246 results for “Technorhetoric”

How technology bridges the generational communication gap

Freya Hutchings
September 28th 2019

Emoji, Skype, Selfies - can these communication technologies close the generation gap? In part, yes! Young people are teaching senior citizens how to use technology, and it’s benefiting both groups. Here’s how.

Sharing knowledge about technology can form both a means and an end for more meaningful connections between the elderly and the young. A growing number of initiatives are recognizing the huge potential of bringing different generations together - from reducing feelings of isolation and boredom amongst the elderly, …

Swiss hotel chain offers a ‘social media sitter’ to handle your Instagram while you relax

bryan clark
January 8th 2019

Ibis, A popular European hotel chain, just introduced the world to
the “social media sitter.” It’s the answer to a problem few knew
existed, and even fewer though we needed professional help with.

“Enjoy your trip without digital stress. Our Social Media Sitter takes care of your Instagram profile. And you can explore the city in peace,” a Google-translated version of Ibis’ website reads. Because, if you go on vacation without overwhelming your Instagram followers with intimate glimpses into your …

The real-life gruesome experiments that inspired Frankenstein

Iwan Morus
December 29th 2018

On January 17 1803, a young man named George Forster was hanged for murder at Newgate prison in London. After his execution, as often happened, his body was carried ceremoniously across the city to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it would be publicly dissected. What actually happened was rather more shocking than simple dissection though. Forster was going to be electrified.

The experiments were to be carried out by the Italian natural philosopher Giovanni Aldini, the nephew of Luigi …

Why human enhancement requires technological citizenship

Ira van Keulen and Rinie van Est
May 29th 2018

New technologies – from artificial intelligence to synthetic biology – are set to alter the world, the human condition, and our very being in ways that are hard to imagine. The discussion of these developments limits itself as a rule to individual values. But it is also crucial to talk about the collective human values that we wish to guarantee in our intimate technological society. That brings an important political question is at the table. How to develop and implement …

Bali goes offline for 24 hours to celebrate the Hindu New Year

Ruben Baart
March 16th 2018

If you've been dreaming of disconnecting and ridding your day of digital distractions, there's an island destination that would love to have you this weekend.…

Here’s what manufacturing enhanced with virtual reality will look like

Megan Ray Nichols
March 1st 2018

Robots are coming for our jobs. Virtual reality is coming to make the jobs that remain easier to accomplish.

All of the world’s manufacturing sectors are in the process of applying VR to the dizzying number of tasks required all up and down the supply chain — from handling raw materials to shipping goods off to end-users. Don’t be surprised if the future of manufacturing looks quite a bit different than it does today thanks to this up-and-coming — and quickly …

A phone that says “no” to little kid fingers

Rachel Metz
February 14th 2018

It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.…

Slaughterbots Video Depicts Killer Bots Nightmare

Van Mensvoort
December 1st 2017
This seven-minute video, titled 'Slaughterbots', shows a future in which palm-sized autonomous drones commit untraceable massacres.

Medieval VR Headset

Van Mensvoort
August 1st 2016
How will the future perceive our so-called modern VR technologies?

Artificial Senses for Navigation

Ruben Baart
July 28th 2016
A team of cyborgs and digital enthusiasts developed a wearable technology for the body that perceives a human sixth sense.
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Emoji, Skype, Selfies - can these communication technologies close the generation gap? In part, yes! Young people are teaching senior citizens how to use technology, and it’s benefiting both groups. Here’s how.

Sharing knowledge about technology can form both a means and an end for more meaningful connections between the elderly and the young. A growing number of initiatives are recognizing the huge potential of bringing different generations together - from reducing feelings of isolation and boredom amongst the elderly, to positively imparting children with wisdom that only comes from life experience.

Indeed, existing intergenerational care homes - where care for both the old and young takes place on the same site - celebrate how interactions between different age groups improves the mobility, lifespan and overall happiness amongst older people, while providing strong, caring relationships for the young.

Fostering connections between young and old

So, what about those who do not experience the benefits of daily interaction with young people? Signing up for Ipad lessons may be the answer - and the assigned teacher could be a pleasant surprise! At a regular care home in the UK, school children visit on a weekly basis to teach older people how to use technology.

This simple idea surpassed all expectations - the collaborative venture into technology resulted in mutually beneficial experience for both groups. As the children shared their technological skills, the elderly passed on their life experiences.

Between sessions, fascinated pupils were able to email residents questions about their life histories, and learn more about events such as the Second World War. In California, a mentoring scheme, ‘Teach Seniors Technology’, is showing the elderly how to swipe.

One participant, who at first struggled to even open her ipad, went on to print her own calendar of ipad paintings which she then sent to friends and family. In other cases, simple game consoles such as Wii bring generations together in healthy competition through a mixture of virtual and physical gaming. These examples demonstrate how technology can succeed in fostering meaningful connections both on and offline.

What happens when old and young connect

Indeed, while the basics of email and Skype can help less mobile members of society keep in contact with friends and family, the real-life interactions that surround the development of such skills are equally as beneficial.

One young person, a volunteer for the US-based ‘Mentor Up’ scheme for senior citizens, stated, ‘I can honestly say I feel like i’ve learned more during these sessions than I’ve taught...for me, just talking with them and learning their stories is what draws me back every time.’

