Journal 5

This week discussed deeper understandings of Asimov’s “The Caves of Steel”. We dug deeper into the understanding of how some societies interpret the use of robots and their role in society.

“The Caves of Steel” was very interesting in the way it approached the space age. The way that AI were involved in society was very “inventive”. The Outer Worlds was not something that I really was expecting to hold such importance. The story was definitely interesting but the world and backdrop was more interesting to me due to the implications of how the world progressed and expanded. The juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity we discussed in class was very obvious after it was brought up on Tuesday. So when I read the remainder of the book there was a very obvious connection between those themes. Especially due to the lack of females in the outer worlds, even when those areas are more “feminine”.

The discussion in class on Thursday was also very interesting, we worked into the ideas of progression and how our world has progressed and will continue to progress. My group focused alot on the rise of late stage capitalism and the continuing change in the economy. We discussed the next stage of the world stage in the form of centralized government and economics. It was a very interesting discussion that tied really well with our discussion of ethics.

Journal 3

This week we began our focus on ethics. To begin the discussion we focused on the roll AI has and the idea of consciousness and choice. In particular we discussed the ethics of AI in self driving cars and robots.

The discussion of ethical choice in regards to Self Driving cars focused on the choices the AI must make in choosing who will die in several scenarios. Is the law the ethical choice or should it favor saving more lives? Should it favor humans with social standing or education or should it favor the youth? These are a few of the dilemmas that can exist that these AI need to be able to choose between. These choices represent social dilemmas that reflect the difficult choices AI have and face.

The second major discussion was about the Bicentennial man. In this reading Science created a conscious robot. Through the reading he strove to be increasingly human. From this reading we discussed the ethics of independence and what makes consciousness so ‘special’.

I personally am enjoying this portion of class because as a computer science student, this directly relates to my work. I am a cognitive science research assistant so looking into AI is literally what I am researching. Complex decision making models like the ones we looked at in ‘The Bicentennial man’ are very closely related to what I have worked on to this point. Very interested to see where this class is heading in terms of discussion. There are a variety of branches that we can take to continue the discussion of ethics and I am looking forward to it.

Journal 2

This week we delved deeper into understanding what this course is about and how we will go about learning more in this subject.

Our readings this week was the entirety of Mark Twain’s ‘Connecticut Yankee’ as well as the first chapter of ‘The Human Machine’ both readings held significant meaning to the course.

‘Connecticut Yankee’ was a discussion of how technology is accepted and produced, in the setting of King Arthur’s court this topic took a very interesting approach. We were able to see the hypothetical progress that an entire civilization might undergo if there was a huge shift in the technological situation of those people. I personally enjoyed the book due to the progress we saw in the characters. Sandy as well as Clarence are prefect examples of individuals who fully exemplified the progress one might see from the exposure to such advanced technology.

The other subject I would like to touch on is the documentary of the White City. The grandeur and scale of the exposition was incredible and is likely something we will never see again. But by far the most important part of the fair was the technology put on display. The only modern equivalent to the expo we might see today is a conference put on by companies and research organizations, but those conferences are very narrow in scope and would never see such diversity as what was at the 1893 fair. The fair personified the momentum that technology had during that time period. There were new discoveries being made every year which helped the fair to be as extravagant and impactful as it was.

Journal 1

Technology has become more and more commonplace as time has progressed. That has never been as true as it is today. The reliance we have on technology has reached a point that the educated entities of the world have begun taking serious concern on the roll they play in our lives. This week we talked about the reliance that the students in the class have on technology and related it to several external understandings and points of views on the subject.

We began our first full reading of the course in Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court” which has begun to discuss the differences in technological advancement between these time periods. This is analogous to our world today where, in comparison to Hank Morgan, we would find ourselves in very similar situations as to what he is experiencing in Camelot.

As the course continues I expect that we will see more discussions of the differences in technological innovations as the name ‘Time/Machine” would suggest. Furthermore, I think that the discussion of our brain as a computer will play heavily into our discussions in the future since it is a powerful metaphor for technological innovation.