Automation – The Savior – Not The Destroyer

There is a lot of doom and gloom about the future, technology, automation and employment.

Previously, I have written about sweat shops and the coming automation in the making of clothing. Automation faces many hurdles.

One of those hurdles is that the costs have to offer a return on investment compared to traditional manufacturing technologies.

Even if that technology is centuries old. Using people to manufacture clothing – in the present era (starting at least 100 years ago) is the sweat shop. In this recent article it is reported that workers earned £3 an hour to manufacture clothing for high end retailers.

That dress you are wearing – and paid $200 for? The person making it took less than an hour and was paid like $4 for their entire hour.

So, who is making the money? Well, the retailers are making the money – and they apply pressure to the manufacturers to provide the lowest prices.

So, automation. It is going to take jobs. Some jobs need to go away. The sweat shop needs to go away. Ironically, since they pay so little it will take longer before automation penetrates in to this market.

People will not have health care to make that dress.

People will not have enough money to survive to make those jeans.

People will work in dangerous environments with high risk of fire – to make those undies.

It needs to stop.

Oh, and just a side note. There is a reason we have regulations and laws. It is because businesses cannot be trusted to behave in an ethical manner. You can complain about the costs to businesses because of all these regulations, but the fact of the matter is that businesses as a whole will reduce costs to the lowest they can regardless of industry and will break rules, behave unethically and endanger the lives of their customers and employees simply to maximize profits.

So, the ship where we have low number of regulations and laws and people are treated well – that ship has sailed. The ship we are on now, where you have to document workers hours, how much you paid them, and are forced to treat them properly – because you have to (not because you choose to – that is the ship we are on now.

Happy Christmas From Your AI Overlords

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Your AI overlords are here!

And they are coming for IT jobs, too.

There are hypothesis by people that creative jobs will survive the AI onslaught and so people should concentrate on these fields.  This is factually incorrect. Music, paintings, ability to determine a factual statement given human created evidence (Google’s AI Drawing Game) show that AI is not only able to be creative, but that it can be inferential on levels equivalent to humans.

However, being able to create art does not make an overload unless you are Hitler.

The first link is in regard to a company that is transforming the daily business activities by basically replacing middle management with an AI ratings system. In essence, it allows employees to rate and critique each other and stores and analyzes this data. This emphasizes the role of people as “cogs” in a machine or a clock. Like in the movie “The Incredibles“.

Bridgewater even reports that one-fifth of its hires cannot handle a year at the company, and those who do survive are often found crying in the bathrooms.

This statement in the article seems to indicate that crying in the bathroom of an employer is a result of AI management. I have seen management make people cry in the workplace – with no AI involvement at all. I have seen management bully people in to working excessive hours with no AI assistance.

I’m not sure I see a difference between a human manager making a person cry at work or an AI manager making a person cry at work.

As far as the creative arts are concerned – well, I think that would be an easy computer algorithm to “assist” artists to make better art. I’m envisioning a “Black Mirror” episode where people’s like rating directly impacted their daily life. Why not set up Facebook pages – and you’ll know if the next piece of art you create is better than the last – by the number of likes you get? Instagram and a little data analysis would work even better.

So, say hello to you AI overlords – they are already here – a bit earlier than expected.

Don’t Thank God, Thank AI

There is a lot of strife out there – when things go well medically, people in general like to thank god. When things go bad we always sue the doctor, the hospital, the insurance company or any company even remotely related to the procedures involved.

Now, people might try to sue IBM’s Watson, or Enlitic’s software for diagnosing lung cancer. They will, I suspect, be going after these pieces of AI software less often than they currently go after current malpractice lawsuits. Early detection is the best method for treating lung cancer – and if Enlitic’s software can detect it better than humans can – then more people have a chance at surviving lung cancer.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll start thanking AI for saving our lives rather than god. At least AI might have more of a personal hand in saving your life. We don’t tend to thank tools for saving us – nor the operators of tools such as ultrasound devices and ultrasound techs. So, I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll be happy if AI or ultrasound tech saves my life.

In the future, it might also be a question if you should thank AI, if it attains intelligence to be treated as a sentient being.

Lessons Learned in Government – Meaning of Words

I’m going to straight out state something that many people will disagree with – and then I’ll back it up.

The United States of America will never be a racially or sexually equal country.

I say this as a veteran of our armed forces. I say this thinking that the United States of America is probably one of the best countries in the world. No matter what I would like to think about my country – the facts and the symbolism are there. Even if we are the best country in the world there is always room for improvement.

And it all started in the beginning.

The basic problem is that when we started when the Constitution was written we were a divided nation. The whole “United we stand, divided we fall” idea is necessary in the United States of America because we are and always have been divided.

