Dr. Damien P. Williams, MA, MSc, PhD, Patternist Profile picture
PhD in Science, Technology, & Society (STS): Algorithms, Values, Bias, Machine Minds, Pop Culture,& Magic; MSci: STS; MA: Philosophy & Religious Studies; He/Him
dmnsqrl Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
Aug 14 4 tweets 2 min read
I wish somebody could get these people to understand that they're being filled with BS propaganda to get them to do a bunch of millionaires' and billionaires' dirty work. Tucker doesn't care about you. trump doesn't care about you. Whoever the hell is on oan or newsmx doesn't care about you. They just want to point your hate at their targets. You're not even a dog to them. You're barely even a gun.
Jun 12 22 tweets 6 min read
So.
1) The turing test was never designed or intended to be a test for consciousness; the fact that it's been adopted as such just shows just how badly we need to reckon w/ the fact that;
2) We need entirely new understandings of personhood which account & allow for machine minds …3) If this is real, we gotta stop w/ the "Artificial," REAL quick;
4) Regardless of whether this is real or just a weird prank, it seems google's RESPONSE to the CLAIM was to, once again, shut down an "AI" Ethicist who was, quelle horreur, RAISING ETHICAL CONCERNS ABOUT "AI"…
Feb 24 4 tweets 1 min read
So we're at the start of a war, being largely waged by a country which has spent most of the last decade undermining the norms of collective knowledge & trust, in an age where every1 gets their information at light speed & DOES NOT VET IT.

This shit is bad. But slow down. Verify This conflict has been underway and building for almost a decade as well, but now that more people in the West are paying attention to it, we have to realise that a panic to catch up and understand everything that's been happening, all at once, may actively harm, not serve us.
Feb 21 29 tweets 39 min read
In the @virginia_tech university council meeting, a group of people who make up to TWENTY NINE TIMES graduate students make just deferred the vote on raising those stipends to be in accordance with cost of living. These people should be ASHAMED of themselves. @DrLauraBelmonte @virginia_tech @DrLauraBelmonte At every turn, statements in support of this resolution were shut down, while statements against— including WILD mischaracterizations of the content and intent of the resolution— were given such clear preference as to completely overrun the entire agenda item on the meeting.
Nov 22, 2021 8 tweets 11 min read
This afternoon after hours of discussion the Graduate students, faculty, & administrators on @virginia_tech's Commission on Graduate & Professional Studies & Policies (CGPSP) unanimously passed @VTGPSS Resolution 2021-2022B, to guarantee all grad student assistants a living wage @virginia_tech @VTGPSS Profound thanks to every member of the @VTGradCommunity who came to these meetings, & to all of the CGPSP (governance.vt.edu/graduate-studi…), especially @sgsdean, for their hard work in this process, & their vocal commitment to both the cause of ensuring a living wage for grad students…
Oct 22, 2021 14 tweets 9 min read
Happening now at @STS_vt: @ashleyshoo presenting "Accidental Postphenomenology with Cyborgs."

Doing Disability Studies, Philosophy of Technology, and STS practices, all at once, and it's great @sts_vt @ashleyshoo Postphenomenology holds we can't do phenomenology like we used to. This is because every one of our ways of understanding the world— through instrumentation, scientific and other knowledge practices, &c— and all of our relations to ourselves and others are mediated by tech…
Oct 10, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
A reminder that it's not just Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.

If you build a system around searching, ranking, & prioritization algorithms & reinforcement learning techniques, with weight on sensationalistic "engagement" (TikTok), then you've likely built an outrage machine… And if you take that system & tell it to specifically exclude & down-rank content from, say, LGBTQIA posters or disabled posters, *TIKTOK*, then you have built that system to regard positive LGBTQIA or Disability content as "Bad," & to serve the next nearest "Good" thing it has…
Oct 9, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
This was the worst-case scenario after all the AI & facial recognition moratoria, last year:

That these corps wouldn't actually stop, but would just quietly shuffle the business into the background until it all blew over.

There hasn't been enough fast, sustained public pressure …& there hasn't been enough regulation, & that's because, until VERY recently, there haven't been enough people in positions of real oversight authority to actually enforce real, meaningful change in these companies' operational procedures. Sound familiar?
Oct 8, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
Been working on a piece about AI, algorithms, human values, and regulation, in the context of Facebook for about a month now, since Haugen started leaking.

So here's "I’m Not Afraid of AI Overlords— I’m Afraid of Whoever's Training Them To Think That Way" afutureworththinkingabout.com/?p=5600 (The dopamine hits from Twitter threads are very satisfying, but then same goes for people reading and sharing your longform essays)
Oct 6, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Every factual thing Frances Haugen said this week confirmed what social scientists & tech + humanities scholars have tried to tell you for decades.

The responses by Zuckerberg and LeCun do, too.

