Pretending AI can fix all the problems by pretending it’s not a problem

Liked AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are by Naomi Klein (The Guardian)

…what we are witnessing is the wealthiest companies in history (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Meta, Amazon …) unilaterally seizing the sum total of human knowledge that exists in digital, scrapable form and walling it off inside proprietary products, many of which will take direct aim at the humans whose lifetime of labor trained the machines without giving permission or consent.

“This is effectively the greatest art heist in history.” — open letter co-authored by Molly Crabapple

“This whole “this is how humans learn so whats the difference” thing while stealing so much data to make billions for a few dudes is so insidious.” — Timnit Gebru

See also: Link pairing: AI trained on stolen art

Mental Health Society Technology

I don’t want this to be the future

Bookmarked HUMAN_FALLBACK | Laura Preston (n+1)

I WAS ONE OF ABOUT SIXTY operators. Most of us were poets and writers with MFAs, but there were also PhDs in performance studies and comparative literature, as well as a number of opera singers, another demographic evidently well suited for chatbot impersonation—or, I suppose, for impersonating a chatbot that’s impersonating a person.

Let alone the present.

Each day when we reported for work one of them would hail us with a camp counselor’s greeting. “Top of the morning, my lovely Brendas!” they would say. Below their message, a garden of reaction emojis would bloom.

I am tired of the exploitation and undervaluation of emotional labor.

In the same way that algorithms tell us what they think we want, and do so with such tenacity that the imagined wants become actual, these buildings seemed intent on shaping a tenant’s aspirations. They seemed to tell the tenant they should not care about regional particularities or the idea of a neighborhood. The tenant should not even desire a home in the traditional sense, with hand-me-down furniture, hand-built improvements, and layers of multigenerational memory. This tenant was a renter for life, whose workplace was their primary address, and who would nevertheless be unable to afford property for as long as they lived.

See also: Neutralizing reality to sell

Brenda, they claimed, said the same thing to everyone, which meant that she was incapable of bias. And yet she was awfully good at repelling certain people: people without smartphones or reliable internet, people unaccustomed to texting, people who couldn’t read or write in English, and people who needed to figure out if they could access a property before showing up for a tour. Brenda deflected them all with polite violence. She was not a concierge but a bouncer, one made all the more sinister for her congeniality and sparkle.


See also:

OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic (TIME)

But the working conditions of data labelers reveal a darker part of that picture: that for all its glamor, AI often relies on hidden human labor in the Global South that can often be damaging and exploitative.

The work’s traumatic nature eventually led Sama to cancel all its work for OpenAI in February 2022, eight months earlier than planned.

An OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement that the company did not issue any productivity targets, and that Sama was responsible for managing the payment and mental health provisions for employees.

🙄 Of course they’re not responsible for the work they hired out.

Conditions for vendors are so much worse than employees, so of course that’s the direction companies want to move: cheaper labor that they aren’t liable for. Ethics has no part in corporatism.

“They’re impressive, but ChatGPT and other generative models are not magic – they rely on massive supply chains of human labor and scraped data, much of which is unattributed and used without consent,” Andrew Strait, an AI ethicist, recently wrote on Twitter. “These are serious, foundational problems that I do not see OpenAI addressing.”

Art and Design Culture

Watched Last Week Tonight: Museums

Watched Museums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) from YouTube

John Oliver discusses some of the world’s most prestigious museums, why they contain so many stolen goods, the market that continues to illegally trade antiq…

Give. It. Back.

See also:

Activism idea: ranking museums by stolen artifacts

Entrepreneurship Websites

Open Source Website Analytics

Bookmarked Plausible (

While I plan to keep my personal websites analytics-free, it would probably be imprudent to have zero analytics on my business websites. Subscription model more trustworthy here because I know I’m paying for it, not my clients’ data.

Activism Finances Resources and Reference

Research ethical investments

Bookmarked (
Music Society The Internet

How to bail on Spotify

Bookmarked How to break up with Spotify by Violet Blue (

Here’s a handy privacy-forward guide to ditching Spotify after the company formalized its commitment to Team Pandemic.

We were just chatting about music services and tracking at this week’s Homebrew Website Club, and I shared my cynicism that Spotify purposefully makes the experience of listening to music you own hard and shitty. Add in my thinking about listening to albums more and Spotify’s doubling down on misinformation, and it sounds like I need to give my music setup some thought.

I have over 600 playlists, so I need a service that will import them as well as possible.

I also need something that scrobbles with

And I need something to manage my owned music library, which may be a second piece of software.

I have bought a lot of music through Amazon music over the years because they sold individual tracks DRM free, and they ‘give you’ digital copies of most physical albums you’ve bought. (Convenient since I don’t have a CD-ROM to rip CDs anymore.) So they may be a logical option.

I never expected Spotify to take Joe Rogan off the air — they have gone all in on podcasts and he’s their biggest bet — but I do feel like there should be some conversation about disinformation, and what a platform’s responsibility is to disallow misleading falsehoods during a pandemic (and also let’s talk about undermining democracy), and how that could even be practically feasible on an audio medium. Instead, Spotify said nothing about misinformation, not even the shitty line that they’re just a publisher and have no responsibility for amplifying a message of harm to 200 million subscribers.

We need to talk about it, and I know why they don’t want to, and I know they don’t want to take any responsibility, and I know they don’t want to get into the info verification game, but FFS, even Twitter and Facebook realized that some things are too dangerous to let go completely unchecked.

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Ethical Storytelling

Watched Ethical Storytelling: Brand Purpose and Impactful Imagery from Adobe

Learn the importance of championing global stories told by diverse voices in your company’s brand visuals and how to engage in ethical storytelling.

  • Honor your subject, whether person or place
  • Be intentional with language to not trigger or distract people
  • Let people be seen and heard — collaborate for more authentic stories
Art and Design Personal Growth Resources and Reference

Ethics in Design Roundup

Design Justice Network

The Design Justice Network is an international community of people and organizations who are committed to rethinking design processes so that they center people who are too often marginalized by design.

Humane By Design

A resource that provides guidance for designing ethically humane digital products through patterns focused on user well-being.

A Designer’s Code of Ethics

Before you are a designer, you are a human being. Like every other human being on the planet, you are part of the social contract. We share a planet. By choosing to be a designer you are choosing to impact the people who come in contact with your work, you can either help or hurt them with your actions. The effect of what you put into the fabric of society should always be a key consideration in your work. Every human being on this planet is obligated to do our best to leave this planet in better shape than we found it. Designers don’t get to opt out.

Design for Cognitive Bias

In Design for Cognitive Bias, David Dylan Thomas lays bare the irrational forces that shape our everyday decisions and, inevitably, inform the experiences we craft. Once we grasp the logic powering these forces, we stand a fighting chance of confronting them, tempering them, and even harnessing them for good.