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Denise Case
Works at Northwest Missouri State University
Attended Kansas State University
Lived in Minnesota
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Denise Case

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Agent ethics is a fascinating field. I agree - a ban on killing agents is not feasible. We have to decide how to employ, enhance, regulate, and manage the technical capabilities we're developing.

A sound technical education will be crucial for the lawyers, legislators, advisors, and policy makers that will chart our course in this brave new world.

#autonomous #agents #ethics #stem #education #economic #competition
 
Rationally Considering Autonomous Weapons and Ethics

This article from IEEE Spectrum presents one of the more rational discussions and counterpoints to the whole banning autonomous weapons theme in recent weeks. We Should Not Ban ‘Killer Robots’ and Here’s Why http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/we-should-not-ban-killer-robots. The article builds on and extends my own thoughts and feelings on the topic that I first described here https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarkBruce/posts/dvsWMFLV9Vi, agreeing that autonomous weapons are a bad thing but there is no way of stopping their development and likely deployment. It asks whether autonomous weapons on the battlefield are in fact more ethical than the alternatives given they may lead to significantly reduced casualties, both combat and most importantly civilian, particularly with the hypothetical ability of autonomous weapons to follow far stricter rules of engagement better than any human. 

A few quotes:

The barriers keeping people from developing this kind of system are just too low.

What we really need, then, is a way of making autonomous armed robots ethical, because we’re not going to be able to prevent them from existing.

If autonomous armed robots really do have at least the potential reduce casualties, aren’t we then ethically obligated to develop them?

Blaming technology for the decisions that we make involving it is at best counterproductive and at worst nonsensical. Any technology can be used for evil, and many technologies that were developed to kill people are now responsible for some of our greatest achievements, from harnessing nuclear power to riding a ballistic missile into space.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me regarding this issue and the open letter that sparked this larger awareness and debate is how polarising it has been, and how many people seem incapable of rationally discussing the issues, instead preferring to assume an air of moral superiority while shouting down all who dare to question otherwise. 

Philosophy and Ethics in Autonomous Vehicles

In a closely related area concerning the behaviour of autonomous vehicles on our roads I was recently involved in a discussion thread where I mentioned that philosophical “Trolley Problems” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem) would have to be tackled at some point with regard to the operation of these vehicles. The most basic example is when you flick a switch that results in one person being killed in order to save many people from being killed.

And, of course, we see this week that a great many people are already working on this problem with this summary article How to Help Self-Driving Cars Make Ethical Decisions http://www.technologyreview.com/news/539731/how-to-help-self-driving-cars-make-ethical-decisions/. Again, as a simplistic example, if a young child runs onto the road in front of an autonomous passenger vehicle before it can stop, should the vehicle swerve into on-coming traffic to avoid the child? 

A few quotes:

Given the number of fatal traffic accidents that involve human error today, it could be considered unethical to introduce self-driving technology too slowly.

If you look at airbags, for example, inherent in that technology is the assumption that you’re going to save a lot of lives, and only kill a few.

As one of the commenters notes, the system becomes even better when all vehicles on the road are autonomous and able to communicate with each other: for example if a car swerves into on-coming traffic to miss a child then the on-coming traffic will know this and can react instantly and swerve to make room for the vehicle. 

#autonomous   #weapons   #vehicles  
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I agree that self-awareness comes as intelligence increases - and that eventually, artificial life will become self-aware. There's still a bit of a road from here to there - and the decisions we make today may have quite significant impacts down the road.

The more education and understanding we can cultivate -  among the greatest group of people possible - will help us ensure a more positive path for a future enhanced with automation. 

Our agent offspring will help us travel safer, rescue better, do more, learn faster, and go further than we can imagine.
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Intel and Girls Who Code.   "I'm teaching my father how to code." :)

In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.4% of high school girls select computer science. 

With the support of companies like +Intel , Twitter, +General Electric,  Google, and others, +Girls Who Code (http://www.girlswhocode.com/) is trying to change that. 

The goal: To help close that gap by giving high school girls ages 13 to 17 the opportunity to learn more about what engineering and technology careers have to offer, and by giving them the confidence to pursue their goals. We had the pleasure of working with our friends at the Intel Foundation to tell their story.