Apps, videos, games and the wealth of information accessible online can form a diverse library that both generations can draw on to share their life experiences, aspirations and spark joy. For example, one young mentor put his mentee back in contact with a childhood friend after finding his email address online.

Bridging the generational gap

Collaborations of this kind are groundbreaking, and crucially highlight how different generations have a lot to offer each other. Often elderly people seek social connections and a sense of purpose, while in many cases young people are less judgemental and open to new experiences. As explained above, it seems technology can act as a middle ground for realizing these needs, and can form a bridge for generational gaps.

The everyday impact of collaborative online explorations is promising: since residents of the UK care home were introduced to ipads and virtual headsets ‘the need for antipsychotic drugs has all but disappeared, and emergency ambulance calls have fallen 29%.’ It seems that these initiatives form just the start of a different approach to caring for the elderly, essential at a time when Europe’s population is getting older.

These benefits do not exclude the young - a 2016 Stanford report concluded that ‘aging adults play critical roles in the lives of young people, especially the most vulnerable in society.’ Certainly, seeing children as our future should not involve consigning older generations to the past - the elderly play a crucial role in shaping what our society will become.

It seems, when thinking about the possibilities of technology, we should not forget the meaningful connections between people that surround it. In this case, technology is a site at which sections of society can form bonds and enrich each other's lives.

In both virtual and physical worlds, interactions of this kind to improve wellbeing in powerful and mutually beneficial ways. Afterall, every generation has grown up with technology. This leads us to wonder, whether we can imagine a future in which we can grow along with our technology and find joy in its ability to bring people together, both on and offline.

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Ibis, A popular European hotel chain, just introduced the world to the “social media sitter.” It’s the answer to a problem few knew existed, and even fewer though we needed professional help with.

“Enjoy your trip without digital stress. Our Social Media Sitter takes care of your Instagram profile. And you can explore the city in peace,” a Google-translated version of Ibis’ website reads. Because, if you go on vacation without overwhelming your Instagram followers with intimate glimpses into your personal life, did you ever really go on vacation?

Details are slim, but so far we know that Ibis Hotels plans to allow any guest at its Geneva or Zurich locations, to book weekend appointments with local influencers, or social media sitters. The sitter would be responsible for social media upkeep, leaving you to pound mojitos and throw up in the elevator like the glamorous bastard you were born to be.

According to a translated statement, the hotel has brought on some real social media star power to help with the promotion. Insta aficionados like Sara Leutenegger, a contestant on Germany’s Next Top Model.

The service starts at £70 (about $79 USD), and guests will be responsible for handing over their Instagram passwords to their sitter. All posts made by the sitter are marked #postedbysocialmediasitter on Instagram.

“We closely follow societal trends and adapt to offer our customers innovative services. This initiative is also part of our commitment to providing a memorable experience,” Philippe Alanou, senior Vice President of Accor Hotels (Ibis‘ parent company) told The Evening Standard.

Alanou might be on to something. Recent research suggests that millennials are killing off larger chains, as they are no longer interested in discounts or freebies, but how “Instagrammable” the experience is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8EdcBEeM9E
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On January 17 1803, a young man named George Forster was hanged for murder at Newgate prison in London. After his execution, as often happened, his body was carried ceremoniously across the city to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it would be publicly dissected. What actually happened was rather more shocking than simple dissection though. Forster was going to be electrified.

The experiments were to be carried out by the Italian natural philosopher Giovanni Aldini, the nephew of Luigi Galvani, who discovered “animal electricity” in 1780, and for whom the field of galvanism is named. With Forster on the slab before him, Aldini and his assistants started to experiment. The Times newspaper reported:

"On the first application of the process to the face, the jaw of the deceased criminal began to quiver, the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted, and one eye was actually opened. In the subsequent part of the process, the right hand was raised and clenched, and the legs and thighs were set in motion."

It looked to some spectators “as if the wretched man was on the eve of being restored to life.”

By the time Aldini was experimenting on Forster the idea that there was some peculiarly intimate relationship between electricity and the processes of life was at least a century old. Isaac Newton speculated along such lines in the early 1700s. In 1730, the English astronomer and dyer Stephen Gray demonstrated the principle of electrical conductivity. Gray suspended an orphan boy on silk cords in mid air, and placed a positively charged tube near the boy’s feet, creating a negative charge in them. Due to his electrical isolation, this created a positive charge in the child’s other extremities, causing a nearby dish of gold leaf to be attracted to his fingers.

In France in 1746 Jean Antoine Nollet entertained the court at Versailles by causing a company of 180 royal guardsmen to jump simultaneously when the charge from a Leyden jar (an electrical storage device) passed through their bodies.

It was to defend his uncle’s theories against the attacks of opponents such as Alessandro Volta that Aldini carried out his experiments on Forster. Volta claimed that “animal” electricity was produced by the contact of metals rather than being a property of living tissue, but there were several other natural philosophers who took up Galvani’s ideas with enthusiasm. Alexander von Humboldt experimented with batteries made entirely from animal tissue. Johannes Ritter even carried out electrical experiments on himself to explore how electricity affected the sensations.

The idea that electricity really was the stuff of life and that it might be used to bring back the dead was certainly a familiar one in the kinds of circles in which the young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – the author of Frankenstein – moved. The English poet, and family friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was fascinated by the connections between electricity and life.

