A series of 3D-printed objects, starting by printing the iconic Utah Teapot, scanning the print, and printing the scan, iterating as the object degrades. Thi...
Cross Campus, 85 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103, USA
February 21, 2020 at 08:15AM- February 21, 2020 at 09:30AM
The discussion will focus on the use of intellectual property from a business perspective. It will provide some practical guidelines for developing, maintaining and extracting the maximum value from your intellectual assets. What is a trade secret and when do you want to turn it into a patent? What are the various types of patents, and who must be involved in the application? What is the process that you go through, how long does it take, and how much does it cost? What does “patent pending” really mean? When do you want to file for international patents, and what are the financial trade-offs? Once the patent is awarded, what can you do with it; what are the pros and cons of licensing (exclusive, non-exclusive, fields-of-use, etc.) or even selling it to another company. What about infringement of your patent or when your products infringe other patents? What resources are available to you to assist you in making these decisions?
It has come to the attention of Creative Commons that there is an increased use of CC licenses by cultural heritage institutions on photographic reproductions and 3D scans of objects such as sculptures, busts, engravings, and inscriptions, among others, that are indisputably in the public domain wor...
Public shaming forces publisher to abandon ridiculous claim to classical music.
A complex system has developed to mute women who accuse powerful men. One of those women is an actress who said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump.
The global Internet and highly territorial real world have had a number of collisions, especially where ebook rights are concerned. The most recent such dispute involves Project Gutenberg, a well-respected public domain ebook provider—in fact, the oldest. It concerns 18 German-language books by three German authors. As a result of a German lawsuit, Project Gutenberg has blocked Germany from viewing the Gutenberg web site. The books in question are out of copyright in the United States, because at the time they passed into the public domain US copyrights were based on the period after publication rather than the author’s life. The three authors involved are Heinrich Mann (died in 1950), Thomas Mann (1955) and Alfred Döblin (1957).
Rejecting years of settled precedent, a federal court in New York has ruled [PDF] that you could infringe copyright simply by embedding a tweet in a web page. Even worse, the logic of the ruling applies to all in-line linking, not just embedding tweets. If adopted by other courts, this legally and...
I don’t think she’s used the specific words in the book yet, but O’Neil is fundamentally writing about social justice and transparency. To a great extent both governments and increasingly large corporations are using these Weapons of Math Destruction inappropriately. Often it may be the case that the algorithms are so opaque as to be incomprehensible by their creators/users, but, as I suspect in many cases, they’re being used to actively create social injustice by benefiting some classes and decimating others. The evolving case of Facebook’s involvement in potentially shifting the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election especially via “dark posts” is an interesting case in point with regard to these examples.
In some sense these algorithms are like viruses running rampant in a large population without the availability of antibiotics to tamp down or modify their effects. Without feedback mechanisms and the ability to see what is going on as it happens the scale issue she touches on can quickly cause even greater harm over short periods of time.
I like that one of the first examples she uses for modeling is that of preparing food for a family. It’s simple, accessible, and generic enough that the majority of people can relate directly to it. It has lots of transparency (even more than her sabermetrics example from baseball). Sadly, however, there is a large swath of the American population that is poor, uneducated, and living in horrific food deserts that they may not grasp the subtleties of even this simple model. As I was reading, it occurred to me that there is a reasonable political football that gets pushed around from time to time in many countries that relates to food and food subsidies. In the United States it’s known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP) and it’s regularly changing, though fortunately for many it has some nutritionists who help to provide a feedback mechanism for it. I suspect it would make a great example of the type of Weapon of Mass Destruction she’s discussing in this book. Those who are interested in a quick overview of it and some of the consequences can find a short audio introduction to it via the Eat This Podcast episode How much does a nutritious diet cost? Depends what you mean by “nutritious” or Crime and nourishment Some costs and consequences of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which discusses an interesting crime related sub-consequence of something as simple as when SNAP benefits are distributed.
I suspect that O’Neil won’t go as far as to bring religion into her thesis, so I’ll do it for her, but I’ll do so from a more general moral philosophical standpoint which underpins much of the Judeo-Christian heritage so prevalent in our society. One of my pet peeves of moralizing (often Republican) conservatives (who often both wear their religion on their sleeves as well as beat others with it–here’s a good recent case in point) is that they never seem to follow the Golden Rule which is stated in multiple ways in the Bible including:
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
In a country that (says it) values meritocracy, much of the establishment doesn’t seem to put much, if any value, into these basic principles as they would like to indicate that they do.
I’ve previously highlighted the application of mathematical game theory before briefly in relation to the Golden Rule, but from a meritocracy perspective, why can’t it operate at all levels? By this I’ll make tangential reference to Cesar Hidalgo‘s thesis in his book Why Information Grows in which he looks not at just individuals (person-bytes), but larger structures like firms/companies (firmbytes), governments, and even nations. Why can’t these larger structures have their own meritocracy? When America “competes” against other countries, why shouldn’t it be doing so in a meritocracy of nations? To do this requires that we as individuals (as well as corporations, city, state, and even national governments) need to help each other out to do what we can’t do alone. One often hears the aphorism that “a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link”, why then would we actively go out of our way to create weak links within our own society, particularly as many in government decry the cultures and actions of other nations which we view as trying to defeat us? To me the statistical mechanics of the situation require that we help each other to advance the status quo of humanity. Evolution and the Red Queeen Hypothesis dictates that humanity won’t regress back to the mean, it may be regressing itself toward extinction otherwise.
