Xnor Touch Points

November 29, 2019

If you are not familiar with Xnor.ai, navigate to the company’s Web site and read the cultural information. There is a reference to diversity, the company being a “high growth start up,” and something called “ethics touch points.”

I think one of the touch points is not honoring deals with licensee, but my information comes from a razzle dazzle publication. “Wyze’s AI-Powered Person Detection Feature Will Temporarily Disappear Next Year” asserts:

Wyze’s security cameras will temporarily lose their person detection feature in January 2020 after the AI startup it partnered with on the feature abruptly terminated their agreement. In a post on its forums, Wyze said that its agreement with Xnor.ai included a clause allowing the startup to terminate the contract “at any moment without reason.”

There’s a reference to “mistakes,” in the tradition of 21st century information, there’s no definition of mistake.

I noted this passage: passage “Wyze’s low prices come with risks.”

Back up.

What’s an ethical touch point? Xnor.ai states:

Xnor is actively engaging in conversations around the ethical implications of AI within our society through “ethics touch points” that exist within our normal working patterns. These touch points allow is to actively review specific AI use cases and make informed decisions without compromising the speed in which we operate as a start-up.

Maybe recognizing a face is not good? When is recognizing a face good? I struggle with the concept of ethics mostly because I am flooded with examples of ethical crossroads each day. Was a certain lawyer in Ukraine for himself or for others? Was the fuselage failure of a 777 a mistake or a downstream consequence of an ethical log jam? Was the disappearance of certain map identifiers a glitch or an example of situational ethical analysis?

With about $15 million in funding, Xnor.ai the two year old company is an interesting one. What’s interesting is that Madrona Ventures may find itself with some thorns in its britches after pushing through the thicket of ethical touch points.

In 2017, Pymnts.com ran a story with this headline: “AI Startup Xnor.ai Raises $2.6M To Bring AI To All Devices.” See the word “all.”

That should have come with a footnote maybe? Other possibilities are: [a] the technology does not work, [b] Wyze did not pay a bill, [c] Xnor.ai has done what Aristotle did ineffectively.

Stephen E Arnold, November 29, 2019


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