Google, Pentagon, Meredith discussed on Night Call

Night Call


Next to them like all sorts of like you know real world nations to the hype that is being sort of you know floated around these these approaches, and you know again you need you need pets data to be using custom that the do contact tracing and frankly contact thing is best done by like an army of human beings are doing the hard work of of you know what know. Public in doing the work that public health experts yeah. Yeah Meredith, one thing I really love about your work. you use the word Talk Hubris I, think you're really good at calling out tech Hubris and especially at sort of talking about promises that tech companies make that they can't actually deliver on an attack that doesn't exist. That's being sold. You had to tweet the other day about. software that was being sold to the Pentagon that was supposed to recognize human emotions. And you said, let me save you a billion dollars and tell you that this doesn't work. Surprise It's so y'all it is so. It I mean we've twenty years I. Think and more I'm not. You know I'm not a train historian and this, but I'd like came up in fact, right like we've just sort of trusted this narrative, but you. Pet Company. Revenue Gains, are, you know are are synonymous with progress. Right with scientific progress with social progress with sort of you know the betterment of the world and I. Think we all know that more or less bullshit, but I think it has combined with this kind of you know the way in which tech supremacy has become part of our our just general narrative and people are. Are Afraid to question these technologies right you see. There's this constant kind of derisive commentary on twitter like I've only senators were smart enough to question ducker right, but like we are in a context where for some reason we made it okay for people with sort elite had nickel education that had access and expertise the certain information. Most people don't to sort of you. Assume that the right. Make significant policy decisions significant social decision significant on behalf of millions and billions of others you know rested with the you know with only that the only people with this training sort of had that right, and that no one who you know if you didn't have a CS degree from Stanford. You can't actually be talking about these things so I think you know under that sort of smokescreen. You know so much of this. Stuff is a scam. Right? That emotion recognition stuff like that is being piped into every market. Market you could imagine right. There's job interview software that based on your tone of voice based on your micro expressions based on how you you sound what your mannerisms are will determine if you're going to be a good worker or not right like we're looking at something new scientific consensus around this that you can automate that type of detection, and you're looking at the resurgence of Principles physionomy and Ray Science and this idea that someone's worth can be determined by their sort of you know external physical characteristics which. Hasn't there been mentioned of that like the museum that sort of thing for policing two or am I? MISSED REMEMBERING BECAUSE I've Alec it. You know one of the issues where people are like. Give us specific evidence of this and one of the issues is a lot of the technologies that are being used or produced by private firms, and then they're procured by governments or private businesses, and that whole process is, either you know if if we're talking about like policing agencies, oftentimes, it's classified or hidden based on national security. If we're talking about private firms, a pin behind trade secrecy, so we know some examples, but I think it's. Important to recognize like it is the the obscurities structural right? It's an essential and there's a lot we don't know, but we do know that you know. Police departments are being sold facial recognition systems that claim to sort of detect aggression in people's faces, and obviously, when researchers have looked at these, they are like extraordinarily racist right or looked at similar systems. Right 'cause, getting access to some of these is also hard because what I just mentioned, but yeah you believe is using the military is like the military a big old. that the military certainly using it, schools are using it et Cetera. We- what context schools using it? Our our students offensive by. Are they paying attention as Lord racket that is funnelling. Money? For for sort of security that was kind of pumped into school districts thing because of the school shooting. Our will and that money is now being used to buy sort of security cameras to you know that that are. And at police to schools on a lot of those you know like detect suspicious activity again. This is sort of the inference that what your body looks like, and what it does can somehow translate into a magical assessment of You know of criminality. Terrifying, I wanted to ask you also just like. We go. Really when you think about how that could also be applied now that students are going to be doing remote learning, and they're all gonna be zoom and I, mean it's the the idea that kind of evolve in an even more sinister ways it. Online proctoring software that now sort of. You know claims to the attentiveness. About, yeah. I also wanted to ask if there was a point. If you so, you've been in the tech world for a long time. What was there a kind of evolution for you at a point? Did you become kind of like more concerned and more aware of these issues, and when you enter the tech world? Like how aware were you of the kind of like ways that this could be manipulated and racist or really? You know till like eliminate you know the personal privacy of like. When did did you kind of become aware of that in this sense? I I don't have like A. There wasn't one Chris revelation, but I you know. I started at Google in two thousand and six right out of Undergrad and I took the dog food will, because they offered it to me, and I was broke right so like for me, it was very. It was very simple. Right like rich kids went to Grad School, and now I was not one of them, and I needed a job because there was a certain amount of money at my bank account, and it needed to be more money. Though like I I also I mean I, don't know I. Come from a class of where like the point of a job is to do the least amount work and get the most amount of money. And there wasn't this identity like your job was not we were or your passage necessarily so I kind of entered it like that right then and then I, was you know and I did come from I kind of been enrolled in sort of radical. Politics radical spaces as a teen, and that was sort of where I was at home, and so there was a whole while time a big kind of Google. Like is this I don't have technical training. I had to figure out a lot of these things by like asking people and I think part of that process was like a demystification journey for me, right? What the fuck in call it that, but that's actually not like just a confusing word. Okay, I'm like! Recognizing that it wasn't magic that a lot of the ground truth was really shaky that a lot of this sort of you know a lot of this was sort of heights. That's.

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