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 “Kids and Robots”

AI Investments by Government or by Others?

When problems don’t have a physical face, they are harder to see and easier to dismiss. Yet they can have deeper impact than many we can recognize. A powerful example is investment in research and development such as those in AI (artificial intelligence). It is something the government used to do, but is doing less and less and is slated to do even less in the Trump administration. It doesn’t mean that advances are not being made, they are. It means that much of the advances are made by the so called big five, sometimes called the Frightful Five—Amazon, Apple,  Facebook, Google and Microsoft. But Continue reading “AI Investments by Government or by Others?”