Category Archives: Politics

Ethics and Technology: Freedom or Restriction? Individuality or Uniformity?

The ‘Just because we’ll be able to, will we? Should we? Must we?’ discussion revisited in the light of the news that CCTV cameras will be compulsory in English abattoirs soon.  Again, a reminder that technological ethics have more to do with ethics than technology.

But we’ll start with a different topic: one that isn’t as controversial as it used to be …

There was a time when smoking wasn’t just seen as socially acceptable but positively beneficial …

All that healthy smoke filling your lungs, seeping its goodness into your bloodstream was just the boost your body needed.  You’d live years longer if you smoked … and it was SO COOL.

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Technology Isn’t the Enemy: Reprise

Often, ‘simple says it best’!

Technology could help us all … but it won’t.


Fake News Had to Happen; But Why?

The following conversation, set in an executive boardroom – around ten years ago, may or may not have taken place …

  • Rupert: “G’Day Cobber. How’s it hangin’?” (You’ll have to imagine an appropriate accent.  Also imagine him sitting in a large black chair, stroking a white cat, if it helps.)
  • Bruce: “G’Day Boss. Bit of a bugger, tell the truth!” (Same accent; no cat)
  • Rupert: “Whassa problem, Bruce?”
  • Bruce: “It’s this ‘social media’, Boss. I dunno what we’re going to do with it.”
  • Rupert: “No worries, Bruce. I’m the most important man in the world. I can do anything to anything. What do I need to do to this ‘Media’ drongo? (Where’d he get a funny name like that?) And just what makes him such a sociable figjam, anyway? (Burp) I’m the cultured one around here. (Fart) Just ask Bushie and Blarie: they always said so.”
  • Bruce: “It’s not a fella, Boss; it’s a thing. Like Facebook and Twitter and stuff like that?”
  • Rupert: “Why should I be worried about that crap? Doesn’t make me any money.”

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Good Robot? Bad Robot?

It’s 2030 and you’re not doing your old job any more because an AI machine can do it faster, cheaper and safer. How’s that working out for you?

But, first of all, let’s deal with some basic logic.  How fair is this?

  • Gavin: “Steve, what’ll we do for tea tonight if Mum’s not there to cook?”
  • Steve: “Dunno. Ask Dad? Or make it ourselves? Or go down the chippy?”
  • Gavin: “Steve, you’re an idiot. We won’t have do any of that because Mum will be there!”

Bit harsh on Steve, yes?  He was only answering the question that was put to him.  If their Mum wasn’t there, he had an idea of what could happen.  He wasn’t asked whether he thought she might be.

Silly?  Maybe.  But that’s exactly what the economists and the right-wing press did to Professor Stephen Hawking a while ago on the subject of robot automation and unemployment.

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