Category: Societal Impact

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

Ethics and System Design in a New Era of Human–Computer Interaction

By on January 2nd, 2020 in Editorial & Opinion, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

As technology pervades all aspects of our existence, and Artificial Intelligence and machine learning systems become commonplace, a new era of human-computer interaction is emerging that will involve directing our focus beyond traditional approaches, to span other intricate interactions with computer-based systems.

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Meaningful Human Control or Meaningful Human Certification?

By on December 23rd, 2019 in Editorial & Opinion, Magazine Articles, Robotics, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

It is important to define autonomy in technology, which is not the same as automation. Automated systems operate by clear repeatable rules based on unambiguous sensed data. Autonomous systems take in data about the unstructured world around them, process that data to generate information, and generate alternatives and make decisions in the face of uncertainty.

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.

Bipartite Approaches: Designing and Delivering Technologies for Body and Soul

By on November 19th, 2019 in Human Impacts, Last Word, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Our authors identified risks that can result in diminished humanity, if technology is designed or delivered irresponsibly. Our community addressed much of what it means to be human, in the context of complex and converging processes.

Coming Up This Week – IEEE ISTAS 2019 – Boston

By on November 9th, 2019 in Blog Posts, Human Impacts, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

The IEEE Society for Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) invites you to participate in its flagship event, the 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society.  IEEE ISTAS 2019 takes place 15- 16 November in Boston MA, hosted by the School of Engineering of Tufts University, on its Medford Campus.

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.

BOOK REVIEW: The Revenge of Analog

By on September 5th, 2019 in Book Reviews, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

“From today, painting is dead!” is said to have been proclaimed by the French painter Paul Delaroche in 1839 after seeing his first daguerreotype. His was an early name on the list of people who have made fools of themselves when prognosticating a future resulting from a new medium or invention. Motivated by either techno-euphoria or pessimism they have become famously wrong.

Expedition map of Northwest Passage Project route and destinations

Science Communication, Digital Media, and the Human Voice

By on August 17th, 2019 in Blog Posts, Communication Technology, Environment, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Does access to science communication inevitably lead to greater public understanding of science, its discoveries, and their impact? Does access to online data sets inevitably lead to full comprehension of available information by scientists?