There’s a UK general election on Thursday 12th December. Perhaps a once-in-a-generation chance to steer the country away from fascism? The stakes are high and the issues numerous (yes, really, more than just Brexit) but here, we’ll try to keep to the technology. However, ‘keeping to the technology’ is as much to do with understanding what it can’t and won’t do, just as much as what it can and will …
Some of this isn’t new in this blog but it seems to be a timely reminder. Let’s start with a simple (rhetorical) straw poll:
- Can we all agree that the next few years are going to bring some interesting technological developments? Yes?
- Can we generally agree that those ‘developments’ can be loosely described as ‘advances’? Hmm? Not quite so certain? Depends on your point of view? Maybe? Possibly? Most of the time? Probably?
- Are we generally confident that emerging/future technology will benefit people? Ah!
This is at the heart of it. Yes, technology changes lives. Yes, it has the potential to make lives better. But will it? and for whom?
Yes, indeed, there’s a new edition of the novel!
Updated slightly to reflect changing world events (although, sadly, all the initial predictions are pretty much coming true now). And with a swish new cover! Just search for ‘Vic Grout Conscious’ on Amazon in your region (and choose the one with the cool blue cover) or use the direct links below.
A good, punchy, witty reminder from Existential Comics that most people who drone on about the ‘Turing Test’, particularly news reports that some new software has ‘passed the Turing Test’, have never even read, let alone understood, Turing’s original 1950 paper.
Just to recap on a few essentials:
- The ‘Turing Test’, even by today’s common interpretation, relies on a human decision-maker, whose sophisitication in recognising AI presumably increases with the development of AI itself. It isn’t precise enough to be a ‘test’. It never was a ‘test’.
- Turing himself, never proposed any ‘test’, merely an illustrative game to compare impressions of intelligence.
- The figures Turing gave were a prediction of what might be possible, not a benchmark for passing any ‘test’.
- There is no ‘Turing Test’.
Read the paper!
I’m editing a special edition of the journal, Information, with the title, ‘The End of Privacy?’
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2019
Special Issue Information
We all know how hard technological forecasting can be. The technology itself, even in isolation, can be difficult to predict a few years into the future, but taking into account the wider social, legal, political, economic, environmental and demographic fallout, and throwing in some ethics and morality too, it becomes next to impossible. There’s too much to think about. Whilst some of us might have an idea of where, for example, the Internet of Things might be in five years’ time or, separately, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, big data analytics, network connectivity, etc., putting it all together into a vision of this fully-automated, AI/big-data-driven, always-on/always-connected world is probably beyond most of us.
Thus the plan here is to focus on one issue that all these factors impact upon, personal privacy, and to pose a fairly simple question: Will it be possible to have personal data (secrets) in the world that future technology will bring us into? What possibilities (benefits and threats) will new technology open us up to? From individuals up to governments and corporations, how easily will information be shared and (how) can it be secured? To what extent can we realistically be protected by legislation? Where will politics and economics be brought to bear? Ultimately, what control will we have? Continue reading