Amazon Flex drivers’ performance is constantly monitored by algorithms. Fall too low on the ratings and you’re fired, all with no human involved in the process.
I think the most disturbing thing about this article is how Amazon knew from the start that there would be some people dismissed unfairly, but the benefits outweighed the potential problems. To quote one of the developers of the system:
“Executives knew this was gonna shit the bed, that’s actually how they put it in meetings. The only question was how much poo we wanted there to be.”
And they can solve that problem too, by removing the humans from the review process, making it so difficult to actually speak to a human that most unfairly dismissed people just give up:
“Whenever there’s an issue, there’s no support. It’s you against the machine, so you don’t even try.”
If you keep enough of the population poor and desperate, there’ll be a long line of people waiting to take their places.
Just before we get too complacent that this is just Amazon/Google/Facebook/etc, technology like this always trickles down. It won’t be long before a cheaper, not quite as well implemented version is available for a monthly subscription to every SME out there.
Work sets you free, right?
Think IoT hacking is the only thing to worry about with your smarthome?
This report out of China talks about how smart doorlocks are being linked to central government databases so that your comings and goings can be tracked and analysed with other data such as Health and Travel records.
Even worse, they are increasingly being made mandatory.
It’s all being couched in “for your own protection” terms of course, but this part starts to touch on more sinister uses:
“The purpose, according to the authorities, is to collect information to be analyzed and used for advanced “massive investigation and transformation” to control the migrant population.”
Now before those of us outside China get too comfortable, it’s not a million miles from reports of Amazon working with Police to allow access to their doorbell cameras.
This is our future, playing out live on twitter right now. Billionaire Presidential candidate caught in a lie on Twitter, sends in the bots to defend and distract.
It’s like a clumsier take on Indonesia’s “buzzers”. Twitter have suspended the accounts, but more will pop up in their places.
If they weren’t so poorly implemented, we might not have been able to watch live, however this will only teach them to be more sophisticated and that is a scary thought.
“On Monday afternoon, GEDmatch announced it was being taken over by a new owner, the forensic genomics firm Verogen…specializing in next-generation DNA testing services catered to law enforcement. Verogen may also start offering genealogy searches like the ones that have so far identified suspects in as many as 70 cases. “Never before have we as a society had the opportunity to serve as a molecular eyewitness, enabling law enforcement to solve violent crimes efficiently and with certainty,” “
You may trust the current owners of a service, but that can all change quickly. Once your data is out there, it’s on its own in the wild, whether or not you only shared it with Fitbit, not Google, your government’s centralised medical records, or through spitting in a tube to find out how much Neanderthal DNA you have.
Great video snippets of Alan Moore talking about everything from Brexit, Magic, Anonymous and why anyone who doesn’t think Northampton is the centre of the world needs to fight him, God and Hitler!
Insightful one minute, bonkers the next. Perfect!
Interesting article about the apparent biases in reporting on various protests around the world. There are anti-government protests happening in Lebanon, Catalonia, the UK, Chile, Haiti and Ecuador, but the airtime given to the Hong Kong protests dwarfs the others combined. This despite the fact the numbers of participants, deaths and damage caused in the others are in many cases much higher.
The difference? In the former cases, the “rioters” are opposing governments aligned with the US, while the Hong Kong protesters are “defending democracy against a tyrannical communist government”.
“Which protest movements interest corporate media has little to do with their righteousness or popularity, and much more to do with whom they are protesting against. If you’re fighting against corporate power or corruption in a US-client state, don’t expect many TV cameras to show up; that revolution is rarely televised.”
Get past the gee-whizzery and armageddon-porn and this is yet another example of misdirection and distraction. We’re suckers for it, unfortunately.
“Boston Dynamic’s videos are, to be sure, entertaining. But by raising the alarm of robot takeover they achieve the self-serving purpose of reasserting unrealistic fantasies about technology’s power, while redirecting away from more critical examination of human decisions and design practices. “
This appeals to me on so many levels.
“On midnight last Friday, all over the United States, an alliance of magical practitioners called the Magic Resistance gathered Tarot cards, feathers, orange and white candles, pins, water, salt, matches, ashtrays, and unflattering photos of President Trump. The objects are prerequisites for a binding spell, an incantation typically used to keep someone from harming themselves or others, like a magical straitjacket. They use the pin to scratch “Donald J. Trump” into the orange candle (baby carrots are a sanctioned substitute) and read aloud a spell first posted on Medium. It begins: “Hear me, oh spirits of Water, Fire, Earth, and Air, heavenly hosts, demons of the infernal realms, and spirits of the ancestors … I call upon you to bind Donald J. Trump so that his malignant works may fail utterly.” It ends with burning the unflattering Trump photo and telling it, “You’re fired!””
Read this and then try and convince me there aren’t research groups around the world scouring William Gibson’s work for ideas.
From Virtual Light, discussing the Separated at Birth system:
“Separated at Birth was a police program you used in missing persons cases. You scanned a photo of the person you wanted, got back the names of half a dozen celebrities who looked vaguely like the subject, then went around asking people if they’d seen anybody lately who reminded them of A,B,C… The weird thing was, it worked better than just showing them a picture of the subject.“
Put a video camera in a bedside device and connect it to the network? Sure, what could go wrong?
Great closing sentence too:
“The chain has suffered a bunch of other issues with the robots, including … a failure of the reception dinosaurs to understand guests’ names.”
So hard to get good help these days.