Ask your librarian

In this In this podcast episode we discuss the evolving landscape of academic publishing.

Publishing scientific papers and books is a difficult task. The arrival of the internet has the potential to dramatically change the business models, but also the review and publishing process. I discussed the changing world of publishing with Anton Angelo, Data Librarian at the University of Canterbury. We discussed Open Access, Print-on-Demand and the changing roles of libraries. We even spotted some dangerous predators in the publishing jungle. And in case of any trouble, always ask you librarian!

Ethik in KI und Robotik

My first scientific book in German is now available. Here is the blurb:

Was darf KI eigentlich?

Unser Leben wird zunehmend von Künstlicher Intelligenz (KI) und Robotik beeinflusst. Autonome Fahrzeuge kommen auf unsere Straßen, Roboter werden für eine Vielzahl von Aufgaben im Gesundheitswesen vorgeschlagen – von der Unterstützung älterer Menschen bis zum Einsatz bei Operationen – und Algorithmen entscheiden über Kreditanträge sowie sogar über den Einsatz automatischer Waffensysteme. Viele Menschen befürchten, dass KI langfristig die Kontrolle über unser Leben übernimmt.

Vor diesem Hintergrund wird es immer wichtiger, die ethischen Grundlagen und Auswirkungen des Einsatzes von KI und Robotik in unserer Gesellschaft zu diskutieren. Dieses Buch bietet eine Einführung in das Thema, die keine technischen, rechtlichen oder philosophischen Kenntnisse voraussetzt. Es behandelt Fragen des Vertrauens, der Verantwortung, der Haftung, des Datenschutzes und des Risikos in der Beziehung der Nutzer zu KI-Systemen und Robotik.

Die Autoren veranschaulichen die Themen im gesamten Buch anhand von Beispielen. Am jeweiligen Kapitelende befinden sich Fragen, die zur Diskussion von KI-Anwendungen einladen, von der Gesundheitsfürsorge bis zur Kriegsführung. Weiterführende Literatur dient ebenfalls als Anregung für den Leser.

Aus dem Inhalt:

  • Was ist KI?
  • Was ist Ethik?
  • Fairness und Vertrauen in KI-Systeme
  • Verantwortung und Haftung bei KI-Systemen
  • Risiken der KI für Unternehmen
  • Psychologische Aspekte der KI
  • Privatsphäre und KI
  • Human Enhancement
  • Autonome Fahrzeuge
  • Militärische Anwendungen der KI

How religious is Christchurch?

While driving around Christchurch I noticed a church on almost every corner. The name of the city could have already given me that hint, but it is better to check the facts first before jumping to conclusions. Christchurch was named after the Christ Church College at Oxford University.

There does not seem to be any register for churches in New Zealand and hence I searched the Charities Register for charities that provide religious services. The results contain more than 7000 charities, but many of them are no longer registered and/or have stopped operation. After some cleaning of the data I was left with 5590 records for New Zealand. It is important to note that not every religious charity is a church and not all churches are registered as a charity. One charity could also operate several churches. But for what it is worth, this approach does seem like a good approximation. The various Anglican parishes, for example, are listed individually.

Mapping these religious charities on a map would be slightly misleading since bigger cities will naturally have a higher number of charities. To create a density map of the religious charities in New Zealand I had to take the population distribution into account.

InfoShare from StatsNZ allows you to download the download the Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas. It contains population estimates for many of New Zealand’s cities. Unfortunately, this list does not contain all the small cities, such as Akaroa.

After cross referencing the charities with the population information I created this density map of religious charities in New Zealand. Christchurch has 517 registered religious charities and a population of 404,600 in 2018 which results in 0.0012 people per charity. This puts Christchurch in the lower half.

You can have a look at the full visualization over at Tableau Public where you can also download the source data.

Click on the image to go to the full interactive graph.


The Federal Trade Commission fined OMICS Group 50.1 million

It took some time, but it seems like my little sting against the OMICS group finally paid off. I had used the iOS autocomplete function to create a fake paper for one of their conferences which was accepted for publication after only three hours. I had brought my case forward to the trade commission and they now fined OMICS group. This is good news for the scientific community and I hope that this will reduce the number of predatory journals and conferences.

Here is some of the news coverage: