“Come with me if you want to live.” – Kyle Reese, Terminator (1984)

Seven questions about technology you aren’t allowed to ask


An interesting article about morally, legally or ethically fraught technology topics.


From MIT Technology Review:

MIT Media Lab biologist Kevin Esvelt, speaking at the “Forbidden Research” conference, calls for full disclosure by scientists seeking to develop advanced genetic technology.


Sex robots, climate hacking, and the true cost of medicine made our list of taboo technology topics …

Each question is morally or legally fraught and sets up a clash of ethics between individual technologists in search of solutions and institutions that see possible harm.


Source: Seven Questions about Technology You Aren’t Even Allowed to Ask

How virtual tourism will enhance real-world travel

From Mashable:


As technological innovations have improved virtual reality capabilities and popularized the medium, virtual tours have become more commonplace. You can use VR to check out a casino or museum from your couch, visit Red Rock Canyon from your favorite recliner or take a trip to Bath while you’re in your bath …

When VR tours are done well, it almost feels like you’re there — which begs the question: Will people start checking destinations off their bucket lists by booting up a device instead of booking travel and actually making a real life trip?


Source: How virtual tourism will help enhance real-world travel

Augmented humans blend technology and biology with apps for the brain and embeddable devices

From the ABC:

Self-described “human cyborg” Neil Harbisson. Image source: Facebook

“… So you go to your phone today, and you go ‘ok what can I add to my phone that will give me some functionality?’. You’ll be able to do that for your brain,” he said.

“Maybe I’ll download a Chinese language pack, maybe you’ll add a whole set of data, maybe Wikipedia put inside your brain and download it, so you will have access to it when you’re thinking.

“That’s artificial intelligence, but embedded and accessed through your brain.”

Source: Augmented humans blend technology and biology with apps for the brain and embeddable devices – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australian startup creates world’s first AI-powered business advisor

From Forbes:

Image: BriN


… would you take serious business advice from an AI-powered “consultant”?


Image: BRiN

Source: BRiN. From face recognition to virtual personal assistants and robots, AI has seen huge advancements and unprecedented applications in the past few years – thanks to recent significant developments in algorithm-based deep learning. But while it’s more common to accept that a machine could help you with a mundane task, would […]

Source: An Australian Startup Creates The World’s First AI-Powered Business Advisor – Forbes

Death by GPS: are satnavs changing our brains?

From The Guardian:

Illustration: Nishant Choksi

Illustration: Nishant Choksi

The soothing voice of the turn-by-turn directions, guiding us through an unfamiliar environment, is the personification of the strip map. Allegiance to that strip map promotes the reasoning that lies behind the most baffling death-by-GPS scenarios, the willingness to “turn right here” when “here” is clearly a lake …

“The problem with GPS systems is, in my eyes, that we are not forced to remember or process the information. As it is permanently ‘at hand’, we need not think or decide ourselves …”

Source: Death by GPS: are satnavs changing our brains? | Technology | The Guardian

Biohackers: letting technology get under their skin

From Brisbane Times:

Biohackers with Northstar devices freshly installed in their hands. Photo: Grindhouse Wetware / Ryan O’Shea

For some people, the human body isn’t a temple. Instead they see it as a source of frustration thanks to the considerable limitations compared to the powerful technology available today …

… the most advanced example has to be what is now called neurohacking, which involves modifying the brain or nervous system. In 2002, I had a “BrainGate” device implanted in the nerves in my arm to enable me to control a robot hand via the internet using my thoughts. It also gave me an extra, ultrasonic sense, so that as an object came closer to me the electronic pulses stimulating my brain increased in frequency.

Source: Meet the biohackers letting technology get under their skin

Walmart looks at robotic shopping carts that tell you what to buy


Rick: And what if the robotic cart tells you to buy things that will eventually lead to your ultimate demise?

Joshua: Soon, people will not need brains and will begin to be born without them.


From The Next Web:

The company is reportedly collaborating with Five Elements Robotics to help consumers ease the burden of pushing around a shopping cart, all while offering up suggestions to shoppers.

Source: Walmart looks at robotic shopping carts that tell you what to buy

The Master Algorithm: a world remade by machines that learn

From New Scientist:

The book is about the quest for that one master algorithm which would change machine learning, and hence our lives, irrevocably. If it exists, says Domingos, the master algorithm can derive all knowledge in the world “past, present, and future – from data” …

It’s hard to avoid the feeling that machine learning is only going to increase the rift between the haves and the have-nots, as we enter a new phase of survival of the fittest. As Domingos writes, “He who learns fastest wins”, and machine learning “is the latest chapter in the arms race of life on Earth”.

Read more: The Master Algorithm: A world remade by machines that learn | New Scientist

How bionic technology will change what it means to be human

From Vox:

Is there any point at which human augmentation is just wrong? Or are these just tools like any other — and part of our inevitable future?

Image: Touch Bionics

… Artificial limbs may become so advanced, we prefer them to normal limbs.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Steroids are nothing compared to what’s coming.

Image: Shutterstock

“The creepiest thing is that we become more than human. Much of the history of ideas in the last 150 years, I think, is a response to Nietzsche, who said human beings, basically, that this is as far as we’re going to get. And to solve all these problems we have we’re going to have to develop an Overman or Superman, something that’s more than human. And this whole business about transhumanism, the platform is really Nietzsche.”

“For people like you and me, will we be able to redesign ourselves so that we really are transhuman and we live a lot longer and we live a lot healthier and we’re a lot stronger and smarter and faster?”

“What that adds up to is a debate among social conservatives: Is there something we’re giving up when we’re no longer essentially what destiny decided we would be or what we were fated to be? At some point are we really giving up what it means to be human?”

Read more: How bionic technology will change what it means to be human – Vox

Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for American truckers?

From The Guardian:

“People generally don’t like to drive around trucks even when they have a driver in them. Now you start telling them there is no driver in that truck?”


Source: Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for America’s 3.5 million truckers? | Technology | The Guardian