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
You can often see troubles when grandparents visit a grandchild they haven’t seen for a while.
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Upon meeting her a year later, they can suffer a few awkward hours because their models are out of date.
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Racism, at the individual level, can be seen as a predictive model whirring away in billions of human minds around the world. It is built from faulty, incomplete, or generalized data. Whether it comes from experience or hearsay, the data indicates that certain types of people have behaved badly. That generates a binary prediction that all people of that race will behave that same way.
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Needless to say, racists don’t spend a lot of time hunting down reliable data to train their twisted models.
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the workings of a recidivism model are tucked away in algorithms, intelligible only to a tiny elite.
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A 2013 study by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that while black and Latino males between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four made up only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, they accounted for 40.6 percent of the stop-and-frisk checks by police.
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So if early “involvement” with the police signals recidivism, poor people and racial minorities look far riskier.
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The questionnaire does avoid asking about race, which is illegal. But with the wealth of detail each prisoner provides, that single illegal question is almost superfluous.
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judge would sustain it. This is the basis of our legal system. We are judged by what we do, not by who we are.
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(And they’ll be free to create them when they start buying their own food.) I should add that my model is highly unlikely to scale. I don’t see Walmart or the US Agriculture Department or any other titan embracing my app and imposing it on hundreds of millions of people, like some of the WMDs we’ll be discussing.
You have to love the obligatory parental aphorism about making your own rules when you have your own house.
Yet the US SNAP program does just this. It could be an interesting example of this type of WMD.
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three kinds of models.
namely: baseball, food, recidivism
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The first question: Even if the participant is aware of being modeled, or what the model is used for, is the model opaque, or even invisible?
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many companies go out of their way to hide the results of their models or even their existence. One common justification is that the algorithm constitutes a “secret sauce” crucial to their business. It’s intellectual property, and it must be defended,
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the second question: Does the model work against the subject’s interest? In short, is it unfair? Does it damage or destroy lives?
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While many may benefit from it, it leads to suffering for others.
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The third question is whether a model has the capacity to grow exponentially. As a statistician would put it, can it scale?
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scale is what turns WMDs from local nuisances into tsunami forces, ones that define and delimit our lives.
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So to sum up, these are the three elements of a WMD: Opacity, Scale, and Damage. All of them will be present, to one degree or another, in the examples we’ll be covering
Think about this for a bit. Are there other potential characteristics?
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You could argue, for example, that the recidivism scores are not totally opaque, since they spit out scores that prisoners, in some cases, can see. Yet they’re brimming with mystery, since the prisoners cannot see how their answers produce their score. The scoring algorithm is hidden.
This is similar to anti-class action laws and arbitration clauses that prevent classes from realizing they’re being discriminated against in the workplace or within healthcare. On behalf of insurance companies primarily, many lawmakers work to cap awards from litigation as well as to prevent class action suits which show much larger inequities that corporations would prefer to keep quiet. Some of the recent incidences like the cases of Ellen Pao, Susan J. Fowler, or even Harvey Weinstein are helping to remedy these types of things despite individuals being pressured to stay quiet so as not to bring others to the forefront and show a broader pattern of bad actions on the part of companies or individuals. (This topic could be an extended article or even book of its own.)
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the point is not whether some people benefit. It’s that so many suffer.
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And here’s one more thing about algorithms: they can leap from one field to the next, and they often do. Research in epidemiology can hold insights for box office predictions; spam filters are being retooled to identify the AIDS virus. This is true of WMDs as well. So if mathematical models in prisons appear to succeed at their job—which really boils down to efficient management of people—they could spread into the rest of the economy along with the other WMDs, leaving us as collateral damage.
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Guide to highlight colors
Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Red–Example to work through
I’m reading this as part of Bryan Alexander’s online book club.
React users are petitioning Facebook to re-license React.js after the Apache Software Foundation announced its decision to ban Apache PMC members from using any technology licensed with Facebook’s BSD+Patents License. So far the GitHub issue has received 627 “thumbs up” emoji and 66 comments from concerned React users who are hoping for a change in licensing. Many respondents on the thread said that ASF’s decision affects their organizations’ ability to continue using React in projects. “Apache CouchDB and others will switch away from React if we have to,” CouchDB committer Robert Newson said. “We’d rather not, it’s a lot of work for no real gain, but we don’t have a choice. Changing license can be simple (RocksDB completed that change in a day).”
MP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades. And now, it’s dead. The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program.
The IP on the mp3 has expired and so the group that owned it isn’t charging for it anymore. Sure they’d like to have everyone think it’s dead and use more “modern” things like AAC, which they can still charge for! My guess is that you’ll actually see a resurgence in mp3 format now that it’s free.
Next they’ll be saying that RSS is dead…