CLICK HERE for the must-watch short film:
For more see www.norbertwiener.org and www.norbertwiener.com
CLICK HERE for the must-watch short film:
For more see www.norbertwiener.org and www.norbertwiener.com
The July 13th issue of USA Today outlines an additional set of considerations. Users are being warned by police, property owners, and various web sites for various reasons. The potential for wandering into traffic is non-trivial while pursuing an illusive virtual target, or a sidewalk obstruction, or over the edge of the cliff (is there a murder plot hiding in here?) Needless to say playing while driving creates a desperate need for self-driving cars. Since the targets change with time of day, folks are out at all hours, in all places, doing suspicious things. This triggers calls to police. Some memorial sites, such as Auschwitz and the Washington DC Holocaust Memorial Museum have asked to be exluded from the play-map. There are clearly educational opportunities that could be built into the game — tracing Boston’s “freedom trail”, and requiring player engagement with related topics is a possible example. However, lacking the explicit consideration of the educational context, there are areas where gaming is inappropriate. Also, some public areas are closed after dark, and the game may result in players trespassing in ways not envisioned by the creators, which may create unhealthy interactions with the owners, residents, etc. of the area.
One USA Today article surfaces a concern that very likely was missed by Nintendo, and is exacerbated by the recent deaths of black men in US cities, and the shooting of police in Dallas. “For the most part, Pokemon is all fun and games. Yet for many African Americans, expecially men, their enjoyment is undercut by fears they may raise suspicion with potentially lethal consequences.” Change the countries and communities involved and similar concerns may emerge in other countries as well. This particular piece ends with an instance of a black youth approaching a policeman who was also playing the game, with a positive moment of interaction as they helped each other pursue in-game objectives.
It is said every technology cuts both ways. We can hope that experience, and consideration will lead both players and Nintendo to evolve the positive potential for augmented reality, and perhaps with a bit greater respect for user privacy.
Well, maybe not. “What Happens When GPS Can’t Find You?” is a commercial concern raised by a Wall St. Journal article. Needless to say a business in today’s world is at risk if the GPS location associated with it is wrong, or just the path that is required to get there is not correct. Consumers at best are frustrated, and may simply write off that operation. In this case it is often not the business’s fault, but one in the GPS location service, or route mapping.
Behind this is a more pervasive and serious problem. Often there is no way to “fix” these problems from the perspective of the consumer or the an affected business. You may know the data is wrong, the route doesn’t work, and correcting the error(s) is not a straight forward path, and certainly not easy enough that the “crowd-source” solution would work. That is, many people might find the error, and if there were a simple way to “report” the problem, after the “nth” report, an automated fix (or review) could be triggered.
This is not just GPS problem. I’ve found many web sites are validating addresses against equally flawed sources (perhaps even the USPS). I can send mail to my daughter (and she gets it), I’ve even seen the mailbox on the side of her street. By one of the web sites I used to deliver items to her location is rejecting the address as “not known”… and of course there is no way to report the error. A related problem is entering an address in “just the right way” — am I in “Unit A101” or “Apt. A 101″ or maybe Apt A101”, note that the delivery folks can handle all of these, but the online ordering system can’t. Technology design consideration: track such ‘failures’, and after some number, check the validation process, or better have a button such as “I know this is right, so please update the database”.
Online operations are losing business, as well as brick-and-mortar activities due to online “presumptions” of correctness .. and no corrective processes available. It’s one thing when the word processor marks your spelling as “wrong”, but lets you keep it anyway. It is another when medications or essential services can’t reach your location because the GPS or delivery address is not in the database, or is listed incorrectly.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Eighteen years have passed since the birth of a blind child and his graduation from high school. Eighteen years ago, there were no iPods, USSR was a superpower, Japan looked to the United States for economic leadership and support, smoking was permitted on airplanes, there were no companies which researched on biotechnology and only a handful of mobility and medical specialists taught in the nation’s public schools.
In eighteen more years, today’s blind infants will graduate from a strikingly different world. What we teach these kids today will determine how well they survive in their future. We have to make educated guesses about that future (and keep guessing) to prepare them for success.
When a much earlier world changed from a hunting-and-gathering culture to an agricultural age, human relationships were redefined and concepts about space and time changed. The speed of life accelerated. Leadership shifted; old power structures were replaced by the newly empowered. Old definitions and institutions collapsed and new ones took their place.
