Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Peek Behind the Curtain

Photo by Nick Lockey

This essay in Forbes, Today’s Deep Learning Is Like Magic – In All The Wrong Ways, is making the blog rounds and for a good reason — it’s a quick distillation of some essential truths about “AI” aka “Deep Learning” that the public needs to hear.

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Video of Panel on “Regulating Safety and Quality” of Medical AI

Recently (June 1, 2019), I participated in a conference on AI & Medicine called Machine M.D.  The organizers at the University of Ottawa have posted video from the event, so here’s Panel #1 on “Regulating Safety and Quality“.  I was the first speaker, early in the morning…

Posted in AI, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

Note to Self: Enable DNS over HTTPS on Firefox

How to enable DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) in Firefox. Hope it plays nice with VPN…

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Almost as Good as ‘No Vehicles in the Park’

‘No Vehicles in the Park’ is the basis of one of the great teaching texts for jurisprudence. HLA Hart famously asked,

A legal rule forbids you to take a vehicle into the public park. Plainly this forbids an automobile, but what about bicycles, roller skates, toy automobiles? What about airplanes? Are these, as we say, to be called “vehicles” for the purpose of the rule or not?’

Believe me, any law professor can fill two hours running hypotheticals off this. There us even the occasional real-life case.

Comes now, however, the Nevada Highway Patrol, in the person of Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Smaka, who pulled over a vehicle in an HOV lane (not a park) that appeared to have only one occupant — only to be told by the driver that there was in fact another “occupant” in the vehicle: the corpse he was transporting. Trooper Smaka was unpersuaded, but he let the driver off with a warning. (See Police: No, a corpse doesn’t count toward the HOV lane passenger minimum for details.)

So, if the HOV rule is “minimum two occupants in the vehicle,” should a corpse count? Or, as my wife says, how about a pregnant woman in Alabama? If a fetus is a ‘person’ for manslaughter purposes, it is a person for HOV occupancy purposes? Or what about a telepresence robot being operated by some third party? Could that count?

Update: ‘Pearls Before Swine’ weighs in.

Posted in Legal Philosophy | Leave a comment

Useful Advice

Tips For Staying Civil While Debating Child Prisons.

A sample: “Avoid unkind generalizations like equating the jailing of ethnic minorities with some malevolent form of fascism.” And “Make sure any protests are peaceful, silent, and completely out of sight of anyone who could actually affect government policy.”

Previously: Yes, We Have Reached a New Low

Posted in Immigration, Onion/Not-Onion | Leave a comment

Thirty Years!

That, apparently, is how long we’ve been married as of today.  Caroline and I are going somewhere nice to celebrate.

Posted in Personal | 1 Comment