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This Obama-Era Agency Is Trying to Speed Immigration Under Trump’s Nose - Bloomberg
On immigration, the agency’s record is mixed. The USDS began working on the green card queue last year, noticing that the USCIS software classified routine issues such as a change of address just as seriously as, say, a green card holder being arrested. The team created a program to sift renewal applicants by risk category, feeding the change-of-address types into a faster lane. The digital service says the software has helped cut the overall USCIS backlog by about two-thirds.
Yet the reality on the ground hasn’t improved for everyone, says Denyse Sabagh, an immigration attorney at law firm Duane Morris LLP. “It seems like the agency is geared now to deny cases across the board,” she says, and it’s no clearer why her clients’ renewal requests are taking so long to process, with some basic cases that would once require a few days taking five months and complex ones taking years.
#xxi#tech  #techpol  #us#trumpland 
17 hours ago by lemeb
Will Uber Survive the Next Decade?
The only advantage Uber might have achieved is taking advantage of its drivers’ lack of financial acumen — that they don’t understand the full cost of using their cars and thus are giving Uber a bargain. There’s some evidence to support that notion. Ridester recently published the results of the first study to use actual Uber driver earnings, validated by screenshots. Using conservative estimates for vehicle costs, they found that that UberX drivers, which represent the bulk of its workforce, earn less than $10 an hour. They would do better at McDonald’s. But even this offset to the generally higher costs of fleet operation hasn’t had an meaningful impact on Uber’s economics.

But, you may argue, Uber has all that data about rides! Certainly that allows it to be more efficient than traditional cabs. Um, no. Local ride services have backhaul problems that no amount of cleverness can remedy, like taking customers to the airport and either waiting hours for a return fare or coming back empty, or daily urban commutes, where workers go overwhelmingly in one direction in the morning rush and the other way in the evening. Similarly, Uber’s surge pricing hasn’t led customers to change their habits and shift their trips to lower-cost times, which could have led to more efficient utilization. If Uber had any secret sauce, it would have already shown up in Uber revenues and average driver earnings. Nine years in, and there’s no evidence of that.

#t#automation  #t#selfdriving  #$#nextcrash  #t#wakingup  #techpol  %🔥 
6 days ago by lemeb
Workers of Silicon Valley, It’s Time to Organize - The New York Times
Typically, when workers speak out or organize, it’s because they want higher wages, better working conditions or stronger job security. Those aren’t your problems. You probably work manageable hours in tastefully decorated buildings with free food, ergonomic desk furniture and plentiful amenities. Your compensation is generous. And you’re in little danger of being fired or retaliated against, especially if you’re part of a large group.

The possibilities for you are so much greater. What if Facebook employees publicly took their executives to task for neglecting the real-world violence their products are causing in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka? What if Google or Twitter employees threatened to walk unless their executives took major action against radical extremists and hate speech? What if Apple employees insisted that the company stop parking billions of dollars in offshore tax shelters, or Amazon engineers threatened to quit unless the company paid its warehouse workers higher wages?
!write!technologist  #t#fallofrome  #techpol  #xxi#tech  #labor  #t#wakingup  %journalismoped 
12 days ago by lemeb
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis - The New York Times
Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