Writing to his friend the chemist Humphry Davy after hearing that he was giving lectures at the Royal Institution in London, he told him how his “motive muscles tingled and contracted at the news, as if you had bared them and were zincifying the life-mocking fibres.” Percy Bysshe Shelley himself – who would become Wollstonecraft’s husband in 1816 – was another enthusiast for galvanic experimentation.

Vital knowledge

Aldini’s experiments with the dead attracted considerable attention. Some commentators poked fun at the idea that electricity could restore life, laughing at the thought that Aldini could “make dead people cut droll capers.” Others took the idea very seriously. Lecturer Charles Wilkinson, who assisted Aldini in his experiments, argued that galvanism was “an energising principle, which forms the line of distinction between matter and spirit, constituting in the great chain of the creation, the intervening link between corporeal substance and the essence of vitality.”

In 1814 the English surgeon John Abernethy made much the same sort of claim in the annual Hunterian lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons. His lecture sparked a violent debate with fellow surgeon William Lawrence. Abernethy claimed that electricity was (or was like) the vital force while Lawrence denied that there was any need to invoke a vital force at all to explain the processes of life. Both Mary and Percy Shelley certainly knew about this debate – Lawrence was their doctor.

By the time Frankenstein was published in 1818, its readers would have been familiar with the notion that life could be created or restored with electricity. Just a few months after the book appeared, the Scottish chemist Andrew Ure carried out his own electrical experiments on the body of Matthew Clydesdale, who had been executed for murder. When the dead man was electrified, Ure wrote, “every muscle in his countenance was simultaneously thrown into fearful action; rage, horror, despair, anguish, and ghastly smiles, united their hideous expression in the murderer’s face.”

Ure reported that the experiments were so gruesome that “several of the spectators were forced to leave the apartment, and one gentleman fainted.” It is tempting to speculate about the degree to which Ure had Mary Shelley’s recent novel in mind as he carried out his experiments. His own account of them was certainly quite deliberately written to highlight their more lurid elements.

Frankenstein might look like fantasy to modern eyes, but to its author and original readers there was nothing fantastic about it. Just as everyone knows about artificial intelligence now, so Shelley’s readers knew about the possibilities of electrical life. And just as artificial intelligence (AI) invokes a range of responses and arguments now, so did the prospect of electrical life – and Shelley’s novel – then.

The science behind Frankenstein reminds us that current debates have a long history – and that in many ways the terms of our debates now are determined by it. It was during the 19th century that people started thinking about the future as a different country, made out of science and technology. Novels such as Frankenstein, in which authors made their future out of the ingredients of their present, were an important element in that new way of thinking about tomorrow.

Thinking about the science that made Frankenstein seem so real in 1818 might help us consider more carefully the ways we think now about the possibilities – and the dangers – of our present futures.

Iwan Morus, Professor of History, Aberystwyth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Biology becomes technology and technology becomes biology
During the last few decades, the human being has become an increasingly acceptable object of study and technological intervention. We are an engineering project ourselves. An important engine behind this development is the combination of nano-, bio-, information, and cognitive technology. This so-called NBIC convergence is creating a new wave of applications, consisting in large part of intimate technologies capable of monitoring, analyzing, and influencing our bodies and behavior. In essence the NBIC convergence means a steadily more profound interaction between the natural sciences (nano and info) and the life sciences (bio and cogno). This interaction leads to two megatrends: “Biology becomes technology” and “technology becomes biology”.In the natural sciences, a revolution has occurred in the area of materials. If in the seventies we could research and manufacture materials on a micro scale, we have now learned to do it on a nano scale. A DNA strand, for example, is almost two nanometers (or two millionths of a millimeter) thick. Nanotechnology laid the groundwork for the computer revolution. In turn, those computers make it possible to make better materials and machines. That way nanotechnology and information technology spur each other on. Digitization makes it possible to gather large amounts of data about the material, biological and social world, in order to analyze and apply it. Consider the self-driving car that makes use of digital maps and adds new information to those maps with every meter traveled. In this way a cybernetic loop arises between the physical and digital world.
Living organisms, like the human body, are seen more and more as measurable, analyzable, and manufacturable
The above developments in the natural sciences stimulate the life sciences, such as genetics, medicine and neuroscience. Modern equipment, from DNA chips to MRI scans, offers countless opportunities to investigate and intervene in body and brain. This leads to the statement that “biology is increasingly becoming technology”. That means that living organisms, like the human body, are seen more and more as measurable, analyzable, and manufacturable. Germline technology is a typical example of this trend. In the summer of 2017, an American research team succeeded for the first time in using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to repair a hereditary disorder in the DNA of a (viable) human embryo.At their turn insights from the life sciences inspire the design of new types of devices: think of DNA computers and self-repairing materials. Simulation of the workings of the brain in hardware and software is for instance an important goal of the largescale European Human Brain Project, into which the European Commission has been investing a billion euros for ten years. This leads to the statement that “technology is increasingly becoming biology”. Engineers increasingly attempt to build qualities typical of living creatures, such as self-healing, reproduction, and intelligence, into technology. Examples of this second trend are artificial intelligence and android social robots.The trends “biology becomes technology” and “technology becomes biology”, when applied to the human being, ensure that human and technology are increasingly merging with each other. The Rathenau Insituut therefore speaks of an intimate technological revolution.

