Holly F

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This is awesome! Thanks for following up 🙂 I hear you about the challenge of prioritizing this work, since it’s a relatively small population that would benefit from these technologies and they’re not incredibly lucrative — I’ve experienced similar tensions in corporate social impact work more generally. Excited to follow Microsoft’s work in this space!

On November 15, 2018, Holly F commented on The government wants you…to hack it? :

This is really interesting! I had no clue that we were so honest about the vulnerability of the Pentagon, for example — doesn’t it send a bad message to other governments that we aren’t particularly confident in the safety of our cyber systems…? Seems like we shouldn’t be so open about our flaws!

A big outstanding question for me after reading your piece is how hackers are compensated (if at all) for their labor. If hackers are saving these departments ~$1 million, shouldn’t they share in those profits? I often struggle with crowdsourced “competitions” like these — it feels like a way for institutions to avoid actually paying people for their hard work and creativity.

Super interesting!

I lived in East Harlem during the neighborhood’s participatory planning process, and I saw how time-intensive and contentious crowdsourced innovation can be. A question I have about Boston’s initiatives is how they’ll manage tensions and conflicts that arise, as a group of residents suggests something that another group is totally opposed to? There are also some discussions and ideas that warrant in-person processes where trust can be built and everyone can feel heard and included. Boston should take care not to rely entirely on online platforms for their crowdsourcing efforts.

I have some serious concerns with all the collection and use of data… Feels very “Big Brother-y”! I’m wary of giving up too much of my data, especially to governments — what if the administration changes and I don’t agree with their use of my data, for example? This happened as Obama left office and Democratic government agencies across the US had to delete databases that contained sensitive information about undocumented immigrants because they weren’t sure how that information would be used under a more conservative administration. I think there are some serious questions about the limitations of the collection and use of personal data in a city, and I’m so curious to see where this conversation goes in the Boston context.

The ioby project seems really neat!

On November 15, 2018, Holly F commented on When Chanel trades sewing machines for 3D printers :

Really fascinating topic — thanks, Rim!

I wonder about the impact on the artisans and workers who create Chanel’s garments — what is their role in the future of fashion? Will they be replaced by engineers? I think there are some interesting (and troubling) implications for labor displacement in this new world. It reminds me of the Gap case — can creative directors really be replaced by machines?

Perhaps Chanel could create a 3-D-printed sub-brand that is less expensive. It could be like the streetwear lines that some high fashion brands have, for example. Something that is more accessible and novel and appealing to a new customer base without tarnishing the traditional brand.

Also, are these garments even comfortable?! I’m so curious!

Such a fascinating topic — I was hoping someone would write about this!

I never thought I’d say this in my life, but I generally agree with Trump on this one… “Doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

However, I do wonder if the proliferation of printed firearms would have the potential to undermine the power of the gun lobby and the NRA. If people are less dependent on established gun manufacturers to source weapons, perhaps their resources and ability to impact public policy would diminish. Also, if gun ownership becomes decentralized and individualized, perhaps people will no longer seek out affiliation with the NRA… Just a thought.

A question I have is to what extent this technology would increase people’s access to guns. It’s already way too easy to acquire an AR-15, for example — would 3-D printing make them that much more accessible?

On November 15, 2018, Holly F commented on Giving Credit Where its Due: Machine Learning’s Role in Lending :

I appreciated your insights on the potential of the SoFi model to make capital accessible to communities and individuals who have been historically denied access to credit and loans. I totally agree with your note at the end that SoFi and its competitors should ensure that the data inputs are free from bias. I see how this technology would work for young people pursuing higher education who are on a trajectory to build wealth, but I wonder how (if at all) it could be applied to consumers who don’t have that same potential for mobility? Can machines take a chance on individuals with “risky” or “unattractive” inputs in the same way staff at community banks or nonprofit organizations can, for example? It seems that the promise of increasing access to capital potentially still requires a human element.

Also, nice use of “throughput time”!!

Thanks for exposing us to this important application of AI and machine learning! In an era where it feels like so many technological advances (especially ones that incorporate machine learning) have the potential to exclude and marginalize already oppressed communities, it’s exciting and inspiring to hear about a series of innovations that are genuinely inclusive and empowering. I’d love to learn more about Microsoft’s product development process — to what extent are people with disabilities invited to participate in the design process? Relatedly, is Microsoft hiring people with disabilities, both to create these products and more generally across the firm? This is another important step Microsoft could take to be a leader in empowering this community.