Gentlemachines
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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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More accountability for big-data algorithms

More accountability for big-data algorithms | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
To avoid bias and improve transparency, algorithm designers must make data sources and profiles public.
Artur Alves's insight:
No transparency, scrutiny, or accountability in algorithms keeps hidden the new social structures emerging from widespread use of communication technologies.

"Some of that scrutiny deserves a more important target. In a short space of time, the equations of big-data algorithms have permeated almost every aspect of our lives. A massive industry has grown up to comb and combine huge data sets — documenting, for example, Internet habits — to generate profiles of individuals. These often target advertising, but also inform decisions on credit, insurance and more. They help to control the news or adverts we see, and whether we get hired or fired. They can determine whether surveillance and law-enforcement agencies flag us as likely activists or dissidents — or potential security or criminal threats. It’s not just popular scrutiny that is lacking. 

Largely absent from the widespread use of such algorithms are the rules and safeguards that govern almost every other aspect of life in a democracy: adequate oversight, checks and balances, appeals, due process, and the right to have past offences removed from records after a statutory time."
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How We Won the Hominid Wars, and All the Others Died Out | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine

How We Won the Hominid Wars, and All the Others Died Out | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The unique adaptability of Homo sapiens is what allowed us to survive when so many other species died out, paleoanthropologist Rick Potts contends. .

Via Modern Atheism
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Nature makes all articles free to view

Nature makes all articles free to view | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Publisher permits subscribers and media to share read-only versions of its papers.
Artur Alves's insight:

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All research papers from Nature will be made free to read in a proprietary screen-view format that can be annotated but not copied, printed or downloaded, the journal’s publisher Macmillan announced on 2 December.

 The content-sharing policy, which also applies to 48 other journals in Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group (NPG) division, including Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine and Nature Physics, marks an attempt to let scientists freely read and share articles while preserving NPG’s primary source of income — the subscription fees libraries and individuals pay to gain access to articles.

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