Consider technologies external to our bodies too

The trend “biology becomes technology” drives the debate over “human enhancement”. Traditionally, this debate focuses on invasive medical technologies that work inside the human body. Consider psycho-pharmaceuticals like methylphenidate (Ritalin), which are used to suppress powerful behavioral impulses and improve the storage capacity of our random-access memory, or modafinil, which can help make us more alert and thoughtful. But also neurotechnologies like deep brain stimulation and other brain implants, biotechnologies like synthetic blood substitutes, artificial retinas, gene therapy, and germline modification – all commonly cited examples in discussions about human enhancement.What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? That question also pertains to the trend “technology becomes biology”, that is, technologies outside the body that have an impact on people’s physical, mental, and social achievements. One example is the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), an exoskeleton developed by the US Army to make soldiers stronger and less vulnerable to bullets. Besides that, consider persuasive technology: information technology designed to influence human behavior. Think for example of smartphone apps giving people advice on what (not) to eat, on their driving, and on how they should handle social relations or money. Or a smart bracelet that monitors perspiration and heartrate and vibrates if the wearer displays aggression. The wearer has learnt by means of a role-playing game that aggressive behavior doesn’t pay off. Consequently, it is expected that he or she will avoid similar behavior in the real world. Through EEG neurofeedback, people can also get insight into their brain activity and learn to influence it in order to change their behavior.
Intimate technologies offer opportunities for human enhancement, but can also lead to essential changes in human skills and the way we communicate with one another.
The above technologies, working outside the body, raise questions about autonomy and informed consent: are people in “smart” environments really able to make informed decisions? When does the concept of technological paternalism become relevant? Can persuasive technology further weaken an already weak will? Is it morally permissible to influence people’s behavior – even for the better – without their knowledge? Just like invasive technologies, non-invasive technologies raise questions about privacy, as well as bodily and mental integrity. In the case of many persuasive technologies, you have to give away a lot of your data in order to improve yourself. Do users really remain in control of their own data? Do we have the right to remain anonymous, to opt out of being measured, analyzed, and coached? And how could we, in a world full of sensors? The rise of facial and emotion recognition in particular makes this a pressing question.People can voluntarily insert the above invasive and non-invasive technologies into their bodies and lives, for instance to become stronger or more attractive. But technology can also have unintended side-effects. Through the increasingly intensive use of technology, our abilities begin to change. We develop new competences (a phenomenon called “reskilling” or “upskilling”), such as all kinds of digital skills. Other competences might be reduced (“deskilling”). There is for example a body of research appearing to indicate that our social skills, such as empathy, are crumbling through excessive computer use. Intimate technologies, then, offer opportunities for human enhancement, but can also lead to essential changes in human skills and the way we communicate with one another. Such changes in the human condition transcend the level of the individual. They touch upon collective questions and values and demand public debate and, where necessary, political consideration.

Paying attention to collective values

The current debate on human enhancement, though, largely limits itself to individual goals. Examples of classic questions are: is human enhancement an individual right? Can people decide for themselves whether they want technological enhancements? In The Techno-Human Condition, Braden Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz argue that such an approach is inadequate. They suggest that the debate over the impact of human enhancement ought to be conducted on the following three levels of complexity:1) the direct impact of a single technology; 2) the way in which a technology influences a socio-technological system and the social and cultural patterns affected by the same; 3) the impact of technology on a global level.Take the car as an example. The car, in principle, gets you from A to B faster than a bike would (level 1 reasoning). But if many people drive cars, the bike can sometimes be a faster option in the city (level 2 reasoning). On a global scale, the rise of the car has led to a variety of important developments, such as the development of the oil economy, Fordism (the model of mass production and consumption), and climate change. Allenby and Sarewitz posit that the current debate over human development frequently remains on the instrumental level. It revolves especially around the question whether people have the right, on the basis of free choice, to opt in to technologies designed to enhance their bodies and minds. In opposition to what transhumanists often suppose, they show that – just as the car isn’t the faster choice than the bike under every circumstance – the use of human enhancement technology on an individual level doesn’t straightforwardly lead to a better individual quality of life, let alone to a better society. The application of human enhancement technology will frequently be driven by economic or military motives (level 2 reasoning). Such a scenario complicates the issue of individual free choice, because in that case, “The posthuman person is not a self-made man, but a person designed by others.”
The posthuman person is not a self-made man, but a person designed by others.
The mass deployement of human enhancement technology will also have effects – although hard to predict – on a global level. In Homo Deus, Harari sketches two (parallel) long-term scenarios: first, the arrival of the physically and mentally enhanced “superman” (Homo Deus) and a division between supermen and normal people (level 3 reasoning). According to Harari, in the long term this could lead to the abandonment of the principle of equality that forms the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition to this “biology becomes technology” scenario, Harari presents a “technology becomes biology” scenario. He anticipates the rise of “dataism”, in which humanity embeds itself in an Internet-of-All-Things and allows itself to be guided purely by AI-generated advice dispensed by computers. In this scenario humanity has given up all its privacy, autonomy, individuality, and consequently democracy, which is based on personal political choices. Although such scenarios are speculative, they show us which important issues are at stake and show that it is important to look (far) beyond the individual, instrumental level.The Dutch discussion of germline technology shows that this often does not happen. So far collective interests play a negligible role in that debate. And that is in spite of the fact that CRISPR-applied modifications in the DNA of the embryo are irreversible and heritable by future generations. In the current debate, the pragmatic approach we know from the medical-ethical regime still dominates. In this debate a lot of attention is paid to the international position of the Netherlands. The country doesn’t want to fall behind as a knowledge economy. Second, there is a special focus on the health benefits germline modification can deliver for the individual in question. A traditional risk-benefit analysis is central to this. Third, significant emphasis is placed on strengthening reproductive autonomy. It is about the opportunity germline modification offers to prospective parents with a hereditary condition: to have a genetically healthy child of their own.But germline modification also raises questions which do not fit neatly within the framework of medical-ethical principles oriented towards safety, informed consent, and reproductive autonomy. In terms of collective values and international human rights, there should also be a place in the debate for the notion that the human genome is our common heritage, and thus our collective property.

