Articles

Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.
Desmond Patton. 8/7/2019. “Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.” Vox.com. See full text.Abstract
New article on Vox highlights the work of Desmond Patton, Technology and Human Rights Fellow.

Desmond Patton, a Technology and AI fellow at the Carr Center, emphasized that current AI tools tend to identify the language of African American and Latinx people as gang-involved or otherwise threatening, but consistently miss the posts of white mass murderers.

"I think technology is a tool, not the tool," said Patton. "Often we use it as an escape so as to not address critical solutions that need to come through policy. We have to pair tech with gun reform. Any effort that suggests we need to do them separately, I don’t think that would be a successful effort at all.”

Read the full article here

Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.
Sigal Samuel. 8/7/2019. “Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.” Vox.Abstract

New article on Vox highlights the work of Desmond Patton, Technology and Human Rights Fellow.

Patton, emphasized that current AI tools tend to identify the language of African American and Latinx people as gang-involved or otherwise threatening, but consistently miss the posts of white mass murderers.

"I think technology is a tool, not the tool," said Patton. "Often we use it as an escape so as to not address critical solutions that need to come through policy. We have to pair tech with gun reform. Any effort that suggests we need to do them separately, I don’t think that would be a successful effort at all.”

Read full article here. 

Stop Surveillance Humanitarianism
Mark Latonero. 7/11/2019. “Stop Surveillance Humanitarianism.” The New York Times. See full text.Abstract
Mark Latonero – Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow, and research lead at Data & Society – discusses surveillance humanitarianism for The New York Times

A standoff between the United Nations World Food Program and Houthi rebels in control of the capital region is threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yemen.

Alarmed by reports that food is being diverted to support the rebels, the aid program is demanding that Houthi officials allow them to deploy biometric technologies like iris scans and digital fingerprints to monitor suspected fraud during food distribution.

The Houthis have reportedly blocked food delivery, painting the biometric effort as an intelligence operation, and have demanded access to the personal data on beneficiaries of the aid. The impasse led the aid organization to the decision last month to suspend food aid to parts of the starving population — once thought of as a last resort — unless the Houthis allow biometrics.

Read the full article.

Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle
Timothy Patrick McCarthy. 6/24/2019. “Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle.” The Nation. See full text.Abstract

As we reckon with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it is essential that we ask, “What still needs to be done?”

"Fifty years ago, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, a motley multitude of queer folks fought back. The stage was the Stonewall Inn, a popular Mafia-owned gay bar on Christopher Street in New York City’s West Village. The spectacle was a police raid, which had become an increasingly routine fact of queer life during the 1960s. It was summer, people were hot, and the nation was pulsing with protest."

Read more.

Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle
Douglas A. Johnson. 6/25/2019. “Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle.” The Nation.Abstract
A new edition of The Nation examines the meaning of Stonewall. 


Guest edited by Timothy McCarthy, the issue asks us, 'What still needs to be done?'

"Anniversaries are occasions for remembrance, even pride and celebration, but they should also be moments of reckoning, which offer us the opportunity to reflect critically on where we come from, where we are, and where we go from here. 

To help us reckon with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, The Nation invited a remarkable group of LGBTQ activists, artists, and academics to reflect on its many legacies. Ranging in age from 23 to 88 years old, the participants in “Reclaiming Stonewall” represent the stunning diversity of our community across generations. Combining the personal and the political, this collection of living queer histories is something of an archive of our moment, when many of us are grappling with what might be called the paradox of progress: the coexistence of important changes—in courtrooms and legislatures, hearts and minds—with seemingly intractable challenges.

As we reckon with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, let us heed all these voices and ask, “What still needs to be done?” If the legacy and inheritance of Stonewall mean anything, it’s that our fight is far from over and that our collective struggle for liberation—for everyone—must continue."

—Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum
Kate Vredenburgh. 1/25/2019. “Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum.” The Harvard Gazette. See full text.Abstract
New article in The Harvard Gazette features work by Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Kate Vredenburgh.
 

"A module that Kate Vredenburgh, a philosophy Ph.D. student, created for a course taught by Professor Finale Doshi-Velez asks students to grapple with questions of how machine-learning models can be discriminatory, and how that discrimination can be reduced."

We Can't Future-Proof Technology. But Here are 5 Ways to Forward Plan.
Alexa Koenig and Sherif Elsayed-Ali. 1/5/2019. “We Can't Future-Proof Technology. But Here are 5 Ways to Forward Plan.” World Economic Forum . See full text.Abstract
New article co-authored by Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

"We know that the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are drastically changing our world. This change is happening at a faster rate and greater scale than at any point in human history – and with that change come significant challenges to the ability of our public institutions and governments to adequately respond.

