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  • All Together Separate

    by Dr. Richard D. Land

    Sometimes things come across your desk that stop you dead in your tracks, and you say, “That just can’t be.” And then you find out, “Yes, it can.”

    This happened to me the other day when I read a news release that said that at least 40% of Americans (and 90% of under 30 millennials) are afflicted with “nomophobia”-the fear of not having, or losing, their smartphones. This fear actually produces psychological and physical symptoms. One colleague said it should be called “no-morephoneaphobia.” Seriously, this is no laughing matter. These statistics reveal the extent to which technology is changing our personal lives. When people don’t have
    their smartphones, they feel disconnected and isolated (72% of people report being within five feet of their smartphone the
    majority of the time.)


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  • I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

    by Dr. Jay Richards

    As you probably know, a few years ago one of the champions of Jeopardy!, the popular TV game show, was a computer. Watson, an enormous computer developed by researchers at IBM, was pitted against the two previous human champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. At the end of the first round, aired on Valentine’s Day 2011, Jennings and Watson were tied for first place. But Watson trounced both humans in the next round, despite making some odd mistakes. And he won the second game, aired on February 16, suggesting the first victory was more than just beginner’s luck.



    When the IBM computer Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, it was not doing anything qualitatively
    different from an ordinary calculator. It was just calculating really quickly—running through all the possible chess moves in response to the previous move by Kasparov and picking the one most likely to succeed. That’s just the sort of problem that a fast-enough computer running the right algorithm was bound to solve.


    TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE, PICK UP A FREE COPY OF THE SES ETHICS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGY BOOKLET

  • Self-Driving Cars: Taking A Different Turn In The Meaning Of "Self"/Person

    by Dr. Kevin Staley

    The moral challenges facing our society with the introduction of humanoid robots might trigger mental images akin to those vividly depicted in The Terminator movie. Encouragement to seriously consider the impact of their presence among us may be met with a dismissive shrug of the shoulders, but this is not fodder for science fiction. In fact, technological progress has been accelerating with such speed that not only are the average consumers frequently overextending themselves financially to keep up with the latest and greatest trends, but the moral and legal challenges many of these new implements introduce are inadequately addressed by policymakers, corporations, scientists, and consumers alike. What kinds of moral challenges do we face today as a result of our emerging technologies? Will our indifference to such matters today provoke a dismissive response to our future protestations as we bemoan the state of affairs of our culture in the near future?



    In the past year or so, Google has garnered the attention of almost everyone who has an interest in the development of robots and AI (artificial intelligence) by acquiring seven robotic companies and one UK company, DeepMind, noted for its advancements in AI. Prior to its acquisition by Google, DeepMind’s insistence that Google establish an ethics board to ensure no evil is done with their work, stirred further speculation into the goals these acquisitions signal.


    TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE, PICK UP A FREE COPY OF THE SES ETHICS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGY BOOKLET