A bitter campus privacy row, and AI-powered lawyers


When computer science students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Software Research returned to campus in the summer of 2020, there was a lot to adjust to.

The department had moved into a brand-new building, complete with experimental super-sensing devices called Mites. Embedded in more than 300 locations throughout the building, these light-switch-size devices measure 12 types of data—including motion and sound.

The Mites had been installed as part of a research project on smart buildings, and was quickly met with resistance from students and faculty who felt the devices would subject them to experimental surveillance without their consent. 

The conflict has deteriorated into a bitter dispute, complete with accusations of bullying, vandalism, misinformation, and workplace retaliation. Read the full story.

—Eileen Guo & Tate Ryan-Mosley

AI might not steal your job, but it could change it

Advances in artificial intelligence tend to be followed by anxieties around jobs. This latest wave of AI models, like ChatGPT and GPT-4, is no different. First we had the launch of the systems. Now we’re seeing the predictions of automation. 

Let’s take lawyers: the antiquated, slow-moving legal industry has been a candidate for technological disruption for some time. The industry’s labor shortage and need to deal with reams of complex documents, a technology that can quickly understand and summarize texts could be immensely useful. 


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