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An AI is Training Counselors to Deal with Teens in Crisis

 Originally published in MIT Technology Review, Feb 26, 2021. Counselors volunteering at the Trevor Project need to be prepared for their first conversation with an LGBTQ teen who may be thinking about suicide. So first, they practice. One of the ways they do it is by talking to fictional personas like “Riley,” a 16-year-old from

I Helped Build ByteDance’s Censorship Machine

 Originally published in Protocol, Feb 18, 2021. This is the story of Li An, a pseudonymous former employee at ByteDance, as told to Protocol’s Shen Lu. I wasn’t proud of it, and neither were my coworkers. But...

Institutionalizing Ethics in AI Through Broader Impact Requirements

 Originally published in Nature Machine Intelligence, Feb, 2021. Turning principles into practice is one of the most pressing challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) governance. In this Perspective, we reflect on a governance initiative by one of the...

Facebook Is Considering Facial Recognition For Its Upcoming Smart Glasses

 Originally published in BuzzFeed News, Feb 25, 2021. Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth told employees that the company is evaluating the legal and privacy issues around facial recognition for its upcoming wearable gadget. Facebook is discussing building...

Surge Pricing, Artificial Intelligence, and Responsibility

 On my first work trip to Jakarta 14 January 2016 for Grab, multiple terrorist bombs exploded a couple of miles from the GrabBike office where I had just arrived. People were fleeing cafes and restaurants around the attack site. My...

YouTube AI Blocked Chess Channel after Confusing ‘Black’ and ‘White’ for Racist Slurs

 Originally published in News18.com, Fe 20, 2021 Did YouTube block a chess channel over violation of community guideline and usage of racist language? Late last year, a YouTuber who produces popular chess videos found that his channel...

How Can We Fix the Data Science Talent Shortage?

 Originally published in Springboard Blog, Jan 22, 2021. Data science might just be the most buzzed-about job in tech right now, but its pop culture sheen conceals some of the harsh realities of being a fresh graduate in...

Gradient Descent Models Are Kernel Machines (Deep Learning)

 Originally published in infoproc.blogspot.com, Feb 7, 2021. This paper shows that models which result from gradient descent training (e.g., deep neural nets) can be expressed as a weighted sum of similarity functions (kernels) which measure the similarity...

Worried About Your Firm’s AI Ethics? These Startups Are Here to Help.

 Originally published in MIT Technology Review, Jan 15, 2021. A growing ecosystem of “responsible AI” ventures promise to help organizations monitor and fix their AI models. Rumman Chowdhury’s job used to involve a lot of translation. As...

Machine Learning Models are Missing Contracts

 Why pretrained machine learning models are often unusable and irreproducible — and what we can do about it. Introduction A useful approach to designing software is through contracts. For every function in your codebase, you start by writing...

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