these two sentences cobbled together are chefs kiss
#$#👺  !write!technologist  !write!scale  !write!dystopia  !tech!practicalprivacy  !write!readthenews  #$#monopoly  #xxi#tech  #techpol  #swamp  #t#oops 
26 days ago by lemeb
Donna Zuckerberg: ‘Social media has elevated misogyny to new levels of violence’ | Books | The Guardian
“So, there are online communities that exist under the umbrella of what we know as the Red Pill, which are men connected by common resentments against women, immigrants, people of colour,” she explains. “What I was surprised to find was the extent to which they are using ancient Greek and Roman figures and texts to prop up an ideal of white masculinity.”
#t#social  !write!technologist  #xxi#masculinite  #xxi#culture  #xxi#nazi  !ihop  &readnext  #techpol 
29 days ago by lemeb
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Congrats, Bloomberg, you won. Best title ever.
#us#dems  #techpol  #t#selfdriving  #us#elections  #$#monopoly  #alphabet 
12 weeks ago by lemeb
Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web | Technology | The Guardian
The decentralised web, or DWeb, could be a chance to take control of our data back from the big tech firms. So how does it work and when will it be here?
#t#next  #techpol  #$#monopoly  !write!technologist 
september 2018 by lemeb
Children 'at risk of robot influence' - BBC News
What our results show is that adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did. It shows children can perhaps have more of an affinity with robots than adults, which does pose the question: what if robots were to suggest, for example, what products to buy or what to think?"
!write!dystopia  !write!technologist  #techpol  #t#robot  %econ%behav 
august 2018 by lemeb
AI safety via debate
To make AI systems broadly useful for challenging real-world tasks, we need them to learn complex human goals and preferences. One approach to specifying complex goals asks humans to judge during training which agent behaviors are safe and useful, but this approach can fail if the task is too complicated for a human to directly judge. To help address this concern, we propose training agents via self play on a zero sum debate game. Given a question or proposed action, two agents take turns making short statements up to a limit, then a human judges which of the agents gave the most true, useful information. In an analogy to complexity theory, debate with optimal play can answer any question in PSPACE given polynomial time judges (direct judging answers only NP questions). In practice, whether debate works involves empirical questions about humans and the tasks we want AIs to perform, plus theoretical questions about the meaning of AI alignment. We report results on an initial MNIST experiment where agents compete to convince a sparse classifier, boosting the classifier’s accuracy from 59.4% to 88.9% given 6 pixels and from 48.2% to 85.2% given 4 pixels. Finally, we discuss theoretical and practical aspects of the debate model, focusing on potential weaknesses as the model scales up, and we propose future human and computer experiments to test these properties.

Fast Company article:
!tech!ml  !write!dystopia  !write!utopia  #t#ml  #techpol 
may 2018 by lemeb
How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.? | The New Yorker
Thinking about artificial intelligence can help clarify what makes us human—for better and for worse.
#t#ml  #techpol 
may 2018 by lemeb
How Slack Got Ahead in Diversity - The Atlantic
how has slack gotten 34% of women in technical roles without a head of diversity?
For one thing, the company has, since 2015, proactively sought out candidates from outside traditional programmer pipelines like Stanford and MIT, recruiting through all-women’s coding camps like Hackbright, as well as programs that focus on training black and Latino programmers such as Code2040. Recruiters are trained to look at skills rather than a candidate’s university pedigree. In 2015, Slack worked with Textio, a company that analyzes job descriptions to ensure they appeal to the widest possible audience. (Slack’s job descriptions feature phrases like “care deeply” and “lasting relationships,” which statistically draw more applications from women. Microsoft’s, by contrast, feature words like “insatiably” and “competing.” Amazon’s keywords: “maniacal” and “wickedly.")
!write!technologist  !write!utopia  #techpol  #diversity 
april 2018 by lemeb
EU copyright proposal could undermine the use of Creative Commons licenses (
Over the last few years the European Union has been working on revising its rules on copyright. But the latest proposal from the head of the copyright committee would deny creators the right to refuse remuneration — the right to share a work without getting paid — which could undermine the use of CC licenses if approved.

#eu  *wtf  #xxi#tech  #techpol 
april 2018 by lemeb
Yet More Proof Facebook’s Surveillance Capitalism Is Good at Surveilling — Even Russian Hackers – emptywheel
I’ve long tracked Facebook’s serial admission to having SIGINT visibility that nearly rivals the NSA: knowing that Facebook had intelligence corroborating NSA’s judgment that GRU was behind the DNC hack was one reason I was ultimately convinced of the IC’s claims, in spite of initial questions.
~fb  #techpol  #surveillance  !write!technologist  !write!dystopia 
april 2018 by lemeb
The Senate Is Afraid to Govern. That’s Great News for Facebook.
Zuckerberg said that Facebook doesn’t allow fake profiles, contradicted by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who literally found two fake profiles of himself the day of the hearing. Zuckerberg alleged that users prefer “relevant” ads — by which he means ads targeting users based on Facebook’s surveillance — impossibly speaking on behalf of hundreds of millions of people (and ignoring the millions of people who feel creeped out by ads that are too on the nose). He wrongly stated that Cambridge Analytica was banned from Facebook after the company became aware of the data harvesting; it turns out the firm popped up as an advertiser months later. He claimed users can port their data to other social networks, which is not really true since they wouldn’t be able to contact their friends, the whole point of interoperability. He was super-proud of stating that Facebook doesn’t “sell” its data to third parties — it allows third parties to use any slice of it for a price, making whether the data is “sold” a distinction without a difference.

