Pluralistic: "Humans in the loop" must detect the hardest-to-spot errors, at superhuman speed (23 Apr 2024)


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Pluralistic: Worker misclassification is a competition issue (02 Feb 2024)


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Pluralistic: The REAL AI automation threat to workers (11 Jan 2024)


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Pluralistic: Brian Merchant's "Blood In the Machine" (26 Sep 2023)


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Automation is Magic

The Messy Business of Security Economics.

Real Genius/Delphi III Productions

There is no such thing as security.

I’m not being a realist here (“there are no sure bets”) nor is this mere nihilism (“you will never be safe!”).

There is no such thing as security in the abstract.You cannot be generically secure — you can only be secure from something. A sprinkler system increases your security from fires, but not burglars. Not only that, but a sprinkler system reduces your security from water-damage.

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Revenge of the Chickenized Reverse-Centaurs

Algorithms and worker power

A horse-headed “reverse-centaur” whose eye has been replaced by the glowing eye of HAL9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. They are wearing a hi-viz vest and posed in shelving-aisles of an industrial warehouse.
Cryteria, CC BY, modified

In AI circles, a “centaur” describes a certain kind of machine/human collaboration, in which “decision-support” systems (which the field loves to call “AI”s) are paired with human beings for results that draw upon the strengths of each, such as when a human chess master and a chess-playing computer program collaborate to smash their competition.

In labor circles, “chickenization” refers to exploitative working arrangements that resemble the plight of the American poultry farmer. The U.S. poultry industry has been taken over by three monopolistic packers, who have divided the nation up into exclusive territories, so that each chicken farmer has only one buyer for their birds.

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Pluralistic: 02 Jun 2021


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Pluralistic: 22 Feb 2021


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Pluralistic: 17 Jun 2020


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  • SF anthology to benefit covid charities: With Neil Gaiman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Robert Silverberg, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Andrew Mayne, Scott Sigler, Orson Scott Card, Alan Dean Foster, A.C. Crispin and me.
  • Politics and sf: Highlights from my Torcon panel with Nnedi Okarafor.
  • Robots aren't stealing your job: Your boss is destroying it and blaming it on automation.
  • Earbuddy: "Enabling On-Face Interaction via Wireless Earbuds."
  • The Worm: 1975 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Graphics Standards Manual, NHB 1430.2 January 1976, Section 2.1 "Reproduction Art, Logotype."
  • CDA230: Americans don't trust Big Tech to moderate their communities.
  • Hue and cry, posses, sheriffs: What did we do before cops?
  • This day in history: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2019
  • Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading

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Pluralistic: 21 Apr 2020


infosec,phishing,contact tracing,john scalzi,science fiction,podcasts,audio,mp3s,private equity,surprise billing,ads, media theory,supercuts,d&d;,rpgs,makers,old school,trash future,masque of the red death,plutewatch,bunkers,luxury bunkers,labor,guillotine watch,late stage capitalism,whole foods,unionization,class war,automation,amazon,texas, voter suppression,1a,ken paxton,christ what an asshole,australia,competition,right to repair,john deere,big ag,parenting,gadgets,iot,internet of shit,infosec,snoo smart bassinet,conspiracies,china,truthers

Phishers deploy fake contact-tracing warnings; Podcasting John Scalzi's The Last Emperox; Private equity blew millions on pro-surprise-billing ads while cutting doctor pay; Every Covid-19 Commerical is Exactly the Same; Multi-level dungeon built into the drawers of an old dresser; Talking bunker-busting with Trashfuture; Whole Foods has a union-busting "heatmap" app; Amazon workers plan nationwide walkout; Texas AG: We'll imprison people who warn about getting covid while voting; Australian regulator takes up Right to Repair for tractors; Smart bassinet can be remotely hacked; Covid did not escape from a Chinese lab

Pluralistic: 21 Apr 2020 all-in-it-together



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