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Keeping up with the data

December 14th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

AI as I am sure you all know by now, is largely reliant on the black gold, data, and preferably lots of it. With the speed that things are developing at, its pretty hard to keep up with the world of AI and data. In the past I subscribed to the excellent free weekly MIT technology Review, but sadly that went the way of paid for subscription services.

But the London and Leeds based Open Data Institute continues to publish a free weekly newsletter, The Week in Data. And it tends to favour more a social approach than some other more technology heavy news services. Here is an excerpt from last Friday’s issue’

If you’re looking to stream an anxiety-inducing film about the rise of robots over your Christmas break, you may not think to look in the documentary category. But iHuman, a gloomy (and seemingly slightly dramatised) take on the world of AI, is released this week in cinemas and (and online), and sits firmly in the ‘documentary’ genre. Film-maker Tonje Hessen Schei speaks to a range of interviewees, including Elon Musk’s computer scientist, to explore what will happen ‘when robots become smarter than humans’. It has been described by The Guardian as ‘an eye-opening film if your anxiety levels are up to it’. We’d love to hear – once you’ve had a look – whether it filled you with joy, dread or a painful amount of eye-rolling.

You can subscribe to The Week in Data here.

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    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

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    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

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    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

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    News from 1994

    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

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