From the plough to vaccines to computers, technological innovations have generally made human societies more productive. Over time, people have figured out how to mitigate their negative aspects. For example, electrical applications are much safer to use now than in the early days of electrification. Though we came close to disaster, since the Second World War the international political system has managed to contain the threat of nuclear weapons for mass destruction.

However, the accelerating pace of change and the power of new technologies mean that negative unintended consequences will only become more frequent and more dangerous. What can we do today to help ensure that new technologies make life better, not worse?"

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-to-plan-for-technology-future-koenig-elsayed-ali/

Critical Skill for Nonprofits in the Digital Age: Technical Intuition
Alix Dunn. 5/7/2019. “Critical Skill for Nonprofits in the Digital Age: Technical Intuition.” Stanford Social Innovation Review. Listen to the Interview.Abstract

Not everyone needs to become a tech expert, but all activists and nonprofit leaders must develop skills to inquire about, decide on, and demand technological change. Tech Fellow Alix Dunn talks to Stanford's Social Innovation Podcast. 

In a world where the pace of organizational learning is often slower than the pace of technological change, activists and nonprofit leaders must develop their “technical intuition.” Not everyone needs to become a tech expert, explains Alix Dunn, of the consulting firm Computer Says Maybe, but this ongoing process of imagining, inquiring about, deciding on, and demanding technological change is critical.

In this recording from the Stanford Social Innovation Review's 2019 Data on Purpose conference, Dunn walks through her guidelines to help anyone to develop these skills.

The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Humans and Human Rights
Steven Livingston and Mathias Risse. 6/7/2019. “The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Humans and Human Rights.” Ethics and International Affairs, 33, 2, Pp. 141-158. See full text.Abstract
What are the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on human rights in the next three decades?

Precise answers to this question are made difficult by the rapid rate of innovation in AI research and by the effects of human practices on the adaption of new technologies. Precise answers are also challenged by imprecise usages of the term “AI.” There are several types of research that all fall under this general term. We begin by clarifying what we mean by AI. Most of our attention is then focused on the implications of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which entail that an algorithm or group of algorithms will achieve something like superintelligence. While acknowledging that the feasibility of superintelligence is contested, we consider the moral and ethical implications of such a potential development. What do machines owe humans and what do humans owe superintelligent machines?

Read the full article here

Big Tech Firms are Racing to Track Climate Refugees
Mark Latonero. 5/17/2019. “Big Tech Firms are Racing to Track Climate Refugees.” MIT Technology Review. See full text.Abstract
The MIT Technology Review features new report by Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Mark Latonero.

"Simply layering technology on top of existing humanitarian problems tends to exacerbate the issues it intended to resolve. In a new report on the role of digital identity in refugee and migrant contexts, a team of researchers at the Data & Society Research Institute, led by Mark Latonero, detail the various ways these initiatives can reproduce and worsen existing bureaucratic biases."

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613531/big-tech-firms-are-racing-to-track-climate-refugees/

Deepfakes are Solvable—but Don’t Forget That “shallowfakes” are Already Pervasive
Mark Latonero. 3/25/2019. “Deepfakes are Solvable—but Don’t Forget That “shallowfakes” are Already Pervasive.” MIT Technology Review. See full text.Abstract
New article features Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Mark Latonero.

" Mark Latonero, human rights lead at Data & Society, a nonprofit institute dedicated to the applications of data, agreed that technology companies should be doing more to tackle such issues. While Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and others have employees focused on human rights, he said, there was so much more they should be doing before they deploy technologies—not after."
Elections Under Oppression in Cambodia: A Predictable Outcome?
Sreang Heng. 9/4/2018. “Elections Under Oppression in Cambodia: A Predictable Outcome?” Yale Macmillan Center. See full text.Abstract
Read more on the Cambodian elections by by Sreang Heng, Carr Center fellow.
 
"On July 29, 2018, another parliamentary election was held in Cambodia. When the commune elections had been held on June 4, 2017, they were followed by complaints and recounts, but the official results showed that the two major rival parties had won the majority of votes: the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) received 1,156 communes (out of 1,646) while its opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) won 489. The Khmer National United Party received only one."

Full publication.

protest_01
David Robson. 5/13/2019. “The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world.” BBC Future. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Research featuring Carr Center's Erica Chenoweth. 

Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
 

"In 1986, millions of Filipinos took to the streets of Manila in peaceful protest and prayer in the People Power movement. The Marcos regime folded on the fourth day.

In 2003, the people of Georgia ousted Eduard Shevardnadze through the bloodless Rose Revolution, in which protestors stormed the parliament building holding the flowers in their hands."

Read the full article on BBC Future.

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