Let's do a little #AIhype analysis, shall we? Shotspotter claims to be able to detect gunshots from audio, and its use case is to alert the cops so they can respond.

Q1: Is it plausible that a system could give the purported output (time & location of gunshot) given the inputs (audio recordings from surveillance microphones deployed in a neighborhood)?

A1: At a guess, such a system could detect loud noises that include gunshots (but lots of other things) and might be able to provide some location information (which mics picked it up?) but keep in mind that cityscapes provide lots of opportunities for echos...

Q2: How was the system evaluated?

A2: We don't actually know, but the company says their "ground truth" data come from cops.

Source: aclu.org/news/privacy-t…

>> Screencap: "ShotSpotte...Screencap from link in twee...
.@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil we should under no circumstances be deploying systems that have not been evaluated for accuracy by neutral third parties.

@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil Also relevant here: The company seems to be saying "Just because there's no evidence that we were right doesn't mean there wasn't gunfire." THIS IS NOT THE ATTITUDE OF CAREFUL ENGINEERS!

>> Screencap from same source:...
@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil Q3: Who is harmed if the system gives inaccurate results?

A3: The citizens & residents of Seattle whose neighborhoods are repeatedly accosted by police coming in on high alert with the belief that a gun was just fired. What a recipe for disaster.

@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil Q4: Who is harmed if the system gives accurate results?

A4: Same, frankly. It is not at all clear that the people who live where these surveillance systems are set up benefit from police barging in on high alert. Who asked for this, @MayorofSeattle ? Does it meet their needs?
@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil Q5: What problem is the system meant to solve and how does the framing of the automated system narrow the type of solutions that are underconsideration?

@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil A5: Looks like the problem is gun violence. But framing the solution as starting from detecting the sound of gunshots is fundamentally reactive, and meets violence (and false reports of violence) with surveillance at best and state violence at worst.

@MayorofSeattle @SeattleCouncil A5 cont: This framing leaves out of view all proactive approaches to reducing gun violence, starting with, ahem, FEWER GUNS but also programs that address root causes.

In summary, hell no @MayorofSeattle and @SeattleCouncil. A tech city like Seattle should know better than to fall for #AISnakeOil and a city with Seattle's policing history must do better than to head down paths like these.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with @emilymbender@dair-community.social on Mastodon

@emilymbender@dair-community.social on Mastodon Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @emilymbender

Feb 7
Strap in folks --- we have a blog post from @sundarpichai at @Google about their response to #ChatGPT to unpack!


#MathyMath #AIHype
Step 1: Lead off with AI hype. AI is "profound"!! It helps people "unlock their potential"!!

There is some useful tech that meets the description in these paragraphs. But I don't think anything is clarified by calling machine translation or information extraction "AI".

>> Screencap: "AI is the ...
And then another instance of "standing in awe of scale". The subtext here is it's getting bigger so fast --- look at all of that progress! But progress towards what and measured how?

#AIHype #InAweOfScale

>> Screencap: "Since then...
Read 9 tweets
Feb 6
"We come to bury ChatGPT, not to praise it." Excellent piece by @danmcquillan


I suggest you read the whole thing, but some pull quotes:

@danmcquillan "ChatGPT is a part of a reality distortion field that obscures the underlying extractivism and diverts us into asking the wrong questions and worrying about the wrong things." -- @danmcquillan

"The compulsion to show 'balance' by always referring to AI's alleged potential for good should be dropped by acknowledging that the social benefits are still speculative while the harms have been empirically demonstrated."

-- @danmcquillan

Read 5 tweets
Jan 9
In the context of the Koko/GPT-3 trainwreck I'm reminded of @mathbabedotorg 's book _The Shame Machine_ penguinrandomhouse.com/books/606203/t…

@mathbabedotorg I do think there's a positive role for shame in this case --- shame here is reinforcing community values against "experimenting" with vulnerable populations without doing due diligence re research ethics.

It seems that part of the #BigData #mathymath #ML paradigm is that people feel entitled to run experiments involving human subjects who haven't had relevant training in research ethics—y'know computer scientists bumbling around thinking they have the solutions to everything. >>
Read 5 tweets
Dec 27, 2022
There's a certain kind of techbro who thinks it's a knock-down argument to say "Well, you haven't built anything". As if the only people whose expertise counts are those close to the machine. I'm reminded (again) of @timnitGebru 's wise comments on "the hierarchy of knowledge".>>
I've been pondering some recently about where that hierarchy comes from. It's surely reinforced by the way that $$ (both commercial and, sadly, federal research funds) tends to flow --- and people mistaking VCs, for example, as wise decision makers.

But I also think that some of it has roots in the way different subjects are taught. Math & CS are both (frequently) taught in very gate-keepy ways (think weeder classes) and also students are evaluated with very cut & dried exams.

Read 20 tweets
Dec 24, 2022
Trying out You.com because people are excited about their chat bot. First observation: Their disclaimer. Here's this thing we're putting up for everyone to use while also knowing (and saying) that it actually doesn't work. Screencap from You.com. Under the box that says "Ask me
Second observation: The footnotes, allegedly giving the source of the information provided in chatbot style, are difficult to interpret. How much of that paragraph is actually sourced from the relevant page? Where does the other "info" come from? Screencap of YouChat's response to "how do I avoid gett
A few of the queries I tried returned paragraphs with no footnotes at all.

Read 5 tweets
Dec 24, 2022
Chatbots are not a good replacement for search engines

Chatbots are not a good UI design for information access needs

Chatbots-as-search is an idea based on optimizing for convenience. But convenience is often at odds with what we need to be doing as we access and assess in formation.

Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!