AI Ethics Weekly – May 25: Covid-19: Big Tech – 1, Humans – 0

AI Ethics Weekly – May 25: Covid-19: Big Tech – 1, Humans – 0
May 24, 2020 LH3_Admin

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Let’s take a moment of silence in remembrance for nearly 350,000 lives that were lost worldwide due to Coronavirus. As Meghan O’Rourke states eloquently, “What feels out of step right now is not my grief, but my distance from the community that shares it.”

As America reopened its economy with close to 100,000 deaths, more lives were tragically lost in mass gun shootings over the Memorial Day weekend. Testing for Coronavirus has become a Rorschach Test for Racism “as three months after the pandemic reached the shores of the United States, widespread testing is still not in place and the resources that have been allocated appear not to benefit people of color equitably.”

Our sincere gratitude for Asian American doctors and nurses who are fighting racism and the coronavirus and essential workers balancing low pay, COVID-19 worries while staying open for America, against the horrifying backdrop of US lock down protesters who may be spreading virus widely.

Finding Hope in Unexpected Places 

In India, Kerala’s rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19A state of 35M people has only lost four to the virus”. A member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), KK Shailaja credited the “Kerala model”, which “capped how much land a family could own and increased land ownership among tenant farmers – a decentralised public health system and investment in public education. With widespread access to education, there is a definite understanding of health being important to the well-being of people.” Read More.

Why are Africa’s coronavirus successes being overlooked?
“(Senegal) this nation of 16M people has had only 30 deaths. Each death has been acknowledged individually by the government, and condolences paid to the family. It has been well documented how a patronising attitude towards east Asia is what allowed European countries to be caught by such surprise at the spread of this disease. Now a similar mindset seems set to ensure we don’t learn the lessons Africa has to offer in overcoming it.” Read More.

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’
In the words of Arundhati Roy
, “(The pandemic) is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” Read More.

Be well and stay safe.

Ethics of Pandemic Technology h/t Evan Selinger @EvanSelinger

The Public Is Being Misled by Pandemic Tech That Won’t Keep Them Safe
“Security theater is linked to the ideology of solutionism and bolstered by the common human tendency to want to show strength in the face of danger.” Read More.

Fever-detecting drones don’t work
“Taken together, these factors conspire to make thermographic “fever screening” drones a deeply dubious technology. You’d get basically the same results if you mounted a thermal camera on a pole next to the grocery store.” Read More.

Coronavirus: Italy, Holland test China’s temperature-scanning helmets
“While countries such as Singapore and China have deployed everything from robot dogs to drone spies to monitor the population, most citizens in Europe are unused to being tracked in this way.” Read More.

Diversity in the Age of Coronavirus h/t Timnit Gebru @timnitGebru

Current and ex-employees allege Google drastically rolled back diversity programs
“A hundred black employees could testify to the pain they feel in a climate that’s inadvertently hostile towards them and management will go back and say, ‘I need to get more data,’ and then three angry white men complain and everything comes to a halt,” Read More.

How coronavirus dashed Ethiopia’s dream of hosting Africa’s first major AI conference
“Computer scientists from around the world had planned to converge in Addis Ababa in late April for the first major artificial-intelligence (AI) conference to be held in an African country. But like most other scientific gatherings, the conference was virtual, depriving Ethiopia of a powerful opportunity to boost its research environment.” Read More.

Covid-19: Winners and Losers

Coronavirus has us even more hooked on big tech than ever before
h/t Mia Dand @MiaD
“Before the coronavirus, lawmakers around the world were mulling regulations designed to rein in the awesome power wielded by these companies. But those concerns have largely faded from the public as most consumers worry about getting sick or where their next paycheck may come from.” Read More.

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