Journal 4/14

This weeks class we went over a lot of peoples posters and what they will be presenting. There were a lot of really cool topics such as the self driving cars and the ethics behind it. While we already went over some of this issue in class, I think the groups presentation is more specific and goes into depth about this issue. They discussed and researched the cars decision when approaching someone in the street. If the car should sacrifice itself and the passenger in it to avoid the pedestrian, or hit the pedestrian. This brought up a lot of thoughts in my mind especially one of the group members stated that he himself would want to live and not be sacrificed in the car. I would want the same thing. I would want to live even if it meant someone else had to die. I think that is the mindset of almost everyone though. Everyone would choose to live unless the person who is sacrificed is a close family member or someone they know well and love deeply. This is a flaw in the self driving cars because while this may be the majority opinion, it is not everyone’s opinion. Is it possible to program the cars differently to satisfy preference? And is that ethical?

My group realized  after we presented that we should cut some things out of our poster and presentation and go into more detail about price discrimination and why/ how it happens because that is what our audience found most interesting and connected best with. Overall we got a great response and I am excited to move forward with it.

Journal 4/7

After watching the movie Memento and our class discussion following it, I realized how uncomfortable the movie made me and the connection to Buried Giant. Throughout the whole movie I really had no idea what was going on, what was going to happen next, or the true story line. As the movie was told starting from the end then going to the middle and so on, I was left feeling like my memory and thought process was very affected. It made me feel uncomfortable because my brain could not really process what was going on. It really made me feel like I was Lenny and lacked the ability to form memories or know what was going on. The director did a great job of making you feel everything that Lenny felt. In thinking about this I realized what Axel and Beatrice are going through in Buried Giant. They both are very aware of their memory loss and it makes them very uneasy. A huge part of their life is missing especially their son, who they both know that they had one point in time. Their feelings of missing their son is similar to Lenny’s feelings about his wife. All “characters” feel lost and a need to bring back the missing pieces of their life. They all must work through a loss of memory and almost starting their lives over everyday. Throughout Memento, I questioned why Lenny even wanted to live in the first place. There was such an emptiness inside of him that I feel is similar to Axel and Beatrice that made me think what type of life is that to live? All characters are not sure who they can trust and who they cannot trust. Lenny feels distant from the world because no one understands his condition or experiences it with him which makes him live a lonely isolated life. Axel and Beatrice are different and isolated because they are the only ones in their village who are uncomfortable with their memory loss and who see answers.

This also brought me to the idea of robots. Can they relate to Lenny Beatrice and Axel in that they are empty and missing something such as emotion and feeling. While robots can remember a lot, they are incapable of feeling, but because they have memory, they technically know that they cannot feel. To me, this is not a life worth much which makes me wonder if creating robots is ethical at all.

Journal March 24

Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand although hard to read and sometimes understand, it offers a different literature perspective to sexuality, sexual drive, and accepting of different sexualities. Today we live in a world that is very sensitive about sexuality gender and sexual orientation. We must be careful about pronoun use, and our society is now challenged to be more accepting of those who don’t “follow” societal norms. Reading this book makes me think more deeply about this pressing issue in society. It is interesting to me that in RAT Korgas country Rhyonon where sexuality was not as widely accepted was destroyed. However, Rat Korga is sent to Velm. Velm however is more open with sexuality and allows men to be with men, and men to be with Evelmy. Marq and Rat Korga are able to develop a relationship in a country where they could, in a country that is surviving. In the North, the Evelmy and the humans do not get along and are in war which threatens the counties livelihood. However, the south thrives because they accept one another. What if our would was more like South Velm. Is there a message that Delaney is trying to tell us? While the book is science fiction, there is many truths behind the story line that exist in today’s society. There is conflict between people of different sexual orientations, we do have societal norms, and we do have restrictions on what our world sees as acceptable. Delaney makes me question what lessons can be drawn that we can learn from and implement in our society before our country self-destructs due to rising conflict.


What I have been finding interesting is our discussion on how in almost all cases that we have seen and read, the robots in some ways have found a way to be like humans. In the short story we read about the computer system, in the end, the system named Multivac was able to feel what humans felt in some way because it constantly received so much information on everyone’s thoughts, the actions they were going to do etc. In the episode of Humans, some of the robots developed feelings and did not follow all 3 rules of robotics. In this sense, the robots all rose above what their original purpose was and in fact were superior over humans. Asimov’s short stories and his interactions of robots with humans makes me believe that if robots ever were to be created, they too would one day realistically rise above man kind and we will no longer have control over their actions. We program a robot to act and do what we want. Therefore, because it is programmed by humans to complete our tasks it is essentially a human and capable of a “growing brain”. In this sense, the robots with human like brains are able to continue to grow past the original programming that we gave them as they are taught to store information, process information and be able to keep up with our brains.


It also was interesting when we discussed the idea of probability especially in terms of the election. Many people predicted Hillary to win over Trump by a great deal. However, what everyone failed to recognize was that while the outcome did not coincide with the prediction, the prediction was not totally wrong in that it had a greater than zero chance of Trump winning. This means that throughout the whole election process, Trump had a chance to win because his probability was non-zero. I realized that many things we interpret in the world are wrong or we are misguided in our conclusions that we draw of probabilities. What we seem to be true is not always true and sometimes as a society we think too absolute rather than thinking realistically. If someone told us there is a 5% chance robots will one day overcome us. Everyone would think that that chance is very small and that it would never happen. However, we must think logically and realistically, that it is a non-zero number, and therefore can very well happen.

journal 2/28

Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford brought on a lot of different perspectives about robots. What it made me realize is that we humans are a lot smarter and more capable than we give ourselves credit. To start, the beginning of the article discussed how our brains act differently than robots because we can perceive complicated 3D situations and immediately be able to make sense of it. While a robot would need to take time to process the image, and cannot understand 3D images. However, new technology that was created that allowed for Nintendo’s and other gaming systems that made the games more interactive for their users. This transformed the way people saw gaming systems and also allowed for robot like systems to be able to see and produce 3D images. The way robots have been able to transform is quite amazing, but our brains are already way smarter and sometimes faster than robots are which we as a society need to recognize.

The way robots have risen to their popularity is because they have taken over industries to create mass production. For example, China took advantage of robots in the car industry. Foreign cars are more popular than American made cars because China took advantage of the automation and created hundreds of thousands of cars immediately. This took jobs away from people and is one of the main reasons why places like Detroit became so impoverished so quickly If every industry started to move away from human work and towards robots, what would happen to the people? What would we do as a society if we did not have to work. Would depression decrease, the standard of living increase, and life expectancy increase? Or would it be the complete opposite?