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Friday, May 5, 2023

AI: The Possibilities and the Perils

AI: The Possibilities and the Perils

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - the term that excites some and terrifies others. It's like that one friend who always has a new idea that either makes you go "wow" or "what the heck?" But let's focus on the "wow" factor, shall we? Here are the top 10 possibilities of AI that will make you go "wow" and "haha": 1. Automation: AI can take over repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for more important things, like binge-watching Netflix. Finally, we can say goodbye to all those boring tasks and say hello to our inner couch potato. 2. Predictive Analytics: AI can analyze vast amounts of data to make predictions and inform decision-making. Say goodbye to gut instincts and hello to data-driven decisions. Now we can blame the algorithm for all our bad decisions. 3. Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI can understand and process human language, allowing for applications such as chatbots, voice assistants, and language translation. Finally, we can have a conversation with someone who always agrees with us. Wait, isn't that what our moms are for? 4. Computer Vision: AI can interpret and analyze images and videos, enabling applications such as object recognition, facial recognition, and autonomous driving. No more parking tickets or forgetting where you parked your car. Just don't let the AI drive you to the wrong location. 5. Robotics: AI can control robots and enable them to perform complex tasks, such as manufacturing, cleaning, and exploration. Finally, we can have a robot butler like in the movies. But let's hope they don't turn into Ultron. 6. Personalization: AI can personalize user experiences by recommending products, services, and content based on individual preferences and behavior. Finally, we can have a personal shopping assistant that knows our style better than we do. But let's hope they don't judge our fashion choices. 7. Healthcare: AI can assist with medical diagnosis, treatment, and drug development, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. Finally, we can have a doctor who never forgets our medical history. But let's hope they don't diagnose us with a case of hypochondria. 8. Cybersecurity: AI can help identify and prevent cyber threats, such as malware, phishing, and hacking. Finally, we can feel safe online without having to remember a million passwords. But let's hope they don't turn into Skynet. 9. Education: AI can provide personalized learning experiences, assist with grading and assessment, and improve educational outcomes. Finally, we can have a teacher who understands our learning style and pace. But let's hope they don't give us extra homework. 10. Entertainment: AI can create new forms of entertainment, such as AI-generated music, art, and video games. Finally, we can have a never-ending supply of new and exciting entertainment options. But let's hope they don't create a new Kardashian reality TV show. Now that we've covered the possibilities, let's dive into the top 10 scariest things about AI that will make you go "haha...wait, what?": 1. Unpredictable behavior: As AI systems become more advanced, they can become difficult to predict or understand, making it challenging to know how they will behave in certain situations. Just like a teenager going through puberty - moody and unpredictable. 2. Malfunction: AI systems are only as good as the algorithms and data sets they are trained on. A malfunctioning AI could cause unexpected and dangerous outcomes. Just like a robot on the fritz - it's not always cute like Wall-E. 3. Lack of empathy: AI lacks the ability to empathize with humans, which can lead to unintended consequences in situations that require human interaction. Just like a politician - they don't always understand us. 4. Job displacement: As AI continues to advance, it is expected to automate many jobs, potentially leading to widespread job displacement and economic disruption. Just like the industrial revolution, but with robots - we hope they don't unionize. 5. Privacy concerns: With AI systems processing vast amounts of data, there is a risk that personal information could be mishandled or used in ways that violate privacy rights. Just like that creepy neighbor who always wants to know what you're up to - except now it's a computer. 6. Bias and discrimination: AI systems can perpetuate existing biases and discrimination, leading to unfair treatment of certain individuals or groups. Just like a biased judge - but now it's a computer that doesn't even have the excuse of being old. 7. Cybersecurity risks: As AI systems become more integrated into critical infrastructure and other systems, they become attractive targets for cyberattacks, which could lead to catastrophic outcomes. Just like a hacker with a grudge - but now they have a robot army. 8. Autonomous weapons: There is a risk that AI could be used to develop autonomous weapons that could make decisions about targeting and killing without human intervention. Just like a Terminator movie - but this time it's real. 9. Lack of accountability: If an AI system causes harm, it can be difficult to determine who should be held accountable, especially if the system was developed and operated by multiple parties. Just like a game of "pass the blame" - but now it's a matter of life and death. 10. Singularity: The idea that AI could become so advanced that it surpasses human intelligence and begins to develop on its own, leading to a potentially unpredictable future. Just like a sci-fi movie where the robots take over - but this time we don't have Will Smith to save us. In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize our world in countless ways, but we must also be aware of the potential dangers and take steps to mitigate them. So, let's embrace the possibilities while keeping a watchful eye on the perils. Who knows, maybe one day we'll have a robot best friend who can do our laundry and give us great advice. Or maybe we'll be living in a dystopian future where robots rule the world. Either way, it's sure to be an interesting ride. Just don't forget to charge your phone - we don't want the robots to win that battle too.