The hunting-to-survive stage lasted for a million years, the agricultural age – another six thousand years and the Industrial age lasted three hundred years. Some futurists defined an information age and then declared it dead after forty years.The concept of a “job” was also invented by the Industrial age. It pulled the children off the farms to the cities where they had to adjust to new spatial and temporal rules. A job required an employee to be at a certain place for a set amount of time, to do repetitive tasks – to “work” at producing things that were not immediately relevant to the individual’s life. In exchange for the loss of an agricultural lifestyle, employers gave steady wages (not affected by the weather or natural rhythms).
The industrial age saw the creation of vacations, health insurance, and sick days; all resulting from the invention of the job (a new way to work). This change was traumatic for a farm-based agricultural culture, and many resisted. Human beings no longer were “ruled” by their natural rhythms or by the seasons. Respect for the wisdom of the elders of the society declined as their power was bypassed; they no longer controlled the source of wealth, and their knowledge was irrelevant to the new age.
The rules are ever changing in this age of communication. The life cycle of a business is only seven years now. The cycle in technology is down to six months, and in the software business, if a company is to survive, it must bring new products to market within two or three months. There is hardly time to plan; certainly the present is of little help.
The amount of information in the world is doubling every eight years. One-half of everything a college student learned in his or her freshman year is obsolete by the time they graduate. The amount of knowledge we are asking a typical high school senior to learn is more information than their grandparents absorbed in a lifetime. Our decision load is growing. We are running too fast, making too many decisions too quickly about things we know too little about. How can all these grand ideas about individual web pages, global consciousness, and the coming of massively capable workstations ever be implemented when we hardly have time to eat? This is the major social question facing the beneficiaries of the communications age.
The question remains – with advancements in technology, do we have too little time for what is important and much more for what might not? Are we missing out on morals and courtesies and relying too much on an online presence? We may be called social beings, but are we stepping away from human interaction? The answers to all these are terrifying to even think about! It’s time that we reclaim what we lost.
I finish this essay as I started – with a quote from The Matrix Revolutions.
“…Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although… only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love…”
The machines may be right but our entire purpose is built on something as insipid as love.
John Benedict is from Hyderabad, India and works with Amazon, India.
Guest Blog from: Chris Fallon
“What do you want to watch on T.V.?”
“I don’t know. Just put on whatever.”
You fire up the television. The latest episode of said show begins. No sooner than the theme music starts your phone comes out. For the next half hour you sit there looking at your phone checking back in with the program on t.v. every once-in-a-while.
We have become masters of multitasking. Or, at least, we crave the constant distraction of multitasking.
The ability to juggle tasks is often esteemed in our society. “Sara is a good multitasker, she can deal with a lot on her plate.” It seems like an ideal trait for an employee: The ability to effortlessly move from task to task. Technology is seemingly training us for this ability as it demands and divides our attention.
The problem is that multitasking generally produces worse results for a given task. Psychology Today has a study summary that looks at how multitasking decreases efficiency. Additionally there exist studies showing that technology based mutlitasking can harm memory retention and possibly even change brain structure. According to one study out of Wilfrid Laurier University: “[T]hose who preferred to task-switch had more distracting technologies available and were more likely to be off-task than others. Also, those who accessed Facebook had lower GPAs than those who avoided it.”
I’ve long held a theory that true masters of any field are single-minded. Famed psychologist Martin Seligman calls it being in a state of “flow” which he describes as: “Being one with the music, time stopping, and the loss of self-consciousness during an absorbing activity” Time and time again I see this state of flow mentioned, if not by name, by the best-of-the-best in their field.
“Concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket...”
“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time…”
“My ability to concentrate and work toward that goal has been my greatest asset.”
“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”
–John D. Rockefeller
That doesn’t sound much like our iPad to iPhone to T.V. back to iPad daily routine does it?
I am of the opinion that the less we crave distraction, the less we mindlessly vacillate between our tech devices, the less we spread ourselves thin, the better. Concentrate on one task at a time and see if you don’t reap the rewards.
Are you happier or more productive now with the multitasking that technology encourages, or do you prefer a single task focus?
Chris Fallon lives in Raleigh North Carolina and is the marketing director for axcontrol.com
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Volume 34, Number 4, December 2015
15 Technology and Change
16 On the Road with Rick Sare… and Google Glass
On the cover: Blockchain Thinking. English Wikipedia/The Opte Project/Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.
The Jan. 4, 2016 Wall St Journal has an article “VR Growth Sparks Questions About Effects on Body, Mind” pointing out, as prior publications have, that 2016 is likely to be the Year of VR. The U.S. Consumer Electronics Show is starting this week in Las Vegas, where many neat, new and re-packaged concepts will be strongly promoted.
