Issue 742

Tuesday, 24th October 2018

In This Issue


Amazon's resume filtering AI discriminated against women

Amazon experimented with an algorithm to sort through people's resumes and use AI to give each candidate a ranking from 1 to 5 - just like the products it sells. Unfortunately the AI was trained to read successful resumes from the past 10 years and due to hiring mostly blokes during that time, the AI learned that blokes = good, which "penalised resumes that included the word "women's", as in "women's chess club captain", and downgraded graduates of two all-women's colleges, according to people familiar with the matter". The AI also "favoured candidates who described themselves using verbs more commonly found on male engineers' resumes, such as "executed" and "captured"". Amazon tried for years to get this system to treat men and women fairly, but they couldn't do it, so Amazon stopped trying to create a resume filtering AI entirely. It was never used to hire people, but the fact the big brains at Amazon couldn't make an AI that didn't discriminate against women says plenty about how immature the technology is.

Dutton's reckons tech companies don't want to help law enforcement protect Aussies

Dutton is walking around talking shit about the Assistance and Access Bill again, saying in a speech at the Press Club yesterday that "the bill specifically provides the companies cannot be required to create systemic weaknesses in their encrypted products or be required to build a decryption capability". Which is true, but the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's submission to the Bill's consultation process said that there's nothing stopping a company doing it voluntarily to meet a demand from law enforcement. Dutton went on to say that "Opposition Leader Bill Shorten needs to decide whether he is on the side of Silicon Valley multinationals or with "law enforcement and intelligence agencies in this country who want to protect Australians".

Internet Australia reckons the Assistance and Access Bill will damage our tech exports

Also on the Assistance and Access Bill, the chair of Internet Australia has said that with the bill in it's current form, overseas businesses and governments will start to shitlist Australian tech gear, as they can't trust it not to be full of Australian/Five Eyes spyware. Quite a hypocritical situation considering how the government shut down Huawei and ZTE's attempts to build 5G networks in Australia because Chinese tech companies have to do the exact same thing Australian companies will be forced to do once the Assistance and Access Bill kicks off. According to Internet Australia, "under the current structure of the bill, these concerns and suspicions will arise just by virtue of the legislation existing, even if the legislation is not used". Awesome work Dutton, keep it up.

Waymo is proud their robocars have driven 10 million miles

Waymo's announced that they've driven 10 million miles in their robocars. This is apparently vastly more than any other robocar company like GM's Cruise, or Uber's murderbots. That said, everyone seems to reckon that straight up distance driven is not a good indicator of robocar reliability. Cruise is keen to point out that they've "only" logged 131,000mi compared to Waymo's millions, but "bulk of that testing was in urban San Francisco", "a much more challenging environment for driverless cars than the Phoenix area, where Waymo does a lot of its testing". I still reckon the dream of point to point transport with 0 driver interaction is decades away, but freeway driving with your eyes closed? That's coming sooner rather than later.

Miscellaneous news

Not News, But Still Cool

A little bit of context around Bloomberg's Supermicro/Apple/Amazon/China hacking story

If you want someone to explain what the hell is going on with this Bloomberg hacker chip supply chain story, the latest episode of the Risky Business podcast is a must listen. Pat talks to Joe Fitzpatrick, one of the few sources named in the original Bloomoberg article. He gave technical insight to the journalists, but found that they either ignored his advice or just took the examples he gave and presented them as things that have happened. I honestly don't know what to make of it, all I know is that there's a full on infosec cold war going on between the USA, China and Russia. We're just bewildered onlookers getting drip fed information by vested state sponsored interests.

Wind Farm Open Day is next weekend!

Are you a gigantic nerd or a gigantic nerd with gigantic nerd kids? Go for a drive and visit a wind farm near you on Wind Farm Open Day next weekend. On the 21st of October, there will be tours of 10 wind farms all over the country, in an attempt to educate people on how they work and why they're an important part of generating clean electricity. I love the damn things, so I will be visiting the Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm and all 44 of its turbines, operated by Acciona Energy at around 11am. I'm not sure what you actually see or do at a wind farm open day, but it'd be cool to stand under one if possible. There might be a free sausage sizzle or two as well.

Cheap Dell monitors, Sony CarPlay/Android Auto headunit, DJI Spark drone, 250GB Optus 4G plan, 80GB Telstra mobile plan

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Interpol - Obstacle 1