Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for August 22, 2019

in rsslog •  10 months ago 

The risk of grading student essays with AI systems; Designing against abusive autonomous systems; Aging as a curable disease; A new smart contract language for bitcoin; Google calendar settings to guard against spams and scams

Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention

Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


pixabay license: source.

  1. Flawed Algorithms Are Grading Millions of Students’ Essays - A survey, conducted by Motherboard, found that 21 states use algorithmic scoring as a primary or secondary grader on student essays, and that only 3 of those also assign a human to grade every essay. In the remaining 18 states, only 5-20% of essays will be randomly assigned to humans for validation. According to Motherboard, the machines don't actually grade the essay. Instead, they are trained to look for patterns in the writing, and use those patterns to predict the grade that a human would assign. Like other forms of AI, however, Motherboard points out that this method is potentially susceptible to bias in the training data, and can also be fooled by gibberish. The actual levels of bias, if any, are not known because it is illegal to share students' test results, and the testing companies maintain a high level of secrecy around the algorithms that they use. h/t Communications of the ACM

  2. The Autocracy of Autonomous Systems - Going back to movies like The Piano Player (1952) and books like Brave New World (1932), people have had fears of a technocratic future. In this article, Saurabh Bagchi talks about some design principles and policy principles to prevent that sort of future from arising. Principles of design include: design for mass-usage, not an elite subset of users; do as much as possible to prevent software vulnerabilities; use the highest grade security techniques; include manual overrides; and minimize the chances of wrong use. Policy principles include: public engagement; avoiding overconfidence; praising technology victories and flagging abuses; and establishing closed loop feedback systems between technology and the real-world.

  3. What if aging weren’t inevitable, but a curable disease? - This article covers a viewpoint that's held by Harvard geneticist, David Sinclair, who argues that aging should be thought of as a treatable condition, not an inevitable consequence of old age. In addition to rethinking the medical science around aging, this would also require regulatory changes, because the FDA has a strict list of conditions that can be addressed with medical treatment, and "aging" is not on the list, which serves as a barrier to research funding. Others are not convinced, and argue instead that updating the list would commercialize anti-aging even more, and that creating "a gold rush into 'anti-aging' drugs will set the wrong priorities for society". These folks argue that medicine should focus on treating the diseases that accompany aging. Scientists are even divided on whether death has to be inevitable, with a recent study in Nature arguing that there is a hard-limit to human life, around the age of 115 years.

  4. SegWit Creator Introduces New Language for Bitcoin Smart Contracts - BTC Core developer and Segwit creator, Peter Wuille, has announced a new smart contracts language that is intended to provide a more readable experience than the native scripting language. According to the announcement, the work was done with Andrew Poelstra and Sanket Sanjalkar, and Implementations are available for C++ and Ruby developers. No modifications are needed to the existing consensus mechanism.

  5. STEEM Spam and Scam on Google Calendar - After receiving a google calendar notification from a spam invitation promoting a scam of some sort, @thermoplastic ran some web searches and found changes to Google's settings that can shut scammers out of this intrusion vector. This post passes those instructions along to Steem's readers. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @thermoplastic.)

In order to help make Steem the go to place for timely information on diverse topics, I invite you to discuss any of these links in the comments and/or your own response post.

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Regarding aging, have a look at Metformin.


Thanks! I'll look it up.

Thanks for educational blog bro.

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