User freedom in the age of computer-generated software

Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-06-28T20:59:47Z

An article I wrote for the FSF bulletin. It's live!

I'd be interested in what people think about it?

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Via some mechanism, you could in theory “talk to” the machine's generated AI system to ask it why it did what it did. But will the car manufacturer permit you to do so?
Does the public allow sale of a car that is not fully auditable? If not, the car manufacturer will permit you to do so.
And what of our legal tools? Does copyright apply? Does copyleft apply? If not, are there other ways to protect the commons of software being developed as others attempt to lock it down?

Yes, public regulation. Developers cannot be counted on to self-regulate each other.

Mike Linksvayer at 2016-07-01T02:54:41Z

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Does the public allow sale of a car that is not fully auditable? If not, the car manufacturer will permit you to do so.

I'm a little bit confused by this sentence! Though I suspect maybe I agree, if I'm maybe-possibly parsing it right? :)

Yes, public regulation. Developers cannot be counted on to self-regulate each other.

Agreed that public regulation is going to be necessary for success! What does this mean as in terms of free software informing (or even becoming...?) regulators?

Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-07-01T03:07:23Z

To the extent an AI is generating its own code or data, that code and data is not copyright-able. Then the question is, "Can we access it?" That is an old DMCA anti-circumvention question.

Douglas Perkins at 2016-07-01T03:32:44Z

Fully auditable cars will be sold if it is illegal to sell cars that aren't.

Regulators and more broadly the public has to be sold on free software being necessary for safety and and fairness. Individuals deciding to use and create free software is nice, but much like individuals deciding to compost or or recycle not drive or not breed or set aside private land, utterly inadequate: collective action is the primary lever. Even moreso in the case of software if more of it isn't directly created by human developers.

Mike Linksvayer at 2016-07-01T17:33:27Z

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