Long Live hitchBOT — How to Deal with Robots and the Ethical Issues they Trigger

3 Sep, 2015   | by: and

The abrupt death of hitchBOT on August 1, 2015 shocked its fans. hitchBOT, the friendly hitchhiker robot, had traveled across Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and some parts of the USA. In Philadelphia, however, the robot was vandalized—a scenario he had not been programmed to deal with. And so his journey ended. More…

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Elonis case decided by U.S. Supreme Court leaves lingering questions for online speech

12 Jun, 2015   | by:

Facebook is the modern-day microphone. The social media platform, in contrast to traditional ways of conveying messages, provides the opportunity for opinions to be amplified immediately to millions of others with the click of a mouse.

But unlike an orator physically standing before you where speech patterns can be scrutinized, emotions can be evaluated, and body language can be deciphered, words from a Facebook user become one-dimensional in transit to readers. Often, those construing messages miles away add their own color and depth to the communication composed behind an emotionless keyboard, creating a discrepancy between the intent of the original speaker and the how the expression is perceived by other parties.

This results in dissonance in the interpretation of messages between the speaker and listener in the digital world not as prevalent through in-person communications. The divergence in the discernment of words created through online speech can add complications to speech laws where intent is a key inquiry and can determine innocence or guilt. More…

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Things that caught our eye

Say Goodbye to Harry Potter – Open Sourcery is what the cool kids practice now

21 Nov, 2014   | by:

Marco Tempest is a digital magician and aims to create illusions with technology. But not to fool people and have them walk out still wondering how that worked. He wants to teach the public what technology can make possible and does this in a fun an interactive way. Take a sneak peak at one of his shows here.

Federico Guerrini wrote a piece about Marco’s work in Forbes. It was an interesting and inspiring read. Guerrini states:

“But it does reach nonetheless its goal, which is to inspire people and make them less suspicious of and more engaged with technology, whether it’s augmented reality, artificial intelligence of another of the many things lots of people talk about, but very few actually are able to understand.”

I think it’s a great idea to share technology and its possibilities with the greater public. By showing the opportunities of technology in a magic show is an interesting take on technology while leaving out all the complicated (and sometimes terrifying) technical stuff. It makes technology more accesible to everyone and helps engage kids, parents, teachers and anyone else who could use a little help from technology but aren’t quite sure how to use it – just like me!


Things that caught our eye

U.S. Court distinguishes between fingerprint and pass code protected cellphones

31 Oct, 2014   | by:

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that it does not violate the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to compel a criminal defendant to unlock a cellphone with a fingerprint. Whereas unlocking with a pass code requires the defendant to provide personal knowledge, a fingerprint is not considered testimonial because it is biometric information similar to a DNA sample.

The move towards fingerprint secured cellphones was with the goal of providing more security to the owner. This ruling however indicates that while the advanced technology provides more security, it may not provide more privacy.

Read more at: Police can require cellphone fingerprint, not pass code.

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Things that caught our eye

Science Fiction is the Future

21 Oct, 2014   | by:

Gideon Lichfield has one goal for the time being and that is to “Treat the future as real life” by looking at the future via science fiction! It’s a pretty awesome idea if you ask me. Lichfield recently started a fellowhip at the Data & Society Research Institute and the question he is trying to answer is:

“How do you make the extremely complex and multilayered issues that data-based technologies raise — from how sensor data can upend urban planning to what happens when nobody’s DNA is private any more — comprehensible and meaningful for the people whose lives they’ll affect, i.e., absolutely everyone?”

I’m pretty sure this is going to be an interesting development to follow (@glichfield) which is why I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

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Things that caught our eye

Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age: Are Machines taking over those tasks for us?

6 Oct, 2014   | by:

Over the past year and a bit I’ve been looking at how the digitalization of information and – well – many other things are affecting how we, companies or the government remember and forget things and how law should react to this in order to ensure the right amount of information is remembered respectively forgotten. Not an easy task, as many different perspectives and interests are involved. More…

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