Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering - Vivek Wadhwa

“With the convergence of medicine, artificial intelligence and sensors, we can create digital doctors that monitor our health and help us prevent disease; with the advances in genomics and gene editing, we have the ability to create plants that are drought resistant and that feed the planet; with robots powered by artificial intelligence, we can build digital companions for the elderly. Nanomaterial advances are enabling a new generation of solar and storage technologies that will make energy affordable and available to all.

Creating solutions such as these requires a knowledge of fields such as biology, education, health sciences and human behavior. Tackling today’s biggest social and technological challenges requires the ability to think critically about their human context, which is something that humanities graduates happen to be best trained to do.

An engineering degree is very valuable, but the sense of empathy that comes from music, arts, literature and psychology provides a big advantage in design. A history major who has studied the Enlightenment or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire gains an insight into the human elements of technology and the importance of its usability.”

Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering - Vivek Wadhwa
http://wadhwa.com/2018/06/12/liberal-arts-humanities-important-engineering/
via Instapaper



Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering - Vivek Wadhwa

“Steve Jobs touted the importance of liberal arts and humanities at the unveiling of the iPad 2: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.” With this focus, he built the most valuable company in the world and set new standards for the technology industry.

Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell, who majored in English, also emphasized this. I recently asked him how he turned his company around and caused its stock price to increase by an astonishing 450 percent over five years. He said that it was through relentlessly focusing on design in every product the company built; that engineering is important but what makes a technology product most successful is its design.

The key to good design is a combination of empathy and knowledge of the arts and humanities. Musicians and artists inherently have the greatest sense of creativity. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools; turning engineers into artists is hard.”

Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering - Vivek Wadhwa
http://wadhwa.com/2018/06/12/liberal-arts-humanities-important-engineering/
via Instapaper

Man vs. Machine: The New Ethics of Cybersecurity

“Leonhard’s proposed manifesto focuses on five specific human rights that he believes could be endangered if we don’t have an ethical framework by which to guide us. These are:

1. The right to remain natural ,i.e., biological. This means we can be employed, use public services, buy things and function in society without a requirement to deploy technology on or inside our bodies.

2. The right to be inefficient if and where it defines our basic humanities. We must be able to make the choice to be slower than technology and not make efficiency more important than humanity.

3. The right to disconnect. We must retain the right to switch off connectivity, go dark on the network and pause communications, tracking and monitoring.

4. The right to be anonymous. We must retain the option of not being identified and tracked, such as when using a digital application or platform when it doesn’t pose a risk or impose itself on others.

5. The right to employ or involve people instead of machines. We should not allow companies or employers to be disadvantaged if they choose to use people instead of machines—even if it’s more expensive and less efficient.”

Man vs. Machine: The New Ethics of Cybersecurity
https://www.securityroundtable.org/new-ethics-of-cybersecurity/
via Instapaper



Review of Technology vs Humanity: The coming clash between man and machine - Ron Immink -

“As Peter Diamandis’ 6Ds, he identified a number of effects.

Dependency – Leaving our thinking to software and algorithms because it’s just so much more convenient and fast.
Confusion – Not knowing if it was the intended human who replied to my emails, or her AI assistant. Or even not knowing if I made my own decision or if I was manipulated by my IDA.
Loss of control – Not having a way of knowing if the AI’s anticipation was correct or not, as we could not possibly track the system’s logic or even comprehend the workings of a quantum computing-fueled, machine-learning system. In other words, we would need to either trust it completely or not at all, similar to the dilemma that some airplane pilots are already facing with their autopilot systems.
Abdication – Being tempted to leave more tasks to systems that would handle them for us, whether it is coordinating personal schedules, making appointments, or answering simple emails. Then, of course, it would be very likely that we would simply blame the cloud/bot/AI if something went wrong.
Reminds me of the “The Seventh Sense“. Do you think AI will let us when it has taken over?”

Technology vs Humanity: The coming clash between man and machine - Ron Immink - Bestselling author, speaker, entrepreneur and ecopreneur.
https://www.ronimmink.com/technology-vs-humanity-coming-clash-man-machine/
via Instapaper

‘Find Your Passion’ vs growth mindset

“Dweck, one of the paper’s authors, has previously studied different types of mind-sets as they relate to intelligence. People who have a growth mind-set about their own intelligence tend to be less afraid of failure, according to her research, because they believe smarts are cultivated, not inherent. Interests are related to, but distinct from, abilities, the study authors told me: You can be interested in something but not very good at it. “I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years, but I can’t say that my abilities have gotten that much better in the past 10 years,” O’Keefe said.

