SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Are we losing control over our techno-gadgets? (with video) Comment on this post ↓
June 16th, 2013 by Warren Swil

Two unrelated news items

raise this important issue

The study from the AAA Foundation on Traffic Safety is available at no charge on the web.

WE LOVE OUR HIGH-TECH GADGETS. They are becoming so smart they are changing our lives at light-speed.
But two seemingly unrelated items in the news this week have raised an important issue: are we losing control of the technology that is taking over so many aspects of our lives – both virtual and reality-based?
The first was a story in the Wednesday editions of The New York Times by Matt Richtel and Bill Vlasic that appeared in the Business Section on Thursday.
“Voice-Activated Technology Is Called Safety Risk for Drivers”
Richtel and Vlasic reported on a study released the day before by the AAA, whose Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a major experiment in the effects of distracted driving.
“ … a new study says that the most advanced of these (hands-free) systems actually create a different, and worse, safety risk, by taking a driver’s mind, if not eyes, off the road,” they wrote.

VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD.

The study from the AAA Foundation on Traffic Safety is available at no charge on the web.

“WHAT WE REALLY HAVE on our hands is a looming public safety crisis with the proliferation of these vehicles,” said Yolanda Cade, a spokeswoman for AAA which sponsored the study.
The study itself, “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile (June 2013),” was conducted by David L. Strayer, Joel M. Cooper, Jonna Turrill, James Coleman, Nate Medeiros-Ward, and Francesco Biondi of the University of Utah.
It is available to the public for at charge at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety web site.
This study concludes that “there are significant impairments to driving that stem from the diversion of attention from the task of operating a motor vehicle, and that the impairments to driving are directly related to the cognitive workload of these in-vehicle activities.”
This means you don’t drive as well when you are distracted by anything, in particular something that demands a lot of attention.
“Moreover,” the study continues, “compared to the other activities studied (e.g., listening to the radio, conversing with passengers, etc.) we found that interacting with the speech-to-text system was the most cognitively distracting.
“This clearly suggests that the adoption of voice-based systems in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.”
In other words, hands-free Internet connectivity is just as bad or worse than holding the cell phone to your ear!

A screen shot from the “Black in Black” segment (see video below) showing a news report on how google has banned porn from its Google “glass” innovation.

THE SECOND BUT RELATED ITEM came from one of my favorite news sources, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
In his five-minute segment on Wednesday, Lewis Black – “Back in Black” – delivered a stinging and hilarious indictment of modern technology.
The liner notes on the TDS web site say it all: “Lewis Black will gladly give up all of his private information, just so long as the future contains robotic beer butlers.”
As I have written previously on this blog, writers and producers at TDS have an uncanny nose for news – it rivals the editors at The New York Times.
“With the next wave of space toys coming out, you may be wondering is it worth it?” Black asks, deadpan, in the opening sequence.
He then discusses the report that the new Google “glass” (eyeglasses that are actually wearable computer screens) blocks pornography.
“Not so fast Google! I think you’re underestimating my ability to masturbate to jellyfish,” Black chuckles. Then he adds:
“The best part of new technology is that it lets us sit on our ass.”
Black then goes on to describe how the new Xbox Kinect from Microsoft detects facial expressions. “A twisted nightmare,” he quotes a television source.
“When the Germans are calling your technology a twisted nightmare you might want to take another pass at it. The Xbox is tracking my every move,” Black protests.
“Microsoft, just read my hand!” He holds up his middle finger. “No need to zoom in. I’m telling you to fuck off.”
This guy doesn’t pull any punches. That’s why we all love him.
“Why in the world would I allow a machine that can monitor my every thought and movement, into my home?” he asks. It’s a great question. Can you answer it?

A man wearing google “glass” – he can’t seen any porn on it! Thank you Lewis Black.

A man wearing google “glass” – he can’t seen any porn on it! Thank you Lewis Black.

Then there is the robot that can tell when you want a beer and bring it to you and pour it, researchers at Cornell University say.
“There is no amount of private information I will give you to be served by a robot,” Black deadpans.

THE “BACK IN BLACK” SEGMENT is hilarious but deadly serious. (Watch it below) Philosophers have not yet weighed in on the mental and social costs of the new technology. We have no idea about what the long-term personal and societal effects will be.
We must urgently begin to consider the risks. Hollywood, to an extent, has ready done so. As long ago as Ridley Scott’s masterpiece “Blade Runner” (set, by the way, in an imagined-future Los Angeles) and then the Wachowski Brothers’ “Matrix” trilogy, we are given a fictional glimpse of a future where computers control humans.
It is time for us to think seriously about the consequences of our head-long rush to embrace everything new emerging from high-tech labs around the globe.
Will it be the “Brave new world,” as Aldous Huxley predicted? Or are we heading to something much more sinister?
What do you think? Express yourselves in the comments below.

 



One Response  
  • techno phobe writes:
    June 16th, 2013

    I don’t know much about high tech gadgets except that their costs and dangers are hidden from most people.
    How often have you been surprised by “Extra” charges on your phone bill you never knew you had incurred?
    Or by getting slammed with junk mail after making a purchase on the internet?
    The web is becoming so complicated, we ARE losing control over it. I, for one, don’t trust Facebook anymore. They are control freaks. I am shorting their stock on Monday.


Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa & Martin Black