CFP Tutorial Day Recap

Wendy M. Grossman attended the CFP tutorial Twittering in the Trenches yesterday wrote a great recap of the day at net.wars.

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2009 – Day One

“Did you check that with your ethics committee?”

The speaker, who was feeling the strain of being a newcomer to privacy issues among a very tough, highly activist crowd, turned a little shakier than she already was.

“I didn’t need to,” she said, or something very like it. “It’s not interacting with humans, just computers.”

We spend a lot of time talking about where the line might be between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, but the important question may not be the usual one, Not “What does it mean to be human?” but “How far down the layer of abstractions does human interaction persist?” If I send you email intended to deceive, clearly I’m interacting with a human. If I set up a Facebook account and use it to get you to friend me by first friending one of your less careful friends and never communicate directly with you, the line gets a little more attenuated. Someone who had thought more about computers than about people might get confused.


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