Thief series of novels. It was fine, but very like The Thief in some ways (it was mostly a travelogue) and the "twist" was pretty obvious if you've read the other books in the series - also I was frankly far less interested in the two main characters than I am in Attolia and Eugenides.

Listening: With the banishment of Doctor Who from our screens my podcasting list has shrunk back to a normal size (there are several podcasts I can't really be bothered with if they're not talking about actual new Doctor Who). I've put David Tennant's new podcast in which he talks to various celebrities on my list, though I've not listened to any yet. In general I'm not terribly engaged by celebrity interview podcasts so I'm a little dubious about this, but will give it a go and see.

Watching: Mostly we are watching A Series of Unfortunate Events and I'm torn between admiring it's presentation and production values and finding it rather repetitive. We've ground to a bit of a halt with Grimm because it seemed to be about to descend into tedious relationship drama - I suspect said drama will only last an episode or two, but I don't think either of us particularly want to watch through it.
purplecat: Programming the Eniac Computer (General:Computing)
I spent most of Wednesday at a Northern Powerhouse Mini-conference on the relationship between artificial intelligence and inclusive growth. The morning was spent on a certain amount of "what is AI?" but with a good deal of discussion of the pitfalls of algorithmic bias and so on.

In the afternoon we had a presentation from Simon Reid, Sector Lead for Manufacturing for LCR 4.0 (Liverpool City Regions Industry 4.0 thing) which included ciivsoft as a case study for the good work LCR4.0 has been doing in the AI space. Ciivsoft is an automated recruiting tool which, among other things, builds "personality profiles" for you from people's applications and scours their social media presence for further information. No risk for algorithmic bias there then. One of our senior retired Computer Science professors immediately piped up once the talk had ended to ask why the ethics of this was so side-lined. The question was not answered. Indeed it was barely acknowledged. In fact the conversation moved on to how to encourage more young kids in the Liverpool region to be "the next Mark Zuckerberg"

While I agree with the sentiment here. There is a desperate need to stimulate aspiration in certain Liverpool City Region areas, but Zuckerberg seemed like a particularly tone deaf example to select when there had just been so much talk about the potential problems arising from the deployment of AI (and Big Data and social media) and how the region might seek to harness the potential of these technologies without entrenching its existing problems.

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