TagKlint Finley

A Conversation With Klint Finley About AI and Ethics

I spoke with Klint Finley, known to this parish, over at WIRED about Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft’s new joint ethics and oversight venture, which they’ve dubbed the “Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society.” They held a joint press briefing, yesterday, in which Yann LeCun, Facebook’s director of AI, and Mustafa Suleyman, the head of applied AI at DeepMind discussed what it was that this new group would be doing out in the world.

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked to Klint about the intricate interplay of machine intelligence, ethics, and algorithmic bias; we discussed it earlier just this year, for WIRED’s AI Issue. It’s interesting to see the amount of attention this topic’s drawn in just a few short months, and while I’m trepidatious about the potential implementations, as I note in the piece, I’m really fairly glad that more people are increasingly willing to have this discussion, at all.

To see my comments and read the rest of the article, click through, above.

An open letter to Dr. Ron Paul

The following is an open letter that I have just sent to Dr. Ron Paul. I have added hyperlinks throughout for reference.

Dear Dr. Ron Paul,

My name is Klint Finley, and I’m a blogger and freelance writer. I’ve been following your campaign for some time now, and commend you on many issues such as: your unequivocal call to end the war on drugs; your condemnation of the death penalty; your call to repeal acts such as the National Security Act of 1947 and the Patriot act; and your condemnation of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. I believe you are the only presidential candidate from either major party to specifically address the National Security Act of 1947 and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

However, I can’t help but be disturbed by some of your statements and positions and have written various blog entries saying so. I’m writing because I believe I should offer you the chance to clarify some of these remarks. I apologize in advance that some of these questions are hostile, and in some cases read more like attacks than questions. Many of these issues are emotional to me, and frankly some of these positions look bad. I understand that you are probably too busy to respond to me yourself, and will be just as happy to receive a reply from someone on your staff.

1. You advocate the use of letters of marque and reprisal to deal with foreign terrorist threats, and in an interview with Hugh Hewitt say that “certain companies” could be hired to attack our enemies for us. Is Blackwater one of those companies? How would these companies be held accountable for their actions? If they are “deputized” as you said to Hewitt, does that many their actions on behalf of the United States reflect the United State?

2. In 1996 the Dallas Morning News and the Austin Chronicle exposed several racist remarks printed in your newsletter, the Ron Paul Survival Report. At the time, you defended the remarks saying they were based on “current events and statistical reports of the time.”

In 2001, in an interview in Texas Monthly, you backtracked saying “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around… They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them . . . I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they campaign aides said that’s too confusing. ‘It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.”

Why did you feel that it was more important to defend racism for political gain than to speak your mind?

3. Why did it take you 5 years to denounce the statements made by a rogue staffer in your newsletter? Couldn’t you have revealed this right after the election?

4. Why were the remarks not simply renounced after they were published in 1992? Did you not read your own newsletter? If not, why did you think it was a good idea to have a newsletter published in your name that you did not even read?

5. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The War on Religion” you state “Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.”

Are you aware that “God” is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution?

6. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The Immigration Question” you describe the United States as being Balkanized and state that there are millions of immigrants in the United States who do not speak English and do not “participate fully in American life.”

Yet a PBS report on immigration states that “About half of recent immigrants report speaking English ‘very well’ or ‘well,’ despite the fact that some may not speak English in the home.”

What sources do you have that say that English is not being adopted by immigrants, and what are your criteria for “participating fully in American life”?

7. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “Rethinking Birthright Citizenship” you stated that you want to amend the Constitution to repeal birthright citizenship, guaranteed under the 14th amendment. Are there any other parts of the Constitution that you would like to repeal?

8. In an article appearing on ronpaul2008.com titled “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban” you state that “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age” but that though you intended to vote for H.R. 760 (as you subsequently did) you believed it to be “constitutionally flawed.” This appears to be in direct conflict with the statement on ronpaul2008.com that “Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.” How do you reconcile your vote for the partial birth abortion ban with your constitutionalist approach, and is there any other legislation that you would vote for despite its not being constitutional?

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your, or your staff’s, response.

Sincerely,
Klint Finley
http://www.klintron.com

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