Workshop Resources

Emerging Tech Series 2021

In Cooperation with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Western Cape, SA

Smart Homes, Smart Farms, Smart Cities, and the Internet of Things, Held on Oct 6th

5G, Blockchain, and Self-driving Cars

AI and Space Exploration: Articles

    AI and ART


    Intro to AI

    Learn Machine Learning

    • This is a really simple system that I use to show my students and workshop participants how machine learning works, by using our phones as data collection devices and feeding that data into Edge Impulse’s ML.
    • This is more on the technical/programming side of machine learning, but an excellent youtube channel and series of lessons (see playlists): Jon Krohn.
    • Both Coursera and have beginning and advanced courses on AI. If you are a member of the Daniel Boone Regional Library, you can access for free (at least at the basic level).
    • Kaggle. Technical. An advanced system for learning about machine learning.
    • Analytics Vidhya. Technical An advanced system for learning about machine learning.


    AI and Coronavirus

    Introductory Information

    How AI is being used in Medicine

    Adversarial AI or Adversarial machine learning

    Morality and AI

    AI Mistakes/Issues

    • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil. Excellent book about how algorithms influence our lifes, from getting into college to getting a loan.
    • Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard. Artificial UnIntelligence is well-written and provides an excellent introduction to the problems with artificial Intelligence focusing on its limits and biases. This book starts with a very brief history of computers, networks, and artificial Intelligence and provides some fundamental examples of programming and machine learning; the book is written for a general audience, not for those working in tech. (The book won the Hacker Prize by the Society for the History of Technology and the 2019 PROSE Award for the best book in computing & information sciences by the Association of American Publishers.) However, for those working in tech, Broussard offers an excellent critique of the techno-utopianism view that dominates in our major technology companies. I highly recommend for those wanting to understand AI and its limits, especially non-techies. Probably would not recommend if you are familiar with most of these topics.
    • Artificial Intelligence Is Too Important to Leave to Google and Facebook Alone from NYTimes. (Web article)

    AI Apps

    Try out these apps that use AI:

    • Seeing AI from Microsoft (iOS and Android versions available). Image recognition software that helps the visually impared.
    • Optimize Fitness (iOS) uses your personal data to try to optimize exercise for you.
    • Crystal Knows is an AI-driven service that gathers publicly available information about a person and then develops a profile to help you understand how to approach them. For those who are trying to make cold calls, it helps you understand if the person needs a lot of context for your message or wants you to get to the point quickly, how they work and operate, etc., so that you can craft a better email or script for a phone call.

    Other interesting applications

    Surveillance Capitalism and Social Media

    • The Social Dilemma on Netflix.
    • We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads by Zeynep Tufekci. An excellent 15minute TED talk that outlines the basic problems of behavior modifying algorythems and their influence on our political discourse.
    • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff. This is a dense book, but also thourgh and insightful. ? Before you tackle it, you might want to check out these podcasts and radio interviews:
    • Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media by Sarah T. Roberts.?Behind the Screen is an excellent book about the content moderation industry. While the book starts with more discussion of the academic research in the area of labor than needed for a popular press book (in my option), it quickly gets into the nitty-gritty of the content moderation industry, its effect on our lives and the people who do the work.”Rather than elevating the workers of the world, twenty-first-century configurations of labor are undergoing a globalized race to the bottom in search of ever-cheaper, faster, and more human and material resources to compete in the globalized 24/7 networked marketplace. “
      -Page 72

      One might assume that YouTube and Facebook employees do content moderation. However, direct employees of the technology companies do not do most content moderation. Watching and removing violent and hateful content is done by contractors or sub-contractors of contractors, many of whom are overseas. This system of contractors allows tech companies to distance themselves from any liability regarding the effect of sorting and tagging violent and sadistic videos and posts hour after hour for years on end could have on a person’s mind.

      Ironically, it is the existence of sites that allow for direct upload, and streaming of content incentivizes the creation of such horrible videos. Beyond the removal of content, many content moderation companies create content for commercial interests, steering online discussions to match the corporate message (done by humans) and using bots to amplify and re-enforce the message.

      I used to think that the online world was a digitized version of the physical world. This book makes it clear that the online world is a highly curated commercial world where paid-humans and ever sophisticated bots shape and distort digital reality. I highly recommend this book to all.

    • Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee. “If you had told Roger McNamee even three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying our democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund’s bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg. Still a large shareholder in Facebook, he had every good reason to stay on the bright side. Until he simply couldn’t.”-Amazon.
    • Book: Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras. Amazon Link. Glow Kids is a well-written book about the effects of screens on kids and teenagers, from video games and so-called educational games to social media and online porn. Well documented with lots of cases and references to current research, this book examines the causes of screen addiction from the perspective of a professional psychologist who specializes in treating digital addiction.Just like cocaine and other drugs, some proportion of the population is highly susceptible to online addiction. Many of our online experiences are designed to deliver a dopamine release to encourage addictive behavior. Think of the infinite scrolling common to social media. The effect of this constant stimulation is not good, and the research points to a hazardous impact on the brains of children and teens whose brains are still developing.”Our brains are simply not designed for the visual hyperstimulation with which recently developed digital technology bombards us.” -Page 18.
      One of the things that I re-discovered in this book (I forgot things!) was how many Technologists limit the time that their kids spend on on-screen.

      “..ironically, the most tech-cautious parents are the people who invented our iCulture. People are shocked to find out that tech god Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent; in 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love their just-released iPad, he replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”-Page 31

      I highly recommend this book, especially for those with young children or who are planning on having some! The author’s style of writing might not appeal to everyone. He is sometimes too wordy, for example, taking time to tell you whenever he intends for something to be a pun or not to be a pun, but the book also has lots of great examples and stories that help bring you along.

    • Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci
    • The Crisis of Social Media from Freedom House (web article)