Platformer: Microsoft just laid off one of its responsible AI teams

What was I saying about that Silicon Valley mantra again?

From Platformer:

Some members of the team pushed back. “I’m going to be bold enough to ask you to please reconsider this decision,” one employee said on the call. “While I understand there are business issues at play … what this team has always been deeply concerned about is how we impact society and the negative impacts that we’ve had. And they are significant.”

Montgomery declined. “Can I reconsider? I don’t think I will,” he said. “Cause unfortunately the pressures remain the same. You don’t have the view that I have, and probably you can be thankful for that. There’s a lot of stuff being ground up into the sausage.”

Commercial pressures trump societal damage limitation, it seems.

Who the fuck do these people think they are?

14 March 2023 — French West Indies

First, drive people apart. Then sell them tech to bring them together. But only on our terms. And monetised.

While I’m on the topic of bullshit and the onanistic nature of Silicon Valley, it seems the “metaverse” is dying on its arse.

Fucking good riddance to it, too.

It’s a solution looking for a problem. That is nothing new, and most people have instinctively felt that from when it first burst onto the news cycle. Some of us were sceptical (stating it politely), and others saw the grit opportunity it afforded.

But what is new is that it is a solution to a problem created by the same tech companies that have worked hard to break society and monetise human interaction by being the gatekeepers and mediators.

They have driven human interaction to a transaction that (shitty and racist) advertising can piggyback—in turn, driving a wedge in human interaction, leaving at least one generation inadequate or incapable of having normal relationships with themselves and, therefore, with others.

13 March 2023 — French West Indies

“Move fast and break things”. – Silicon Valley’s mantra. I call bullshit.

It’s been the mantra for some time now in the valley. Everyone benefits by moving fast and breaking a couple of things because we move faster at a quicker pace. But is that true?

My take: It’s bullshit and always has been.

On inspection, this mantra should actually be:

Break things and move fast.

Silicon Valley and all the poor copycats dotted around the planet are causing untold harm on a social level, let alone on an economic one.

Don’t believe me or think that I’m being alarmist?

Have a read of this article from Jon Haidt.

Conclusion: Social Media Is a Major Cause of Mental Illness in Girls, Not Just a Tiny Correlate

On the financial side.

FTX, SVB. I could go on.

As for “move fast”, that really means “run away” and blame others or deny responsibility.

13 March 2023 — French West Indies

Facebook tests deliberately drain phone batteries

As reported by 9to5 Mac from an article in the New York Post —I’ll leave you to make up your own mind about that— Facebook seems to have been conducting A/B testing that can drain the battery on your smartphone.

They raise important points about safety and transparency, as well as moral issues confirming that Facebook continues to show that it is morally corrupt (link).

But there’s another aspect.

This might seem picky and a little silly, but this is deliberate damage to a device. Accidental damage, we can all pass off; it happens. A drop or an app that goes haywire through some random bug. No real problem.

But deliberately draining the battery, which has a finite lifespan of around 500 charges to 80% of the battery capacity, is intentionally damaging the battery, ensuring the affected users will have to either replace their phones or their phone batteries before it can be reasonably expected.

The tests might be limited and, therefore, not affect too many people, so this is a small-scale panic. Still, Facebook should be absolutely upfront about this and offer compensation for those affected.

What they should have done, as responsible citizens (which they are not currently), is contact users requesting authorisation to be included in the test, guaranteeing batteries would be replaced free of charge.

What a shitty company, through and through.

2 February 2023 — French West Indies

The End of Writing


Soon, you won’t need to write much anymore. Artificial Intelligence will do it for you. With all the free time we will have, we could try to rethink how we learn, work, and how we communicate.

An excellent blog post from the developer of a fantastic writing application. One that requires good old sweat and tears. None of this prompted 12-year-old-level gibberish produced by Open AI’s latest baby.

30 January 2023 — French West Indies