Blog Posts for 2021
According to its founder, Wikipedia is not relying on artificial intelligence to check its community-created content for bias.
A 2013 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Jimmy Wales is the founder of Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Wales acknowledged that while artificial intelligence training often picks up human biases in other areas, those efforts are not being pursued at Wikipedia when it comes to editing.
“In terms of us using AI, like right now, it's very minimal,” he said. “We have a tool that through machine learning looks at incoming edits to try to identify problematic edits. But that's in a very, very crude and simple fashion. It's pretty good at identifying things like, someone has replaced the entire article with one-word... deep learning tells you that's going to get reverted very...
The human network continues to be a surprise for Adiel Akplogan.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Akplogan helped establish Togo’s first TCP/IP connection in the mid 1990s. He also helped define the Internet development strategy for several African countries, including Guinea, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso as a member of the technical advisory group for the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa.
Despite his work facilitating Internet access for so many diverse countries, Akplogan said in a recent video interview that the growth over the years of the Internet’s social aspect has truly surprised him.
“The speed at which the evolution of innovation has spread has impressed me and continues to do so,” he said. “Everywhere in the world, you’ll see the same kind of service, especially the social service. The social aspect of the Internet is what has made it go ‘boom.’”
Larry Irving still just wants everyone to have equal access to the Internet.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Irving served for seven years as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, becoming one of the main architects of telecommunications policy in the Clinton White House.
“There are 5 million rural American households that don’t have broadband,” he said. “There are 15 million urban American households that don’t have Internet. Yet all the focus at the FCC seems to be on the 5 million rural and not the 15 million urban and suburban (households).”
The digital divide may have existed before the pandemic but the COVID-19 environment has exacerbated the issue, mainly for low-income households and people of color.
School shutdowns led to more Black, Hispanic, and low-income students dropping out, losing up to a year of learning. Additionally, “over a third of low-income households with school-aged children don’t have Internet at home, with Black and Hispanic teens least likely to have access.”
The shift to remote work and school also made these disparities more urgent. “Jobs incompatible with telecommuting were hardest hit by the recession” and students who didn’t have Internet at home were forced to use WiFi in a McDonald’s parking lot when libraries with free WiFi were closed to the public.
The Biden administration recently proposed a $100 billion plan to close the digital divide and connect every American to broadband over the next eight years.
One might be forgiven for thinking that, as a boy, Doug Comer had little chance of becoming one of the world’s premier experts in computer networks and a renowned university teacher.
The son of a welder father and an elementary school teacher mother, Comer grew up in farm country, near the town of Vineland in southern New Jersey, in a family where “having an education” meant graduating high school.
But Comer possessed a native curiosity about the mechanics of things that, combined with inspiring high school classes in physics and mathematics, gave birth to an early and abiding passion for math and science.
“I liked to see how things worked,” he said in a video interview. “I wanted to know what was inside, what made them tick.”
His curiosity led to simple carpentry and basic machinery, then quickly evolved into an interest in electronics.
“You know, it was the typical blue collar stuff, and it was fun,” Comer said.
“By the time I got to high school I had sort of understood electricity -- how to wire up lamps and do house wiring and things like that.
“My parents didn't have a lot of money so I didn't buy a lot of...