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Should biotech make life hellish for criminals? – Ross Andersen – Aeon

Should biotech make life hellish for criminals? – Ross Andersen – Aeon | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Radical life extension would give humans the power to create an artificial hell for criminals. Should we?

Via Wildcat2030
Artur Alves's insight:

Interview with Rachel Roache.

 

"I wanted to close by moving beyond imprisonment, to ask you about the future of punishment more broadly. Are there any alternative punishments that technology might enable, and that you can see on the horizon now? What surprising things might we see down the line?


Roache: We have been thinking a lot about surveillance and punishment lately. Already, we see governments using ankle bracelets to track people in various ways, and many of them are fairly elaborate. For instance, some of these devices allow you to commute to work, but they also give you a curfew and keep a close eye on your location. You can imagine this being refined further, so that your ankle bracelet bans you from entering establishments that sell alcohol. This could be used to punish people who happen to like going to pubs, or it could be used to reform severe alcoholics. Either way, technologies of this sort seem to be edging up to a level of behaviour control that makes some people uneasy, due to questions about personal autonomy.

It’s one thing to lose your personal liberty as a result of being confined in a prison, but you are still allowed to believe whatever you want while you are in there. In the UK, for instance, you cannot withhold religious manuscripts from a prisoner unless you have a very good reason. These concerns about autonomy become particularly potent when you start talking about brain implants that could potentially control behaviour directly. The classic example is Robert G Heath [a psychiatrist at Tulane University in New Orleans], who did this famously creepy experiment [in the 1950s] using electrodes in the brain in an attempt to modify behaviour in people who were prone to violent psychosis. The electrodes were ostensibly being used to treat the patients, but he was also, rather gleefully, trying to move them in a socially approved direction. You can really see that in his infamous [1972] paper on ‘curing’ homosexuals. I think most Western societies would say ‘no thanks’ to that kind of punishment.

To me, these questions about technology are interesting because they force us to rethink the truisms we currently hold about punishment. When we ask ourselves whether it’s inhumane to inflict a certain technology on someone, we have to make sure it’s not just the unfamiliarity that spooks us. And more importantly, we have to ask ourselves whether punishments like imprisonment are only considered humane because they are familiar, because we’ve all grown up in a world where imprisonment is what happens to people who commit crimes. Is it really OK to lock someone up for the best part of the only life they will ever have, or might it be more humane to tinker with their brains and set them free? When we ask that question, the goal isn’t simply to imagine a bunch of futuristic punishments – the goal is to look at today’s punishments through the lens of the future."

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Wildcat2030's curator insight, March 13, 2014 8:23 AM

brilliant read..

Sinaia Sinai's curator insight, March 25, 2014 4:13 AM

Yes, brilliant read.

Gentlemachines
What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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How creepy YouTube channels trick kids into watching violent videos

How creepy YouTube channels trick kids into watching violent videos | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Creepy and inappropriate content continues to show up on the YouTube Kids app, and YouTube is mostly hands off until someone complains.
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After the end of the startup era

After the end of the startup era | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
There's a weird feeling afoot these days, in the Valley, and in San Francisco. Across the rest of the world -- Denver, Santiago, Toronto, Berlin, "Silicon..
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Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The long read: It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell
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New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots

New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Cybersecurity firm describes how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots
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How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Michelle Nijhuis reports on a course at the University of Washington, in Seattle, that teaches students to approach data-backed claims with skepticism.
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Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming

Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The illusion behind the "Good Guy Valve" reputation
Artur Alves's insight:
"This, then, is Good Guy Valve — a corporation which employs precision-engineered psychological tools to trick people into giving them money in exchange for goods they don't legally own and may never actually use while profiting from a whole lot of unpaid labor and speculative work ... but isn't “evil.” This is the Good Guy everyone seems too afraid to call out, the toxic friend who is so popular that upsetting him will just make things worse for you, so you convince yourself he's really not that bad and that everyone else is over-reacting. Once the Good Guy illusion has disappeared, we're left with the uncomfortable truth: Valve is nothing more than one of the new breed of digital rentiers, an unapologetic platform monopolist growing rich on its 30 percent cut of every purchase — and all the while abrogating every shred of corporate or moral responsibility under the Uber-esque pretense of simply being a "platform that connects gamers to creators.” 
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Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal

Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal on ResearchGate.
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The Deep Space of Digital Reading - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus

The Deep Space of Digital Reading - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In A History of Reading, the Canadian novelist and essayist Alberto Manguel describes a remarkable transformation of human consciousness,…
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First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia

First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
One afternoon in November, Fran Serenade led me and her daughter Barbie down a steep section of the Appalachian trail. The sun was high and Fran hiked briskly, ducking the blue-green diagonals of fir…
Artur Alves's insight:
«
Today, Second Life is mostly forgotten by the broader public. An estimated 800,000 users are active on a monthly basis, according to Second Life parent company Linden Lab. That’s tiny compared to the 1.86 billion users who are active on Facebook each month. Yet some communities have quietly continued to thrive in the virtual world. One of these is the disability community, a sundry group whose members include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. There are no official tallies of their numbers, but Wagner James Au, who has written extensively about Second Life, estimates they may account for roughly 20 percent of users. Some active members estimate the number higher — at as much as 50 percent
»
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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.
Artur Alves's insight:
«[U]nsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. «
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The high-tech war on science fraud

The high-tech war on science fraud | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The Long Read: The problem of fake data may go far deeper than scientists admit. Now a team of researchers has a controversial plan to root out the perpetrators
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The Data That Turned the World Upside Down

Psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their Facebook activity. Did a similar tool help propel Donald Trump to victory?
Artur Alves's insight:
The trivial assertion that correlation does not equate causation breaks down when it becomes possible to establish hundreds, or even thousands, of correlations pertaining to a single subject or group. The political consequences are yet to be fully seen.

«The approach that Kosinski and his colleagues developed over the next few years was actually quite simple. First, they provided test subjects with a questionnaire in the form of an online quiz. From their responses, the psychologists calculated the personal Big Five values of respondents. Kosinski’s team then compared the results with all sorts of other online data from the subjects: what they “liked," shared or posted on Facebook, or what gender, age, place of residence they specified, for example. This enabled the researchers to connect the dots and make correlations. Remarkably reliable deductions could be drawn from simple online actions. For example, men who “liked” the cosmetics brand MAC were slightly more likely to be gay; one of the best indicators for heterosexuality was “liking” Wu-Tang Clan. Followers of Lady Gaga were most probably extroverts, while those who “liked” philosophy tended to be introverts. While each piece of such information is too weak to produce a reliable prediction, when tens, hundreds, or thousands of individual data points are combined, the resulting predictions become really accurate. «
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As a human, I don't do technology. I _am_ technology

What does it mean to be a responsible, mature and wise technological being? Our future lies in seeking real answers to this type of question.
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Silicon Valley’s Latest Craze: Brain Tech

Silicon Valley’s Latest Craze: Brain Tech | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and other big Silicon Valley players want to make commercial gadgets for your brain
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Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster

Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes - a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

What was a 2.2 millimetre per year rise in 1993 was a 3.3 millimetre rise in 2014, based on estimates of the mass changes of a number of key components of sea level rise, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the study in Nature Climate Change found.

That's the difference between 0.86 and 1.29 inches per decade - and the researchers suggest further sea level acceleration could be in store.

The chief cause of the acceleration was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which went from contributing less than 5 percent of all sea level rise in 1993 to contributing more than 25 percent in 2014, the study found. The loss of ice in Antarctica and smaller glaciers over the same time period also contributed to quicker sea level rise.

The increase in the rate of sea level rise "highlights the importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaptation plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea level rise," write Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology, and colleagues. Chen's co-authors hailed from institutions in China, Australia and the United States.