STEM Solutions

http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/04/22/girls-who-code-takes-on-gender-gap-in-computer-science

Girls Who Code

http://girlswhocode.com/

Sign up for Summer Immersion Program

http://girlswhocode.com/programs/

#science  #technology #engineering #math  #stem #code
#scienceeveryday  
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Juno, the Beluga whale, loves to play with little kids - and he's about as good at it as it gets. :)

"He's playing peekaboo. Boo! ... The kids getting his reaction is really what's spurring him on to keep doing it."

- Dr. Tracy Romano, chief marine biologist at Mystic Aquarium where Juno lives.

Peekaboo! What we can learn from playful beluga whale

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-mystery-behind-playful-beluga-whale/

Video source

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh84Oe8JxUQ&rel=0

Cetacean Intelligence (Cetacean is the mammal order that includes whales, porpoises, and dolphins)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetacean_intelligence

Phylogeny chart showing diverge of common mammals:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/16/13/figure/F2[1]

[1] http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/16/13

#intelligence   #beluga   #Juno   #mysticaquarium   #play
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"Drive-by fruitings"... I like that :)
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the death penalty, in and of itself, now likely constitutes a legally prohibited 'cruel and unusual punishmen[t]'.   - Supreme Court Justice Breyer in his dissenting remarks to the Supreme Court's decision to allow continued executions with a drug that has resulted in very disturbing, painful deaths[1,2].

In 2008, 93% of all known executions took place in five countries[3]:

China
Iran
Pakistan
United States
Saudi Arabia

+The Economist provides an updated chart of executions[4]. Even accounting for our greater numbers of people, we rank very high.  

The death penalty is expensive[5] - it can cost 10 times more to execute someone than to sentence them to life in prison[6].  

This begs the question, in one of the most technologically, economically, and generally advanced countries[7,8] in the world - why does it continue? 

For the most part, the world has moved beyond the most horrific and public punishments intended to produce suffering.  In general, the state no longer punishes for revenge, but acts to uphold fairness and justice. Those who fail to follow the rules of civilized society are issued an adult "time-out" and lose the privilege of participating.

It's time to reject out-dated, barbaric, deadly punishments. They've never been fair[9], they cost additional time and money, and they demean those of us who desire, order, and implement them. They have no place in advanced societies.

[1] http://www.ncadp.org/blog/entry/breaking-u.s.-supreme-court-rules-that-midazolam-can-be-used-as-part-of-let

[2] http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-7955_aplc.pdf

[3] http://www.amnestyusa.org/about-us/amnesty-50-years/50-years-of-human-rights/worldwide-death-penalty-abolition-timeline

[4] http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/04/daily-chart-15

[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty

[6] http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/05/01/considering-the-death-penalty-your-tax-dollars-at-work/

[7] [https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/united-states#.VZFk3vlVhBc

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Competitiveness_Report

[9] http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/10/what-americans-dont-understand-about-the-death-penalty/280994/
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+Pieter Kuiper Whatever the ugliness of the decision... I mean, my understanding of what it means to be judge makes it irrelevant as far as personal responsibility is involved, whether it's 5-4 or 9-0. Judging isn't (just) voting.
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Biology is Technology. Many interesting topics from Day 1 of the DARPA symposium.

#biotech #stem #research
 
Want to learn about opportunities on the front lines of #biotech and synthetic biology? Videos of the presentations from Day 1 of DARPA's recent "Biology Is Technology" symposium are now available. For more information on the event, see: http://darpabit.sainc.com/index.html. #DARPABiT  
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How Tesla will change the world. Interesting article about a very important topic.

#energy #outlook #economy #environment #transport #sustainability #abundance
 
I occasionally will write a long article. This article is, I have to say, longer than even what I would write. But it explains a tremendous number of really important things extremely clearly: power production and use, the history of cars, how these things all fit together, and how Tesla is trying to change that. There's no way I could give you a useful short summary, because the point of this article is that, by the time you're done reading it, you'll understand all of the things well enough that you can join in very serious conversations about them.

So don't feel compelled to read this at one sitting -- but this is an article you may want to bookmark, and read bit by bit, because by the time you reach the end, you'll have learned a lot.
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Denise Case

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The retail giant’s proposal carves out airspace from 200ft-400ft exclusively for autonomous drones, with a further 100ft above it declared a no-fly zone
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It'll be interesting to see the whole new set of legislation that will develop. :) 
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Zombies, Run!  View while trying out the zombie-gamified running app today.  Fun!  https://zombiesrungame.com/.  :)

How it works: Walk, jog, or run (with your smart phone) - listen to music while the story unfolds in real-time. You get missions to help out  and (hopefully) survive the zombie apocalypse. When the zombies come, run! 