Dweck told me that “find your passion” has a laudable history. “Before that, people were saying, ‘Find your genius,’ and that was so intimidating. It implied that only people who were really brilliant at something could succeed,” she said. “‘Find your passion’ felt more democratic. Everybody can have an interest.” But this study suggests that even the idea of finding your “true” interest can intimidate people and keep them from digging further into a field.”

‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/07/find-your-passion-is-terrible-advice/564932/
via Instapaper

Let’s make private data into a public good

“The so-called sharing economy is based on the same idea. Instead of interacting with some kind of institution (like a travel agency), customers interact with each other. The role of a company, then, is not to provide the service but to connect sellers (like someone who owns a car and is willing to drive it) with buyers (someone who needs a ride). These so-called platforms are presented as a radical transformation in the way goods and services are produced, shared, and delivered. But they’re also an easy way for companies to avoid responsibility. When disabled users complain to Uber that their drivers refuse to put wheelchairs in the trunk, Uber says, well, we’re not a taxi company, we’re just a platform. Airbnb is similarly reluctant to take responsibility for the safety of the premises offered on its site, or for racial discrimination against renters by property owners. After all, Airbnb didn’t build the apartments and doesn’t own them—it’s just a platform.”

Let’s make private data into a public good
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611489/lets-make-private-data-into-a-public-good/
via Instapaper


Google is Reportedly Looking to Take Over Call Centers With Its Duplex AI Assistant

“If Google can find its way into the business of automated phone calls for companies, it could creep its way into a massive profit center. The research firm ResearchAndMarkets projects the cloud-based customer call center market will reach about $21 billion by 2022—up from $6.8 billion in 2017.

Of course, as the market expands, so will the competition, and Google isn’t the only major tech firm that sees opportunity in entering call centers. Last year, Amazon started selling a version of its wildly popular voice assistant Alexa designed specifically for use responding to questions via phone and text. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco also already have their foot in the door of this business, per The Information.

While there may be major profits awaiting these firms as the conquer call centers, they also come with a cost: humans will inevitably be bumped from the jobs. Most companies already outsource the work to countries where they can pay paltry wages in order to keep the expenses related to customer service down, and AI would likely cut those costs even more. That would be devastating for a nation like the Philippines, which has an estimated 1.2 million call-center workers according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Google is Reportedly Looking to Take Over Call Centers With Its Duplex AI Assistant
https://gizmodo.com/google-is-reportedly-looking-to-take-over-call-centers-1827379911
via Instapaper




41 highlights from Homo Deus by Yuval Harari: “Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing.”

“For 300 years the world has been dominated by humanism, which sanctifies the life, happiness and power of Homo sapiens. The attempt to gain immortality, bliss and divinity merely takes the long-standing humanist ideals to their logical conclusion.

You want to know how super-intelligent cyborgs might treat ordinary flesh-and-blood humans? Better start by investigating how humans treat their less intelligent animal cousins. It’s not a perfect analogy, of course, but it is the best archetype we can actually observe rather than just imagine.”

41 highlights from Homo Deus by Yuval Harari: “Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing.”
http://www.kevinhabits.com/41-highlights-from-homo-deus-by-yuval-harari-science-is-converging-on-an-all-encompassing-dogma-which-says-that-organisms-are-algorithms-and-life-is-data-processing/
via Instapaper

It’s time to rein in the data barons

“Jonathan Taplin, the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, argues in Move Fast and Break Things, his book about the power of the internet giants, that rebel artists have long had to deal with “suits” who control distribution of their work. But the rise of companies like Facebook and Amazon has increased the stakes immeasurably. “The concentration of profits in the making of arts and news,” he writes, “has made more than just artists and journalists vulnerable: it has made all those who seek to profit from the free exchange of ideas and culture vulnerable to the power of a small group of …”

It’s time to rein in the data barons
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611425/its-time-to-rein-in-the-data-barons/
via Instapaper



Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.

“Taken together, these graphs illustrate ecological overshoot: the fact that, in the pursuit of material progress, our civilization is consuming the earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished. Overshoot is particularly dangerous because of its relatively slow feedback loops: if your checking account balance approaches zero, you know that if you keep writing checks they will bounce. In overshoot, however, it’s as though our civilization keeps taking out bigger and bigger overdrafts to replenish the account, and then we pretend these funds are income and celebrate our continuing “progress.” In the end, of course, the money runs dry and it’s game over.”

Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.
https://patternsofmeaning.com/2018/05/17/steven-pinkers-ideas-about-progress-are-fatally-flawed-these-eight-graphs-show-why/
via Instapaper