It is time to shift the focus from design to the impact of decision-making systems

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We turn to technology to find solutions to our everyday problems and look up information — decision-making systems powered by algorithms. Algorithms are finite sets of instructions to perform computations. Kristan Lum and Rumman Chowdhury described “a decision-making system as an “algorithm” is often a way to deflect accuntability for human decisions.” They suggest shifting the focus from system design to the impact of these systems for more accountability.

But how do the authors come to this conclusion? There are several reasons for this because one thing is clear: These systems reveal weak points again and again. In explaining these…


What needs to happen for philosophy to cut through the noise?

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We are running out of time. Recently, I argued that philosophy as we know it is dead because there are no real explanations for how today’s western society works. And, even more importantly, I argued that philosophy needs to become more agile, faster, audacious, and more diverse.

On some accounts, philosophy relates to the high art of seeking and finding meaning in life and the world around us; philosophy was a driving force to make sense of society, power, and — most importantly — politics. …


Teaching machines right from wrong might prove to be an impossible task

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Dal Spooner never trusted robots. He resented them for their cold logic based solely on Asimov’s principles — a rather mathematical approach to moral principles. The box office hit I, Robot highlighted the grey areas of what it means to be human, or, in reverse, a genuinely honest machine.

Although scientists and engineers are yet to establish artificial general intelligence (AGI), the highest form of intelligence, we need to ask ourselves how this AGI-capable machine would potentially act, feel, and the reason is imperative. Even narrow AI applications today need to react to situations such as an autonomous vehicle’s need…


The story of Mae West, the satirical, brilliant, and down-to-earth film goddess of the pre-code Hollywood era

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Born in 1893, in Brooklyn, Mae West repudiated the idea of living a life as a Victorian housewife. Taking a sledgehammer to outdated views on women, her humorous, direct, and satirical attacks against the double standards of puritanical society made her the best-paid film actress in the world for a time.

This rebel was more down-to-earth and tangible than other great actresses of her time, such as Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich. Unlike her peers, she created the image she wanted of herself by herself. She knew how to perfectly balance her satirical side with her sexuality, making her a…


Not answering the “but should we” question in AI applications can have disastrous consequences

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A new study reinflamed my long-standing problem with facial recognition technology. In it, scientists claimed that facial recognition could expose the political orientation of individuals. The study conducted by Michal Kosinski, Facial recognition technology, can disclose political orientation from naturalistic facial images argues that the faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ (at least in the US., Canada, and the UK). Spoiler alert, it cannot.

It may be that by selecting participants, they had a controlled data set that could be considered appropriate for this research. However, I beg to differ on two different levels. Firstly, there are a lot…


Working in tech without a technical background can have its perks

Image of trail to mountains — scenic
Image of trail to mountains — scenic

I bet you love it just as much as I do to walk into a room of strangers who all seem to have an opinion of you. You know, extraordinary situations like walking into a meeting room and having to introduce yourself to your new co-workers or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time.

What if they hate me?

When I first started working at a tech company, I was continually worrying whether I could prevail. What if my engineer co-workers don’t like what I say or what I’ve studied? …


Caterina Sforza was one of the most exceptional figures of Renaissance Italy

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Who was the bold and brave woman who forged powerful alliances to defend her lands, seize castles, and take revenge on her enemies for power? One of the greatest warrior women of her time, Caterina Sforza, fought battles and competed with her era’s most powerful men. Towards the end of her life, she reportedly told a monk: “If I could write everything that happened, I would shock the world.”

One moment that definitively shocked the world came toward the end of 1499. It made Caterina an icon and cemented her reputation as one of the most powerful woman warriors of…


Who betrayed the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity?

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Paris on July 13, 1793: She had tried to enter the house twice already — to no avail. While others would have stopped trying in resignation, Charlotte Corday was even more convinced that she had to gain entry into the residence on Rue des Cordeliers. She had a plan.

By the end of the 1780s, the French Revolution’s tumultuous times catapulted France to the center-stage of European news, politics, and philosophical debates. While the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity found sound agreement among many Europeans, the correct path to democracy was a contested issue. While some wanted to restrict…


Not all great thinkers were bearded men in sandals.

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What comes to mind when you think of ancient Greek philosophy?

You probably think of great Greek thinkers’ busts, which are etched in our historical record. Where the foundations of Western philosophy laid only by great thinkers like Aristotle or Socrates.

Were women also instrumental in these achievements?

Reluctant to believe ancient philosophy was shaped by men only, I looked for great women of the time. It didn’t take me long to find a quote from Phintys from Sparta to prove me right:

“Probably many think that philosophizing is not proper for a woman, any more than riding a horse…


He only knew his name: Kaspar Hauser

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When a young man appeared in Nuremberg on Whit Monday in 1828, nobody expected the events that would unravel. The strange young man could neither walk nor talk properly — baffled by this sight, Nuremberg authorities were at their wit’s end and arrested him. Locked up in prison, he only tolerated water and bread. He didn’t know how to use the simplest objects of daily life. It was evident that he had lived in isolation for a long time. The only clue he was able to give as to who he was was his name: Kaspar Hauser.

The mystery surrounding the alleged prince’s son

He was released…

The Unlikely Techie

Founder of the unlikelytechie.com blog, Marketing Manager, interested in people, tech, and politics.

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