BCNM Around the Web January 2021

29 Jan, 2021

BCNM Around the Web January 2021

Check out the amazing work of our faculty, students, and alumni around the web this January!

Xiaowei Wang

Xiaowei's Blockchain Chicken Farm features in OneZero's "The Best Tech Books of 2020 Are All About Giving Power to the User". Blockchain Chicken Farm explores the political and social impacts the technology wave has had on rural China. The Medium publication describes the book as a "wonderful, eye-opening tour of the technological landscape in rural China".

Check out the article here!

Abigail De Kosnik

Warner Brothers Entertainment recently announced its decision to release its biggest 2021 movies to HBO max on the same day as US theatres. Abigail speaks on how this decision could give rise to extreme piracy in The Holywood Reporter's "Warner Bro.'s Streaming Plan May Invite Piracy 'Bonanza'". Abigail points to the 21.4 million illegal downloads of Disney's Mulan that occurred only 12 weeks after its release on Disney+. Her thoughts on Warner Brothers' decision: "Pirates will enjoy a real bonanza next year because of the WarnerMedia decision".

Read the rest of the article here!

Ken Goldberg

Ken discusses the signifiance of Deep Learning software and artificial intelligence innovation in the 21st century and the multitude of opportunities it introduces to the business world in Analytics Insight's "Deep Learning Will Make Robots Grasp and Move Objects Easily" and's "Deep Laerning Software Accelerates Robots' Ability to Grasp and Move Objects".

The Goldberg lab has developed new AI programming that enhances the speed and stability of sorting robots. Their research has cut motion planner calculation time from 29 seconds to 80 milliseconds. The lab hopes that this software can improve the efficiency of e-commerce warehouses and help address the issues that the pandemic has brought to businesses.

Check out the Analytics Insight article here and the article here!

Sonia Katyal

Following the Black Lives Matter movement, many companies dropped ionic yet racist brands like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's, and Eskimo Pie. However, this cause for celebration deems itself short-lived as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office receieves trademark applications for these abandoned marks. In Fortune's "Inside the cottage industry trying to revive Aunt Jemima and other brands with racist roots", Sonia explains how reviving these trademarks comes with a social cost as smaller companies don't feel the public pressure that these bigger companies have experienced.

Read the rest of the article here!

Back in December 2020, Google was pushed into the spotlight when it fired AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru. This incident is a poster child of the AI ethics and power issues present in Big Tech companies. Last year, Sonia wrote a paper published in the UCLA Law Review on the importance of whistleblower protection, especially in situations such as Gebru's. She gives her take on the intersection of AI and civil rights in VentureBeat's "From whistleblower laws to unions: How Google's AI ethics meltdown could shape policy" saying "What we should be concerned about is a world where all of the most talented researchers like [Gebru] get hired at these places and then effectively muzzled from speaking. And when that happens, whistleblower protections become essential."

For more information, click here!

Celeste Kidd

Celeste featured in a live debate hosted by research company Montreal.AI alongside Washington law Professor Ryan Calo and Neuroscientist Luis Lamb among others. The live streamed event, titled "Moving AI Forward: An Interdisciplinary Approach", is Montreal. AI's second AI Debate and explores the role of artifical intelligence in other areas of study such as psychology and neuroscience. In her remarks, Celeste speaks on the profound impacts of artifical intelligence on human beliefs and explains why algorithmic biases are problematic for human beliefs.

The Kidd lab studies how humans form beliefs and build knowledge, and focuses particularly on how humans navigate the vast amount of information available in the world.

Check out the event here and Celeste's remark here!

Jane McGonigal

Jane participated as a speaker in the event "REFUEL". The free, virtual event features a panel of speakers to inspire people to reflect, grow, and recharge for 2021. As a game designer and wellness leader, Jane discussed how to optimize the human experience and transform everyday experiences into opportunities.

Check out the event here!