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Matt Uebel
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Matt Uebel

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Sorry, tech press. Google+ is alive and well.

(Read my column: )

A chorus of tech journalists this week is saying that Google is phasing out its social network, Google+.

Where did they get this juicy nugget of information? Well, they made it up. And I'll tell you why.

But first, let's look at what the press is saying and compare that with reality:

#GooglePlus #Google+
112 comments on original post
John McHugh's profile photoMac Vogt's profile photoJen Yoeng's profile photo
Hiding G+ from Google's main page, not mentioning it at I/O, chorus of newsgroups calling it dead -- I think all this matters. All drag on the fresh blood. I don't see a big reason for people to check it out, except maybe for the Android community. Nothing happens here. No screenshots of G+ posts or comments circulate the web like Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, FB. I don't know about you, but my numbers have seen a slow, steady decline, but this might be just how the summer is. But I can't help but be skeptical about "healthier than ever."

I still think there's potential. I'm hanging on. 
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A Chinese firm specialising in precision technology has set up the first unmanned factory at Dongguan city where all the processes are operated by robots.
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Video Over the past week, hackers were able to utilize a security loophole in PC game service Steam to hijack other users accounts, leading to stolen accounts and Valve scrambling to plug the hole. The problem appears to be fixed now, but Valve had to take the Steam store temporarily offline [...]
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It's not a myth, it's a prophecy. Whatever the state of measured productivity over the last half-century, the development of robotics and artificial intelligence represents a sea-change in how "economics" is done.
Faster-than-ever technological and economic change is a myth. In fact, productivity is slowing down and that's the biggest problem we face.
Sordatos Cáceres's profile photoBob Wesson's profile photoCliff Dove's profile photoBenjamin Russell's profile photo
+Matthew Yglesias does the world a great disservice by ignoring the vast economics research which demonstrates the loss in productivity and GDP growth due to existing and worsening wealth inequality. 

Everyone should watch this 6 minute video to appreciate the scope of the problem:
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Best show on television.
“Many among us find it gratifying to entertain the thought that alienation is to be overcome only by the completeness of alienation, and that alienation completed is not a deprivation but a potency. expression of disaffection from the social existence was ever so desperate as this eagerness to
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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 The article builds on and extends my own thoughts and feelings on the topic that I first described here, 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” ( 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 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  
38 comments on original post
Derek Symion's profile photoMichael Speth's profile photoKevin Wright's profile photo
Well it's,.......mental masturbation........because its inevitable......... Caveat........ AI will become the beginning it might result in some tragic .....malfunctions..... If we are lucky.

If a thing has the capacity to .......make a judgement call......
It probably will.


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Reminds me of David Lynch's Rabbits.
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man, one of the hidden taxes of being a Verizon customer is the limited number of phones you can use on it. The new Moto G looks awesome, but is GSM only. Ugh.
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I guess that's one thing I can be happy with the system here (in Aus) - whenever a buy a new phone I just throw in my old SIM and it'll work immediately, I can chop and change to any network with very little hassle
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News that we will have news about THE UNHOLY CONSULT soon! #muchexcite

Cc: +Tyler Millhouse+Luke Burrage​
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"Starting with skin cells from patient biopsies, scientists transformed them back into stem cells, and from those grew pea-sized, self-organizing, crazy-looking nuggets of living — yes, LIVING — brain."
First came lab-grown mini-hearts, then 3D printed skin. Now scientists have taken “body on a chip” to a whole new level with tiny lab-grown human brains.
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That's amazing!  In ten years full sized brains will be available.  That's so amazing to me!
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• • •
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