Gemini version available ♊︎

How Outsourcing of Judgment to Computer Algorithms Poses a Threat to Software Freedom (and Freedom in General)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And this is the company that’s buying Red Hat…

IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...
IBM spent a fortune ‘googlebombing’ the Web/Internet (for weeks) to hide this article from view.

Summary: Freedom is under attack (or under a tank) and a contributor writes to explain the role played by the AI hype (outsourcing decisions to algorithms which lack tact, emotion, oversight, and are difficult to analyse/authenticate based on their resultant fuzzy classifiers)

July 4th is a day off for the USPTO (an "hey hi" (AI) booster for patenting purposes) and for much of the American media, but we’ll be posting as usual. We’ve just updated this database of threats to software freedom (explained in depth in a recent post). This is “for your consideration,” said the author, on “AI project disruption” (the author goes by the pseudonym Ted MacReilly and is a highly technical person, who uses this pseudonym to avert retaliation/reprisal against his GNU/Linux project).

“I try to keep most of these less speculative,” he said, “more immediate. I am still a futurist, I think this is worth serious consideration. I believe the tools either could, or even do exist. AI is not general purpose yet. It is very flexible, it can do a lot of interesting things. I believe it can do this today, but certainly in the near future.”

Here’s the explanation from Ted:

Every government and security researcher has a job to assess threats. It’s how they do it and how they respond that matters. Often security is treated as a blank check to do things that are unethical or dangerous– the “cure” is not always better than the disease.

Here, the cure being proposed above others is careful consideration– not hysteria, not some draconian measure, not paranoia. Just consideration.

Science fiction often talks about the future. It is typically based on problems that exist in the present. Some of the ideas are novel– before we had cell phones and iPads, Star Trek communicators and PADDs existed only in fiction. Real functioning jet packs, though still impractical, now exist and can be watched in brief flights on Youtube. And before Amazon ever sold Ebooks, Richard Stallman’s “The Right to Read” was just a story about a dystopian future.

Often we get the future wrong, and sometimes that’s a good thing. But that doesn’t stop us from thinking about it.

AI-based project planning is likely to increase. You don’t hear about it much on Techrights, because it is a term widely abused to write bogus patents, and Techrights reports on that with well-earned derision for corporate buzzwords and patent application trickery.

Still, AI is real and it’s here– it’s not everything you might think, but it’s far more than nothing. It has cultural, philosophical and practical (not to mention countless ethical) implications.

I believe we need to consider those. What I hope you will do today, is entertain the slightest possibility that AI can be used to undermine free software development. It is not as important whether or not that is already happening.

Could it? And importantly– how?

I have some thoughts about that, but I don’t believe that I thought of this first.

We know that corporations want to undermine free software. We have good reason to think that AI is used (or will soon be used) to assist corporate decision making. It is already moving into use for reviewing resumes. As a result, SEO tactics and techniques will be part of resume writing in the future.

Most people are not following the spread of AI very closely. A lot AI should be called “artificial stupidity” because it sometimes enhances “Garbage-in-Garbage-out” or biased, bad decision making, when we expect it to reduce those.

They say don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but every techie with a pointy-haired boss knows that the line between the two is often a fine one. Some of things being done with AI by corporations already, are best explained by malice and stupidity combined.

Would you entertain the possibility that AI may assist corporations in figuring out how to compete and undermine competition, or that AI is capable of doing so? If you wouldn’t, this entry will just be something to laugh at.

That’s alright. Sometimes parody and humor reach more people than serious philosophy.

Sometimes you have to wait, to be sure what the future really holds. I have no major complaints about that one. It’s nice to still have the option.

This could also be an “Aim for the moon” type of strategy. In trying to think of how AI could pose new threats to software freedom, you may come up with a more plausible or more obvious way that a corporation could pose new threats. There’s no request here to use your imagination for purely idle reasons. The point of threat assessment is to come up with solutions that bolster everyone’s freedom. Everyone can participate, it is not better to leave this entirely up to other people who may not care about your own needs or threat model.

Happy hacking,

Ted MacReilly

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Linux.com Has Become Microsoft Spam and Spamnil

    Go to a site called Linux.com, first word is “MICROSOFT” and it’s just a spamfarm promoting Spamnil’s videos; he wipes what he can off that site, which had taken decades to make (and build reputation for); The Linux Foundation has killed the news site, in spite of having no cash deficit; its priorities are now whitewashing and greenwashing Microsoft (mentioned positively about a dozen times in the new Linux Foundation report), whereas the site has been turned into a sort of spamfarm, used by Microsofters and opportunists to get some views for failing, spammy videos (pure marketing, usually proprietary software)

  2. Links 9/12/2021: Pgpool-II 4.3.0 and European Commission Releases Free Software

    Links for the day

  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 08, 2021

  4. Microsoft Corporation is Still Protecting a Violent Criminal Who Assaults Women (Employing Him as Manager, Protecting Him From Arrest, Paying Him a Salary)

    Ahead of court and amid arrest warrant Microsoft still deems this a good idea? Then again, this same company works for ICE, helping to kidnap babies from their mothers...

  5. Links 8/12/2021: Linux 5.15.7 Out, Linux Mint 20.3 is Near

    Links for the day

  6. Links 8/12/2021: Zorin OS 16 Milestone and Calculate Linux 22 Released; Kubernetes 1.23

    Links for the day

  7. A Call for Sources and Whistleblowers From Microsoft's GitHub

    Remarks on our publications from this morning and a call for more leakers and whistleblowers, who know GitHub better than anybody else (including lots of fools who still outsource all of their hard labour to Microsoft through GitHub)

  8. [Teaser] Rape is Not a Joke

    Having just uploaded a police report, we’re starting to move the ongoing series to the next phase, which will still be — for the most part — weekly installments on Mondays (for months to come)

  9. [Teaser] Meet Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley (Updated)

    Alex Graveley, a serial abuser, has been protected by Microsoft; what does that say about Microsoft and about Nat Friedman, GitHub’s CEO whom Alex considers his "best friend"? Stay tuned as we have plenty more to show

  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 07, 2021

  11. Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

    Links for the day

  12. [Meme] EU Assurances

    The EPO‘s staff cannot be blamed for losing patience as elected public representatives completely fail to do their job (with few exceptions)

  13. Clare Daly (GUE/NGL) Does What Every Public Official in Europe Should Have Done About EPO Shenanigans

    There’s another (new) push to hold the EPO accountable, seeing that the overseers clearly do not do their job and instead cover up the abuses

  14. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day

  15. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day

  16. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs

  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021

  18. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)

  19. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff

  20. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!

  21. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day

  22. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission

  23. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day

  24. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission

  25. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already

  26. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?

  27. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him

  28. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)

  29. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day

  30. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts