- Most media falsely portrayed Ferguson protests as riots and Mike Brown as a criminal
- Grand jury now has until JANUARY to decide whether to charge Darren Wilson (x) (x) (x) (x)
- Congresswoman Elanor H. Norton stands with Ferguson
- Ferguson teach-in tomorrow
- National labor leader says unions, like the nation, must confront racism
Can a robot learn right from wrong? Attempts to imbue robots, self-driving cars and military machines with a sense of ethics reveal just how hard this is
CAN we teach a robot to be good? Fascinated by the idea, roboticist Alan Winfield of Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK built an ethical trap for a robot – and was stunned by the machine’s response.
In an experiment, Winfield and his colleagues programmed a robot to prevent other automatons – acting as proxies for humans – from falling into a hole. This is a simplified version of Isaac Asimov’s fictional First Law of Robotics – a robot must not allow a human being to come to harm.
At first, the robot was successful in its task. As a human proxy moved towards the hole, the robot rushed in to push it out of the path of danger. But when the team added a second human proxy rolling toward the hole at the same time, the robot was forced to choose. Sometimes, it managed to save one human while letting the other perish; a few times it even managed to save both. But in 14 out of 33 trials, the robot wasted so much time fretting over its decision that both humans fell into the hole. The work was presented on 2 September at the Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems meeting in Birmingham, UK.
Winfield describes his robot as an “ethical zombie” that has no choice but to behave as it does. Though it may save others according to a programmed code of conduct, it doesn’t understand the reasoning behind its actions. Winfield admits he once thought it was not possible for a robot to make ethical choices for itself. Today, he says, “my answer is: I have no idea”.
As robots integrate further into our everyday lives, this question will need to be answered. A self-driving car, for example, may one day have to weigh the safety of its passengers against the risk of harming other motorists or pedestrians. It may be very difficult to program robots with rules for such encounters.
But robots designed for military combat may offer the beginning of a solution. Ronald Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, has built a set of algorithms for military robots – dubbed an “ethical governor” – which is meant to help them make smart decisions on the battlefield. He has already tested it in simulated combat, showing that drones with such programming can choose not to shoot, or try to minimise casualties during a battle near an area protected from combat according to the rules of war, like a school or hospital.
Arkin says that designing military robots to act more ethically may be low-hanging fruit, as these rules are well known. “The laws of war have been thought about for thousands of years and are encoded in treaties.” Unlike human fighters, who can be swayed by emotion and break these rules, automatons would not.
"When we’re talking about ethics, all of this is largely about robots that are developed to function in pretty prescribed spaces," says Wendell Wallach, author ofMoral Machines: Teaching robots right from wrong. Still, he says, experiments like Winfield’s hold promise in laying the foundations on which more complex ethical behaviour can be built. “If we can get them to function well in environments when we don’t know exactly all the circumstances they’ll encounter, that’s going to open up vast new applications for their use.”
This article appeared in print under the headline “The robot’s dilemma”
Hello!! I’m in need of a HUGE signal boost right now (and maybe a big reporting session) because my best friend is being blackmailed by her ex boyfriend.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to put here, but I feel like this should be a warning for anyone who knows him and just a general informative thing. Jacob lives in Australia and is 16 years of age. They’ve had a very unhealthy relationship and he’s threatened sending out her nudes multiple times. Jacob is very manipulative and emotionally abusive towards her and even ends up pulling me and her other friends into not being able to do anything because it’ll end up hurting her. He’s made around 7 Twitter accounts to contact my friend in the times that she was trying to get out of the relationship.
In the picture above, he’s posted her nudes and threatened her.
ALL IM ASKING IS FOR YOU TO REPORT HIM ON EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING:
His Twitter accounts all start with @/neinthousand but the one that was most recently used was: @/neinthousand12 (but it was apparently deleted)
His Facebook account is:Jacob R Hynes, and he has more but I am unable to find them. They’re under Jacob Hynes and the like.
********** UPDATES!!! **********
First, we thought we had a compromise.
Then this happened not even a minute after:
PLEASE CONTINUE REBLOGGING THIS. My friend is only 15 years of age and this is absolutely horrible. We’re getting ahold of local authorities but if you see the pictures anywhere (namely twitter) REPORT THEM IMMEDIATELY.
Put this guy on blast. Detestable scum.
Fucking ruin him.
