Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
In this 5 minute video linguistics professor Emily M. Bender talks about AI as a marketing term. She proposes replacing the term AI with automation to avoid making mistakes about responsibility.
CBS News
The subpoenas were approved following a contentious meeting in which Republicans accused their Democratic colleagues of attempting to undermine the Supreme Court by targeting private citizens.
Undermining how corrupt Supreme Court justices are beholden to billionaires is exactly the point.
AIs are not people; they don’t have agency. They are built by, trained by, and controlled by people. Mostly for-profit corporations. Any AI regulations should place restrictions on those people and corporations. Otherwise the regulations are making the same category error I’ve been talking about. At the end of the day, there is always a human responsible for whatever the AI’s behavior is. And it’s the human who needs to be responsible for what they do—and what their companies do.
This talk is exactly how we should be thinking about AI, algorithms, technology in general. Technology doesn’t spring from the Earth fully formed, it’s the result of people designing it and making decisions that they should be responsible for.
The Reframe
Rage suffers abuse and then decides, not that abuse should end, but that the existence of somebody else, who is also already suffering from similar abuse, represents an unacceptable existential threat, one that deserves violence.
A.R. Moxon is making a case here for a distinction between useful anger vs. destructive rage.
Molly White
From billions of mysterious Tethers to the apparent identity theft of Thai sex workers, many questions remain about what happened at Bankman-Fried's crypto empire.
WTF was going on at FTX? Molly White's coverage of the FTX trial was fantastic and her list of topics that almost came up makes it seem like the trial was just the tip of a very weird iceberg.
That being said: She’s a billionaire, her tour is taking over the world, she’s transforming the music industry in real time, and very few living celebrities have her scale of cultural influence. With all the love in the world, shouldn’t someone be, at least, attempting to look without fear or favor to see if she’s truly keeping her side of the street clean?
The kinds of stories that could shed light on the music industry if they looked with a critical eye.
Dada Drummer Almanach
Breaking news from Spotify: starting in 2024 (less than two months from now), they will no longer pay any royalty on tracks that fall below a minimum 1,000 streams a year. These tracks will still earn royalties, in theory – but those royalties will not be paid to their rights holders. Instead, they will go into a pot to be divided among accounts that garner more plays.
Happy holidays from Spotify, artists!

Update (12/4): Happy holidays from Spotify, employees
This overview of the historic origins of these Artificial General Intelligence boom or doom cults by Timnit Gebru should be required viewing. We have a real world with existing needs that these ideologies ignore. The result of these scifi inspired beliefs is promoting authoritarian politics. As mentioned in this video, the main question to ask: who benefits now?

See also: The Wide Angle: Understanding TESCREAL — the Weird Ideologies Behind Silicon Valley’s Rightward Turn.
Ars Technica
UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurance company in the US, is allegedly using a deeply flawed AI algorithm to override doctors' judgments and wrongfully deny critical health coverage to elderly patients. This has resulted in patients being kicked out of rehabilitation programs and care facilities far too early, forcing them to drain their life savings to obtain needed care that should be covered under their government-funded Medicare Advantage Plan.
A current "benefit" of AI: providing cover for inhumane policies. Policy creators can blame the algorithm.
It could have been a lot better. Trump didn’t just “raise eyebrows” with his vermin line; Welker should have said it was redolent of Nazism. Welker let it drop instead of following up. It also shouldn’t have been a yes/no question, but rather something like “how do you feel when he says something like this”?
Small signs the media is evolving on Trump coverage.
The code, which does not include any enforcement mechanism, comes after ProPublica and other outlets disclosed that justices had repeatedly failed to disclose gifts and travel from wealthy donors.
LOL, just a perfect non-binding 'code' for a corrupt court. Like a petulant child, "There, we have a code of ethics. Happy?"
Ars Technica
Google's default search deal with Apple is worth so much to the search giant that Google pays 36 percent of its search advertising revenue from Safari to keep its search engine set as the default in Apple's browser, Bloomberg reported.
Google pays a high price to be the default search option everywhere.
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