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The Spawn of Frankenstein: Fear of the Unknown

It’s not the strange­ness of new tech­nolo­gies that fright­ens us but the way tech­nol­o­gy threat­ens to make us strangers to our­selves. In a semi-Freudian spir­it, then, I’d like to pro­pose that where Frankenstein and its spawn are con­cerned, our fear of the unknown may real­ly be about our dis­com­fort with know­ing.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: Unintended Consequences

Victor’s sin wasn’t in being too ambi­tious, not nec­es­sar­i­ly in play­ing God. It was in fail­ing to care for the being he cre­at­ed, fail­ing to take respon­si­bil­i­ty and to pro­vide the crea­ture what it need­ed to thrive, to reach its poten­tial, to be a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment for soci­ety instead of a dis­as­ter.

Social and Ethical Challenges of AI

One of the chal­lenges of build­ing new tech­nolo­gies is that we often want them to solve things that have been very social­ly dif­fi­cult to solve. Things that we don’t have answers to, prob­lems that we don’t know how we would best go about it in a social­ly respon­si­ble way. 

Evgeny Morozov on Silicon Valley Solutionism

There is this bias in soci­ety that as long as you have more infor­ma­tion things are auto­mat­i­cal­ly bet­ter because you have more knowl­edge. It’s a bias that goes all the way back to the Enlightenment.

Urbanising Technology

Cities have become sites, places, for mas­sive deploy­ments of increas­ing­ly com­plex and all-encompassing tech­ni­cal sys­tems, some of them good, some of them dubi­ous.

The Future of Smart Cities

For me, the notion of urban­iz­ing tech­nol­o­gy real­ly is part of a larg­er sort of effort that I’ve been work­ing on for a very long time. … [T]echnologies that enable inter­ac­tive domains deliv­er, give, their tech­ni­cal capac­i­ties through ecolo­gies that are more than just the tech­ni­cal capac­i­ty itself.

Margaret Atwood on Fiction, the Future, and the Environment

We have already changed the world a lot, not always for the bet­ter. Some of it’s for the bet­ter, as far as we human beings are con­cerned. But every time we invent a new tech­nol­o­gy, we like to play with that tech­nol­o­gy, and we don’t always fore­see the con­se­quences.

Vint Cerf Areté Medallion Q&A Elon University 2016

We’ve already been through sev­er­al sit­u­a­tions where new tech­nolo­gies come along. The Industrial Revolution removed a large num­ber of jobs that had been done by hand, replaced them with machines. But the machines had to be built, the machines had to be oper­at­ed, the machines had to be main­tained. And the same is true in this online envi­ron­ment.

Who and What Will Get to Think the Future?

There’s already a kind of cog­ni­tive invest­ment that we make, you know. At a cer­tain point, you have years of your per­son­al his­to­ry liv­ing in somebody’s cloud. And that goes beyond mere­ly being a mem­o­ry bank, it’s also a cog­ni­tive bank in some way.

Forbidden Research: Messing with Nature Part I: Genetics

When it comes to a field as fast-moving and as high of stakes as genet­ic engi­neer­ing, how do we pro­ceed wise­ly? How do we bal­ance our own wild­ness and civil­i­ty as we devel­op increas­ing­ly pow­er­ful ways to inter­act with the liv­ing world?

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