Living in a Kludge*: Do We Want to Save the Future?

By on January 17th, 2021 in Blog Posts, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Principles taught to STEM students state that “engineers must gain an understanding of all the issues surrounding a particular design challenge. These issues might include the need for the project, relevant social and economic conditions of the target population, and project constraints and requirements.” Engineers and problem-solvers are not the problem. Short-term thinking is the problem. Wishful thinking is the problem. “It will do for now” is the problem.

Book Review: Their Own Devices

By on January 15th, 2021 in Book Reviews, Environment, Ethics, Health & Medical, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Albright’s book focuses on a group of Americans who live a life of digital hyper-connectivity. Mostly under age 50, this would include what are called Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979), Millennials (born between 1980 and 1999), and their offspring — some, as we have seen, still infants.

Thinking about Racism in Engineering Education in New Ways

By on January 10th, 2021 in Commentary, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Contemporary circumstances in the United States, both in broader politics, recent protest movements around police brutality, and in the demographics of engineering education, have prompted us to look for new ways to bring theory on gender, race, and class to audiences who would not normally consider it their usual reading.

For Richer, for Poorer – The Digital Economy

By on December 27th, 2020 in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Ethics, Human Impacts, Interview, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Technological determinism is a myth; there are always underlying economic motivations for emergence of new technologies. The idea that technology leads development is not necessarily true, for example, con-sider AI. It has been a topic of inter-est to researchers for decades, but only recently has the funding caught up, matching the motivation and enabling the development of AI-ori-ented technologies to really take off.

The Black Skyscraper

By on December 4th, 2020 in Book Reviews, Environment, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

It is “seeing” that is most compelling when analyzing the relationship between architecture and race, especially, for example, when reexamined in literary works such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Adrienne Brown, a professor who specializes in American and African American cultural production at the University of Chicago, takes her readers on a journey that recounts seeing racial characteristics in the early period of American skyscraper construction.

A Billion Little Pieces

By on November 21st, 2020 in Book Reviews, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

RFID, even though it underlies electronic toll collection and other systems we interact with every day and is poised to become practically ubiquitous, is far less conspicuous. Jordan Firth’s A Billion Little Pieces aims to bring RFID into the foreground, giving readers a sense of what the technology is, how it is being and could be used, and how concerned we should be about its implications, especially those regarding privacy.

Starts Thursday November 12 – IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society 2020 (ISTAS ’20)

By on November 11th, 2020 in Blog Posts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

*Now a Virtual Conference* — IEEE ISTAS 2020 Public Interest Technology (Arizona State University) November 12 – November 14 – The International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) is the flagship conference of the IEEE’s Society on the Social Implications of Technology- the oldest society and conference of its kind.  ISTAS is a multi/inter/trans-disciplinary forum for engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, philosophers, researchers, social scientists, technologists, and polymaths to collaborate, exchange experiences, and discuss the social implications of technology.

Algorithms and Ethical Diversity

By on November 11th, 2020 in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Commentary, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Ethical diversity refers to “diverse beliefs … as to what are the most ethically appropriate or inappropriate courses of actions,” and takes into account the different values and beliefs people hold [2]. This diversity is and has always been a source of confusion and conflict, from the personal to the international. The answer, however, is to have forums to debate and discuss the ethical choices embedded in everyday life, not algorithms that render the choice being made invisible.

It’s Time to Rethink Levels of Automation for Self-Driving Vehicles

By on October 18th, 2020 in Editorial & Opinion, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

One of the major ways in which the development of self-driving cars has been discussed — the levels of automation drawn up by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) — is misleading. A typology originally developed to provide some engineering clarity now benefits technology developers far more than it serves the public interest.