📈The research behind ethics in AI has grown, privacywashing at CES

Facebook sort of bans deepfakes (but not when it matters)

Hi hi hi, should have made clear that I was taking a holiday break. Sorrrry.

The Good

This Week in Machine Learning and AI (TWIML AI) is my favorite AI podcast, which I use to keep up to date with research *and* use it as a farm team for potential sources and stories. In fact, my profile of Timnit Gebru (one of my most impactful pieces from the comments I still get on it) came from an episode.

She just came back on to talk about how ethics in AI have changed in the two years since the first time she was on. She seems pretty upbeat about it, which is nice to hear! It’s a great listen where she touches on a bunch of different projects she’s working on like Black in AI and Explainable AI that makes the research community a better place for everyone.

The Bad

No one at CES even pretended to give AI for good lip service this year! What did happen was a disjointed mix of face rec tech being added to anything you can think of (yes, toothbrushes too) and companies bragging about their privacy work.

Not only were many called out for the lack of actual privacy commitments but on a panel, the FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said: “I don’t want to talk about specific services or products, but as a general matter, no, I don’t think privacy is generally protected.”

Overall, this year’s CES looked pretty disappointing in almost every aspect, from no exciting announcements, a bunch of snake oil sales when it comes to privacy, and other mistakes like bringing a non-tech person to speak about tech jobs and reskilling. Hopefully not a portent to the rest of the year in tech.

More News

Facebook will ban deepfakes, but not other manipulated video (like the slowed-down footage that made Pelosi look drunk) and not for political ads.

Airbnb has an algo that assigns users a “trustworthiness score” based on social media profiles and legal records. Maybe they should add phrenology while they are at it?

A New York high school is the first in the state to get face rec tech programmed to look for sex offenders and guns.

A Maine sheriff says that he doesn’t want face rec tech to be banned because it could be used at protests. Doesn’t he know that he’s supposed to say it’s just for missing kids?


Until the means of producing CES is seized,