Skip to content

Category: Politik

Runaway Feedback Loops in Predictive Policing

Die University of Utah and Prof. Dr. C. Obvious wrote a paper (PDF):

Once police are deployed based on these predictions, arrest data from the neighborhood is then used to further update the model. Since arrests only occur in neighborhoods that police have been sent to by the predictive policing algorithm itself, there is the potential for this sampling bias to be compounded, causing a runaway feedback loop. Indeed, Lum and Isaac have recently shown that this can happen.

To be fair, the paper is about how to remove this kind of bias from precrime systems. On the other hand, predictive systems using past data to predict future actions are obvious sources for feedback messing with the prediction. One would expect this to be taken into account from the start.

1 Comment

Campaign Time and Summer in Germany

Merkel’s CDU has a programme, and it contains the impossible promise of “full employment”. CDU’s Peter Tauber comments “full employment is better than social justice”.

Of course nobody promised full employment at proper salary, so one commenter asked “So that’s now 3 Minijobs for me?”

Tweet

Tauber pulls a Marie-Antoinette: “Had you learned something proper, you would not need three Minijobs.”

Twitter understood, and escalated quickly.

7 Comments

Ad revenue, and the German technophobia

Germany is not actually technophobic. As a country, we are looking back to a long tradition of embracing technology and innovation. A lot of the German technophobia you are seeing today has been created by German newspapers, notably the Springerpresse.

And they have their reasons. Reported by the Financial Times:

[Google and Facebook] hold on online spending has created a digital duopoly that is upending the advertising business. In 2015 they accounted for 75 per cent of all new online ad spending, according to Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the US venture capital fund. Several analysts estimate that excluding Google and Facebook, the digital ad industry actually shrank in the first half of 2016.

The root cause for German Internet policy stances, current law and the general hysteria versus all things Google, Facebook/WhatsApp, Apple, Ebay and Microsoft in the end come down to that single observation above. From that root comes the defensive position of German Springerpresse, and from their influence on German politics comes the current policy.

Understanding that is the key to successful influence on German politics.

2 Comments

The Cryptowars, twenty years ago

So there was this article in Motherboard, pointed out to me by a very young friend of mine. It’s an FBI memo written in 1995 during the Unabomber investigation, about a mysterious, close-knit group of gamers, playing D&D.

The article gives hardly any context at all, but that kind of memo during this time is not unusal or even remarkable, from a historical perspective.

So here is a bit of historic perspective, not quite in chronological order.

John Gilmore

A lot of this, from a US point of view, revolves around the person of John Gilmore. Gilmore was an early Sun Microsystems employee and hardware (VLSI chip) designer, and this part of his career made him financially independent. He’s also politically active, libertarian,  and coined the famous saying »The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.«

1 Comment

Pitch Battle and the Eurovision

Britain and the Eurovision have a very reliable history, and it is not really a very successful one (“Still a better result than Germany!”). So, why not try something different?

Pitch Battle is an Acapella Casting Show on BBC One. That is, it’s a casting show for people who can actually sing, because nothing but singing is allowed. Using Pitch Battle to select the Eurovision Entry 2018, or the group – how about that?

Yeah, I thought you’d like that plan.

1 Comment

Google: “Federated learning”, Apple: “Differential privacy”

Google is using a strategy called “Federated Learning” to keep privacy sensitive data being used for AI purposes private. They basically download a preliminary model to the phone, modify the data with the observed behavior on the phone and upload the diffs back to Google Cloud, where they merge it to the existing data.

Apple uses “Differential Privacy“, where they add noise to the data so that observed privacy sensitive data observed in the cloud for one user may or may not be actually true, but individual noise contributions even out statistically over the whole data set.

Meanwhile, #neuland talks about Datenkraken and does… nothing?

3 Comments