Too Hard

NYC's first Moonshot Challenge; the Coder-Judge; and more.

  • A new report from NYU’s artificial intelligence research team argues that the constitutional right to due process is being undermined by computer code, Tom Simonite reports for Wired. Simonite mentions the Monday meeting of the NYC Technology Committee to debate the merits of proposed legislation that would require city agencies to open up the source code of algorithms that influence service delivery, criminal justice proceedings, etc.

  • Yesterday New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a tech engagement program called NYCx. They have also announced the first “Moonshot Challenge” of the program, which will test the next generation of broadband connectivity technologies on Governors Island. Three winners will receive $25,000 to test their proposed solutions.

  • Inside civic tech: Code for America CTO Lou Moore has written a detailed explanation for the creation of two new roles on the engineering team, Engineering Manager and Engineering Lead, which will add more structure and leadership.

  • #MeToo: Quinn Norton shares her experience of being sexually assaulted in one of the spaces she valued and felt most comfortable in—the original unconference Foo Camp.

  • What happened: Ari Berman reports for Mother Jones on how voter suppression played a significant role in how Wisconsin fell (literally; voter turnout dropped by as much as 23 percent in some districts) for Trump.

  • Life in Facebookistan: “Area company working on virtual reality, AI, & beaming Internet using lasers from drones says disclosure is too hard,” snarks Sunlight Foundation’s Alex Howard on Twitter, in response to Facebook’s defense that identifying political ads is “extremely challenging” because of sheer volume.

  • Media matters: Writing for The Atlantic, Adrienne Lafrance considers the disturbing implications of the world’s largest publishers refusing to admit how they have reshaped the information landscape.

  • Longread: Sarah Jeong’s profile for The Verge of the coder-judge who presides over many of the tech industry’s legal wars is as delightful as everyone on Twitter said it was. She recounts his early fascination with ham radios; how he taught himself QuickBasic from the manual that came with his first computer; and how he applies this knowledge in his rulings on IP law. Save it for the weekend if you don’t have time to read it now.