facebook
The Great Failure of Facebook’s AI Content Moderation System

When 21-year-old Brandon Andrew Clark posted a series of graphic images on Sunday of the slain corpse of 17-year-old Bianca Devins to Instagram and Discord, users immediately began spreading the gory pictures online, often alongside brutal, misogynist commentary. Some said the victim, an ‘e-girl’ who was popular on 4Chan, deserved it, and others called for even more violence against women. Clark, who appears to have live-posted the murder itself on Instagram—a series of posts reportedly showed the body, the road near the crime scene, and an act of bloody self-harm—took the time to change his bio to hint at his forthcoming suicide attempt, and to attempt to craft a multi-platform narrative around the killing as it unfolded. Read More >>

amazon
Amazon Says It Will Retrain Workers It’s Automating Out of Jobs. But Does ‘Upskilling’ Even Work?

Amazon made waves when it announced earlier this month that it planned to spend $700 million (£558 million) to retrain one-third of its US workforce—100,000 employees—as part of its ‘Upskilling 2025’ initiative. The sizeable commitment, which the Wall Street Journal notes is “among the biggest corporate retraining initiatives” yet announced, will fund pilot programmes, classes, and tuition fees for employees. “The American workforce is changing,” Amazon’s announcement proclaims, and “there’s a greater need for technical skills in the workplace than ever before.” Translation: We will be automating your job soon, and if you want to keep a decent paying gig here, study up. Read More >>

automation
This Report Makes It Perfectly Clearly Who Automation Is Working For

If you want to get a sense of who, exactly, automation is working for right now, well, there’s a study for that. Spoiler – it’s the c-suite executives doing the automating. Read More >>

technology
Automated Call Menus Are the Epitome of Shitty Automation

Like self-checkout kiosks—perhaps even more so—automated phone menus are a prime example of shitty automation. They are exemplars of the kind of automated system that no user asked for, that are deployed solely in an effort to pad corporate bottom lines by cutting labour costs, and that ultimately make everyone who encounters them worse off. Read More >>

robots
The Robots Are Coming for Our Jobs, Seller of Automation Equipment Says

Sometimes the pitch-perfect example that just totally proves your argument falls directly into your lap approximately two days after you need it to. Read More >>

automation
‘Robots’ Are Not ‘Coming for Your Job’—Management Is

Listen: ‘Robots’ are not coming for your jobs. I hope we can be very clear here—at this particular point in time, ‘robots’ are not sentient agents capable of seeking out and applying for your job and then landing the gig on its comparatively superior merits. ‘Robots’ are not currently algorithmically scanning LinkedIn and Monster.com with an intent to displace you with their artificial intelligence. Nor are ‘robots’ gathered in the back of a warehouse somewhere conspiring to take human jobs en masse. A robot is not ‘coming for’, or ‘stealing’ or ‘killing’ or ‘threatening’ to take away your job. Management is. Read More >>

Tesla
There Is Absolutely No Reason to Trust the Safety Record of Tesla’s Autopilot System

Tesla has long lurked in a category of its own in the self-driving car race; where Uber and Google’s Waymo are building fully autonomous vehicles essentially from the ground up, Elon Musk’s electric car company is slouching towards autonomy through a series of increasingly sophisticated updates to its semi-autonomous Autopilot system. Because Teslas are not totally self-driving, and because they are already on the roads, this puts the company in a sort of grey area—even greyer than the already grey area where standard autonomous vehicles dwell—when it comes to regulation and oversight. Read More >>

amazon
Jeff Bezos Wouldn’t Even Come On Stage to Listen to His Employees Who Want Amazon to Address Climate Change

At Amazon’s shareholder meeting last week, employees and investors voted on a wide-ranging spate of proposals, from banning the practice of selling facial recognition technology to adopting a serious plan to address climate change. Each of the proposals ultimately failed, but they were undeniable signs of a paradigm shift underway at the online retail giant, and perhaps the tech industry at large. Few, if any, such shareholder proposals have been made before. And CEO Jeff Bezos all but refused to acknowledge them. Read More >>

ai
This Company Is Betting the Future Is Personal AI Avatars, So It Made Me One

In January 2019, when China Central Television, the largest broadcast network in the most populous nation in the world, aired a special to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the hosts welcomed four life-sized “personal artificial intelligences” to share the stage with them. Called PAIs, they were three-dimensional holographic replicas of the presenters that moved, spoke, and sang to the delight of the cheering live audience. The program was viewed some 1.8 billion times. One of the most-watched TV shows in the world had been hosted by AI avatars. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
The Next Evolution of Online Shopping Is Letting a Bot Buy You Underwear

Online retailers are engaged in a constant, all-consuming quest to make the process of buying stuff ever faster and more efficient and to remove as many barriers between you and the final click-confirmed purchase as possible. Amazon has experimented with IRL ‘dash’ buttons that automatically order you more washing powder or nappies. Smaller retailers like Blue Bottle have pushed subscription models that let you elect to have your coffee delivered monthly. Read More >>

amazon
Fully Automated Warehouses Are a Decade Away, Amazon Says

Amazon recently came under fire when the Verge revealed it used a system that automatically determines the productivity levels of its warehouse workforce, and terminates laggards if they’re too slow to move packages. It was yet another sign that automation was taking over at the retail giant, and a particularly ominous one at that. Read More >>

automation
Applying for Your Next Job May Be an Automated Nightmare

If you think looking for a job is already daunting, anxiety-riddled, and unpleasant, just wait until the algorithms take over the hiring process. When they do, a newfangled “digital recruiter” like VCV, which just received $1.7 million in early investment, hopes it will look something like this: Read More >>

amazon
Amazon Is Aggressively Pursuing Big Oil as It Stalls Out on Clean Energy

In 2014, Amazon announced that it would power its rapidly expanding fleet of data centres with 100 per cent renewable energy. Apple, Facebook, and Google made similar pledges two years before that, and pressure from consumers and environmental groups drove Amazon to follow suit. For the next two years, the tech giant made admirable strides toward achieving its goal, bankrolling large solar plants and wind farms. Then, it stopped. Read More >>

amazon
6,000 Amazon Employees, Including a VP and Directors, Now Call on Jeff Bezos to Stop Automating Oil Extraction

On Monday, a group of Amazon employees began circulating an open letter that calls on CEO Jeff Bezos and the board of directors to adopt a companywide plan to address climate change. By Wednesday, over 3,500 Amazoners had signed on. By Friday, that number had surpassed 6,000 – meaning a number equivalent to about 1/10th of the company’s entire corporate workforce had publicly added their names. And those names are still rolling in. Read More >>

automation
With 1.5 Million UK Workers Slated to Lose Their Jobs to Automation, Calls for a Shorter Work Week Intensify

On Monday, the UK’s Office of Data and Statistics released a report that found 1.5 million of the nation’s workers are at “high risk” of losing their jobs to automation. “In 2017, out of the 19.9 million jobs analysed in England, 7.4% people were employed in jobs at high risk of automation,” the report notes. Women and part-time workers are most vulnerable. Read More >>