Technological citizenship

New NBIC technologies are set alter the world, the human condition, and our very being beyond our imagination. Above, we argued that in relation to human enhancement we must consider both invasive medical technologies (the trend “biology becomes technology”) and technologies outside the body that nevertheless have an impact on people’s bodily, mental, and social performance (the trend “technology becomes biology”). Futurist thinkers from Harari to Aldous Huxley and Raymond Kurzweil show us what is potentially at stake this century: radical improvement of human capacities and choices, division between “natural” and “enhanced” humans, the abolition of the individual and in its wake, democracy. This brings a crucial political question at the table: how can we develop and implement human enhancement technology in a societally responsible way?
Technological citizenship is the collection of rights and duties that makes it possible for citizens to profit from the blessings of technology and protects them against the attendant risks.
To give direction to that potentially radical transition, a democratic search for shared moral principles is necessary, principles that can set the fusion of human and technology off on the right track. An absolute condition for that collective search is a well-developed “technological citizenship” for all citizens. Technological citizenship is the collection of rights and duties that makes it possible for citizens to profit from the blessings of technology and protects them against the attendant risks. It means understanding how statistical results, (genetic) profiling and self-learning algorithms work, seeing how that affects us, and being prepared to defend against unwanted influences and choose (potentially non-technological) alternatives where necessary. Besides it is important that citizens have the option of participating in the decision-making process regarding technology at every stage of development, from research to application. Technological citizenship emancipates the regular citizen in relation to the experts and developers of technology.

