This post is a thought experiment. It considers how existing laws that cover the registration and testing of hazardous substances like pesticides might be used as an analogy for thinking through approaches to regulation of AI/ML. As a thought experiment its not a detailed or well-research proposal, but there are elements which I think are … Continue reading Can the regulation of hazardous substances help us think about regulation of AI?
I already hate the phrase "fake news". We have better words to describe lies, disinformation, propaganda and slander, so lets just use those. While the phrase "fake news" might originally have been used to refer to hoaxes and disinformation, it's rapidly becoming a meaningless term used to refer to anything you don't disagree with. Trump's recent … Continue reading A river of research, not news
I've been thinking a bit about "the commons" recently. Specifically, the global information commons that is enabled and supported by Creative Commons (CC) licences. This covers an increasingly wide variety of content as you can see in their recent annual review. The review unfortunately doesn't mention data although there's an increasing amount of that published using … Continue reading Digital public institutions for the information commons?
I recently completed my first online course (or "MOOC") on Coursera. It was an interesting experience and wanted to share some thoughts here. I decided to take an online course for several reasons. Firstly the topic, Astrobiology, was fun and I thought the short course might make an interesting alternative to watching BBC documentaries and … Continue reading Thoughts on Coursera and Online Courses
I've been digging through some old files and papers recently, partly prompted by sorting out the loft and also various hard disks with backups of documents and photos. Amongst the papers I found this fun piece that I wrote back in 1994: A Speculative Paper on Xenomorph Biology. I wrote it whilst watching a re-run … Continue reading The Science of Alien
Whilst standing behind the yellow line on the platform this morning, waiting for a train to Oxford, I noticed an ant on the floor wending its way along the tarmac, within the bounds of the thick yellow paint. The little black speck stood out quite sharply against the bright yellow. Obviously the ant wasn't following … Continue reading Ants, Overlays and Open Data
The following is a brief summary of a talk I gave recently at the Ingenta Publisher Forum on the 28th November. The slides are available as a Powerpoint presentation. In the presentation I tried to highlight some of the possibilities that could become available if academic publishers begin to share more metadata about the content … Continue reading The Modern Palimpsest
There's a short article in Nature (subscribers only I'm afraid) this week about Google Base and its potential impacts on the science community. In particular whether it might galvanise greater data sharing between scientists. I've been corresponding with Declan Butler, the author of the piece, on this and some related topics recently, and he ended … Continue reading Nature Quote
Alf Eaton posts today to point to the new WebCite service. This is going to be very useful. Don't think so? Well there's plenty of research to show that link atrophy is a big problem in scientific literature: Persistence of Web References in Scientific Research See also: A study of missing Web-cites in scholarly articles: … Continue reading WebCite
For the last few years I've been lurking on a mailing list run by the Taxonomic Databases Working Group. It's a low volume list used by scientists interested in capturing and marking up taxonomies. That's taxonomy in the Linnaean sense not the semantic web sense. I've been lurking there since I wrote this paper a … Continue reading iSpecies and taxonomy (no, not that kind)