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KathyReid Locked account

Joined 2 years, 9 months ago

technology. cybernetics. systems. science fiction. languages. machine learning. speech recognition.

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KathyReid's books

Currently Reading (View all 27)

reviewed The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal (Lady Astronaut, #3)

Mary Robinette Kowal: The Relentless Moon (EBook, 2020, Tom Doherty Associates) 4 stars

The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor …

Review of 'The Relentless Moon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Mary Robinette Kowal masterfully weaves a rich tapestry of endearing and nuanced characters, skilful and meticulously researched science, and an alternative history that is poignantly plausible.

Written in first person perspective, her choice of a female protagonist, one whose interpersonal skills are as sharp as her aeronautical ones, gives us a multi- layered insight into the politics of space.

Relentless Moon may be set in the past, but it serves as a parable for the future - what does it take to lead humanity to save itself?

Karl Weber, Tobias Dengel: Sound of the Future (2023, PublicAffairs) 4 stars

Review of 'Sound of the Future' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The summary

Written for a business audience, this book has two distinct sections. The first provides a gentle, integrated primer on voice technologies, such as automatic speech recognition (ASR), speech to text (STT), text to speech (TTS) or voice cloning, and natural language processing (NLP), and links these to the human needs fulfilled by voice technology. The second is essentially an extended pitch deck. Unabashedly techno-optimist in outlook, it seeks to grow the market for voice technologies by encouraging the reader to examine their own organisation’s operations for voice technology use cases, and provides a detailed guide to the user research and interface design steps needed to implement a voice technology program.

This is unsurprising, given [a:Tobias Dengel|27212062|Tobias Dengel|] is the CEO of WillowTree, an AI and digital product consulting company recently acquired by TELUS international for $USD 1.2 billion – which focuses on gathering training data for AI applications. …

Virginia Eubanks: Automating Inequality (2018, St. Martin's Press) 4 stars

A powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination—and how technology affects civil and human rights and …

Review of 'Automating Inequality' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

In this cleverly constructed series of case studies, Virginia Eubanks takes a critical eye to the automation of social welfare systems in three separate contexts in the United States. Through rich, qualitative interviews, she continuously advances her key argument: that by automating our social welfare systems - housing, welfare, social supports - we are manifesting the poorhouse - and its affordances - for the age of big data.

Her work is mature ethnography: she forms close, trusted bonds with actors from all parts of the welfare systems she investigates, providing a nuanced, multi-faceted exploration of how the rationalisation and automation of welfare systems embodies and perpetuates fundamentally flawed axiology. In a conclusion that Donna Meadows would be proud of, she entreaties us to upend the system through solidarity, collective action and the recognition that poverty - and its automation - is a choice. We should choose better.

reviewed Ant encounters by Deborah Gordon (Primers in complex systems)

Deborah Gordon: Ant encounters (2010, Princeton University Press) 4 stars

Review of 'Ant encounters' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Gordon's work on ant colonies provides a tractable and easily understandable way in to both systems thinking and understanding complexity. By using ants and ant colonies as the object of analysis, Gordon asks questions that all systems analysts would. From exploring how actors sense and respond to their environment, to inquiring as to how the system self-regulates behaviour such as foraging for food, this work is grounded firmly in science, while being clear about what answers we still have not discovered.

My key critique of this work is that the last chapter on modelling feels undone; I would really have liked to see systems diagrams of the phenomena visualised.