- Our Work
This talk looks at philosophical questions that arise in the context of AI alignment. It defends three propositions. First, normative and technical aspects of the AI alignment problem are interrelated creating space for productive engagement between people working in both domains. Second, it is important to be clear about the goal of AI alignment. There are important differences between AI that aligns with instructions, intentions, revealed preferences, ideal preferences, interests and values, on an individual or collective basis. A principle-based approach to AI alignment has considerable advantages in this context. Third, the central challenge for theorists is not to identify ‘true’ moral principles for AI to align with; rather, it is to identify
Cellular connectivity has provided impressive Internet growth in Africa over the past decade, but according to the ITU, in 2017, Africa only had 20% of the population using the Internet; a laggard compared to 40% in Asia & the Pacific and the 50% world average. We have connected the easy half of the population and connecting the next half of the world will require new innovative thinking.
In this talk, we investigate how eight popular browser extensions that focus on improving user privacy affect browser and system performance for the two desktop browsers with the highest market share, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and how they fare against no extensions. We evaluate if privacy-focused extensions may not only improve user privacy, but may also improve user experience based on intuitive metrics like websites' page-load times, number of fetched resources, as well as response sizes, which we measure from two vantage points, one in the United States and one in Germany. Furthermore, considering the ubiquity of mobile platforms, we explore how these extensions could affect battery runtime by leveraging CPU time as a proxy indicator. Our results contradict Google's recent claim that extensions inspect and block requests negatively affect browser performance. In fact, we show that a single privacy-focused extension can improve over no extensions on almost all metrics, and that even a combination of multiple privacy-focused extensions utilizing blocking request introspection may not negatively affect user experience.
The TechSoc Reading Group will host Dr. Finn Brunton for a discussion of his new book Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin may appear to be a revolutionary form of digital cash without precedent or prehistory. In fact, it is only the best-known recent experiment in a long line of similar efforts going back to the 1970s. But the story behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and its blockchain technology has largely been untold—until now. In Digital Cash, Finn Brunton reveals how technological utopians and political radicals created experimental money to bring
Video available here. Seattle and its environs are home to more than eighty tech companies, which have added 780,000 new jobs in the last five years. Along with these jobs comes increased diversity in its population, with some of Seattle’s Eastside cities now ranking as the most diverse in the nation, even while the Pacific Northwest bears a legacy of white supremacist agitation. This talk will explore the relationship between the Eastside’s tech industry, migration, and what the Washington State’s…