These people & corps fundamentally refuse to acknowledge what they don't understand Time to try something different.
Oct 5, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
I know we joke about "The Algorithm," but it's not a unitary thing. Even if we were to credit FB or Twitter with the rise of BLM, on a fundamental, literal level, they're not "the same" algorithms.

The ones that searched, ranked, & populated feeds, back then, have been changed… …and in those multiple changes, since then, facebook has often made it EASIER to spread white nationalist terror or anti-trans hate or misogyny or other violent bigotries, & HARDER to resist those things.

So whether contemporaneous instances, or over time, they're not the same.
Oct 4, 2021 11 tweets 2 min read
Guess that 60 Minutes episode worked. #FacebookDown #WhatsAppDown I say this sincerely: If Facebook self destructs trying to put out a fire the whistleblower herself dampened, it'd be about the funniest thing to happen in the 21st C. I mean "Coyote & Raven Try To Steal The Moon (Instructions Unclear; Dicks Caught In Ceiling Fan)"-level hilarous
Sep 6, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
Hey #DragonCon fam, do me a favour and make sure you get tested ASAP, okay?

You never know who you encounter who might not be as lucky as this person.

#DragonCon2021 Screenshot of text reading ... Even w/o an event like this I hope you were planning on post-show tests & isolating (& I know for a fact some were), due to the fact that even the vaccinated can still catch & transmit covid. Even though it's a MUCH lower likelihood, chances rise when combined w/+50k other people
Sep 6, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Hi new folx. I'm Damien.

I have an MA in Philosophy and Religious Studies, an MS in STS, and am getting a PhD in STS focusing on Algorithms, Values, Bias, Machine Consciousness, Pop Culture, the Occult. I've done work in this space in some way or another for about two decades… I think that Black rights, Women's rights, Disabled rights, Trans rights, Indigenous rights, Sex worker rights, Gay rights, Immigrant rights, Unhoused rights, and things like free food & water & housing & education are all basic human rights, & that this should be uncontroversial
Sep 5, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
This shit is still happening, & it's still happening because you all fundamentally refuse to look at the racist & otherwise bigoted contexts you swim in, which foster the values you imbue into your creations.
"Facebook … AI Labels Black Men As 'Primates'" npr.org/2021/09/04/103… If you want AI's racist, sexist, transphobic, ableist, & otherwise bigoted & oppressive outcomes to stop, then you need to change:

Your training sets;

Your dev teams;

Your managers;

Your CEO's;

Your funding;

Your research questions;

Your aims;

Your Beliefs;

Your Values.
Aug 30, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
So @Facebook's been showing me a lot of right wing dis- & misinformation bullshit from accounts I DO NOT FOLLOW, & i finally realized it's because friends of mine are going into those posts' comments to dunk on them (I even did some myself before I realized what was happening)… So this is me asking you to recognize that, in our algorithmic day and age, this how disinformation spreads:

People will 1st see that someone they know has engaged w/ something, which marks it as a point of interest, & primes them to accept regard that thing as more legitimate…
Aug 2, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
The thing about "apocalypse" is that it means "an unveiling," right? To uncover & reveal.

Thing they never tell is, what's likely revealed is just how much people will refuse to believe the shit that's revealed right in front of their faces, & the extent of purely human horror. Slavery was an apocalypse & it was hell & then it was normal. that it was normal didn't make it not ALSO a hellish apocalypse.

The trail of tears was an apocalypse & it was hell & then indian resettlements & reservations were normal while, again, STILL ALSO hellish apocalypses.
Aug 2, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
August is going to be a terrifying nightmare, & the drive for many of you will be to double down & pretend like it's not happening— CAN'T be happening— but behaving that way will make September into something you can't even imagine.

Stop. Stop it now, & we CAN pull up from this. It is not inevitable, but it is predictable, and we CAN alter course.

Yes we fucking can.

We just have to DO it
Jul 25, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
If the past several years have taught me anything, it's that a large number of y'all would literally clamour for a "better" spot in line to get paperclip maximized Real hard to have a conversation about how to build other systems of relational value and compassionate understanding with a critical mass of the population actively trying to sell us the idea that "what if grinding yourself to paste for someone else's profit is GOOD actually?"…
Jul 18, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
Here's a thread of writing from this week on values in space: From @RocketToLulu, here's "The Freedom Theater of Billionaires in Space"
Jul 17, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
Just finished a re-read of Virtual Light, so now I'm gonna rewatch demolition man for the first time in… Well. Many years.

Two different-but-similar* visions of the late 90's and early-to-mid 21st century, both released in 1993.

[*"Bridge-And-Tunnel Crowd" joke goes here.] You can read Demolition Man's version of 2032 LA as a Bridge Trilogy elseworlds. Like a "What If… Team Idoru Had Failed?" kind of thing