The role of institutions

Education plays a central role in the promotion of technological citizenship. And that begins with primary and secondary education. Here lies a clear role for the government. Meanwhile, in April 2017 the Dutch House of Representatives approved a curriculum revision prepared by Platform Onderwijs2032 (Education2032). It adds two new fields to the curriculum: digital literacy and citizenship. In 2018 development teams are getting started making those fields a reality. It would be good for the two development teams to work in close cooperation, taking into account the fact that citizenship in a technological culture only has meaning if we can engage in informed discussion about the effect of technology on our private lives and our society.But education is not enough. To make their citizenship a reality, people need institutions. Without suitable administrative institutions, technological citizenship is an empty shell. It must be possible for rights and duties to be democratically demanded, fixed, and implemented. Individuals, then, can only be considered true technological citizens if they know themselves to be protected by an optimally equipped system of governance. The following four components are crucial to this: 1) rights and compliance monitoring, 2) public debate, 3) political vision, and 4) socially responsible companies.
Robots should not replace human relationships but improve them, whether we are talking about care for the elderly or the upbringing of children
First, citizens must be able to appeal to fundamental human rights suitable to the time we live in. At the request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the guardian of human rights in Europe, the Rathenau Instituut researched how robotization, artificial intelligence, and virtualization could challenge our current conception of human rights. The Rathenau Instituut proposed, among other things, two new human rights. First, the right not to be measured, analyzed or coached. People must have the right not to be surveilled or covertly influenced, and to evade continuous algorithmic analysis. Secondly, the right to meaningful human contact within caregiving. Robots should not replace human relationships but improve them, whether we are talking about care for the elderly or the upbringing of children. Already-existing rights and duties should be put into practice in everyday life, so that technological citizens can count themselves truly protected. We wonder whether the current Dutch supervisory authorities are really able to carry out their mission, and whether their mandate is truly adequate. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights pays little attention to the question of how digitalization can place human rights under pressure. The Dutch Data Protection Authority is given little scope to look at collective values other than privacy.Second, a social debate over the impact of new technologies is necessary. While civil society is strongly organized to address environmental problems, the Netherlands still has few established social organizations willing to enter into a critical discussion about the new intimate technology revolution, except in relation to privacy and security. Meanwhile, we ought to be asking questions regarding which collective human values we wish to guarantee in our intimately technological society. If we don’t debate these issues at this early stage, we effectively leave the course of technological advancement to the engineers, to the market, and to individual choice. Pessers warns for the collective effect of individual self-determination, which society stealthily confronts with a fait accompli, without any democratic debate. For example, in the case of prenatal diagnostics, the abortion of a number of children with Down syndrome doesn’t change society. But if that starts to happen on a mass scale, it raises the question whether we really want a society entirely without people with Down syndrome.
If we don’t debate these issues at this early stage, we effectively leave the course of technological advancement to the engineers, to the market, and to individual choice.
Politics and government are called upon to take the lead in the debate and the administrative handling of the intimate technology revolution. Nevertheless, there is at this moment no broad political vision addressing the impact of technology on our being and the current political debate is driven largely by random incidents. For such a vision, further knowledge development is necessary. When it comes to our natural environment, the central concept is ecological sustainability. It required many years and the discovery of new knowledge to give qualitative and quantitative meaning to this concept. We think that in the debate over the relation between technology and humanity, the concept “human sustainability” must play a central role. Human sustainability means the preservation of human individuality: what aspects of humanity and our being-human do we see as malleable, and which do we want to preserve? Think for example of the desire to keep our empathetic capacities working at a high level, or to have children born from a real mother, not an artificial womb. Concepts such as human dignity and human sustainability require much greater research and consideration.Finally, citizens must be able to trust that user interests come first when businesses develop new technological products. The increasing fusion between people and technology forces us to keep in mind the values and norms that we design into products and computer coding. On the subject of privacy, academics have argued for years that organizations should pay attention to privacy measures and data minimization when developing information systems. Privacy by design has become a core principle of new European privacy regulations. Privacy-oriented technology is an example of the broader concept of value sensitive design, which attempts to incorporate not only privacy but a broad range of relevant collective values, including basic human rights, into the development of technology.Written by Ira van Keulen and Rinie van Est (Rathenau Instituut).This essay has been previously published by the Hans van Mierlo Foundation, a scientific think tank related to the Dutch democratic liberal party (D66) . Note: Keulen, I. van & R. van Est (2018) Intieme verbetertechnologie vereist technologisch burgerschap. In: D. Boomsma (red.) Over medische ethiek gesproken: Bespiegelingen op leven, levenseinde en zorg. Den Haag: Mr. Hans van Mierlo Stichting. pp. 39-50. The original Dutch tekst can also be found on the website of the Rathenau Instituut under the title Wat is de mens? Over (biomedische) technologie en ‘mensverbetering’. [post_title] => Why human enhancement requires technological citizenship [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => what-is-human [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-06 15:02:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-06 14:02:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81632 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81001 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2018-03-16 15:48:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-16 14:48:49 [post_content] => If you've been dreaming of disconnecting and ridding your day of digital distractions, there's an island destination that would love to have you this weekend.Tonight, in one of world’s most connected nations, internet services go dark for 24 hours to mark the Indonesian island’s annual day of silence. Called Nyepi, this Balinese New Year's celebration is unlike anywhere else on the planet: Nyepi will see Bali with no internet access to undergo a digital cleansing to quietly reflect on, and be thankful for the past year.With more than 132 million internet users, Indonesia is one of the countries with the highest number of internet users in the world. And that's something to be thankful for. [post_title] => Bali goes offline for 24 hours to celebrate the Hindu New Year [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bali-goes-offline-24-hours [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-21 10:01:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-21 09:01:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81001 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80592 [post_author] => 872 [post_date] => 2018-03-01 10:00:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-01 09:00:22 [post_content] => Robots are coming for our jobs. Virtual reality is coming to make the jobs that remain easier to accomplish.All of the world’s manufacturing sectors are in the process of applying VR to the dizzying number of tasks required all up and down the supply chain — from handling raw materials to shipping goods off to end-users. Don’t be surprised if the future of manufacturing looks quite a bit different than it does today thanks to this up-and-coming — and quickly maturing — technology.

Inventory Management

If you’ve never worked in a warehouse before, it might be difficult to imagine how useful virtual reality could be for the “picking” of orders. In shipment facilities, for example, several products may be gathered at once to be shipped together in the same container. In a FedEx or DHL facility, picking involves choosing the correct shipment from many, at the right time, and seeing it on toward the next part of the chain of custody.The previous version of this paradigm required “pickers” to juggle handheld RFID or barcode scanners, sometimes while operating heavy machinery or dollies simultaneously. Virtual reality delivers the most important task-related information while keeping our hands unencumbered. Amazon.com and the U.S. Postal Service are already frighteningly efficient at what they do — virtual reality should boost their productivity and accuracy even further.

Training

Many of the global industries which still rely on physical labor in a major way are in the midst of a labor shortage. Simply put, we have a lot of semi-skilled positions available and not enough semi-skilled persons to fill them. The fact that college becomes more prohibitively expensive each year isn’t helping things. Amazingly, VR may soon play a central role in the employee training and onboarding processes.New hires can receive more tailored, relevant and, most importantly, workflow-friendly training prompts as they learn the ropes. This type of immersive learning is frequently credited with better recall later on, so imagine the potential when VR delivers not dry classroom learning, but instead context- and graphics-rich training materials right when you need them most. It might even preside over a kind of renaissance in on-site “apprenticeship-style” training, where learning is put to use immediately and with the benefit of real-world context.

Maintenance

General Electric paired with software company Upskill recently to demonstrate the benefits VR can bring to general maintenance. It’s a timely example, too: they proved that wind turbine workers could deliver productivity improvements of nearly 35 percent with assistance from VR. This is compared with the benchmark of “traditional” and VR-less turbine wiring techniques.For wind turbine technicians, this is less a “maintenance” application and more a “day-to-day” type of thing. Nevertheless, the concept readily applies to a great deal of the duplicable, repetitive and frequently necessary upkeep tasks needed by modern machinery and facilities of all kinds.

