Rendering Aid

An 83 year old man went to the ATM in Essen, Germany, and surveillance cameras show he made three attempts but couldn’t reach it. He would fall. After the third attempt he couldn’t get up and stayed on the floor. The cameras further show that 4 people went by,  ignored him and went around him to the ATM.  The 5th person finally called for an ambulance. The man died a week later.  The courts have just fined 3 of the people who ignored the man. The fourth, said the NYT article, was deemed unfit for trial. The incident may be striking in Germany since they have a strong civic culture, but it could happen Continue reading

Private Prison Boom

I found a small article in der Spiegel magazine disturbing although I know there are those who will find in it a good tip, or a good move. I had already read that the Trump administration, in this case the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions, was undoing the phasing out of private prisons begun under the Obama administration.  But this article went further. It took notice of this action because Deutsche Bank issued a report saying Continue reading

Kids and Robots

I was in the car this morning with a seven year-old when a text announced the prospect of a play date. “Give me the phone,” the child asked, and she proceeded to use the Voice feature to answer the text using language she understood but was still beyond her capacity to spell out and write. Children are now growing up with technology, a lot of them with Alexa, Echo and other robotics aides. Researchers at the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab are now looking at the consequences of their growing up relying on digital assistants. There’s of course the privacy issue—that the more one uses them, the more one needs to be connected and the more our privacy is compromised. But leaving aside the privacy issue, can these manifestations of AI help or Continue reading