TechPlus+ | Technology & Development Redux

  • Cabbies in Mexico City and Beyond – II

    Cabbies in Mexico City and Beyond – II

    Locals loudly complain about traffic in Mexico City, especially during peak hours. That is also less than ideal for app-driven cabbies. However, I usually tell both cohorts that, comparatively speaking, traffic in the City is not that bad. The situation in other large cities in the Global South I have visited is much worse. In…

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  • Cabbies in Mexico City and Beyond

    Cabbies in Mexico City and Beyond

    Almost two decades ago, an army of green VW Beetles operating as taxis swarmed Mexico City like an ant colony in permanent search of the next meal—except cab drivers were not working in teams but rather competing intensively to get the next customer. Estimates suggest that half of the almost 100k taxis endlessly circulating the…

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  • AI’s Solo Learning

    AI’s Solo Learning

    From a philosophical perspective, the schism between symbolic and connectionist AI boils down to a question of epistemology, which, in turn, triggers additional ontological and ethical differences between the two—as mentioned in my previous post. How a computational agent learns is thus at the core of such a discord. Today, connectionist AI rules the world…

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  • AI Philosophy

    AI Philosophy

    That Neural Networks (NNs) are the most successful AI in history is indisputable. Large Language Models (LLMs) resounding success has made that much more evident and incontrovertible. Curiously, most people do not seem to remember that NNs predated the term “Artificial Intelligence” by over a decade. Indeed, in 1943, a neuroscientist and a mathematician joined…

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  • AI Typology

    AI Typology

    While researching the deployment of artificial intelligence within the public sector, I encountered a limited number of precious case studies that poked a bit deeper into the benefits and risks of such a move . For the most part, that set of studies focused on public service provision, while a few explored AI’s institutional impact…

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  • Major Minor Metals

    Major Minor Metals

    Even though it could not be avoided, I still daydreamed about skipping it. I was getting ready to start my last two years of high school, and the curriculum pinpointed chemistry and physics as my tallest hurdles ahead. If I had a choice, I would have opted for physics as I was already familiar with…

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  • AI and ICTs

    AI and ICTs

    Is AI an ICT? It sounds like a straightforward question. But before we dive into those seemingly shallow waters, let us tackle acronym abuse. I hope to use four consistently: AI (Artificial Intelligence), Gen AI (Generative AI), IT (Information Technology), and ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) – while adding a few more along the way.…

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  • Generative AI (GenAI) in the Public Sector

    Generative AI (GenAI) in the Public Sector

    It was a last-minute decision. The annual New York Film Festival was underway, and I had carefully studied its lineup. My list had four options: 1. Must see. 2. Should see. 3. See some time later on. And 4. Not really interested. The film playing that day was part of the second set. Sixty minutes…

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  • Regulating AI

    Regulating AI

    The EU’s December agreement on legislation tackling AI deployment and use in the Union and beyond is yet more evidence of its global leadership in the area of digital technology regulation . A few weeks before the epic event, heavy lobbying by the usual suspects had placed the legislation’s future on the line . Generative…

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  • Decolonizing AI

    Decolonizing AI

    Just like the Internet, the origins of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are linked to wars and ensuing military operations. In this case, WWII was the critical catalyst in supporting the research efforts of early pioneers such as Turing, Shannon and Wiener. Building on Turing’s theory of computation and recent developments in mathematical modeling,  two academic researchers…

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  • Best Films – 2023

    Best Films – 2023

    This was a blockbuster year for two non-competing films launched almost simultaneously. Even my favorite art house joint fell for them, no questions asked. One dealt with a skinny doll and was financed by the large corporation that makes such toys, now including all colors and sizes, of course. Sadly, many white feminists decided the…

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  • Regulating Digital Platforms – IV

    Regulating Digital Platforms – IV

    That the EU is well ahead of the rest of the world regarding digital technology regulation is not under dispute . The recent agreement on AI regulation provides further evidence of its leadership . A more interesting question is why the Union has not been able to give birth to digital platforms and companies that…

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  • Regulating Digital Platforms – III

    Regulating Digital Platforms – III

    Digital platforms are a particular case of the broader platform category and thus have distinct characteristics. At the same time, they come in different forms and shapes. Putting them into a single box is not a piece of cake. Indeed, the devil is in the details. That is undoubtedly a challenge for policymakers and regulators.…

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  • Regulating Digital Platforms – II

    Regulating Digital Platforms – II

    As suggested in the first part of this post, not all platforms are digital. In fact, analog platforms are the older siblings. Its digital counterparts are undoubtedly distinct, their calling card usually being their multisided nature – operating in more than one two-sided market. However, analog multisided platforms have also existed for a long time…

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  • Regulating Digital Platforms – I

    Regulating Digital Platforms – I

    By all accounts, the regulatory tide, constantly receding for so many years, is finally returning to the digital realm’s now extensive and arid shores . Indeed, digital platforms are now under the policy microscope, especially the well-known global giants whose names I do not need to echo here. These behemoths are carrying the day with…

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