These posts are going to take you through the events panels and speakers, and the topics they cover, one by one, and…. bit by bit.
I just had to take a couple days and figure out a way to present this stuff in an organized fashion – I’ve started an INDEX HERE.
The idea is not only to have clear indexes everywhere, so you can’t possibly miss anything. But also to have all the content properly tagged and described so you can just skip over the parts you don’t need right now (but may need later)!
OR – and here’s the thing: more importantly, if you are running a company or organization, you can get the information you need to the right person – quickly, by simply sharing on of these lovely URLs that will contain 1) link to video clip 2) full or partial transcription 3) updates on the project and anything else that’s important to know (since the hackathon happened on November 4-5, 2017).
This year’s program turned out to be so amazing! People flew in from all over the world. I felt a strong wave of cautious optimism that we may have finally taken the first positive step towards “fixing stuff.”
Everybody that participated really gave their all and polished their projects down to the last detail.
Alas, the webcast could have been better and I’m really sorry for that. It was a combination of factors and I’m actually going to write about it because I think what I learned might help other beginners. But the most important thing is that I will make up for it by making all the clips available – on both the Internet Archive and YouTube.
There are so many clips and we are just generating them and uploading them as fast as we can. Sorry for the hold up :) !
1 – 2 pm EFF/Let’s Encrypt Lead Developer Jacob Hoffman-Andrews w audience Q and A
2 – 3 pm Pursuance Advanced Tech (w Q and A) – Steve Phillips and Barrett Brown
Sunday Nov 5:
3:10 pm: Matteo Borri – RobotsEverywhere.com – Beyond 3d printing: how desktop manufacturing continues to evolve
Matteo has been a friend and contributor to many of my projects since 2008. He’s been telling me a lot about his latest projects: building a chlorophyll detector for a future NASA Mars Rover, and refining his 3-D printing skills to the point where he is creating his own stronger filaments by adding graphite to common printing material. He’s been teaching robotics and 3-D printing to all the kids in his neighborhood, and he makes complex scientific concepts fun and easy to understand. He readily shares all of his knowledge and open sources all of his designs, and I’ve been wanting to introduce him to this community for quite some time. Don’t miss this talk. :-)
3:30 pm: Lisa Rein and Austin Hartzheim – Twitter verified follower scraper
Until I finally launched the website for Chelsea’s commutation campaign, Twitter was all Chelsea and I had to get her messages out to the world. I worked with Austin to develop a tool that used the Twitter API to download all of a persons followers, filter out the verifieds, and throw it in a spreadsheet, that I could then sort by follower count, to see what news agencies and famous people were following us, so I could reach out to them. We hit a few limitations with Twitter’s API that we created workarounds for . We are making the code available today for anyone to use.
Welcome to the Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon Weekend. This year you get to see the whole thing LIVE!
(TICKETS are still available for the live event! Several promo codes available.)
We have set up some video channels to allow remote folks to
participate in hacking in our groups.
On Sunday, we’ll have a webcams on (and only pointed in a very specific direction – so those of you that don’t want to be on camera will not be, ever!).
These channels will provide instruction in the beginning – at the beginning (as instruction / background is given, on Sunday morning).
Not even all of the folks giving lightning talks will be on camera! That’s fine, as it’s completely up to you, how much of your identity and your personal information you wish to volunteer. You don’t have to tell us your life story to log in and start hacking on our projects. We just want to work with you.
On Sunday, some lightning talks will be broadcast, although some will just have slides and audio, for speaker privacy. Some folks will want to go up on stage to give their lightning talk, while others may want to be off camera and/or presenting from where they are seated. Again, we are trying to accommodate everyone. A lot of people appreciate getting the hackathon feeds, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to put their own face out to the whole friggin world, and so we just wanted to make it clear that we are NOT asking you to do anything like that. This is so you can collaborate with those that want to, privately.
Date: November 4, 2017 Time: 10:00 am-6:00 pm Contact: Tarek Nasr – firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: The Planet
9 Gamal Eldin Kholousy
off Shahin, Agouza
ASD: Tell us about “The Planet” hackerspace.
TN: Ok so, within ThePlanet, we have 10 of our core team members. We all met during our #Jan25 revolution in Egypt. We were all active in terms of taking the streets, organizing online, creating digital content around the protests and organizing to get activists out of jail.
