Wednesday 12 August 2009

What Not To Do - II

As I wrote yesterday, we have many more choices than our parents and their parents had in the past.We all make choices about what not to wear, eat, write, share. We are making incorporating new values around major developments in the Information Age.

In areas such as:
  • Technology: military robots, robots as caregivers, identity theft, credit card theft, music 'sharing', plagiarism, digital copyright & intellectual property, Internet safety
  • Environmental Awareness: clear cutting, pesticides, climate change, recycling, electric cars
  • Transportation: environmentally-friendly vehicles versus bigger, better, faster, higher on land, sea and in the air
  • Bioethics: abortion, genetic modification, organ transplants, artificial insemination, euthanasia, resuscitation of those on life support
  • Policing: domestic violence, abuse against children and senior, entrapment of potential criminals, PTSD in the ranks of EMS and the military
This American Life, presented by Chicago Public Radio, is an award-winning radio program as well as a television program on the Showtime network. They presented a show on a sting operation to entrap an Arms Trader 2009. Entrapment in the 'War on Terror' made an interesting show. They wrote on the show's information page, "The Newburgh case is part of a pattern of sting operations theNow in our store: season 2 of the television show! government has undertaken since September 11th as part of its mandate to catch terrorists before they strike."

But it is a fishy story, since all was not as it appeared. The 'informant', now undergoing a trial, had some issues. Where do they draw the line between entrapment and inciting to violence and criminal acts? If you watched the movie, Traitor, you would understand what I mean!

Then there are Natasha Mitchell's All in the Mind broadcasts:

Do you read me HAL? Robot wars, moral machines and silicon that cares - Part 1

Robots are among us. They might be on their way in to childcare and aged care as silicon carers too.

If you saw the Canadian news video of the Japanese robot attempting to pick up a dummy, you would be shocked that they are even contemplating it! The on-line video is a successful carry, but the news reporter caught the robot dropping the dummy, bashing her head on the table on which the dummy was placed!

Then there is the violence in the name of peace. Robots that zoom into a site, kill apparent terrorists (which could be a child holding a toy gun), while peasants watch from the doorways, afraid to come out and retrieve their dead. You must listen to the broadcast!

Do you read me HAL? Robot wars, moral machines and silicon that cares - Part 2

The theatre of war is changing, radically. With a push towards autonomous, robotic devices capable of killing - should the Laws of War change?

The theory is that robots are better able to assess a threat than humans. The war hawks (the humans behind this push) want to develop robots that can logically and rationally make decisions to prevent the deaths of civilians in war zones. Unfortunately, it is the civilians who suffer most. And the impact on soldiers who commit these atrocities on orders, or by mistake, suffer PTSD later as they relive their experiences.

Greying Japan plans robo-nurses in five years: govt

25 Mar 2009 ... Japan plans to prepare safety rules soon for robot nurses, ... faces a shortage of caregivers for elderly people.

They have also developed Paro, the Japanese Robotic Seal.
This robot is used in therapy for Alzheimer's patients and is also kept as a pet by hundreds of families in Japan. It is modeled on a baby harp seal. The patients know it isn't real, but I would hope that the pet is more sanitary that real Animal Therapy dogs, who can pass superbugs (MRSA, C. Diff) on to patients. As we learn more, we need to study new developments more.

A new study is out:
Visiting pets, including Therapy Dogs who can pass on infections. A dog with MRSA on its fur had spent time in patients’ beds and was kissed by patients. The findings were reported in a letter published in The Journal of Hospital Infection.

Just as we contemplate another idea, we must carefully think it through.

Just because we can do it, should we?
What concerns do you have about 'progress', advancements in technology and the Computer Age?


The Weaver of Grass said...

Your post is always thought-provoking Jenn. I do agree that the human touch is so important and I am also appalled at the idea of using robots in war - in fact war altogether appalls me, as I am sure it does you too.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

This is a very thought provoking post. The use of robots in the battlefield is chilling enough but when it they are used amidst civillians to "protect" them then it gets pretty chilly.

I don't think it is the technology that is the problem. Its the ethics of the people using the technology.