Low volume (but high quality) today. Still struggling to recover from vacation and a dead Dell.
Making the Rounds on
The chances of side effects or accidents are so unbelievably small that it's completely absurd to not get one already. Quit being selfish, quit arguing online and go purchase a gun for crying out loud!— Julian Acciard (@acciard2022) August 7, 2021
Can't argue with that. The Science is Settled, bitches.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, But…
The Heritage folks have released their latest
Index of Economic Freedom.
And the news is not that great for Americans.
The United States’ economic freedom score is 74.8, making its economy the 20th freest in the 2021 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 1.8 points, primarily because of a decline in fiscal health. The United States is ranked 3rd among 32 countries in the Americas region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages.
The United States received its lowest score and lowest ranking ever in the Index, although it remains “mostly free.” The major obstacles to greater economic freedom in the United States continue to be excessive government spending, unsustainable levels of debt, and intrusive regulation of the health care and financial sectors.
If you want to get really depressed by our #20 scoring, just look at the countries that are beating us. The freakin' United Kingdom is in seventh place! Making me ask the question: just why did we do that whole American Revolution thing anyway?
Our Stupid Article du Jour is from (as usual) WIRED. Which is, for some reason,
upset with AI that works:
These Algorithms Look at X-Rays—and Somehow Detect Your Race.
Millions of dollars are being spent to develop artificial intelligence software that reads x-rays and other medical scans in hopes it can spot things doctors look for but sometimes miss, such as lung cancers. A new study reports that these algorithms can also see something doctors don’t look for on such scans: a patient’s race.
The study authors and other medical AI experts say the results make it more crucial than ever to check that health algorithms perform fairly on people with different racial identities. Complicating that task: The authors themselves aren’t sure what cues the algorithms they created use to predict a person’s race.
The rap on AI algorithms in the past was that they were trained on biased samples, for example, facial recognition with too few African faces. But that's not the problem here:
Radiologists don’t generally consider a person’s racial identity—which is not a biological category—to be visible on scans that look beneath the skin. Yet the algorithms somehow proved capable of accurately detecting it for all three racial groups, and across different views of the body.
For most types of scan, the algorithms could correctly identify which of two images was from a Black person more than 90 percent of the time. Even the worst performing algorithm succeeded 80 percent of the time; the best was 99 percent correct. The results and associated code were posted online late last month by a group of more than 20 researchers with expertise in medicine and machine learning, but the study has not yet been peer reviewed.
The results have spurred new concerns that AI software can amplify inequality in health care, where studies show Black patients and other marginalized racial groups often receive inferior care compared to wealthy or white people.
The gripes, as you might expect from a totally-woke WIRED, are incoherent and highly speculative. Somehow racial bias is so ingrained in the medical community that AI accuracy can trigger disparate treatment.
Or something. If you can pull any non-garbage lessons out of the article, let me know.