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Five for Friday: What do you do about a problem like building ethical robots?

February 11, 2017

Better late than never, here's you five for Friday! Today we'll dive into the solar industry, nanotechnology in your food, building robots that operate on an ethical scale equal to that of humans (hopefully the best of us), and at least one more homage to The Sound of Music. It's a wild and crazy Friday, so let's get to it.

 

  1. From Vox - Here's a fun new stat for you: there are 2x more solar jobs than coal. For all the posturing that we're going to revitalize a dying industry, it seems that the will of the market is not headed that way. Sure you can argue that it's because solar is hot and new, but you can also argue that people are figuring out that it's time to embrace cleaner, more efficient energy sources. Who knew I'd end up on the side of a free market exerting its will?
     

  2. From Food Safety Magazine - "What's going on with nanotechnology in the food industry?" is a question I don't often ask myself but this article provided me with insights I never knew I needed in my life. Chiefly, that nanotechnology in food is growing quickly and probably needs some regulation and oversight. The ability of nanotechnology to play a role in food at all levels (growing, cultivating, packaging) is seemingly boundless and we'll need to learn as fast as we can to keep up with it.

     

  3. From Robohub - It's fun to joke about the rise of the machines and all, but do you find your laughs dissolving into a nervous titter as you pause and wonder just how we'll instill them with the ethical code of humanity? Rest easy because there's an IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems that's tackling this very idea. Check out the linked interview for more thoughts about everything from deontic logic to the ethical governor. It's definitely going to help me sleep better tonight.
     

  4. From WIRED - Ford had the winning Super Bowl ad in my opinion and they're following it up with a huge investment in the wheels (?) race toward self-driving vehicles. Ford plans to spend $1B over the next five years with Argo AI in order to meet its promise to get self-driving cars to the mass market by 2021. I guess my love of the free market persists!
     

  5. From Fortune - Let's round it out with one more piece of self-driving car news, this time from a quieter, yet no less imposing, player in the space, General Motors. GM's Cruise Automation division is testing out an app that brings together self-driving and on-demand transportation with a way to request a ride form a self-driving vehicle (so a Lyft ride where you don't feel obligated to talk to your chauffeur). This is a really interesting way to leapfrog some of its competitors' work in order to meet a growing consumer need through a quickly growing channel and technology.
     

For your upcoming trivia jubilees, the best line of TSoM, which is quoted all too rarely in my estimation, is from Kurt: "Only grown-up men are scared of women." As they should be, Kurt; as they should.

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