Floor Plan Optimization

Building a brand-new facility from scratch or designing upgrades for an existing structure are both difficult and time-intensive tasks you don’t want to get wrong the first time around. Whether you need to choose locations for stationary manufacturing or material handling equipment or you just need to come up with a more natural workflow for your employees, virtual reality is here to help you out.Interior decorators have allowed consumers to play with top-down views of their homes to digitally arrange dining room tables and loveseats for some time now. It lets us, as it were, adjust the “digital Feng Shui” of our homes and workplaces before plunking down the cash on new furnishings. Virtual reality will take this concept to its logical next step.Imagine manipulating equipment and furniture not in two dimensions, but in three. Picture yourself walking through a totally virtual wireframe representation of what your new building could look like. Imagine how much easier the trial and error if it all could be with VR giving us a new pair of eyes.As you can see, there likely isn’t a single part of the manufacturing process that won’t be touched in some way by the advent of more mature virtual reality technology. That’s a step forward we can all get behind._________________________Looking for more stories? Join NNN and we will keep you in the know on everything next nature, all around the world! [mc4wp_form id="72385"] [post_title] => Here’s what manufacturing enhanced with virtual reality will look like [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => virtual-manufacturing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-08 18:34:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-08 17:34:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80592 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80576 [post_author] => 1552 [post_date] => 2018-02-14 17:37:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-14 16:37:11 [post_content] => It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.That’s the vision of researchers at the University of South Carolina and China’s Zhejiang University, who’ve created an algorithm that can spot whether your kid is accidentally trying to, say, order from Amazon without your knowing.There are already plenty of activity-monitoring apps that aim to control what kids do on phones, but parents need to add them and turn them on, and they could be disabled by tech-savvy children. The researchers figured that automated age-range detection would make it easier for parents to hand their phones over to curious children without worrying that the kids will stumble upon an inappropriate website or get into a work e-mail account.Xiaopeng Li, a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, coauthored a paper on the work that will be presented at a mobile tech conference next week. He says the researchers observed two big differences between how children and adults swipe phone screens.Since kids have smaller hands and shorter fingertips than adults, they often touch a smaller area on the screen and make shorter swipes. Children also tend to swipe their fingers more sluggishly across the screen, and they are slower to switch from swiping to tapping.To get hard data on these differences, the researchers built a simple app and asked a group of kids between the ages of three and 11—and a group of adults between 22 and 60—to use it. The app had participants unlock an Android phone and then play a numbers-based game on it, so that the researchers could record a variety of taps and swipes. They also tracked things like the amount of pressure applied by a user’s finger and the area it encompassed.The researchers used the resulting data to train an age-detecting algorithm that they say is 84 percent accurate with just one swipe on the screen—a figure that goes up to 97 percent after eight swipes.To make the approach even more effective, Li says, the team wants to incorporate indicators such as a user’s movements (trackable using a smartphone’s accelerometer), since the researchers also observed that kids’ hands seemed to shake more than adults’ when holding phones. The algorithm hasn’t been built into a phone yet, but it looks like a really promising way to ensure that little fingers don’t tap in the wrong places.This story orginally appeared on Technology Review.  [post_title] => A phone that says “no” to little kid fingers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => lock-phone-kids [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-14 17:37:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-14 16:37:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80576 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78664 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2017-12-01 10:00:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-12-01 08:00:13 [post_content] => “Ladies and gentlemen, I have news for you: the robots are not taking over the world. Humans are still in charge”, announced India’s disarmament ambassador Amandeep Gill, who chaired a meeting at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons to discuss the development of autonomous weapon systems.In response to growing concerns about autonomous weapons, able to identify and eliminate targets without human control, a coalition of AI researchers and advocacy organizations released a fictitious video that depicts a disturbing future in which lethal autonomous weapons have become cheap and ubiquitous.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CO6M2HsoIA&ampAlthough regular readers of this website know that drones can benefit humanity, we must steer away from nightmare scenarios featuring autonomous killer drones linked to social media data. The video, titled Slaughterbots, was presented by UC Berkeley professor Stuart Russell as part of a campaign to stop killer robots. With a brief appearance at the end of the video, Russell warns the viewers that the technology described in the film already exists, that time is running out and a ban on autonomous weapons is urgently needed.Thanks Rolf [post_title] => Slaughterbots Video Depicts Killer Bots Nightmare [post_excerpt] => This seven-minute video, titled 'Slaughterbots', shows a future in which palm-sized autonomous drones commit untraceable massacres. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => slaughterbots-video [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-22 15:37:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-22 14:37:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78664/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65182 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2016-08-01 16:00:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-01 14:00:51 [post_content] => The medieval VR headset interpretation by Lara Baladi begs the question: how will the future perceive our so-called modern technologies? We are primitives of a next nature. Peculiar image of the week.Photo by Sue Ding, seen at MIT VR conference, thanks Geert. [post_title] => Medieval VR Headset [post_excerpt] => How will the future perceive our so-called modern VR technologies? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => medieval-headset [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-29 12:25:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-29 10:25:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=65182 [menu_order] => 142 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65154 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-07-28 17:08:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-28 15:08:38 [post_content] => A team of cyborgs and digital enthusiasts under the moniker Cyborg Nest developed a wearable technology for the body able to perceive a human sixth sense. North Sense is a piercing-like apparatus meant to be implanted into the chest to enable the wearer to sense the magnetic north by way of a vibration.Cyborg artists Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas, who together form the Cyborg Foundation, created Cyborg Nest in collaboration with body modification expert Steve Haworth, human rights activist Liviu Babitz and digital entrepreneur Scott Cohen. Their slogan “Design Your Evolution” envisions a transhumanist society in which humans have the ability to sense earth’s magnetic field, just like animals.“We believe that if we could sense something that animals can sense, we can understand more about this world […] Understanding will lead us to also respect more, create more and make the next positive steps in the future of our evolution” Babitz said.According to the company, the implant is imagined more than just a compass. “You will own a unique new ability, and this will change you. In a few months, as a cyborg, you’ll be able to experience new memories, maps and life moments, created and influenced by a new layer - your North Sense”. The device not only makes the wearers experience their senses through technology, it also adds new senses to it.Recently, our NNN fellows gathered to explore the uncharted territory of a new project: Next Senses.Sources: Motherboard, ReadWrite [post_title] => Artificial Senses for Navigation [post_excerpt] => A team of cyborgs and digital enthusiasts developed a wearable technology for the body that perceives a human sixth sense. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => artificial-senses-navigation [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://nextnature.net/2015/07/hearing-colors/ https://nextnature.net/2016/02/homo-sapiens-homo-optimus/ [post_modified] => 2016-07-31 09:38:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-31 07:38:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=65154 [menu_order] => 147 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 121264 [post_author] => 2194 [post_date] => 2019-09-28 10:05:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-28 09:05:56 [post_content] =>

