Academic Writing

The Difficulty With Metaphors and the Fourth Amendment

Author(s): 
Jeffrey Vagle
Publication Date: 
August 31, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution seems straightforward on its face: At its core, it tells us that our “persons, houses, papers, and effects” are to be protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Before any government agent can perform a search or seizure, they must first obtain a warrant, based on “probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Read more » about The Difficulty With Metaphors and the Fourth Amendment

From Internet Connected Drink Mixer To Any Remote Configuration On The Internet: August's Stupid Patent Of The Month

Author(s): 
Daniel Nazer
Publication Date: 
August 31, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Imagine if the inventor of the Segway claimed to own "any thing that moves in response to human commands." Or if the inventor of the telegraph applied for a patent covering any use of electric current for communication. Absurdly overbroad claims like these would not be allowed, right? Unfortunately, the Patent Office does not do a good job of policing overly broad claims. August's Stupid Patent of the Month, U.S. Patent No. Read more » about From Internet Connected Drink Mixer To Any Remote Configuration On The Internet: August's Stupid Patent Of The Month

Facebook wasn’t great at respecting privacy in the first place. It’s gotten much worse.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
August 18, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Facebook’s privacy practices have always been controversial. It doesn’t charge its users–because its users are the product. The company sells information on its users, their social networks, services they like, and a multitude of other forms of information to advertisers and marketers. Read more » about Facebook wasn’t great at respecting privacy in the first place. It’s gotten much worse.

Europe is being torn by an angry argument. This time, it’s not the euro’s fault.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
August 12, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Over the last few weeks, the European Union has been torn apart by bitter disagreement over a new crisis: the huge numbers of refugees and migrants who are turning up at Europe’s doorstep. Last month, nearly 50,000 refugees arrived in Greece alone. Migrants wanting to get to the United Kingdom have formed an encampment around the port town of Calais, leading to scare-mongering statements by British politicians and alarmist headlines in tabloid newspapers. Read more » about Europe is being torn by an angry argument. This time, it’s not the euro’s fault.

The dangers of trusting robots

Author(s): 
Woodrow Hartzog
Publication Date: 
August 12, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

In February, a South Korean woman was sleeping on the floor when her robot vacuum ate her hair, forcing her to call for emergency help. It may not be the dystopian future that Stephen Hawking warned us about – where intelligent devices “spell the end of the human race” – but it does highlight one of the unexpected dangers of inviting robots into our home. Read more » about The dangers of trusting robots

Ban Killer Robots before They Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

Author(s): 
Peter Asaro
Publication Date: 
August 7, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Last week the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by some 1,500 artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology researchers. Among them were celebrities of science and the technology industry—Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak—along with public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Daniel Dennett. The letter called for an international ban on offensive autonomous weapons, which could target and fire weapons without meaningful human control. Read more » about Ban Killer Robots before They Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

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