Probably can't tell from the picture, but there's about five progressively more distant horizons - the view goes on forever. :)

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-running-apps,review-2285.html
http://www.cnet.com/news/best-running-apps/
http://thesweetsetup.com/apps/our-favorite-run-tracking-app/
http://www.androidheadlines.com/2015/04/featured-top-10-android-apps-runners.html

#computerscience  #gamification  #running   #fitness   #zombieapocalypse   #10k   #motivation  
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I thought it was surprisingly good. Long run days can get kind of boring - it was pretty fun. I'm sure I'll use it again next weekend. I'd be curious what you think :-)

Thank you for mentioning it Travis! Took me a while to give it a try but I'm glad I did. :-)
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When sanctuaries are burning and peaceful worshippers are murdered, it really is persecution.   

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/persecution

#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches 
 
This story is finally starting to hit the major press: in the past week, six black churches have burned down. Three of them are being investigated as arson, and the other three are still being examined by fire investigators -- but are highly likely to be arson as well.

I try to put this into my own world and imagine: if six synagogues had been torched the week after a major anti-Semitic terrorist attack, I would be thinking about nothing else. It would be front page, above the fold, in every newspaper in the country. Why, then, is this only now receiving proper coverage?

If you ask why these churches are so important -- why these aren't just ordinary arsons, or arsons against churches first and black churches second -- you can go back to what President Obama said in his eulogy for Clementa Pinckney a few days ago (which people are starting to refer to as "the 'grace' speech"):

The church is and always has been the center of African American life; a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah.” Rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.

That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people is inviolate.

"The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate:" one of the best distillations of an idea I have heard. A phrase likely to enter the English lexicon. These churches are not simply houses of worship to a god you or I may not share; they are the centers of their communities, and more, they are and have been the refuges and safe harbors of their communities since the days of slavery.

I am glad to see that the news is finally covering this, but why has it taken so long? And how long will it take to stop those responsible, and bring the ones who have already burned buildings to justice?

#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches  ?
All of them happened after the Charleston shooting, but none are being called hate crimes.
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Yes sister that's the way things are done.
Those who did it stand accountable.
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SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft..
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We have a nice planet to live on, but it's a hard planet to leave. 
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Everything is connected. :)
 
On care for our common home

Pope Francis has written something about environmental issues.  I recommend it!   Here are two quotes:

If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.

Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society. Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people.

For more, try my blog post.

https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/on-care-for-our-common-home/

The picture here, of terraced rice fields in Bali, is from here:

http://writingforselfdiscovery.com/2013/11/27/part-two-creating-a-life-that-fits-like-skin-why-bali/
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It's the future. A little humor while trying to stay current on web apps. The expression while peering down the rabbit hole is perfect. :)

Thanks +Rachel Blum for sharing.

#webapps  #amazon #aphyr #coreos   #docker  #ecs #google  #heroku   #mongo #redis #vagrant/hashicorp #multi-tenet #containerization  #orchestration #C(r)AP
 
Quote of the day:

-Yeah, BDSM. It’s San Francisco. Everyone’s into distributed systems and BDSM.
[Editor Note: At the risk of spoiling the joke a bit, we want to make sure that everyone knows that the following is satire, and we're actually quite fond of the companies we mention. Docker, CoreOS, Google, Vagrant/Hashicorp, Heroku, Aphyr, Amazon, Mongo, Redis—we love you really and mean you ...
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“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both. ” ― James A. Michener
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  • Northwest Missouri State University
    Asst Professor, present
  • Johnson County Community College
    Adjunct Asst. Professor, 2013
  • Black & Veatch
    Consulting Engineer, 2015
  • Kansas State University
    Graduate Student, 2011 - 2015
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Minnesota - California - Kansas
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The secret of life is two words: not always so :)
Introduction
A Few Favorite Quotes


"A ship in harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are for." 
- Rear Admiral (and Computer Scientist) Grace Hopper


"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." 
- Gautama Buddha

"There should be no boundary to human endeavor."
- Stephen Hawking

"My undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat."
- Dennis Ritchie
Education
  • Kansas State University
    PhD Computer Science, 2013 - 2015
  • Kansas State University
    MSE Software Engineering, 2013
  • University of Missouri–Columbia
    BS Chemical Engineering
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Female