He claimed that Palantir, the surveillance company chaired by Facebook board member Peter Thiel, didn’t have access to Facebook data; a former Palantir employee said the company did. He waved away suggestions that Facebook couldn’t manage the millions of examples of discriminatory advertising tactics and hate speech and deceptions happening on the site daily, saying that unspecified “AI tools” would fix things later. When asked questions to which he said he didn’t know the answer, Zuckerberg habitually said he would get senators the information later.

Under any normal circumstances, this would have been seen as a disaster for Zuckerberg and Facebook. But Facebook stock jumped nearly 5 percent on the day of the hearing, including while he was in the not-so-hot booster seat. And that’s because the Senate made it very clear that Facebook would be given every opportunity to continue governing itself, with barely any recognition that its power in the marketplace and business model of mass surveillance means that any serious fix changes the fundamental nature of what makes Facebook the profit-center it is now.
~fb  #techpol  #xxi#tech 
april 2018 by lemeb
Instagram Looks Like Facebook’s Best Hope - Bloomberg
With lawmakers and users on the warpath, the photo-sharing app could be Mark Zuckerberg’s way out of the latest data scandal.
~fb  #techpol 
april 2018 by lemeb
FCC approves SpaceX plan for 4,425-satellite broadband network | TechCrunch
SpaceX has a green light from the FCC to launch a network of thousands of satellites blanketing the globe with broadband. And you won’t have too long to wait — on a cosmic scale, anyway. Part of the agreement is that SpaceX launch half of its proposed satellites within six years.

The approval of SpaceX’s application was not seriously in doubt after last month’s memo from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was excited at the prospect of the first U.S.-based company being authorized to launch a constellation like this.

...and launching the spacenet beat!
#t#spacenet  #techpol 
april 2018 by lemeb
Sex marketplace seized by U.S. justice authorities: posting
Lawmakers and enforcement officials have been working to crack down on the site, the second largest classified ad service in the country after Craigslist that is used primarily to sell sex.

#techpol  #sex 
april 2018 by lemeb
Revelations on the FBI’s Unlocking of the San Bernardino iPhone: Maybe the Future Isn't Going Dark After All
From the start, the FBI argued that Apple’s new security protections undermined public safety. It appears that the CEAU unit chief sought to use a “poster child” case to force Apple into building tools that would undo those protections. Yet, the premise of the going dark thesis is not nearly as strong as law enforcement would make out. Recent news shows that despite Apple's continuing efforts to secure phones, there are ways to open these locked devices. Forbes recently reported that the Israeli company Cellebrite claims to be able to open all models of iPhones, and that a new U.S. startup, GrayKey, makes similar claims. It seems that we're not going dark—or at least not nearly to the extent that FBI director Christopher Wray, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have claimed.

we kind of go back to the same conclusion: the best resource that western governments have v macedonian hackers are more $$$ to hack.
!tech!practicalprivacy  #techpol  #t#encryption 
april 2018 by lemeb
UN: Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar (
UN investigators have said the use of Facebook played a "determining role" in stirring up hatred against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

so much for the arab spring effect
!write!dystopia  !write!technologist  #techpol  ~fb 
april 2018 by lemeb
#deletefacebook | TechCrunch
Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection.

It is a cancer.

I’ve begun the slow process of weaning myself off of the platform by methodically running a script that will delete my old content. And there’s a lot. There are likes and shares. There are long posts I wrote to impress my friends. There are thousands of WordPress notifications that tell the world what I’m doing. In fact, I would wager I use Facebook more to broadcast my ego than interact with real humans. And I suspect that most of us are in a similar situation.

Uh oh. Shit's getting real.
#techpol  !write!technologist  #xxi#tech 
march 2018 by lemeb

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