A Technocratic Delusion is Eating Our Future

Ford Foundation tech fellow, Michelle Shevin, on our tech infested future:

The trick, of course, is that the line between human and machine is one of those boundaries that blur as you look closer. The training data collected through human logics about humans, must be reviewed, cleaned and labeled by humans (the same reason people are listening to our incantations to Alexa), its relevance for inclusion in integration efforts determined by humans, the algorithms that combine and sort it designed by humans, targets of optimization chosen by humans, informed by human values, defined through human institutions, structured by human power relationships…

Even entirely reasonable arguments positing that technologies such as face recognition, are not “ready for primetime” because they have not been trained inclusively on diverse populations and therefore fail to recognize non-white faces, likewise fail to miss the point.

Inequality is a feature of capitalist institutions, not a bug.

November 14, 2019