I’m not going to go over the whole Constitution of the United States of America here – just a bit – just the beginning to prove my point.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If I read this now – as a member of the 21st century it seems to hold together. However; while some of the signers may have meant it the way I read it now, some most certainly did not.

In 1776 the only people who had the right to vote were white property owners. This requires we amend the Constitution to reflect what they really meant.

“We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States, in Order to form a more….”

This change in scope from decoding word meanings to actual implied meanings is the split in the United States of America in 1776 as well as it is the split in the United States of America in 2016.

In a recent meeting of NPI celebrating Donald’s winning of the office of President of the United States of America, Richard B. Spencer – head of NPI, said:

“America was, until this past generation, a white country”

“designed for ourselves and our posterity.”

“It is our creation, our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

He isn’t correct – and he is not incorrect. His words are chosen carefully. The word posterity weaves in with the Constitutions preamble I quoted earlier in this article. It matches the change – the literal meaning of the constitutions “We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States,…” that was the de facto of early United States of America’s history.

A lot of things have happened to who votes and who “People” refers to in the Constitution. This document shows the many changes to who a voter was over the history of the United States of America.

This highlights of the document are:

  1. 1870 – African Americans granted citizenship nearly 100 years after our country formed and 101 years before I was born.
  2. 1920 – Women are granted the right to vote
  3. 1924 – Native Americans granted citizenship and the right to vote (but this wasn’t enough)
  4. 1940 – Congress recognizes Native Americans have the right to vote
  5. 1943 – Chinese immigrants have the right to citizenship and vote
  6. 1971 – 18 year-olds are permitted to vote – this is the year I was born

Antonin Scalia who was a Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America indicated that you could not change the meaning of the words in the Constitution to their modern usage. The word people meant something different to the signers of the Constitution than after the hundreds of years of modifications to the voter, i.e. the “People”. That the words don’t mean something different because of the current time or interpretation, they only mean and permit what was voted upon by Congress at that time of the vote. He said people need to vote at the ballot box and have Congress enact laws or amend the Constitution. That there is no law preventing treating women different from men, only that women have the right to vote.

Antonin Scalia wasn’t 100% wrong, either. The problem is words and their meanings.

What do the words “We the People” mean to you? The point is; however, more than just the meaning of words. Do amendments about the vote cover equal treatment or do they just cover the right to vote?

The point is that the United States of America started out – not as a consensus, but as a ruling minority over a majority of other people – people of different religions, different skin colors, different historical origins.

No matter your interpretation of the words, the white supremacists are given power by the historical fact that this country was originally a White, Male, Landed country only. That George Washington owned slaves even after the revolution. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. People (capital P in the Constitution) owned people.

The Lesson Learned here is that whatever new country that comes in to existence, either by revolution, creating a new home in the vast oceans, or in the depths of space – consensus needs to be created at least once – in the creation of that country. And that consensus needs to be on the definition of the words level for that constitution, that charter, that founding document(s). There can be no ambiguity.

We are quickly coming on an era where “people” whatever it means, may not be the only self-controlled entities on Earth. Our constitution is being stretched to cover all people of biological origin. What will it do to the first codops (computerized doppelgangers), the first AI, or the first cyborg?

What we do to those three categories of people will determine if codops, AI, and Cyborg have to fight biological humans for their rights. The time to be thinking about these formerly science fiction problems is now – before it is too late.

One final note:

Often, when a government is torn in two because the foundation is not built on consensus – you have to not only write and pass a law once, but you have to do it several times in order to say, “Yes, I really mean it this time.” This seems to apply the strongest in terms of rights to vote than on any other topic.

Causality

What is really the cause of anything? Is it governmental regulation? An individual’s decision? A person’s reaction to another individual’s decision?

So, I’m listening to Octane on XM radio minding my own business waiting for 3 of my 4 children to get out of school. It is a one-way road. Cars start filling up the other spots near me on the other side of the road. There is a gap between cars big enough for someone to park. I remember seeing the woman park to the rear of that spot.

It is a parallel parking effort. There is a car behind the car I saw park, then the gap, then another car. A man in an Audi S4 is attempting to park in the spot. I can tell that clearly he is going to make it. I wouldn’t be able to fit my Pilot there.

A lot of the time parents wait in the cars. Usually I don’t do this, but this time I am. The weather is comfortable.

As the man driving the Audi S4 is backing in to the spot, the woman in the spot behind the one he is parallel parking panics and decides to back up – right in to the car parked behind her.

This sucks. So, the two women get out of their cars. I patiently pretend I didn’t see anything.

So, who was at fault?

The sequence of events would not have happened without the Audi S4. But is the driver of this car responsible for the actions of another driver?

SMH

All the cars involved are relatively new. The driver of the Audi S4 – for sure has a backup camera. This is why he can parallel park with such confidence. Well, he could be a great driver, but hell most of us suck at parallel parking.

