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5 extremely random groups to help with this


Mathematicians refuse to work with the police

Many groups like Hollywood, professional athletes and … mathematicians separate from the police? Surprisingly, mathematicians work a lot with the police and help them with things like data work and statistical modeling. And many of them are absolutely done with it. 1,500 nuts (or “Numbnuts” as they call themselves) signed an open letter asking mathematicians to stop working with the police to investigate algorithms that directly affect people’s lives (e.g. B. facial recognition systems), and ethical data design science courses.

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The letter is particularly against “predictive policing”. It’s like the crime department Minority report, but much less cool: only statistics are used to predict where crimes will take place next, based on where they have happened so far. By predicting crime, law enforcement officers can deploy it there so it is quickly available, the theory goes. In practice, however, any system that makes predictions based on this arrest data will target innocent BIPOC and fire white criminals because police officers largely arrest people of color. This is one of the reasons why Tarik Aougab, a mathematics professor at Haverford College who wrote the letter, said: “Working with the police in every function contributes to the violence and oppression of the white Supremacists.” And you know things are pretty serious when even mathematicians say that.

The letter also takes seriously the need to ensure that mathematical models that affect people’s lives are constructed ethically. It calls for public reviews of algorithms that, for example, hire employees, convict convicts or identify criminals (with facial recognition) – all of which are criticized as biased and inaccurate. It is also emphasized that data science courses should teach students about the ethics of using various mathematical and statistical tools (for example, this is very common in biology or engineering, but not in mathematics). All in all, the letter writers say: The answers you get from applied math depend on the assumptions you start with, and they are not necessarily “pure” or “objective”.

The whole thing also found broad support in mathematics. It was signed by mathematicians who work in both science and business and is published in the American Mathematical Society’s Notices. Do not hesitate to give the next mathematician you meet the secret nod of resistance (social distancing).


Dark web criminals refuse to benefit from the pandemic

If you’ve heard of the dark web, you might think of it as a miserable beehive of scum and villainy. And that’s right – after all, it’s designed as a place where basically nobody can trace your true identity, so criminals use it all the time. But apparently even criminals have a conscience, at least when a major global pandemic occurs.

For example, in some forums about buying and selling stolen website accounts, people have asked each other to take care of their older family members and have expressed solidarity with the Italians (“It’s the United States, Mario!”). And in another criminal forum, when a Rando asked for advice on how best to take advantage of people in all of this, others asked him not to (it is unclear whether this awakened his conscience).

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