the idea that AI reinforces totalitarian weaknesses

Fear not China, Seeing Like a Finite State Machine

“The theory behind this is one of strength reinforcing strength – the strengths of ubiquitous data gathering and analysis reinforcing the strengths of authoritarian repression to create an unstoppable juggernaut of nearly perfectly efficient oppression. Yet there is another story to be told – of weakness reinforcing weakness. Authoritarian states were always particularly prone to the deficiencies identified in James Scott’s Seeing Like a State – the desire to make citizens and their doings legible to the state, by standardizing and categorizing them, and reorganizing collective life in simplified ways, for example by remaking cities so that they were not organic structures that emerged from the doings of their citizens, but instead grand chessboards with ordered squares and boulevards, reducing all complexities to a square of planed wood

The latest link is where Italo Calvino can be used as perfect metaphor of epistemic confrontation in the field of politics

AI took over in the 80’s

If you are worried now that AI will took over the world and take away our jobs, think better, the AI took over the world in the 80’s

for example, one sign that the AI’s rule is that they push humans into lower productivity jobs, exactly what happened in the 80?s when the first robot arms appeared in the factories

Maybe you did not notice, Trump successful campaign in 2016 was bankrolled by the Mercer family, billionaries since they built in the 80’s a robot-trading fund which netted 100 billions of profit since 1990.

Maybe you should also notice that latest Tesla Cybertruck with futuristic shape come straight from Giorgietto Giugiaro prototype of  1978, don’t be supreised if maybe one day Musk is outed as an AI built to reenact Vincenzo Lancia’s genius

Octopi

A single drop of blood, from a finger prick, it’s not  Theranos but Octopi, a cool  medical innovation for the 3 billions at risk of malaria: “a low-cost ($250-$500) automated imaging platform that can quantify malaria parasitemia by scanning 1.5 million red blood cells per minute.”

Malaria diagnosis today takes 30 minutes to 1 hour technician’s work on a manual microscope, putting a limit to the capacity of diagnosis centers in poor countries. Octopi combines microscopy, spectroscopy and flow cytometry to deliver a result in few minutes . Screenshot 2019-11-22 at 10.31.18.pngScreenshot 2019-11-22 at 10.32.13.png

Octopi works off a phone charger. It analyzes slides at speeds that are 120 times faster than traditional microscopy. Weighing fewer than seven pounds, it’s portable. And at a do-it-yourself cost of $250 to $500. Its modular architecture means that it takes only changing the camera/imager to detect other parasites. It’s open technology, hardware and software

“We further implement a machine learning classifier and obtain anticipated performance of higher than 90% specificity and sensitivity for parasitemia of 50 parasites per µl and 100% sensitivity and specificity for parasitemia of 150 parasites per µl. Our results suggest that low-cost automated multimodal microscopy combined with machine learning tools have the potential to address the unmet needs for diagnosis of malaria and many other diseases.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/cheap-automatic-microscope-could-change-how-diseases-are-detected/596440/

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/684423v1.full

 

Sauron is communist, is the Palantir a libertarian tool ?

Pether Thiel in a speech, if blockchain is libertarian, can’t we say AI is communist ? He does not say where his Plantyr company stands though

“If we were to tell the two technological stories about scale at this point, one of them is still the sort of crypto revolution which is still going on with Bitcoin and has this sort of this libertarian potential. But I think there is sort of an alternate tech story which is about AI, big data, centralized databases, surveillance, which does not seem libertarian at all. You’re sort of going to have the big eye of Sauron watching you at all times, in all places. And I often think that we live in a world where the ideology always has a certain veil on it. So if we say that crypto is libertarian, why can’t we say that AI is communist, and at least have the sort of alternate account of scale?”

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/events/2019-wriston-lecture-end-computer-age-thiel#transcript

Screenshot 2019-11-20 at 13.16.59

AI diffusion curve

1 some AI has percolated into AWS; Azure and other cloud services

2 some AI is done quietly under the hood in great many tech companies

3 in some companies AI has enabled uniue features, but the company does not go around selling “my AI will change your business” but rather “I alone have a cool feature you can’t do without

4 AI is applied to non-tech real world problems where data are in silos away from google and china

of course there is a stack of cloud, algos, devices that allow to unbundle old world problems.

Ai is a tech that is defining its S-curve much like databases, ML is the new SQL “\over the past few decades we moved through databases, ‘productivity’, client-server, open-source, SaaS and Cloud. In parallel with new client platforms, we had new waves of architecture or development model, and that’s really a better way to look at machine learning – ML is the new SQL (and maybe crypto is in part the new open source)”

https://www.ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2019/10/4/machine-learning-deployment

the problem is AI or monopolies ?

reasoning on this, it is like shared economy workers, new app-dependent freelancers are digging their won grave by working with Uber.

App economies give increasing return to scale, capital piles up into winners, dominant positions are achieved and used to push labor-saving autonomy technologies that are not yet developed nor ready for market. Dominant position in this way have a distortionary effect which will have self-fulfilling effects on employment.

But in the end it is not just automation and AI to create unemployment, it will be monopolies striving for labor-saving technologies while resources could have been used to augmenting solutions.

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here Huawei founder seems to suggest that AI will bring industrial advantage back to countries most educated with most capital to spend, a polarization in international economic performance, where Switzerlad with robots will produce like a country of 80 millions, Germany like a 800 million contry etc. One order of magnitude, exponential technology. While less “developed” countries (less capital, less skills) will keep producing things not apt for robots and achieve le scale/network economies.

(ITW is here http://xinsheng.huawei.com/cn/index.php?app=group&mod=Bbs&act=detail&tid=4279851)