Is it the fault of the woman that backed in to the other car? Well, yes, obviously she is at fault. You really do need to look before you back up. However, the reason I mention that all the cars are recent models is….

You guessed it – the technology for adding reverse cameras to cars has been ubiquitous for years. However; due to commercial or business profits – they are only being required in cars in the present vehicle years. It is clear to me if she had a backup camera she would not have hit the other car.

In the end, the mothers in the two cars spoke to each other, looked at the damage and decided that it was ok. It easily could not have been ok, though.

All of it, though could have been prevented.

Causality. What caused this who sequence of events?

In turn this makes me think about automated cars. What can they potentially save us from – on a daily basis? What deadly horrors can be prevented – by handing over autonomy in a specialized area – to the machines?

Series : Everyday Inhuman Humans – Day 10 7/14/2016

The robots are here.

Not only do we have to worry about the humans being inhuman to other humans, but we have robots to deal with now.

In this case – a robot accidentally knocks over a toddler and runs the toddler over.

It appears this robot was actually fully autonomous, if still very primitive. The fact that it didn’t detect the child, even after running the child over and would have proceeded to run over it with another wheel is worrisome.

This whole scenario reminds me of the traffic light sensors installed in many states that ensure traffic lights change when there are vehicles waiting. Except that they don’t work for all vehicles. I ride a motorcycle and I know for a fact that there have been lights that I’ve sat at until a car has pulled up behind me, or some that I’ve had to make a right turn and make a u-turn and then another right turn to continue through the light.

We are on weak ground at the moment for automation, AI, and it seems automated traffic signals.

Testing in crucial for any piece of software. If you automate file transformation you test it.

However; there are no standards of what an automated robot should be able to do. Companies are testing these robots, closing one eye, spitting on them and saying , “yeah, it is ready.” Who knows what they have tested properly?

The problem with the toddler getting run over by a autonomous robot and the traffic light not working for motorcycles is the same problem. The companies tested for the common case, adults in the case of the autonomous robot that ran over a toddler, cars and trucks in the case of the automatic traffic light, and the exceptional but normal cases they did not test for, smaller humans and small vehicles such as motorcycles in the case of the automated traffic lights.

Not only that, but it is unclear who is responsible if say this robot killed some toddler. Or if the traffic light caused a biker to be killed for that matter.

Is the coder responsible? Is it the company that made the device? The company that owns and operates the device? Is it the device itself? A combination of all of them (that seems to be the tactic of the lawyers these days)?

The lack of government standards or laws controlling the creation of automation technology is a huge problem just as it will be a huge problem when AI or the codops (Computerized Doppelgangers) come in to existence.

The time to write intelligent, coherent, and effective legislation that will prevent fatalities in these cases of simple automation is already passed. Now, we need legislation to prevent future injuries or fatalities.

The major problem is who can create such legislation? Certainly not the sitting congress that are in many cases barely literate, corporate controlled, and unable to create functional laws unless motivated by self-protection of their interests.

Series : Everyday Inhuman Humans – Day 7 7/10/2016

So, yeah, I’m late with this edition. That is a good thing, though. It let my thoughts work themselves out and should make today’s edition of Everyday Inhuman Humans better.

There are three major points that I will go in to detail about Philando Castile and a final wrap-up about what this means for the future and AI.

  1. There is an inherent conflict of interest in fines assigned by local government, enforced by local government (police), and then given to the local government to be used at its discretion.
  2. Specific people get pulled over move frequently than other people. Yes, black people, or people who aren’t white. How? Profiling of cars to racial stereotypes.
  3. The more times you get pulled over the higher chance that any particular time you get pulled over you will have an unfortunately encounter. [Six Sigma]

 

One: The local jurisdictions benefit from traffic tickets. They send out the traffic police not to ensure or improve safety, but to assign tickets for which the government gets money. This benefits the state in that if the state can count on these funds they can have artificially lower taxes – allowing their local citizens to benefit. This has the elements of a sin tax as people believe inherently that if you got a ticket you deserve a ticket and need to pay the fine.

Now, you might say, “Wait a second. It is about safety. Philando Castile got pulled over for a broken tail light.”  On the surface you might say this is a safety violation and that the police officer was pulling them over for a safety violation. However, if that was the case, then there would be no need for a fine, would there? If the state is concerned about your safety then a notification that your tail light is out and please fix it immediately would be all that is required. In addition, with today’s technology and license plate scanners and photographic analysis we could post machines that automatically generate these notifications and send them either by e-mail or physical mail to the owners to rectify the situation. There are two reasons for police stops for safety and it has nothing to do with safety.

  1. Revenue generation for the state (as stated previously)
  2. Excuse of illegal searches

To lead us to the second point we should start with a question. If you are a police officer of a local jurisdiction how do you select who is going to pay for the revenue generation? If you pursue this from a protect the innocent perspective – perhaps you target the less favorable people – from your point of view.

