SDF Podcast 13: 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs

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SDF Podcast 13: 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs
Trust “Trust, but verify” is a phrase that was used often by Ronald Reagan. It is more than a little ironic that this is originally a Russian proverb (Doveryai, no proveryai). Trust is also what links the various topics in episode 13 of our podcast (with show notes written by Thomas Stoeckle). From Chinese citizen scores to alleged irregularities in the UK referendum and the US presidential election, the implications of GDPR and the prospects of blockchain: trust is the glue that should hold together the fabric of such interactions, in private as well as public contexts.

China scores its citizens

Writer and academic Rachel Botsman calls her analysis of our hyperconnected, hyperpartisan times Who Can You Trust. Both Neville and I are currently reading the book, and it will feature in our next podcast (by which time I
1984
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Thomas Stoeckle
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Artificial intelligence risks GM-style public backlash, experts warn

NevilleHobson.com
Artificial intelligence risks GM-style public backlash, experts warn
Stop the Robots Researchers say social, ethical and political concerns in the UK about artificial intelligence (AI) are mounting and greater oversight is urgently needed, according to the Guardian. Otherwise, we could expect to see the kind of social disruption that greeted the advent of genetically-modified (GM) foods during the past decades. The Guardian’s report notes that there are no testing standards or requirement for AI to explain their decisions. There is also no organisation equipped to monitor and investigate any bad decisions or accidents. AI has entered public consciousness during the past couple of years with largely a negative focus. In how AI is reported in the media – mainstream and social – that focus tends to be about how the robots are coming to take away our jobs, our livelihoods, our comfort zones. Undoubtedly, elements of AI – notably automation
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Normal

What is normal? It is something that is usual, typical, standard, average, unexceptional, routine, predictable, to be expected. Normal is the way things are done, part of the fabric of society, everyday habits, the unnoticed, taken for granted, culturally embedded. It defines the benchmark against which everything else is measured. The middle of a normal … Continue reading Normal

Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says

NevilleHobson.com
Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says
songofstyle Instagram The Guardian reports on a rise in complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK advertising regulator, who says ‘influencers’ on social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter fail to declare that they are being paid to publicise products. The newspaper defines ‘influencers’ thus:
Social media celebrities who have large and engaged followings online. They get paid money to publicise products and can command tens of thousands for one post.
This is about disclosure where the influencer publicising a product or service would makes it clear in his or her post that there’s some kind of relationship with the brand owner and/or that the influencer receives compensation for that post, financial or otherwise. It’s common sense to disclose such relationships, to ensure there’s no ambiguity and to improve transparency. In our current climate of fake news
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Who should die when a driverless car crashes? Q&A ponders the future

NevilleHobson.com
Who should die when a driverless car crashes? Q&A ponders the future
Pedestrian crossing In the 2004 science fiction film I, Robot, the police detective hero played by Will Smith is in a car crash resulting in his vehicle and another sinking in a river. The other car contains a trapped 12-year-old girl. With imminent death by drowning confronting both characters, a rescue robot appears and rescues the hero from his doomed car but leaves the girl to die. Why? Because, the robot’s logic tells it, her survival was statistically less likely than the Will Smith character’s. This ethical dilemma of choice – as a human would see it – underpins much of the movie (set in the year 2034), informing the viewer of the driving emotional forces motivating the hero. In our real world of 2017, such a dilemma is confronting us already with the advent of vehicles
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For Immediate Release 105: Centre Stage for Credible Sources

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For Immediate Release 105: Centre Stage for Credible Sources

Shel and I got together for the September edition of The Hobson & Holtz Report to talk about these topics:

Empathy and the Charlie Gard debacle

What words might best describe Charlie Gard’s last months on earth, when he couldn’t move, breathe or swallow without the support of machines and other intrusions, which were eased by morphine? One of the best hospitals on that earth, Great Ormond Street, said his life was one of pain and suffering, and prolonging it would not change that. So again: what words describe that last five-month period when the courts were again and again required to adjudicate between prolonging or ending his life. How about “cruel and unusual” or “inhumane” or akin to “torture”? But who were the torturers? Surely the word applies to anyone who did not stand as forthrightly as they might for the logic of prioritising the opinion of people with a proven record of professionalism and compassion in the matter. It looks as though nearly everyone has some soul-searching on that score. Except Charlie Gard’s parents.
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