In part 2 of our chat with Ellen Broad, we talks about privacy and changing attitudes to data about – and of – ourselves. Ellen’s book, Made by Humans: The AI Condition is available from Melbourne University Press, or from all the big online book retailers. You can read Ellen’s bio after the transcript.
In this latest episode of Recordkeeping Roundcasts, we talk to Ellen Broad, author of Made by Humans: The AI Condition, about the way that rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are being deployed in business, government and society, and the wide ranging implications of their adoption. Ellen and the Roundtable’s Cassie Findlay discuss on real world results flowing from machine decision making, accountability for the use of these systems, the role of recordkeeping and archives, and changing perceptions of privacy in the data economy.
Made by Humans is available from Melbourne University Press, or from all the big online book retailers. You can read Ellen’s bio after the transcript.
CF: I am thrilled to be talking to Ellen Broad today. Ellen is the author of Made By Humans: The AI Condition. There’s a link available from the site too. There’s information about the book and where to buy it. I heartily recommend it. It’s very timely. Look at the ethics and the societal implications really of what seems like ever increasing gallop towards the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in so many different aspects of our lives. And of course, for the recordkeeping people like myself and hopefully people who follow this series of recordings, there are lots of things about the adoption of this technology that make us think about what our jobs are and potentially what our jobs might be in the future as far as keeping evidence in the way that these systems are set up through to trying to promote accountability around decisions to deploy the technology. So, first of all, hello Ellen, and thank you very much for joining me.
EB: Thank you very much for having me. Continue reading
In this episode, we conclude our three part conversation with The National Archives UK’s John Sheridan, with a chat about machine learning and its possible applications in the management and use of records.
Our thanks again to John for being generous with his time and offering us so many interesting ideas. Remember to subscribe to the TNA blog for updates on the many interesting projects underway there.
You can subscribe to this podcast series on Google Play; iTunes is having a little moment with adding new podcasts but hopefully soon.
CF: Now, we have a short period of time remaining, so I hope I can continue for another little while with the conversation, if that’s all right with you, if you’ve still got the time.
In this episode of Recordkeeping Roundcasts, we pick up the conversation with TNA’s John Sheridan, turning to the experimentation that he and colleagues at allied institutions are doing in distributed ledger technologies.
For background, take a look at this recent post by Alex Green on the TNA blog about Project ARCHANGEL.
CF: It is a critical juncture, I think, for archives in all forms. Certainly, as you’ve articulated, the expectations for digital records, digital information, discoverability are exerting pressures on archives. I need to move on, as I could talk about this stuff all day. Continue reading
Welcome to Recordkeeping Roundcasts, a series of conversations with interesting people who are doing interesting things.
In this first episode the Recordkeeping Roundtable’s Cassie Findlay is talking with John Sheridan, Digital Director at The National Archives UK, about the challenges of scale and complexity that come with digital recordkeeping. As background for this conversation, take a look at TNA’s Digital Strategy, released in May 2017.
CF: It’s terrific to be speaking to you, John Sheridan from The National Archives UK. Thank you very much for agreeing to chat with me about a number of topics of interest.
JS: It’s a real pleasure to have this opportunity to talk about all these great things that we have to think about. Continue reading
This week I got a strong response on Twitter for this tweet & image:
From my talk last week: we archivists are failing our mission if we keep worrying about backlogs & ignore strategic digital recordkeeping pic.twitter.com/8usLBihDz7
— Cassie Findlay (@CassPF) May 15, 2017
So I thought I’d share an excerpt from the talk, which was originally presented in Reus, Catalonia, as part of the Association of Catalan Archivists’ annual conference, bits of which were then included in a talk in Dublin organised by the National Archives of Ireland. Thanks so much to all my fabulous hosts.
Of course, many of these ideas are not new, nor are they mine alone. In particular, my Roundtable colleagues have written on this theme here on this blog and I’d encourage everyone to have a look (especially at ‘Reinventing Appraisal‘ and ‘Reinventing Access’).
First up, thanks to Eira Tansey, whose Tweet prompted me to finally get back here and have a rant.
Archivists we need to be very clear that our best professional allies in the days ahead are journalists & scientists https://t.co/VnMnYSY1Y2
— Flyover Easy (@eiratansey) January 26, 2017
Yes! The (increasing) symbiosis of the work of recordkeepers and journalists, in particular, has been a preoccupation of mine for some time. Both the archival/recordkeeping and journalistic professions are going through fundamental change and risk extinction in the future without significant and rapid evolution. Both are losing their grip on forms of control that once gave them a monopoly; online, anyone can disseminate a story or construct an ‘archive’. Both are operating in the midst of the political forces come into play around information access, and both are struggling to find ways to continue to fulfil their missions as a result. Questions of trust, power, authenticity and connectedness are central to understanding and responding to these changes, for both professions. At the same time, the availability of authoritative evidence of what governments and others do – records – is more crucial than ever, both for journalists who want to want genuinely to offer a counter to so called ‘fake news’, and to society at large. Continue reading
Blockchain technology offer us a revolutionary new way to do business using the same database — a shared ledger, in effect, that is available to anyone who knows how to use it and has access to the tools. A ‘world database’ (as suggested recently by Vinay Gupta in his highly recommended piece on Medium, ‘Programmable blockchains in context’) that is owned by everyone participating, and controlled by no-one. This is trust through computation. Nothing is ‘entered’ in this environment unless it is agreed by the many thousands of computers that make up the network. Once coded, the transactions are uncorruptible and immutable.
Blockchain technology also enables us to build smart contracts on a platform like Ethereum. What are smart contracts? Essentially they are programs that execute “if this happens then do that”, that are run and verified by all the participants in the blockchain network. The blockchain stores the data, but the smart contract plans, executes and records the business. Continue reading
Attending the Decentralized Web Summit at the Internet Archive wasn’t a bad way to spend my first week living in San Francisco. Big thanks to Peter Van Garderen and Courtney Mumma for encouraging me to go.
It was an exciting, challenging and inspiring few days. There are some excellent reports on the overall programme out there; including Brewster Kahle’s, Mouse Reeve’s or Maira Sutton’s. There’s also a slew of media reporting from Wired, NYtimes, Fortune, Boing Boing and more. So rather than reviewing the event as a whole I’d like to try to highlight some of the technologies, projects and ideas that struck me as important for recordkeepers to know about. I’ll also (tentatively) make some suggestions about how our professional practices might fit into this emerging world.
- Ledger book, by edinburghcityofprint on Flickr