Just in time, as the field of AI ramps up. (Also by some coincidence, a week after the cover story in LMD.)
MIT has just announced it will add a new college, the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, dedicated to world-changing breakthroughs in AI, and their ethical application. The college will “reorient MIT” to add 50 new faculty positions, and give students in every discipline an opportunity to develop and apply AI and computing technologies.
The term ‘ethical’ keeps popping up these days in relation to Artificial Intelligence. MIT expands on this, saying it will “examine the anticipated outcomes of advances in AI and machine learning, and to shape policies around the ethics of AI.” As I have mentioned elsewhere, most experts (from Elon Musk, to Bill Gates to Berners-Lee aside) agree that we are just at the tadpole stage of the life-cycle of AI.
However, some, such as sci-fi writer, Isaac Asimov and even Stephen Hawking have had concerns. Hawking, for instance remarked that “we all have a role to play in ensuring that we and the next generation have the determination to engage with science … and create a better world for the whole human race.” MIT seems to be the first large institution to take up this mantle, and in the process, redefine and re-invent its role in education.
There are four ‘Laws of robotics’ that are seldom discussed whenever the topic comes up. There were written by the late sci-fi author, Isaac Asimov. More like guide rails, these are practical laws.
With the rapid rise in automation, AI, and robotics from battlefield robots (developed by South Korea, the US, and who knows who else) and surgical bots, these issues are worth discussing. Why leave the issues of automation and robotics to academic and/or politicians?
In this month’s column in LMD, I discuss the pros and cons of robotics. You can read it here.
It’s impossible to miss the conspiracy theories swirling around us whether it’s politics, technology or pop culture. You may have heard of Google News, delivering fake news snippets via a Google Home speaker.
Perfectly timed, because this month my LMD column you’ll find my wacky take on conspiracy theories, including the many tall tales concerning the Illuminati.
Titled:“Stop spreading fake news. Worry about Beyonce instead!”
(I discussed the topic here on this blog in January, while working on the article stating that news fakery is nothing new and dates back to the civil war.)
If you think selfies are getting out of hand, consider what humans have been encouraging animals to do with cameras. And as for the poor monkeys that clicked the shutter, not realizing it was a set up, they got sued! I kid you not!
I feature this in my March column in LMD.
On a more serious note, the Serengeti project had researchers set up 225 cameras throughout the park in Tanzania. It’s part of the Snapshot Serengeti,
There’s a great column by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post magazine section, titled There’s no silver lining to Trump’s win. So here’s my cat.
It is a quick follow-up to make up for a column he wrote in anticipation of Trump losing. Mr. Weingarten explains how he, like so many others in the media got it wrong. It had been written in the form of an obit, celebrating the death of a “Boys-Will-Be-Boys Guy.”
Oddly enough even I made the same mistake. In a column written for a later date.
I asked readers to join me in sending our condolences to the cartoonists of America. They (and the likes of Saturday Night Live) had been given nearly two years of unlimited, unimaginable humor material. From awkward physical gestures at the podia, to content ready-made for speech bubbles.
Weingarten’s replacement column is prefaced by this:
Readers who wish to complain can reach the author through the U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam, where he is seeking asylum.
(Of course, he is kidding.)
My replacement column is about the wall Canada is building on its southern border –financed by us of course.
(And of course, I am ‘serious’.)
Dec. 2015 was my last column in LMD Magazine. After 20 some years, I’ve decided to put down the pen and become a consumer, rather than a contributor. (And yes, it’s always been a pen!)
I began writing for the magazine back in 1994, as an ‘occasional’ contributor. By 1995, publisher Hiran Hewavisenti cajoled me to start a column after we returned to the US, and …the rest is history.
I admit, ‘retiring’ as a columnist was a tough decision, considering how much it connected me with many of you readers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. It’s funny how ‘old tech’ print publications like this have been the precursors of our fancy schmancy social networks. It’s how I’ve met tech evangelists, entrepreneurs, and a wide range of thought leaders in emerging sectors. You’ve helped me cover topics such as US political campaigns, and advertising to diplomacy, from the tsunami to the ‘Uber economy’, from mobile learning, and cyber wars to artificial intelligence.
I like to thank the staff at LMD for their wonderful support, and my fellow columnists who sometimes became my sounding board, as they covered complimentary, emerging topics from different corners of the world. And last but not least, I have to thank my readers, many of whom write back, or send that occasional tweet.
In the swim suit contests for our future president, the conflict of style vs substance is hard to miss.
These debates are, after all political theater, set up by TV networks. Sometimes I wonder if we have the right to even complain that it is such a frivolous affair, and we hardly come away with substance about a candidate.
So this month, in my column, I covered it from the premise that the candidate who really masters the ‘camera angle’ of this theatrical exercise, is the one who could win.
If you watched the incident in Iowa a few months back, when Donald Trump was interrupted by TV journalist Gorge Ramos, from Univision, you’ll know what I mean. The cameras rolled, and as crass and disingenuous as Trump was, he demonstrated camera mastery.
It’s no longer Public Relations 1.0. The groundswell of offline and online conversations is creating new possibilities. It’s possible now to follow real-time commentary in the Twittersphere, On Facebook, Instagram, or via ‘Vine’ while a campaign speech is being delivered. And these short burps of commentary, are fed by what comes to us via the camera soundbite.
If you want to read more on this it is here.