For example, we played a big role in the online movement around the #FreeAJStaff campaign, when 3 of their journalists were arrested in Egypt ,that ultimately helped in getting them released.
ASD: How are you able to be activists in Egypt, with so much at stake, should you offend the wrong person?
TN: We have decreased activity significantly. There is no way to do so, to be honest.
ASD:As far as I can tell, you are already taking a risk even existing. Is that correct, to a certain extent? Or would you say that that is an exaggeration?
TN: It is not an exaggeration at all.
ASD: Can you talk about any more specifics with regard to the #FreeAJStaff campaign?
TN: Yes, if you recall, 3 journalists were arrested from AJ in what is referred to locally as the “Marriot Cell.” 2 journalists were foreigners and the 3rd was Egyptian. Local + international media only focused on the 2 foreign journalists, and all campaigns encapsulated the 2 foreigners, and their governments (Australia and Canada) worked tirelessly to get them out.
We put together an online campaign aiming to get the 3rd (Egyptian) journalist included within the narrative so he could benefit indirectly from the buzz foreign governments and news outlets were making around the case. We quickly (within days) reached tens of thousands online and began being approached by international news outlets, including the BBC,that began to ask us about the 3rd journalist. We acted as his voice to the world, and ultimately were successful in including him in the global and local narrative, which forced the hand of the government to release him when they released the 2nd foreign journalist.
ASD: So you decided that you worked well together, and formed “The Planet?”
TN: Yes, we started the business before the revolution and found ourselves and formed bonds during the revolution.
ASD: How did you guys hear about the hackathon and Aaron? Is there anything in particular. A personal story or something that resonated with one or all of you that led you to want to participate this year?
TN: For me Aaron is my role model. He could have just focused on making money, but he wanted to make sure he added true value, tried to make the world a better place and essentially gave his life for what he believed in. I was first introduced to him 2-3 years ago, when I came across the documentary, and was absolutely shocked. I’ve been spreading “the gospel” ever since.
ASD: Is open source software popular in Egypt?
TN: Within a niche techie community, yes it is. The majority of developers here utilize open source technologies for work and personal projects. Most of the web market in Egypt is based on open source software and technologies. For example, WordPress, Drupal, Magento (needs licence), PHP (lalavel), Python (django), and js (node.js-angular.js).
ASD: What is licensing like for software in Egypt? Are you able to sell your software creations to the global market?
ASD: Are the app stores pretty much centralized, so it doesn’t matter where the actual software is being created?
ASD: Are young and independent developers being exploited in Egypt with this “gig economy” like they are here in the US? (Underpaid generally, no health benefits.)
TN: In Egypt they are actually thriving, because the gig economy pays in USD and the exchange rate is so high, they can make a killing, on Upwork for example, and only need to work two weeks a month.
Aaron Swartz once published a blog post entitled “Squaring the Triangle“, hypothesizing that a blockchain could be used to create a name system that had secure, decentralized, and human-readable names, thus “squaring” Zooko’s Triangle.
Since that post was published, numerous blockchain name systems have been developed, putting Aaron’s idea into practice. This talk will give a brief overview of the most popular blockchain name systems* in production and show some of their applications.
Namecoin was the first fork of Bitcoin and still is one of the most innovative “altcoins”. It was first to implement merged mining and a decentralized DNS. Namecoin was also the first solution to Zooko’s Triangle, the long-standing problem of producing a naming system that is simultaneously secure, decentralized, and human-meaningful.
Blockstack is a new internet for decentralized apps where users own their data. With Blockstack, users get digital keys that let them own their identity. They sign in to apps locally without remote servers or identity providers.
ENS offers a secure and decentralised way to address resources both on and off the blockchain using simple, human-readable names. ENS is built on smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning it doesn’t suffer from the insecurity of the DNS system. You can be confident names you enter work the way their owner intended.
Technology Track – Ethical Algorithms 2:00 – 2:45 pm – Ethical Algorithms Panel – w/Q and A. Kristian Lum (Human Rights Data Analysis Group – HRDAG) As the Lead Statistician at HRDAG, Kristian’s research focus has been on furthering HRDAG’s statistical methodology (population estimation or multiple systems estimation—with a particular emphasis on Bayesian methods and model averaging). Caroline Sinders (Wikimedia Foundation) – Caroline uses machine learning to address online harassment at Wikimedia, and before that, she helped design and market IBM’s Watson. Caroline was also just named as one of Forbes’ “8 AI Designers You Need to Know.”Plus Special guests TBA
About the Ethical Algorithms Panel and Technology Track by Lisa Rein, Co-founder, Aaron Swartz Day
I created this track based on my phone conversations with Chelsea Manning on this topic.
