AI won’t take your job, people will

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Machine intelligence, also known as artificial intelligence (AI) is going to have both an awesome and an unfortunate impact on our posterity. Let’s explore one possible way AI may impact the future of work, and how it may dramatically change how we train our workforce.

A brand manager needs an advertisement. So, the brand manager sends a brief to the senior art director (in-house or at an agency) and asks for something amazing to be created. On or before the deadline, the brand manager and the art director meet to review the work. The brand manager is presented with three approaches, and after a number of meetings, a number of revisions, and revelations, they agree on a final product.

This is a process that has repeated itself for more than a century, and AI is not going to stop it (today).

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Hacking Humans : Search & replace gene editing is here

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The introduction of CRISPR changed the world of genetic engineering by allowing researchers to “cut and paste” DNA. But the process can introduce errors that produce unpredictable results. A recently published report in the journal Nature by David Liu, a Harvard university biologist, describes a new process that is more like a “search and replace” function than a “cut and paste” function because the DNA strand is not severed during the process.

The scientists claim that “prime editing” is “capable of repairing nearly any of the 75,000 known mutations that cause inherited disease in humans.” Liu told journalists in a conference call arranged by Nature. “If CRISPR is like scissors, base editors are like a pencil. Then you can think of prime editors like a word processor, capable of precise search and replace … All will have roles.”

Genetic editing is progressing on an exponential curve. So we are exponentially closer to designer organisms of all kinds. Humans, the food supply (animals and plants), pesticides, weapons (specifically bioterrorism) and any other good or evil stuff you can think of.

The funny thing about exponential progress is that we don’t really feel it in our day-to-day lives. Think of the speed with which hollywood-style multi-million dollar computer generated movie-making tools became apps (FaceApp, Zao, etc). Now apply that speed to genetic engineering. That’s what’s coming soon to a lab near you. Stay tuned.

Via ShellyPalmer.com

 

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Can the data poor survive?

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Will work for data

We’ve been running a data science experiment over the past few months. Our first goal was to compare and contrast the amount of data we could actively gather using a link to an online survey (please click here to take it) vs. the amount of data we could passively gather using our cookies and pixel-monitoring tools. Our second goal was to compare and contrast the value of self-reported data vs. observed behavioral data. Our final goal was to turn both data sets into actionable insights and analyze the results. We were shocked, but not surprised, by what we learned.

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Online dating in a world of deepfakes

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Facebook has teamed up with the Partnership on AI, Microsoft, and academics from Cornell Tech, MIT, University of Oxford, UC Berkeley, University of Maryland, College Park, and University at Albany–SUNY to build the Deepfake Detection Challenge (DFDC).

Deepfake detection is an enduring arms race that will never end. In case you are wondering… no, this technology will not protect the 2020 election from deepfakes. No science is up to that task.

Facebook’s goal is to commission a realistic data set that will use paid actors, with the required consent obtained, to contribute to the challenge. This “benchmark data” will be used to help developers build better tools to detect deepfakes. Everyone should applaud this effort! As I’ve written about recently, deepfakes will be used extensively by both good and bad people.

Facebook also announced it was bringing its dating service to the U.S. after testing it in roughly 20 countries since its launch last year. These two stories may not seem to have much correlation at first glance. But when combined, they present a potential reality as sinister as it is deceitful. Imagine online dating in a world replete with deepfakes.

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Education vs. Training: Corporate America’s role

 

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What do you really need to know? Would a sixth-grade education give you enough basic skills to enable you to use online tools to learn a trade or become a service worker or a knowledge worker? Would you need eighth-grade skills? Tenth-grade? Perhaps a four-year college degree?

How much education do you need to learn to create and configure a new Aurora Serverless DB cluster on AWS? One of our engineers just taught a high-school intern how to do it in a few hours. This particular intern is about 150 hours of training away from being in a position to earn about $90k annually. With what he has learned in the past 50 hours of training, this young man could earn enough during the rest of the summer to pay for his first year of college – which he may not actually need.

But if he doesn’t need to go to college, or even finish high-school, what kind of education does he need? We need to shift the conversation from education to training – and that is precisely what corporate America is starting to do.

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Alternatives to Facebook

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Facebook has been under relentless attack since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018. Broadcasters and news publishers have declared open season on Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and other senior executives at the company. And while not quite ubiquitous, #deletefacebook pops up every time there’s a story about data privacy. The EU has fined them, the US is trying to figure out how to regulate them, and the notion that free services should be absolutely free (as opposed to checking a box on a terms and conditions page that allows the free service to use your data as payment) is gaining traction.

Whether or not Facebook deserves the scrutiny it is under is a great topic for another article. Today, I want to have a look at alternatives. If you don’t like Facebook, what might work for you? Is the time right for the reemergence of focused social networks?

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The dawn of a new Big Tech regulatory era?

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At the ShellyPalmer Innovation Series Breakfast at CES 2018, I had a Socratic discussion about the influence of the big technology platforms and other emerging technologies on our lives and the need for responsible innovation with David Sapin, US Risk & Regulatory Leader, PwC. We also talked about the growing “techlash” buzz for more industry regulation and, while we agreed that there was a need for formal approach around some aspects of the industry, we felt that the best approach at the time might be an industry self-regulatory approach to responsible innovation (see A Case for Responsible Innovation).

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