Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Looking glass factory.

I first started watching this company at the beginning  of the year when Mr S. got to play with one. They are out with a larger model at CES. You should check out their twitter feed because this little company is pretty scrappy.


  1. Meanwhile, back in the Serene and Glorious People's Republic of California ...

    Mike Rowe for California Governator in 2022: It's probably the least stupid option.

    I was hoping for a new season of "Dirty Jobs", but a several year run of a new show in Sacramento would be a huge surprise. :-)

  2. All Airbnb had to do was to not be creepy, but Airbnb's AI tries to identify "psychopaths" using techniques that border on psychopathy.

    We always had a "never hire people who worked for creepy companies" policy.

    Besides, once someone's worked for one of those kinds of companies, they've become institutionalized to such an extent that they couldn't do much to help out a startup unless they create one of their own.

    And even then, look at what happens.

    You asked a question a while back about China and drones.

    I'll give you part of an answer once you're done enjoying CES.

    It's not at all a technology answer -- in fact, it's a history answer, a bit of history most people in America aren't at all aware of aside from a few people who tend to have academic ties who have studied it.

    I can even promise a conceptual tie-in with The Former Top Gear Trio's latest thing called "Seamen" ... :-)

  3. I saw that story too. I think it might be a phony media story. What does Airbnb care if someone is a psychopath as long as they pay the rent and don't eff shit up? But I guess people think A.I. can do everything these days. Even if I was sure they were using this technology - what are they going to do with it? Not rent a place to you? It just seems like this is too expensive of a product for such a meager result. Your telling me they are deploying this to deny renting a place to - I don't know - how many psychopaths in a million people. .00001%. Ridiculous! This has to be phony. I doubt if they could even use this to weed out people with a criminal record. AND THAT'S EFFING EASY! Tons of people have criminal records these days.

  4. "... how many psychopaths in a million people ..."

    It's actually a lot -- you'll be surprised how many it is.

    The numbers vary a bit according to the source, but I'm willing to believe 3% to 5% sociopaths and 1% psychopaths are relatively conservative numbers. Put that first range in the middle at 4%, making 5% total, and you have roughly sixteen million sociopaths and psychopaths in the US alone.

    Even if you limit this to only psychopaths, that's still a bit over three million of them in the US.

    That's why there are so many books out there about psycho exes and all of that kind of crazy drama.

    But even with that exposure, many people just want to wish the problem away.

    A BBC News piece on some guy who was convicted of raping an unbelievable number of men, the UK's worst case ever.

    Just looking at this guy really creeps me out -- he sets off all kinds of warnings just looking at him.

    Some of the stories in print that I've read about this guy include that he was running some sort of "guest stay" thing, and so although some news stories are trying to conflate this with opportunistic Manchester "nightclub life" behavior, the established pattern is pretty much Psychopath Central.

    It's only been a few days since the verdict came in, but I had trouble with search engines wanting to show results for this bit of news. (DuckDuckGo wanted to show me a story about a man impregnating a chimpanzee before those results, as if that wasn't totally inappropriate in that context.)

    I can see why Airbnb wants to develop this AI because every bad news story like this one makes people not want to use Airbnb ...

    That still doesn't excuse the creepy analytics.

    I've had to provide a copy of my police record in order to apply for a residence permit and to rent an apartment. It's not all that unusual outside the US.

    Here in the US, you "register with the police" at the DMV by giving them your residence address, but in some countries, you actually register with the police at the police station.

    If I actually do decide on a place in France, I will have to go down to the police station with an apostilled copy of my US police report and register with the local gendarmes.

    And as far as it being an expensive product, yes, that's true, but just look at what one psychopath in the UK managed to do in a place as large as Manchester. (Estimated number in the UK: roughly 630k, estimated number in Manchester: roughly 5500.)

    So I don't think this is phony at all.

    But it's still creepy as hell, and I have to wonder why Airbnb can't stop being passive-aggressive and actually demand police reports if they're in doubt.

    This AI just reeks of passive-aggressive gate keeping, which is why this creeps me out even more.

    You remember when restaurants often had signs that said "WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE"?

    Airbnb won't let me sign up anyway because I don't have social media accounts.

    That's not a problem for me because I WANT ROOM SERVICE and I prefer hotels anyway. :-)

    But still, all they have to do is to not be creepy.

  5. I think your numbers are a little suspect there. That would mean that 1 in every 25 people is a psychopath. Now, I have a whole host of issues with people, but I don't believe 1 in 25 is a psychopaths. At least not a dangerous one.

    Plus, why would you go through all the trouble to leave paper trail like that? Seems like an expensive way to prey one people.

    I don't know what your circumstance is with airbnb, but you can sign up with them without an internet presence. Now I'm wondering if -you- are the psychopath. LOL

  6. Capital of Texas RefugeeSunday, January 12, 2020 7:26:00 PM

    Maybe this has changed since I made an effort to try signing up several years ago, but Doc Searls talks about some of the crap Airbnb was pulling around that time with some reader comments to back him up.

    I sent Airbnb a copy of my police report, a copy of my passport and driver's license ... didn't matter because they wanted to see Facebook, Linkedin, etc., as if that'd actually matter given how much real-world stuff I'd sent them.

    Airbnb sounded like an interesting variation on B&B stays, but with that much crap to wade through, it wasn't so interesting that I'd want to bother.

    Demanding that I go through more procedural and paperwork shit than it takes to rent an apartment in Sweden? Yeah, that's my beef with Airbnb, for wasting my time.

    Now Airbnb asks for your SSN, so if their database gets hacked, now there's one-stop shopping for your SSN, some of your IDs, your mother's maiden name, your matching online accounts, etc.

    HOW CONVENIENT! (If you're a crook, that is.)

    But it must be a Bay Area thing to behave this way ...


    Yes, that totally had to happen eventually.

    Because it must be a Bay Area thing to behave this way!

    *fingers pointing at YOU*

    All you had to do was ... uh, yeah. :-)