DOnt shop at urban outfitters
they literally sold a blood-stained-looking sweatshirt with the name of a college that there was a school shooting at
they sold prescription-drug related accessories trying to make it cute
they sold a board game entitled “gettopoly” i should not have to explain why this is bad
they sold a super cissexist card with the T slur on it
they literally sold this shirt
PLEASE STOP SHOPPING AT URBAN OUTFITTERS
Also stop shopping and Anthropologie and Free People. The Urban Outfitters CEO owns those stores too. He’ opposes gay marriage and has donated to Rick Santorum
I was encouraged by doctors to essentially continue anorectic behaviors because I was overweight. My grandmother had to fight to get me counseling.(via sourcedumal)
While there is a lot of appropriate rage about Ferguson right now, the killing of John Crawford, III is getting less attention than it deserves. I put Shaun King’s tweets and history lesson on the matter in chronological order for easier consumption.
You really should be following Shaun King on Twitter.
The Ferguson City Council convened for the first time since Mike Brown’s death, and proved that they literally give no fucks about what the community has to say. Added to their vague, paltry proposed reforms, seems real change will have to come in Ferguson via the ballot box. I don’t care where you live folks— let this be a lesson in voting/participating in your local elections and government! #staywoke #farfromover
My people getting it!
these people are the real heroes. not the military, not politicians, not the Hollywood actors. they risked their lives and livelihoods to challenge white supremacy and institutionalized racism.
-And I’m Emily.
We make “funny videos” on the Internet.
-But soon, we might not be able to.
…net neutrality is in jeopardy. Net Neutrality is the principle that says ISPs can’t discriminate between different types of traffic.
That means that…
…whether you’re a bedroom music producer, a couple on an amateur porn site, or just someone with a start up idea - you get access to the same users as Netflix, Facebook or Amazon. On the Internet, anyone can succeed.
…America’s ISPs wanna set up a pay-for-play system where rich companies pay extra to get to those users first.
If this happens…
…instead of a wonderful playground if innovation that it is now, the Internet will become like cable TV where you can only get stuff that’s been pre-approved by a bunch of old rich guys.
Ten years from now…
…your Internet bill could be a bigger “fustercluck” than your cable bill.
Now, you might be thinking…
…isn’t the government supposed to protect me from fragrant doucheholery like this?
…the former chairman of the FCC (government agency that’s SUPPOSED to protect you) is now the cable industry’s head lobbyist. And another former cable industry lobbyist is now the CURRENT head of the FCC.
…we can’t trust the FCC to make the right decision on their own. That’s why WE need to protect the Internet we love. The chaotic, AWESOME, often quite weird, place where literally everyone’s voice can be heard.
In a few months…
…the FCC will approve this festering soal of proposal unless we speak up. The Internet is one of the few places where human voices speak louder than money. So while that’s still the case, let’s use those voices. Go to DEARFCC.ORG and tell them to protect Net Neutrality. Thanks for doing your part to protect the Internet.
Contact FCC at https://dearfcc.org/
IF DEARFCC.ORG IS DOWN, simply go to good oldhttp://www.savetheinternet.com/
All GIFS are courtesy of our new friend, RANDY!
The image above is an illustration about implications of Net Neutrality. Here’s what is going on today:
There’s a protest organized by a number of large websites, including etsy, Netflix, dailydot and Twitter; organizations like the thehpalliance (alongside a lot of youtube filmmakers/vidders) are supporting it as well.
Over the last few months, the FCC has been taking comments on a proposal that would require telecom providers to ensure that “all users have access to an internet experience that is sufficiently robust, fast and effectively usable”.
Tech and content companies including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter, wrote to the FCC claiming the rules “would enable phone and cable internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against internet companies and to impose new tolls on them”.
In other words, what you’re seeing today is important, and changes to the nine-months-ago status of Net Neutrality could be problematic (I’m not saying “would be” because codification of Net Neutrality in the FCC’s rules would actually be a change, and awesome) but it doesn’t mean that there’s something newly threatening that’s happened in the last few days.
Sign the petitions if you want - although the FCC comment period is closed - and make your voice heard, but don’t panic that there’s something new that you may’ve missed in the last week.
When I was 25 and in my senior year of college, I went to the grocery store to buy some fat-free Greek frozen yogurt, fruit, english muffins, and those one-serving packages of cottage cheese with syrupy strawberries for mixing. That’s pretty much all I was eating back then.
