My definition of Androrithms

This is a key neologism in my Technology vs Humanity  book (i.e. it's a word I made up). I like to use the term in order describe what really matters for most of us: human ‘rhythms’ not machine rhythms i.e. algorithms. A super-computer can win in chess or GO but can't talk to a 2-year old. A person that I meet somewhere needs an average of 0.4 seconds to gain some kind of basic understanding about me, even without speaking – yet a computer still does not really understand my values and feelings after it has ingested my entire browsing and social network history of the past 7 years (an estimated 200 Million data points).  Just try this IBM personality insight test:)

Androrithms include human-only traits such as empathy, compassion, creativity, story-telling and soon to be relicts (?) such as mystery, serendipity, mistakes and secrets.  “Computers are stupid – they only provide answers” (Picasso)  Computers are for answers, humans are for questions (Kevin Kelly). As I like to say: for every amazing algorithm we need to strengthen our already existing androrithm.  Every technological advancement impacts on how we interact as humans, and in many future cases we will need to safeguard, hedge or kind of ‘national-parkize’ those human idiosyncrasies so that they are not diminished or even eradicated by the tendency of technology to present itself as a solution to everything. (A great example would be how people are increasingly looking towards technology to solve social challenges: political activism on Facebook (press Like rather than making sure the right people get voted), or on increasing security and digital surveillance to ‘solve’ terrorism)

A comment from David Brin

on my book Technology vs Humanity... read more here

"Among the most-worried is Swiss author Gerd Leonhard, whose new book Technology Vs. Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine, coins an interesting term, "androrithm," to contrast with the algorithms that are implemented in every digital calculating engine or computer. Some foresee algorithms ruling the world with the inexorable automaticity of reflex, and Leonhard asks: "Will we live in a world where data and algorithms triumph over androrithms… i.e., all that stuff that makes us human?"

When your boss is an algorithm - great read via the FT

“There are no good estimates on the global scale of the gig economy but in the US there are about 800,000 people earning money this way — via online intermediaries such as TaskRabbit, Lyft, Uber and Deliveroo — without being anyone’s employee. The term “algorithmic management” was coined last year by academics at the Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and it is this innovation, they argue, that makes the gig economy possible. For companies like Uber, which aspires to “make transportation as reliable as running water”, algorithmic management solves a problem: how to instruct, track and evaluate a crowd of casual workers you do not employ, so they deliver a responsive, seamless, standardised service.”

When your boss is an algorithm
via Instapaper

Of prediction and policy: robot judges ?

“Bail decisions, in which judges estimate the risk of a prisoner fleeing or offending before trial, seem particularly ripe for help. Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago and his colleagues claim that their algorithm, tested on a sample of past cases, would have yielded around 20% less crime (see chart), while leaving the number of releases unchanged. A similar reduction nationwide, they suggest, would require an extra 20,000 police officers at a cost of $2.6 billion. The White House is taking notice. Better bail decisions are a big priority of its Data-Driven Justice Initiative, which 67 states, cities and counties signed in June.

Still, people want to know how decisions that affect them are made. The European Union is considering giving citizens affected by algorithmic decisions the right to an explanation. “Transparency, transparency, transparency” is needed, says Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union”

Of prediction and policy
via Instapaper