Oakland Teachers on Strike DAY 2: Fighting for Better Pay and Services, Billionaires Fight for Profitable Charter Schools

Oakland Teachers on Strike DAY 2: Fighting for Better Pay and Services

Billionaires Fight for Profitable Charter Schools

It's no secret that public education in California is underfunded. But what's even more alarming is the fact that billionaires pushing for school choice are attacking the system in favor of charter schools. And nowhere is this more evident than in Oakland, where teachers have been on strike for two days now.

The Oakland School District has been negotiating with the Oakland Education Association since November of last year. The teachers are seeking better pay, more services for students with disabilities, additional mental health services, and smaller classrooms. Seems reasonable, right? Well, not according to the district.

The district claims that it has offered a historic pay raise of over $69 million, which would give most teachers a 22 percent pay raise and a $5,000 bonus. But the teachers are not satisfied. They want other issues resolved, such as getting transportation for all students and ending student homelessness.

The district says that these are good issues but ones that it can't resolve alone. Enter the state superintendent of public instruction, Tony Thurmond, who will be mediating between both sides. It's not the first time Thurmond has had to step in. He also mediated during the 2019 teacher strike.

But what's really going on here? Why are teachers striking? The answer is simple: underfunding. California ranks near the bottom in per-pupil spending, and Oakland is no exception. The district simply does not have the resources to meet all of the teachers' demands.

And that's where the billionaires come in. They see an opportunity to push their agenda of school choice and charter schools. They want to privatize education and turn it into a profit-making venture. But at what cost?

Charter schools are not a panacea. In fact, many studies have shown that they often perform no better than traditional public schools and sometimes worse. And they often exacerbate the problem of underfunding by draining resources from public schools.

So why are billionaires so eager to promote charter schools? The answer is simple: they stand to profit from them. Charter schools are often run by for-profit companies, and these companies are more concerned with their bottom line than with providing quality education.

But the real losers in this battle are the students. They are the ones who suffer when public education is underfunded and when resources are diverted to charter schools. They are the ones who deserve better.

So let's support our teachers in Oakland and across California. Let's demand that our public schools receive the funding they need to provide a quality education for all students. And let's reject the billionaires' agenda of school choice and charter schools. Our kids deserve nothing less.

Oakland teachers strike enters Day 2




As the world continues to grapple with the rise of AI and its impact on jobs and the economy, one CEO has come out in defense of in-person work. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna claims that working from home could be detrimental to career growth, stating that "moving from there to another role is probably less likely because nobody’s observing them in another context." Well, excuse me, Mr. Krishna, but I don't need someone watching me in order to grow my career. I can do that all on my own, thank you very much.

But as employees return to the office, they may find themselves working alongside a new type of colleague: robots. Yes, you read that right. Robots. And not the cool, futuristic kind that we all imagined growing up. No, these are the kind that are coming for our jobs. In fact, Krishna plans to issue a hiring freeze for roles that can be done by robots instead. He specifically mentioned back-office roles, stating that "I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by A.I. and automation over a five-year period," resulting in about 7,800 jobs cut.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want to work alongside a robot. I mean, what kind of water cooler talk would we have? "Hey, did you catch the latest episode of Westworld?" "No, I was too busy processing data and analyzing spreadsheets." Yeah, real exciting stuff.