The article points to issues of physical health – nasua is one well documented potential factor. But work has been taking place on residual effects (how soon should you drive after VR?), how long to remain immersed before you ‘surface’, etc. Perhaps the key consideration is degree to which our bodies/brains accept the experiences of VR as real — altering our thinking and behaviour. (Prof. Jeremy Bailenson, director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab confirms this is one impact.)
All of the pundits point out that every new technology has it’s potential uses/abuses. But that does not excuse the specific considerations that might apply to VR. A point raised in the article “Scares in VR are borderline immoral”. There is a line of technology from “watching” to “first person” to “immersion” that should be getting our attention. The dispute over “children impacted by what they watch on TV”, moving to first-person shooter video games, to VR is sure to occur. But in VR, you can be the victim as well. I first encountered the consideration of the after effects of rape in a video game environment at an SSIT conference some years ago. Even with the third party perspective in that case, the victim was traumatized. No doubt VR will provide a higher impact. There are no-doubt lesser acts that can be directed at a VR participant that will have greater impact in VR than they might with less immersive technology.
This is the time to start sorting out scenarios, possible considerations for vendors of technology, aps and content, and also to watch for the quite predictable unexpected effects. Do you have any ‘predictions’ for 2016 and the Year of VR?
SSIT was honored with an opening address from Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, at the 2015 IEEE-SSIT International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS ‘15) on November 11 in Dublin, Ireland. It is the first time a head of state has addressed an ISTAS event. Full coverage of the conference will appear in the January 2016 SSIT e-newsletter and on line at ieeessit.org. The President’s remarks will be published in the March 2016 issue of T&S Magazine. A Special Issue on ISTAS ‘15 will appear in the September 2016 issue of T&S, and will be guest edited by ISTAS ‘15 conference chair, Paul Cunningham.
Volume 34, Number 3, September 2015
4 President’s Message
Coping with Machines
5 Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Mission
7 Alan Turing: The Enigma
Resistance is Not Futile, nil desperandum
MG Michael and Katina Michael
13 Letter to the Editor
Technology and Change
Privacy Nightmare: When Baby Monitors Go Bad
Katherine Albrecht and Liz Mcintyre
15 From the Editor’s Desk
Robots Don’t Pray
17 Leading Edge
Unmanned Aircraft: The Rising Risk of Hostile Takeover
Donna A. Dulo
Automatic Tyranny, Re-Theism, and the Rise of the Reals
23 Creating “The Norbert Wiener Media Project”
J. Mitchell Johnson
A Conversation with Lazar Puhalo
88 Last Word
Technological Expeditions and Cognitive Indolence
SPECIAL ISSUE: Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century
33_ Guest Editorial
Philip Hall, Heather A. Love and Shiro Uesugi
35_ Norbert Wiener: Odd Man Ahead
Mary Catherine Bateson
37_ The Next Macy Conference: A New Interdisciplinary Synthesis
39_ Ubiquitous Surveillance and Security
41_ Reintroducing Wiener: Channeling Norbert in the 21st Century
Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman
44_ Securing the Exocortex*
Tamara Bonaci, Jeffrey Herron, Charles Matlack, and Howard Jay Chizeck
52_ Wiener’s Prefiguring of a Cybernetic Design Theory*
60_ Norbert Wiener and the Counter-Tradition to the Dream of Mastery
64_ Down the Rabbit Hole*
74_ Opening Pandora’s 3D Printed Box
81_ Application Areas of Additive Manufacturing
N.J.R. Venekamp and H.Th. Le Fever
There are many sources suggesting that productivity (including robotics and A.I. interfaces) will increase enough to have a significant impact on future employment world wide. This includes:
Geoff Colvin, in his new ‘underrated’ book suggests that even in a world where most if not all jobs can be done by robots, humans are social animals and will prefer human interactions in some situations. The Atlantic, focuses on what the future may include for jobless persons when that is the norm. “The Jobless don’t spend their time socializing or taking up new hobbies. Instead they watch TV or sleep.” A disturbing vision of a world which currently includes, according to this article, 16% of American men ages 25-54. The article did not discuss the potential for younger men who see limited future opportunity to turn to socially problematic activities from crime and drugs to radicalization and revolution.
As with any challenge, the first step is recognizing there is a problem. This may be more difficult in the U.S. where work is equated with status, personal identity (“I am a <job title here>”), and social responsibility. One suggestion is the creation of civic centers where folks can get together and “meet, learn skills, bond around sports or crafts, and socialize.” These might be combined with maker-spaces and start-up incubators that become a catalyst for creator-consumer-funder collaborations.
So — what’s your future “job” — will you be in the “on-demand” economy? Perhaps engaging in the maker-world? — How might this future differ in various countries? Will Europe or India or ?? yield different responses to a situation that is expected to affect global economies over this century?