January 31st, 2020


Bird Photography


Rose and Bay Awards

Today is the last day of nominations for the Rose and Bay Award in [community profile] crowdfunding.  This award recognizes exemplary projects and enthusiastic patrons. It currently features six categories: Art, Fiction, Poetry, Webcomic, Other Project, and Patron.

I finished my nominations yesterday, so all the categories have at least 3 entries.  However, only one category has entries from more than one nominator, so they all desperately need more participation.

These are the handlers for the 2020 award season:
Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! Vote for art! (3 nominations)
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! Vote for fiction! (3 nominations)
Poetry: [personal profile] readera Nominate poetry! Vote for poetry! (3 nominations)
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! Vote for webcomics! (3 nominations)
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! Vote for other projects! (3 nominations)
Patron: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth Nominate patrons! Vote for patrons! (5 nomination)
Please think about your favorite crowdfunded projects and patrons from 2019. Especially if you are a creator, nominate some of your patrons, and boost the signal so your fans will know to nominate your project.  If you have not yet made your nominations, now is the time.

The Tyranny of Algorithms

Algorithms routinely discriminate against disadvantaged groups, such as women and people of color.  This is because they are programmed by biased humans and fed biased data.  So they become a form of institutionalized discrimination.  

This is a problem because you can't argue with an algorithm.  It manipulates data before humans even see it, which makes correction -- even detection -- difficult or impossible.  With a human, there's always the chance that they'll find your entry interesting despite your traits they dislike, or in facetime, you might talk them into being decent.

However, there are things we can do to fix this problem.

* If you code algorithms, test them on demographic data.  That is, about 51% of examples should be female, about 20% disabled (mix of visible and invisible disabilities of various types), demographics according to your locale or where the algorithm will be used, etc.

* If you buy and use algorithms, test them for bias.  Frex, feed them a batch of equivalent resumes that differ only by sex, color, religion, ability, etc. and see if the proportions remain intact or become biased.  If biased, complain to the programmer and demand an unbiased algorithm, or pay somebody to make you one.

* Algorithms all share one vulnerability humans do not: they can be hacked.  If you are a hacktivist, break into algorithms and command them to favor  disadvantaged groups.   Frex, approve all the women or all the people of color or both.  In the short term, this will help people overcome discrimination.  In the long term, corporations will learn that algorithms leave them vulnerable to manipulation, and they may decide to quit using them or at least make them more equitable and less attractive to hacktivists.

* Other folks can help by speaking up every time they spot a biased algorithm.  That includes filing a complaint with the company, but also panning the algorithm on social media where it is easier to aggregate many reports of the same problem into numbers large enough to have an impact.

Poem: "Because We Are All Unique"

This poem came out of the November 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anonymous. It also fills the "Opening a door for someone" square in my 9-5-18 "Kind and Soft" card for the 1000 Words or Less Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Here begins the Rutledge thread of Polychrome Heroics. It was inspired by the very unfortunate events in Rutland. This is what should have happened ...

Warning: This poem contains some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes population loss, economic distress, the Syrian war, refugees, fraught arguments over immigration, racism, isolationism, adult children moving far from home, squabbles over political correctness, indigenous issues, arguments over jobs, ghetto and reservation segregation issues, appropriate toilets, special dietary needs, required prayer facilities, language differences, alternative education, communal trauma, accessibility issues, and other challenges. Please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Collapse )