Emoji, Skype, Selfies - can these communication technologies close the generation gap? In part, yes! Young people are teaching senior citizens how to use technology, and it’s benefiting both groups. Here’s how.

Sharing knowledge about technology can form both a means and an end for more meaningful connections between the elderly and the young. A growing number of initiatives are recognizing the huge potential of bringing different generations together - from reducing feelings of isolation and boredom amongst the elderly, to positively imparting children with wisdom that only comes from life experience.

Indeed, existing intergenerational care homes - where care for both the old and young takes place on the same site - celebrate how interactions between different age groups improves the mobility, lifespan and overall happiness amongst older people, while providing strong, caring relationships for the young.

Fostering connections between young and old

So, what about those who do not experience the benefits of daily interaction with young people? Signing up for Ipad lessons may be the answer - and the assigned teacher could be a pleasant surprise! At a regular care home in the UK, school children visit on a weekly basis to teach older people how to use technology.

This simple idea surpassed all expectations - the collaborative venture into technology resulted in mutually beneficial experience for both groups. As the children shared their technological skills, the elderly passed on their life experiences.

Between sessions, fascinated pupils were able to email residents questions about their life histories, and learn more about events such as the Second World War. In California, a mentoring scheme, ‘Teach Seniors Technology’, is showing the elderly how to swipe.

One participant, who at first struggled to even open her ipad, went on to print her own calendar of ipad paintings which she then sent to friends and family. In other cases, simple game consoles such as Wii bring generations together in healthy competition through a mixture of virtual and physical gaming. These examples demonstrate how technology can succeed in fostering meaningful connections both on and offline.

What happens when old and young connect

Indeed, while the basics of email and Skype can help less mobile members of society keep in contact with friends and family, the real-life interactions that surround the development of such skills are equally as beneficial.

One young person, a volunteer for the US-based ‘Mentor Up’ scheme for senior citizens, stated, ‘I can honestly say I feel like i’ve learned more during these sessions than I’ve taught...for me, just talking with them and learning their stories is what draws me back every time.’

Apps, videos, games and the wealth of information accessible online can form a diverse library that both generations can draw on to share their life experiences, aspirations and spark joy. For example, one young mentor put his mentee back in contact with a childhood friend after finding his email address online.

Bridging the generational gap

Collaborations of this kind are groundbreaking, and crucially highlight how different generations have a lot to offer each other. Often elderly people seek social connections and a sense of purpose, while in many cases young people are less judgemental and open to new experiences. As explained above, it seems technology can act as a middle ground for realizing these needs, and can form a bridge for generational gaps.

The everyday impact of collaborative online explorations is promising: since residents of the UK care home were introduced to ipads and virtual headsets ‘the need for antipsychotic drugs has all but disappeared, and emergency ambulance calls have fallen 29%.’ It seems that these initiatives form just the start of a different approach to caring for the elderly, essential at a time when Europe’s population is getting older.

These benefits do not exclude the young - a 2016 Stanford report concluded that ‘aging adults play critical roles in the lives of young people, especially the most vulnerable in society.’ Certainly, seeing children as our future should not involve consigning older generations to the past - the elderly play a crucial role in shaping what our society will become.

It seems, when thinking about the possibilities of technology, we should not forget the meaningful connections between people that surround it. In this case, technology is a site at which sections of society can form bonds and enrich each other's lives.

In both virtual and physical worlds, interactions of this kind to improve wellbeing in powerful and mutually beneficial ways. Afterall, every generation has grown up with technology. This leads us to wonder, whether we can imagine a future in which we can grow along with our technology and find joy in its ability to bring people together, both on and offline.

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