Two: Who gets pulled over and why? Now, the vast majority of the time the driver of a car is not visible easily before being pulled over. So, is it racial profiling? Yes. First, you determine who are the desirable people in your area? Clean cars, mechanically 100% operational, family oriented or no magnets or bumper stickers. Then you continue, the popular features of cars for younger people of race are lowered suspensions, tinted windows, luxury but older cars with aftermarket additions, aftermarket wheels, etc. Very shortly, you have a profile which targets largely male, younger non-white people.

So, how do I know this? I know of two people personally who used to get pulled over all the time. One was a redhead female mother of two with a Honda Civic, with nice wheels and tinted windows. Remove one element from that equation (the tinted windows) and the high rate of getting pulled over and getting fines went away. The other was a Jewish female mother of 2 riding a late model Cadillac Escalade with nice wheels, dark tinted windows and well maintained. She once told me how she would get pulled over and when the cops got to the window and looked in they were surprised that it was her.

I am a heavy speeder. I have been pulled over at least 6 times in the past 14 years. The cars I have owned have been ‘white’. Not modified. Not heavily tinted. No aftermarket wheels. I got pulled over because I was speeding or in one case I might not have slowed down enough for a yield in a traffic circle – you have no idea how much I hate traffic circles in the United States. Different rules in each traffic circle.

Philando Castile was pulled over 52 times in 14 years. While we cannot figure out the rate per 1000 stops that a significantly poor outcome occurs, it doesn’t matter.

What gets you pulled over? [drive a white car, with white stickers, and you are ok, drive a ‘black’ car, with black stickers, lowered suspension, tinted windows = getting pulled over a lot] – examples,  tinted windows nice rims and Honda Civic,  tinted windows nice rims Cadillac Escalade.

Three: I have had a lot of education in programming, project management, and process improvement. In my process improvement education I have gained a CSSGB (Certified Six Sigma Green Belt). Six Sigma can be used for many things, but I consider it a suite of tools for process improvement. It contains a lot of information on data gathering, problem determination, and problem resolution.

Unfortunately, (and very suspiciously) the police have not been mandated to track their stops and the times those stops have grown to violence, resulted in the death of a citizen (remember, they are ALWAYS citizens until such time as they have been convicted of a crime), or the number of times that police officers have been assaulted/killed in traffic stops.

So, the very basic information we need to do an analysis and figure out the chances any given stop will result in a fatality are unknown. We do know some things though. We know Philando Castile was pulled over 52 times in 14 years. We know I was pulled over 6 times (approximately) in the same period of times. Whatever the rate of undesirable outcome is, we know that Philando Castile was 8.6 times more likely to suffer it than I was.

Philando Castile was charged over $6500 for fines related to his traffic stops.  Perhaps, I was charged $1000 over the 14 years. While I was working those years I’m sure I was making more than he was which makes these fines an economic burden – much greater than if I had been charged a similar amount.

I like this quote from another article: “The majority of police work does not involve rescuing damsels in distress or foiling hostage situations. No, the modern day police officer is designed to extract revenue from the population through a series of immoral laws designed for that exact purpose.

Before you say, well that’s a bunch of shit, the goal of police stops is not to earn money for the government, take a look at this article.

Now, if you have physical money the Sheriff of Nottingham will take it from you if he thinks you are going to buy drugs with it (or anything else illegal). In an advancement of this process Oklahoma has now expanded this civil forfeiture to prepaid debit cards.

If you have been paying attention, the civil forfeiture has proceeded from “We’ll only take from drug dealers so they can’t enjoy the profits of being drug dealers if they get out on bail” to “Oh, hey, you are carrying a lot of cash, I’m going to take that from you because you might be going out to buy drugs” to “We are going to seize this home, because your son bought drugs and is out on bail.”

One consistency; however, was that it had to be physical money. Now, Oklahoma is setting the precedent of taking digitally stored money.

Next step, your ATM card. After all, the infrastructure for pulling money from a prepaid debit card is the same for your regular bank debit card.

Next Steps, the future, codops and racism

Clearly, constitutional protections no longer work.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”

First, well, Philando Castile is dead and this certainly means he is not “secure in their persons”. The desire for money for local governments and greed has expanded such that unreasonable searches and taking money are foregone conclusions.

So, if a codop (Computerized Doppelganger) is created of you, what guarantees do you have that such a codop will be secure in its person, its possessions, and where it is stored “home”?

Clearly, if physical humans cannot rely on the constitutional protections, codops will have little or no protection from government intrusions.

In earlier articles I have urged that we give the same protections to codops that we to human beings now in the present. I can see; however, that what is needed is a lot more than that. We need to fix the protections now in place before the codops become a reality. If we don’t it seems that those who have power will have god-like control of both codops and humans.