Turns out algorithms are racists

«Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.»

Melvin Kranzberg’s six laws of technology

One of the things I was very into a decade ago was studying the intertwine between technology, culture, and society. From those years, I developed a sensitivity about my role as an engineer, or as an enabler of possible worlds.

This is one of the things I wanted to avoid:

A person isn’t able to clean his hands because the machine sensors are only prepared to detect white hands! That’s a horror story that could make a BlackMirror episode.

This made me think about the mainstream perception of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technology. Lately, some friends of mine are sharing with me clickbait news like Facebook shuts down robots after they invent their own language. They ask me if robots could take over, soon. Well, I can tell you something: at this stage of technology, I am not worried about robots taking over. What I do worry about is how our inability to understand technology creates racists algorithms that reinforce our biases.

In this paper, we make the case that the high-productivity digital firms are starting to generate a new middle class. It’s a virtuous circle. Consumers flock to those firms because they offer lower prices and better service. Workers migrate there from low-productivity firms because the high-productivity firms offer better wages for the same occupations—and, often, steadier hours and better benefits.

— The Creation of a New Middle Class?: A Historical and Analytic Perspective on Job and Wage Growth in the Digital Sector. [PDF]

Seiza: sentarse y levantarse

Seiza es una de las posturas más habituales que se adoptan al sentarse en Aikido. Es común a varias artes marciales, pero también en otros ámbitos rituales de la vida japonesa, como las ceremonias del té.

La manera de levantarse y sentarse en Seiza está regulada. Al arrodillarse, uno lo hace primero con la izquierda:


Al levantarse, es la derecha la que primero se levanta del suelo:


La razón para hacerlo así es que la catana están envainada en la parte izquierda de la cintura, por lo que sentarse y levantarse en este orden permite operar con ella en cualquier momento.


El siguiente vídeo da alguna indicación más sobre la postura correcta en cada uno de los momentos del movimiento:



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