A failed coup is a godsend to journalists: this week we discuss civil liberties, digital dissent, online publishing, and the surprising artificial intelligence legacy of Donald Trump.
We begin with facial recognition: an attack on the seat of the American government by a largely mask-less force might signal a great opportunity to wheel out all those facial recognition algorithms developed by defense and security companies over the past 3-4 years.
And yet, we must resist the temptation – the events at the Capitol will be largely forgotten in a few years, but any changes to regulation and policy are likely to linger much longer, and affect us for decades to come. You don’t have to travel very far to find an example – just compare international air travel before and after 9/11.
Next, we take a look at the National AI Imitative Office (NAIIO) – a brand new agency established by the outgoing administration to oversee and implement the United States national AI strategy, which was launched by Trump at the start of 2019.
Over the past four years, AI emerged as one of the focal points for the White House, and this had a considerable impact on the fledgling industry. We saw new AI research institutes established across the country, and the doubling of AI R&D budget in the 2021 proposal.
But what about Biden – how will the next president handle AI? The truth is, Biden has been very quiet on technology, and has not appointed any familiar Silicon Valley names to his cabinet. Parts of the Trump administration were drowning in technology executives, so that’s another thing set to change.
And finally, we discuss Section 230 – and whether AI can solve the problems of social media. Without Section 230, America – and the world – would look very different, and the question of whether platform owners should be held responsible for content published on their platforms is at the heart of how the modern Internet works.
We might not know what a Biden technology policy would look like, but we do know he previously spoke in favor of repealing Section 230.
We mention all the good stuff: Gab! Hate Mail! Deplatforming! Censorship! Alex Jones! Vint Cerf!
Even job openings at AIB!
Meanwhile, for a “very online” take on the events that led to the assault on the Capitol, read Sebastian’s interview with Fredrick Brennan, the founder of controversial social network 8chan that played a major part in helping Q and related conspiracies flourish.
As always, you can find the people responsible for the circus podcast online: