Category: Ethics

From Trust and Loyalty to Lock-In and Digital Dependence

By on March 25th, 2020 in Editorial & Opinion, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Robotics, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Mega-platforms have, with the addition of one extra ingredient, combined lock-in and loyalty to create a grave, and perhaps unexpected, consequence. The extra ingredient is psychology; and the unexpected consequence is what might be called digital dependence.

Smarter Homes for the Elderly: A Reality Check

By on February 27th, 2020 in Blog Posts, Ethics, Health & Medical, Human Impacts, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

The primary driver for agetech investment appears to be growing fears around caring for aging populations. But initiatives tend to skate over some of the inherent challenges.

photo of moon landing

Deepfake Videos and DDoS Attacks (Deliberate Denial of Satire)

By on February 19th, 2020 in Editorial & Opinion, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Democracy itself is under (yet another) threat from deepfake videos … deepfake videos could be used to create compromising material of politicians: for example, the digitally-altered video2 of U.S. House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing to slur drunkenly was viewed millions of times and tweeted by the U.S. President, and although the video is demonstrably a hoax, the tweet remains undeleted.

Review: Films from the Future

By on January 28th, 2020 in Book Reviews, Ethics, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Somehow at the heart of sci-fi is returning power to the people who almost always regain control before things get completely out of hand. But we learn that our freedom comes at a cost. The reassuring aspect of Maynard’s work is that justice prevails, despite the ominous lurking of some technological beast that is waiting to be unleashed.

Tuning Networks for Prosocial Behavior

By on January 17th, 2020 in Commentary, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Social media have been seen to accelerate the spread of negative content such as disinformation and hate speech, often unleashing a reckless herd mentality within networks, further aggravated by malicious entities using bots for amplification. So far, the response to this emerging global crisis has centered around social media platform companies making reactive moves

Being Human in the Days/Daze of Big Data

By on November 28th, 2019 in Editorial & Opinion, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Technology for Big Data, and its brother-in-arms Machine Learning, is at the root of, and is the facilitator of, deliberate string-pulling design choices. These design choices are made by people, and so the question actually becomes, do the design choices enabled by Big Data and Machine Learning have the capacity to alter, diminish and perhaps actually “destroy” what it means to be fundamentally human.

If Technology Is a Parasite Masquerading as a Symbiont — Are We the Host?

By on October 29th, 2019 in Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Parents have no idea that lurking behind their kids’ screens and phones are a multitude of psychologists, neuroscientists, and social science experts, who use their knowledge of psychological vulnerabilities to devise products that capture kids’ attention for the sake of industry profit.

Secrets and Lies

By on October 17th, 2019 in Book Reviews, Case Studies, Ethics, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Holmes’s idea of inventing a cheap, small, fast, reliable blood-testing system to creatively destroy most of the world’s existing infrastructure for blood tests ran into big problems early on. But with her chutzpah, persuasiveness, and eventually with the help of outright obfuscations and lies, Holmes kept Theranos going until a Wall Street Journal investigative reporter named John Carreyrou responded to a lead by a health-care blogger that something fishy was going on.

Efficiency Versus Creativity as Organizing Principles of Socio-Technical Systems

By on April 10th, 2019 in Commentary, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

What sense of worth and dignity can a person have when their daily activities are confined within systemic contraptions where personal input, originality, and initiative are either undesirable, or quantified as targets to be maximized?

Technology for Governance, Politics, and Democracy

By on March 16th, 2019 in Editorial & Opinion, Ethics, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Innovative Information and Communication Technologies play an important role in e-governance and digital democracy. There is unprecedented opportunity for community collective choice, whereby citizens who are affected by a set of governing rules can help to select policy options and rank spending priorities.