That was the Y2K that wasn’t

  ‘No planes fell from the sky, but a lot happened to keep them from doing so’.   This is a common view of the Y2K bug among software engineers and IT professionals in Anglo-American societies. For them it may be true that their hard work saved civilization from digitally-challenged-date Armageddon, but everywhere else … Continue reading That was the Y2K that wasn’t

The Ethics of Autonomous robots

Further to a recent post about the ethics of autonomous robots, it seems military robots are not the only kind that can kill, allbeit by 'mistake'. In Japan there are already robots that feed the elderly and baby-sitting robots in shopping centres. So who exactly should be held responsible when they go wrong? It's an … Continue reading The Ethics of Autonomous robots

Beware – Dangerous Robots!

Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project has been thinking about the possible ways of reacting to robots that kill. It's a relatively new set of technologies, but what happens when AI merges with weaponry to produce robots that want to kill you? He thinks the arguments could go in several ways and I tend … Continue reading Beware – Dangerous Robots!

In the crowd, does everyone really think they’re king?

The idea is suggested in a Wall St Journal article about mass sporting events. Why do the Americans sit down when the British (historically) stand up? The answer: in the US a universal sense of  nobility and in the UK a tradition of wallowing in mud. Apparently. The article is interesting because it points out … Continue reading In the crowd, does everyone really think they’re king?

When all that unites us is our fear

At New Statesman magazine, Hugh Aldersley-Williams quotes Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky's Risk and Culture, "people select their awareness of certain dangers to conform with a specific way of life". He worries that we may reach a state in which "all we have in common is our fears". Actually, it's very unlikely we'll reach a … Continue reading When all that unites us is our fear