Category: Editorial & Opinion

From Good Ideas to Practical Solutions

By on September 20th, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Entries, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

We define “good” technological ideas, as: sound technological designs, developed using participation-based methods, that seek to promote the beneficial uses of technology (through the harnessing of technological potential) while minimizing/potentially eliminating the undesirable effects on individuals and society. These approaches will ideally lead to the development and deployment of practical solutions that fulfill the need(s) of the intended end-user(s) and/or solve a given problem.

Defending Against Opaque Algorithmic Meddling in Free Elections

By on August 11th, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Entries, Magazine Articles, Privacy & Security, Societal Impact

As social media serves to transform free speech the world over, a pervasive infiltration of the information highway is underway by individuals and entities using bots and human agencies to invade our privacy and channel extremist, hateful speech in propaganda-like campaigns bent on undermining democratic institutions.

Mundane Is the New Radical

By on August 3rd, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Entries, Environment, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

The increasing number of dam projects deployed in developing countries over the last two decades that perform poorly illustrate a disconnect between planners, stakeholders, and technological energy solutions of choice.

Publish or Impoverish

By on June 26th, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Entries, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

It can be glibly asserted that technology makes accomplishing various activities easier. But it is not always obvious for whom it makes it easier to accomplish what. For example, the Internet has had a profound impact on academic publishing, and the transition from printed paper to digital format has ostensibly made it “easier” for academics to put their work in the public domain and, if they can actually get attention in a social-media sound-bite distracted world, reach a wider audience than ever before.

One at a Time, and All at Once

By on March 21st, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

It is necessary to start somehow, even if you’ve got no map, no knowledge of the destination, and no milometer to measure the distance that has been covered. This can sometimes be the essence of collective action for addressing wicked problems. Sometimes human behavior defies top-down direction and even nudge, and begins instead with a single initiating event and snowballs from there.

Go “Get Chipped”

By on February 9th, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

The big issue is the mass scale big data collection strategies using social media intelligence, CCTV, behavioral biometrics using facial recognition and visual analytics to monitor human activities, the keystroke-level tracking of end-users by third parties on Internet websites, the use of in-bound technology devices that conduct ICT surveillance and home monitoring, and even fitness trackers we carry alongside our mobile phone that are set to control our health insurance premiums.

Raising Teens to Live with Technology Responsibly

By on January 15th, 2018 in Editorial & Opinion, Entries, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

Today, over 90% of U.S. teenagers are online. When it comes to social media, 50% of all teenagers log on at least once a day, with 22% logging on more than 10 times a day. We, like our parents and their parents before them, are worried about the effect that technology is having on the development of our kids. The author discussed the five rules for teaching teens to live with technology responsibly.

Pervasive Technology: Aboriginal Communities and Oppression

By on December 31st, 2017 in Editorial & Opinion, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Privacy & Security

Australian Aboriginal sovereignty is no longer just about Aboriginal communities retaining rights to their own land. The most brutal types of dispossession are the latest forms of data retention, decreased privacy, and unwarranted use of this personal data as a result of activities being collected, analyzed, and intelligently manipulated by geographically remote entities, all thanks to the Internet.

Engineers and Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy

By on December 16th, 2017 in Editorial & Opinion, Environment, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

Unmet local concerns related to renewable energy projects can result in costly project delays or cancellation. Strong political and financial incentives encourage state authorities and renewable energy developers to address issues of social acceptance.

Virtual reality apparatus used in mining.

On Country

By on September 26th, 2017 in Editorial & Opinion, Magazine Articles, Robotics, Societal Impact

Mining has had an impact on many Aboriginal communities in Australia. As we move to a mining sector where dump trucks, underground excavators, loaders, and conveyor systems are transformed into partial or fully autonomous systems, there is little or no human labor required other than to maintain equipment or provide oversight using a range of distant surveillance technologies.

Tragedy of the Digital Commons: Amplified Zombies

By on September 20th, 2017 in Editorial & Opinion, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

There is an unshakable faith in our industry that we can do anything and that everything we do must be good and beneficial to society. Our industry has had similar crises before, such as dot-com busts, that exposed our assumptions, but the ideas are still here. As an industry and society, can we continue to develop solutions that unduly amplify human behavior – so that we provide and support a way for harm to be normalized? As an industry and society, can we continue to promote solutions based on long-held and dominate theories – so that the wider community is misled by influential advocates? The answer is a clear “no” to both.