Via Wildcat2030
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It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World

It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Some inventions come ahead of their time. This one came along well after it
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The blockchain paradox: Why distributed ledger technologies may do little to transform the economy — Oxford Internet Institute

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The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel

The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Debunking the myth of a superhuman artificial intelligence: Hyper-intelligent algorithms are not going to take over the world for these five reasons.
Artur Alves's insight:
"The most common misconception about artificial intelligence begins with the common misconception about natural intelligence. This misconception is that intelligence is a single dimension. "
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Live and death: Facebook sorely needs a reality check about video

Live and death: Facebook sorely needs a reality check about video | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Facebook Live was meant to be part of the social network’s optimistic vision. But in the wake of two violent crimes, its response has been woefully inadequate
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Even good bots fight: The case of Wikipedia

Even good bots fight: The case of Wikipedia | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the number of bots online, varying from Web crawlers for search engines, to chatbots for online customer service, spambots on social media, and content-editing bots in online collaboration communities. The online world has turned into an ecosystem of bots. However, our knowledge of how these automated agents are interacting with each other is rather poor. Bots are predictable automatons that do not have the capacity for emotions, meaning-making, creativity, and sociality and it is hence natural to expect interactions between bots to be relatively predictable and uneventful. In this article, we analyze the interactions between bots that edit articles on Wikipedia. We track the extent to which bots undid each other’s edits over the period 2001–2010, model how pairs of bots interact over time, and identify different types of interaction trajectories. We find that, although Wikipedia bots are intended to support the encyclopedia, they often undo each other’s edits and these sterile “fights” may sometimes continue for years. Unlike humans on Wikipedia, bots’ interactions tend to occur over longer periods of time and to be more reciprocated. Yet, just like humans, bots in different cultural environments may behave differently. Our research suggests that even relatively “dumb” bots may give rise to complex interactions, and this carries important implications for Artificial Intelligence research. Understanding what affects bot-bot interactions is crucial for managing social media well, providing adequate cyber-security, and designing well functioning autonomous vehicles.
Artur Alves's insight:
«[B]ots interact over time, and identify different types of interaction trajectories. We find that, although Wikipedia bots are intended to support the encyclopedia, they often undo each other’s edits and these sterile “fights” may sometimes continue for years. Unlike humans on Wikipedia, bots’ interactions tend to occur over longer periods of time and to be more reciprocated. Yet, just like humans, bots in different cultural environments may behave differently. Our research suggests that even relatively “dumb” bots may give rise to complex interactions, and this carries important implications for Artificial Intelligence research. Understanding what affects bot-bot interactions is crucial for managing social media well, providing adequate cyber-security, and designing well functioning autonomous vehicles.»
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Migrants with mobiles: Phones are now indispensable for refugees | The Economist

Migrants with mobiles: Phones are now indispensable for refugees | The Economist | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
SOMETIMES Hekmatullah, a 32-year-old Afghan, has to choose between food and connectivity. “I need to stay in touch with my wife back home,” he says, sitting in a grubby tent in the Oinofyta migrant camp, near Athens. Because Wi-Fi rarely works there, he has to buy mobile-phone credit.
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Symbolic dots, style link 38,000-year-old engraving to other famous cave art finds

Symbolic dots, style link 38,000-year-old engraving to other famous cave art finds | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Stone Age engraving helps to illuminate European travels of an ancient human culture.
Artur Alves's insight:
«The rock art is similar to some engravings and drawings found at other French and German sites, including the famous Chauvet Cave (SN: 6/30/12, p. 12), and attributed to the Aurignacian culture, which dates to between 43,000 and 33,000 years ago. Like the new find, that art includes rows of dots, depictions of aurochs and various animals shown in profile with a single horn and a long, thin muzzle. Within a few thousand years of arriving in Europe from Africa, Aurignacian groups developed regional styles of artwork based on images that had deep meaning for all of them, proposes anthropologist and study coauthor Randall White of New York University, who directed the excavation.«
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Hybrid zoo: Introducing pig–human embryos and a rat–mouse

Hybrid zoo: Introducing pig–human embryos and a rat–mouse | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Chimaeras could pave the way for growing human organs in other animals.
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