When I got to the frozen yogurt section there was a woman blocking the door, and as I waited for her to make her selection I stared at lower body. She was wearing the tiniest adult jeans I’d ever seen, and her legs were so thin they got lost in the fabric. I was suddenly, angrily jealous, and was about to forgo the frozen yogurt and just buy a bag of grapes…until she turned around.
I lived in an area with a large number of meth addicts. She was one of them, and from the look of her, she’d been addicted for awhile. Her teeth were rotting, her skin was loose and sagging, and she had that greyish meth addict pallor. This was not a healthy person. She looked half-dead.
I went home without buying anything, sat down on my couch, and thought, Well that’s fucked up.
I was, at this time, working on a project about religious rhetoric in online eating disorder communities. You’d think that would be triggering, but it really wasn’t—the communities were populated mostly by teenage girls, and texts like “The Ana Psalm” were too poorly-written for me to find compelling. Regardless, my research required that I regularly expose myself to material about diets, exercise, purging, disordered thoughts, and the health problems associated with eating disorders, and as I sat on the couch with my hand on my racing heart, I realized I might have a problem.
Later that night I took a free online eating disorder screening from NEDA, and was informed that I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder and should speak with a professional. I wasn’t insured and my school’s health services were abysmal, but I made an appointment with a counselor and met with her a week later.
She was young and bubbly and clearly had no idea how to handle my problems, so she gave me some pamphlets on body image and suggested I try a “healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables,” which was basically the opposite of helpful. I didn’t eat vegetables, but approximately 60% of my diet was fruit-based, and it was not healthy.
I continued researching on my own, taking every legit online screening and test I could find, reading up on intuitive eating, reading eating disorder memoirs, etc. I wrapped up my project quickly, opting not to revise it for publication, started avoiding diet-obsessed people, used Cold Turkey to block triggering sites on my laptop, and tried to incorporate different foods into my extremely restrictive diet. I monitored my physical health more carefully and kept chocolate in my purse in case of blood sugar crashes. These were coping methods, and not an adequate substitute for treatment—but I never would have made it through my last year without them.
Grad school acceptances came in, and rather than base my decision on the programs themselves, I researched their health care and ED treatment options. Eventually I chose UNR, because they offered health benefits as part of my assistantship, and because the school health services provided eating disordered patients with a full treatment team. The summer before I moved, the disorder worsened significantly—most days I burned about five times the calories I took in, and people started commenting on how awful I looked.
This wasn’t new—I’d been sick for years, and some years were worse than others. But this was the first time I could pin a name to the disorder. Granted, I was wrong about the name—I had anorexia, not EDNOS—but I knew that I was sick, I knew I needed help, and I knew how to help myself in little ways. I stopped reading ED memoirs, realizing that they only encouraged my disorder, and started each morning with a full battery of vitamins. I introduced chicken into my diet for some much-needed meat, and kept a stock of Ensure in the fridge.
Once I got to Nevada, I made an appointment with Health Services and started working with a physician, nutritionist, and psychologist. When I told them how I’d been managing, they praised my self-awareness and restraint; when my bloodwork came back more or less okay, my physician said that the vitamins and relatively-balanced diet were probably the cause.
That is what I mean when I say self-diagnosis. Self-diagnosis is not “I hate it when my food touches, I must be OCD lol”; self-diagnosis is, “here are my symptoms, here are some possibilities—now how can I help myself?”
I was lucky to have had access to healthcare, however briefly, but many don’t, and mental illness doesn’t consider access when deciding who to afflict. The uninsured are not magically exempt from mental illness—they have the right to manage their symptoms as best they can, and if this includes self-diagnosis you can’t reasonably fault them for it. The best response is to create and share resources that help people self-diagnose and manage symptoms responsibly while also pushing for systemic changes that increase their healthcare options.
And no, responsible self-diagnosis does not trivialize mental illness. As someone with several commonly-misunderstood disorders (all professionally-diagnosed, if you still care), let me say that the reason our suffering is dismissed is that we live in a society which by and large does not give a shit about us. Whether we’re demonized or outright ignored, that mythical teenage girl who diagnosed herself with PTSD after her boyfriend cheated on her does not deserve your ire.
(And just for the record, it hasn’t escaped my notice that this stereotype almost always involves a teenage girl. Which is interesting, given how mental illness in girls and women is often brushed off as hormones, self-obsession, vanity, or my personal favorite, “hysteria.” But that’s a post for another day.)