Online content moderators as canaries of the coming robot apocalypse

While running i listend to a On The Media interview with the autor of the Wired piece on content moderation that was making the rounds this week. After a while the interview addresses the relatively obvious question of why content moderation is still a task that can only be carried out by humans: Brooke Gladstone: I think that one of the things that struck me is that this work demands human beings clued in to American mores and laws. This has to be done by brute force of eyes and clicking finger…

#Firstworldproblems as R&D for solving real problems in the developing world

A while ago i used this space to express my skepticism with regards to delivery drones becoming a major thing in the developed world anytime soon (and also hedged that by pointing to the fact that they may be much more useful and economically viable in developing countries). A couple of days ago i came across an excellent essay (Build cargo drones, get rich) by J.M. Ledgard in which he makes the most convincing case for cargo drones i have come across yet. While his scenario is entirely focussed…

Imaginary suburban futures

Friday morning when we left the cab that had brought us and our newborn from the hospital the mail carriers on their bicycles where swarming out around us (we live 3 houses down from a postnl distribution location where the mail for the neighborhood is transferred from delivery vans to bikes). Having spend some of the waiting time in hospital reading Alex Madrigal’s Atlantic feature on Google’s delivery drone programme this made me briefly contemplate if our daughter would grow up to see a world…

The latest skill required in the war on terror? direct messaging

The Los Angeles times has a terrifyingfascinating reconstruction of a US airstrike that killed 23 (or 16 if you believe the US military) afghan civilians on 21 february 2010. The reconstruction focusses on the role played by the pilot and camera operator of a predator drone that observed three ‘suspicious’ vehicles whose passengers had the misfortune crossing paths with a team of US special operators early on February the 21st. The article documents how the drone operators (in Nevada), the the…