Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryEthics

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Are sex robots a cure for loneliness?

Maybe, in a culture where people see themselves as machines
Nancy Pearcey, who is the author of Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, reminds us that the most popular metaphor for the universe today is a vast machine. Read More ›
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Google is collecting data on schoolkids

Some say it’s okay because the firm supplies a lot of free software and hardware to schools
Many parents may not be content to let matters rest there; they might prefer to pay taxes for school equipment and have less surveillance in our lives overall. Read More ›
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Google Powering China’s Snoop Culture

They’ve suppressed the memo but can’t suppress the uproar around it
It may at first seem deeply ironic that a Silicon Valley ostensibly committed to liberal values would help to unleash this storm. But a political analyst carefully traces the growth in its enthusiasm for “smart government,” using the tools of information technology for social engineering. Read More ›
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Digital dictatorship?

China’s “social credit” system coming under scrutiny
It is not clear that most Chinese people understand the implications yet but many in the industry do. As of September 16, over 1400 Google employees had signed a letter of protest against Google’s involvement in Chinese censorship.   Read More ›
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Coconuts Go High Tech

Plastics from coconut waste offer economic benefit to poor farmers

One of Walter Bradley’s longstanding goals as an engineer and materials scientist has been to harness advanced materials technology to help the world’s poor, most of whom are poor farmers.

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The true cost of “free” social media

It’s free but… are we? George Gilder points a way forward.
He thinks that expected massive increases in computing power will enable blockchain technologies that allow users to safely bypass the global data monopoly that Google and similar firms represent. Read More ›
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Senior Google scientist quits over Google’s censorship in China

He believes it “contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights”
Some believe that any censorship system that a human being can develop can somehow be got around by another human being. China may provide a way of testing that.   Read More ›
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How Bitcoin Works: The social value of trust

The idea of employing such a game to guarantee validity in a trustless environment is nothing short of groundbreaking. It is an amazing accomplishment, and I am impressed by it more each time I think about it. However, it does have some drawbacks, which, I think, will ultimately lead to its demise.

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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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Will killer drones make killing easier?

That, says a bioethicist, depends on who the pilots are
Heather Zeiger tells us that traditional aerial combat pilots tend to think the same way when piloting drones from an office but it may be a different story when cell phone addicts, who tend to lack empathy, are recruited. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots: How far is too far?

And how will we know if we have crossed a line?
A greater focus should be on restoring the foundations of our nation over building superweapons. And the key foundation is all human beings' right to life. Read More ›
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Silicon Valley as a Colonial Power

Irish writer asks us to look more carefully at claims about “liberation”
The social media companies will force us to define ourselves over against the specifications of our would-be programmers. And say what you want about the conflict, it will never be dull. Read More ›