Why We Should Value ‘Invisible Labor’ – Member Feature Stories – Medium

More and more jobs are vanishing, and they aren’t going to come back.

But it’s a weird sort of vanishing. Until the late ’70s, our increasing worker productivity meant more pay per worker, and a drop in prices of goods. At that point, we started to need fewer workers to make all the stuff anyone would want, and that meant that wages dropped, too. Some of this briefly got hidden by “offshoring” — it was cheaper to move manufacturing to China, then to Bangladesh, and so on — but now those countries are starting to see automation take jobs away, too. The cost of production is dropping to zero.

via Why We Should Value ‘Invisible Labor’ – Member Feature Stories – Medium

“Google Was Not a Normal Place”: Brin, Page, and Mayer on the Accidental Birth of the Company that Changed Everything | Vanity Fair

“Google Was Not a Normal Place”: Brin, Page, and Mayer on the Accidental Birth of the Company that Changed Everything | Vanity Fair

In 1996, as the World Wide Web was taking off, Larry Page and Sergey Brin watched from the sidelines. Unlike the rest of Silicon Valley, they weren’t interested in using the Internet to buy and sell stuff, or to read and publish stories, or even to score Grateful Dead tickets.

Reversed Aging, Pig Organs, and the Future of Humankind

Reversed Aging, Pig Organs, and the Future of Humankind

For a man playing God, George Church certainly looks the part. Over the past 45 years, the Harvard geneticist and his bushy white beard have published hundreds of papers and earned dozens of patents expanding our ability to read, write, and edit DNA, the code of life. He was among the first to apply the gene editing tool CRISPR to mammalian cells (he tied with his former postdoc). Church and his eclectic lab have pushed bioengineering in multiple directions, showing how it can be used to resurrect mammoths, eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitos, produce atmosphere-cleansing bacteria, and even detect bits of dark matter pelting us from space. He once stored 70 billion copies of his book, Regenesis, in a drop of DNA the size of a period after translating it into the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs of DNA’s double helix. But we wanted to talk with Church about the future of humanity, and to that end, he mused on pig organs, dating apps, brains in a dish, and artificial intelligence.

 

[Essay] Known Unknowns | New Dark Age by James Bridle | Harper’s Magazine

[Essay] Known Unknowns | New Dark Age by James Bridle | Harper’s Magazine

This cautionary tale, repeated often in the academic literature on machine learning, is probably apocryphal, but it illustrates an important question about artificial intelligence: What can we know about what a machine knows? Whatever artificial intelligence might come to be, it will be fundamentally different from us, and ultimately inscrutable. Despite increasingly sophisticated systems of computation and visualization, we do not truly understand how machine learning does what it does; we can only adjudicate the results.