Chelsea was an Intelligence Analyst for the Army and used algorithms in the day to day duties of her job. She and I have been discussing algorithms, and their ethical implications, since the very first day we spoke on the phone, back in October 2015.
“The consequences of our being subjected to constant algorithmic scrutiny are often unclear… algorithms are already analyzing social media habits, determining credit worthiness, deciding which job candidates get called in for an interview and judging whether criminal defendants should be released on bail. Other machine-learning systems use automated facial analysis to detect and track emotions, or claim the ability to predict whether someone will become a criminal based only on their facial features. These systems leave no room for humanity, yet they define our daily lives.”
A few weeks later, in December, I went to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) holiday party, and met HRDAG’s Executive Director, Megan Price. She explained a great deal to me about the predictive software used by the Chicago police, and how it was predicting crime in the wrong neighborhoods based on the biased data it was getting from meatspace. Meaning, the data itself was “good” in that it was accurate, but unfortunately, the actual less-than-desirable behavior by the Chicago PD was being used as a guide for sending officers out into the field. Basically the existing bad behavior of the Chicago PD was being used to assign future behavior.
This came as a revelation to me. Here we have a chance to stop the cycle of bad behavior, by using technology to predict where the next real crime may occur, but instead, we have chosen to memorialize the faulty techniques used in the past into software, to be used forever.
I have gradually come to understand that, although these algorithms are being used in all aspects of our lives, it is not often clear how or why they are working. Now, it has become clear that they can develop their own biases, based on the data they have been given to “learn” from. Often the origin of that “learning data” is not shared with the public.
I’m not saying that we have to understand how exactly every useful algorithm works; which I understand would be next to impossible, but I’m not sure a completely “black box” approach is best at least when the public, public data, and public safety are involved. (Thomas Hargrove’s Murder Accountability Project‘s “open” database is one example of a transparent approach that seems to be doing good things.)
There also appears to be a disconnect with law enforcement, while some precincts seem to be content to rely on on technology for direction, for better or worse, such as the predictive software used by the Chicago Police Department. In other situations, such Thomas Hargrove’s, “Murder Accountability Project” (featured in the article Murder He Calculated) technologists are having a hard time getting law enforcement to take these tools seriously. Even when these tools appear to have the potential to find killers, there appear to be numerous invisible hurdles in the way of any kind of a timely implementation. Even for these “life and death” cases, Hargrove has had a very hard time getting anyone to listen to him.
So, how do we convince law enforcement to do more with some data while we are, at the same time, concerned about the oversharing other forms of public data?
I find myself wondering what can even be done, if simple requests such as “make the NCIC database’s data for unsolved killings searchable” seem to be falling on deaf ears.
I am hoping to have some actual action items that can be followed up on in the months to come, as a result of this panel.
Saturday, November 4, 2017 2:00 – 2:45 pm – Ethical Algorithms Panel – w/Q and A. Kristian Lum (Human Rights Data Analysis Group – HRDAG) As the Lead Statistician at HRDAG, Kristian’s research focus has been on furthering HRDAG’s statistical methodology (population estimation or multiple systems estimation—with a particular emphasis on Bayesian methods and model averaging). Caroline Sinders (Wikimedia Foundation) – Caroline uses machine learning to address online harassment at Wikimedia, and before that, she helped design and market IBM’s Watson. Caroline was also just named as one of Forbes’ “8 AI Designers You Need to Know.” Plus Special guests TBA
Our lightning talks are only 20 minutes in length, and usually focus on working code – or often, a collection of working implementations that someone has done over time.
These are very advanced, not general in scope, and implementation-oriented. Additionally, the goal is to feature projects that represent our community’s ideals.
Saturday Lightning talks are meant to explain potential hackathon projects.
Sunday talks are to present work done on projects over the weekend.
Think of a topic this way:
What is the exact problem space?
– How do you plan to fix it?
– How is this idea different than other ideas for fixing that problem?
– How have you *implemented* your idea? preferably with at least on screen code, if not working code?