Requests for Articles: a Call on AI Experts and Communicators
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Requests for Articles: a Call on AI Experts and Communicators

Skynet Today is seeking contributors for new briefs and editorials!

Requests for Articles: a Call on AI Experts and Communicators

Skynet Today’s mission is to make the state of AI – as well how it got here and where we can foresee it going – clear to the general public 1. We primarily do so by providing a platform for those with expertise in AI (such as AI researchers, engineers, and students) to write and publish well informed articles that discuss new stories or ongoing trends to clarify what is fact and what is fiction, and generally provide their perspective for those with less expertise on the subject.

To make joining out effort, we decided to put out this set of suggestions on topics we think merit new articles. If you’re interested in helping us with our mission by writing an article on any of these prompts or other topics relevant to AI, feel free to reach out to us at editorials@skynettoday.com or just fill out our survey at the bottom of this article!

Briefs

Concise yet thorough articles that summarize and comment on an important recent news story or new topic in AI.

  1. Deep Fakes - While the increasing realism of neural-network generated images, videos, and audio have legitimately productive use cases (e.g. computer-aided art creation), their more alarming applications in creating real-looking fake videos and pictures are worrisome to many. Write a brief to explain what deep fakes are, their applications and media reception, and summarize what experts say about their impacts in the immediate future.
  2. AI Business and Startups - With DeepMind losing more than half a billion dollars the past year, OpenAI recently becoming for-profit, ostensibly to raise more money, and many “AI-powered” startups actually using humans to power their applications, it may be natural to question the value and role AI plays in AI businesses and startups. Write a brief that reviews recent news related to this area and comment on what expectations are realistic for new startups in the AI space.
  3. AI and the Military - AI is considered to be a “dual-use” technology, where the same underlying techniques can be applied to both civilian and military ends. Some are concerned about an AI arms race in the defense industry, while others are worried about autonomous killing machines being deployed without human supervision. Write a brief that explains the current state of military AI applications including beyond just robotics, what about them is genuinely of concern, and what is actually just hype and fearmongering.
  4. The State of Facial Supervision Databases - The New York Times recently had an eerily titled piece: “Facial Recognition Tech Is Growing Stronger, Thanks to Your Face”. The idea of algorithms that can recognize you is unnerving enough, and it gets all the more uncomfotable when it’s also revealed that the US government has used this technology and that some companies are mining data from the general public without asking for peoples’ permissions. Write a brief that reviews the state of facial recognition datasets, algorithms, and uses so far and where we can see things heading.
  5. On Celebrity Opinions About the Dangers of AI - An interesting aspect of public discourse about AI is that the comments that get the most media attention often come from famous and smart people who do not any deep expertise in the field of AI research. In particular, comments from people such as Stethen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates about the dangers AI may pose in the future have gotten much attention in the past decade. Write a brief conveying the existence of this trend, evaluating the comments that have gotten attention and their validity, and the AI research community’s take on this.

Editorials

Longer and more in-depth pieces that are more opinionated and less news-specific

  1. AI in Media and the Public - The American public both expects and is afraid of big AI advancements in the next decade. This is in no small part due to exaggerated media coverage that is often disconnected from reality. Write an editorial that examines the relationship between media coverage and public perception of AI and explain what about AI is perceived correctly, and what is not.
  2. The Meaning of “AI” - Recent years have seen countless headlines containing the word “AI” while their contents actually refer to relatively trivial ML or statistic techniques. Many such coverage seem to imply that AI is a single, magical entity that just keeps on amassing capabilities. This is misleading, and the view that “AI is whatever that hasn’t been done” isn’t exactly helpful either. Write an editorial to review the usage of the word “AI” in recent media and propose guidelines on when and how “AI” should be used to alleviate inaccurate perception of AI2.
  3. Understanding AI Exponentialism - Amara’s law states that “we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” There are many such misconceptions about evaluating the growth of AI capabilities in the short and long term, which is problematic for constructing realistic expectations for future AI. In particular, in his piece “The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions” Rodney Brook has argued that many who argue that human-level general AI may be coming soon do so because they have a case of “exponentialism” – a belief that AI is progressing at an exponential pace as computers have been for decades. Write an editorial to discuss the case (or the lack thereof) for exponential growth in AI development and comment on helpful ways of thinking about the speed of AI development in the near future.

These are just some of our ideas, but editorials are really all about the author providing their view or compiling an in-depth summary on a topic they know well or want to learn about. So get in touch with us with your ideas!

How to get in touch

If you’re interested in helping us with our mission by writing an article on any of these prompts or other topics relevant to AI, feel free to reach out to us at editorials@skynettoday.com or just fill out our survey at the bottom of this article!

  1. In fact, our name is a reference to the incorrect fear of something like Skynet being possible in the present day or near future, and of misleading press coverage that sometimes makes it seem like that is the case. 

  2. For instance, is ‘An AI learned’ appropriate, or should this be written as ‘An AI algorithm was made to’ better. 

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