Of Interest

  • Is technology re-engineering humanity?

    Date published: 
    October 24, 2018

    “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” This truism—by the media-scholar John Culkin about the work of Marshall McLuhan—is more potent than ever in the age of data and algorithms. The technology is having a profound effect on how people live and think. 

    Some of those changes are documented in “Re-Engineering Humanity” by two technology thinkers from different academic backgrounds: Brett Frischmann is a law professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania and Evan Selinger teaches philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

  • Survey Polls the World: Should a Self-Driving Car Save Passengers, or Kids in the Road?

    Date published: 
    October 24, 2018

    "“The core problem, I think, is going to occur many times a day in the real world, just not in a crazy crash dilemma,” says Patrick Lin, a philosophy professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, who specializes in the ethics of emerging technologies and was not involved with the study.

    “The big value I see in the Moral Machine experiment is that it helps to sniff out key areas of disagreement that we need to address,” Lin says. Given time to reflect, most survey respondents might well agree with the experts."
  • Engineering Supersoldiers: Boost in Lethality May Come From Within

    Date published: 
    October 24, 2018

    "In the 2013 report, “Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy,” Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor Patrick Lin and others raised concerns about the operational, ethical and legal implications of enhancing warfighters. “Besides the obvious issue of free and informed consent of the test subject, there may be issues about the wider effects of an enhancement. … These are open-ended questions we don’t have a policy for yet. The technology is starting to outpace the policy and it becomes increasingly difficult to legislate these things,” Lin said in an interview."

  • Global preferences for who to save in self-driving car crashes revealed

    Date published: 
    October 24, 2018

    "“What happens with autonomous vehicles may set the tone for other AI and robotics, since they’re the first to be integrated into society at scale,” Patrick Lin, director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly University, told The Verge. “So it’s important that the conversation is as informed as possible, since lives are literally at stake.”"

  • The Wildly Unregulated Practice of Undercover Cops Friending People on Facebook

    Date published: 
    October 23, 2018

    "Catherine Crump, a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley, found that horrifying. “Our social media profiles contain sensitive, private information. The circumstances under which police access those profiles raise important public policy questions that should be decided in a transparent public process, not by police departments acting on their own and certainly not by individual officers make it up as they go along,” she said by email. “Police departments should have written policies explaining when they will go undercover to access our social media profiles.

  • Google Turns Over Identities of Bloggers on Benfica

    Date published: 
    October 23, 2018

    "Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said under current regulations Google had little option but to comply with Benfica’s subpoena. Internet companies get hundreds of thousands of similar requests, said Gidari, who spent 20 years representing some of the world’s biggest technology companies including Google. “It isn’t scalable to know what’s behind each case,” he said.

    Google already goes “one step beyond” what it is required to do by giving notice of the subpoena to users, he added."

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