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HAL 9000, C3PO, The Terminator, Ava from Ex Machina, David from Prometheus, or TARS and CASE from Interstellar. These are usually what we think of when we think of Artificial Intelligence. Though certainly not human, these fictional computers are what we would call a Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). They think and communicate in a human-like way. It can learn and do lots of things — not just a single repetitive and limited task. It’s intelligence is seemingly superhuman, threatening to replace or overtake us in some instances. But for now, at least, these are strictly science fiction.

The AI we…


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There are few technologies more misunderstood and consequential than artificial intelligence. If you ask me, the myths we tell about them are partly to blame for the confusion.

Often these stories depict the AI as having god-like superintelligence — far beyond what we mere mortals can comprehend. HAL 9000, for instance, is so intelligent that we’re told the mission to Jupiter in 2001: A Space Odyssey could not function without him. HAL is a personified artificial entity. His intelligence appears human-like: creative, inventive, full of intent. …


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Source: skitterphoto.com

There were a lot of leaks and controversies in the tech industry in 2018. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie rang the alarm about Cambridge Analytica — the company that used Facebook data to manipulate voters during the 2016 U.S. Election and UK Brexit vote. A highly censored version of Google approved by the Chinese Government known Project Dragonfly leaked to the public and their employees protested it. Evidence revealed that Facebook knew about Russian meddling and did nothing. Amazon’s facial recognition software was scrutinized by US lawmakers for being racially biased and harmful to free expression. Employees leaked internal discussions at Google…


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Source: iStock (with permission)

The official Twitter account of the Associated Press tweets: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” The stock market immediately dives 100 points. Before it can get any worse, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney assured reporters that “the president is fine.”

A viral video is released on Facebook depicting two immigrants beating an American to death. Extremist groups vow revenge as the video spreads like wildfire across social media. Later in the day, it is revealed to be a fake — having been cut and edited using footage shot in a completely different city.


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Credit: Pexels

In her book, What Happened, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compares the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to Pearl Harbor. She explained in an interview:

“It was an act of cyberwar. You know, obviously I say nobody was killed, there aren’t tanks in the street, but when you have an adversary who attacks one of your most important institutions, our electoral system, that is an act of war.”

But what does she mean when she says this? What is the reasoning behind such a claim and is it credible? …


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Photo by Ghost Presenter from Pexels

Dr. Heather Barfield is an associate artistic and development director at the Vortex Theatre in Austin, TX and adjunct professor of performance and theater history/criticism at Austin Community College. She received her PhD in Performance as a Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Her award-winning, critically acclaimed work as a performer, director, producer, and writer often incorporates intermodal forms of storytelling through digital and analog media. Her 2016 production Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale had Barfield and her cast of…


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Photo by Finan Akbar on Unsplash

Even before his latest set of privacy woes, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a different policy that has been fairly controversial. He enforces a rule that only allows real people to use their real names to maintain a single Facebook profile. In other words, no fake profiles, no pseudonyms, and no profiles that are only intended for one audience and not another. The way he puts it: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

I take issue with that statement. I simply don’t buy into Zuckerberg’s theory of a singular identity, nor…


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EFF-Austin President Kevin Welch (Used with permission)

Kevin Welch is the president of EFF-Austin, the Austin offshoot of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is an independent, nonprofit, civil liberties organization concerned with the emerging frontiers where technology meets society. They are concerned with topics such as net neutrality, digital rights management, digital privacy, cyborg rights, and much more. He’s also a Fullstack developer/programmer and a musician.

Listen to the full interview here!

Tal: For those of us who are listening who don’t know what the EFF is, could you give us a little bit of an introduction?

Kevin: All right. Do you want the brief explanation or…


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I just finished a book by Adam Greenfield called Radical Technologies. In it, he takes a critical look at many of the technologies that are either here already or on the horizon and examines the ways they could change the world. At the center of his critique is the classic question of “qui buono” — who benefits? For example, in his chapter on trends in machine learning, Greenfield warns:

“In the world we are building, we may well contend with patterns of advantage we cannot discern, allocations of resource that make no obvious sense, arranged in ways (and for reasons)…


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Source: Shutterstock

Daniel Roesler is the co-founder and CEO of UtilityAPI, an energy data software service based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his spare time, he develops security and privacy applications and volunteers for the privacy advocacy group Restore The Fourth, which rose in response to the Snowden revelation’s exposure of mass surveillance in June 2013. They oppose unconstitutional mass surveillance by the government and defend the rights of privacy and protection against unwarranted search and seizure. Daniel, welcome.

Listen to the full interview here!

Daniel: Howdy.

Tal: How are you this morning?

Daniel: I’m doing well. How are you?

Shadow of the Valley

The official blog of the podcast that explores how technology disrupts society. https://shadowofthevalley.com https://shows.pippa.io/shadowofthevalley/

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