But some CEOs, like JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and Twitter's Elon Musk, are staunch advocates of a return to the office. They believe that in-person work is essential for mentorship, career opportunities, and greater productivity. And I have to admit, they do have a point. I mean, how else am I supposed to network and make connections? Certainly not through LinkedIn. That place is a cesspool.

However, there is a difference between a job and a career. Jefferies CEO Rich Handler noted in an Instagram post last year that the difference could be up to where you do your work. "If you want a job, stay remote all the time and be efficient in a very limited way," Handler wrote. "If you want a career, engage with the rest of us in the office and use WFH only when flexibility is essential, mental health calls, and life balance needs help." So basically, if you want to be a drone, stay at home. But if you want to be a boss, come into the office.

But let's not forget about the elephant in the room: AI job killers. The idea that AI will completely replace human jobs is a common concern, but it is important to note that the impact of AI on the job market is complex and multifaceted. While some jobs may be automated, AI can also create new job opportunities and lead to more efficient and productive work. So basically, it's a double-edged sword. On one hand, we may lose our jobs. But on the other hand, we may get even cooler jobs. Like robot wrangler or cyborg therapist.

Ultimately, it is important for individuals and organizations to adapt to the changing job market and to continuously develop new skills and knowledge in order to remain competitive and successful in the age of AI. So if you're worried about losing your job to a robot, just remember: there's always a new job out there waiting for you. And who knows? Maybe you'll even get to work alongside a cool robot like R2-D2 or WALL-E.

IBM’s CEO says we ‘work better when we are together’ on the same week he announced plans to cut all jobs that A.I. can do

Billionaires Blamed for Failing Education: Standardized Testing to Blame - Yet the Beating Will Continue until the Test Scores Improve

 Billionaires Blamed for Failing Education: Standardized Testing to Blame

Are you tired of hearing about standardized testing being the answer to all our education problems? Well, you're not alone! It seems like the only ones benefiting from this approach are the billionaires behind Citizens United, who keep pushing for more and more testing despite the fact that it hasn't improved learning levels in over two decades.

And if you needed any more proof that billionaires make terrible teachers, just take a look at the recent test scores for U.S. children in social studies, math, and reading. They've all gone down the drain since the beginning of the pandemic, leaving experts and parents alike worried about the future.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, eighth graders' scores in U.S. history and civics are now at the same level as they were in the 1990s. And while COVID-19 is certainly a factor, experts also point to the lack of resources for these subjects and the effect of culture wars in schools.

But despite all of this evidence, the billionaires behind Citizens United keep demanding more testing. It's like trying to fix a leaky roof by putting a bucket underneath it instead of actually repairing the problem. And yet, they keep insisting that standardized testing is the answer.

Well, we're here to tell you that it's not! In fact, it's time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to education reform. Maybe we need to focus on creating safe environments for students, with things like food security and quiet spaces to study. Or maybe we need to prioritize social studies and civics education instead of just measuring growth in literacy and math.

And let's not forget about the importance of quality social studies instruction. As one teacher pointed out, students aren't getting consistent and high-quality social studies instruction throughout their K-12 experience. It's choppy and sporadic, which is hardly conducive to learning.

So instead of demanding more testing, maybe it's time for billionaires to put their money where their mouths are and invest in real education reform. Because at the end of the day, improving education isn't about test scores or standardized assessments. It's about equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to be actively engaged citizens in a vibrant democratic society.

And let's be honest, billionaires don't really need any more money. Maybe it's time for them to use their wealth for good instead of just hoarding it like a dragon sitting on a pile of gold.

So come on, billionaires! Let's work together to create a better education system for everyone. And who knows, maybe we'll even learn a thing or two along the way.