Author: David A. Mindell
Release Date: 2015-10-13
Genre: Business & Economics
“[An] essential book… it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.”—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age From drones to Mars rovers—an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future. In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines. Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environments—high atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer space—to reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the world’s largest geological features, and even to “commute” to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives. Mindell argues that the stark lines we’ve drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, aren’t helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselves clarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls “rich human presence” at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: David A. Mindell
Publisher: Viking Adult
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Artificial intelligence
Our Robots, Ourselves provides a provocative exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between human and machine. Employing first-hand experience, extensive interviews and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, David Mindell shows how people operate with and through robots and automated systems and how these interactions will continue to impact our work, experiences, and professional identities in the coming years. A vivid storyteller, Mindell will change the public's misconceptions about the autonomous robot.
Author: David A. Mindell
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011-09-30
Genre: Technology & Engineering
As Apollo 11's Lunar Module descended toward the moon under automatic control, a program alarm in the guidance computer's software nearly caused a mission abort. Neil Armstrong responded by switching off the automatic mode and taking direct control. He stopped monitoring the computer and began flying the spacecraft, relying on skill to land it and earning praise for a triumph of human over machine. In Digital Apollo, engineer-historian David Mindell takes this famous moment as a starting point for an exploration of the relationship between humans and computers in the Apollo program. In each of the six Apollo landings, the astronaut in command seized control from the computer and landed with his hand on the stick. Mindell recounts the story of astronauts' desire to control their spacecraft in parallel with the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer. From the early days of aviation through the birth of spaceflight, test pilots and astronauts sought to be more than "spam in a can" despite the automatic controls, digital computers, and software developed by engineers.Digital Apollo examines the design and execution of each of the six Apollo moon landings, drawing on transcripts and data telemetry from the flights, astronaut interviews, and NASA's extensive archives. Mindell's exploration of how human pilots and automated systems worked together to achieve the ultimate in flight -- a lunar landing -- traces and reframes the debate over the future of humans and automation in space. The results have implications for any venture in which human roles seem threatened by automated systems, whether it is the work at our desktops or the future of exploration.
Author: David A. Mindell
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2004-09-10
"In contextualizing the theory of cybernetics, Mindell gives engineering back forgotten parts of its history, and shows how important historical circumstances are to technological change." -- Networker
With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital.The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking,talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhumanabilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces,with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have minds of their own, thanks to artificialintelligence. They will be fully connected to the digital world, far better at carrying out onlinetasks than we are. In Robot Futures, the roboticist Illah Reza Nourbakhshconsiders how we will share our world with these creatures, and how our society could change as itincorporates a race of stronger, smarter beings. Nourbakhsh imagines a future that includes adbotsoffering interactive custom messaging; robotic flying toys that operate by means of "gazetracking"; robot-enabled multimodal, multicontinental telepresence; and even a way thatnanorobots could allow us to assume different physical forms. Nourbakhsh follows each glimpse intothe robotic future with an examination of the underlying technology and an exploration of the socialconsequences of the scenario. Each chapter describes a form of technologicalempowerment -- in some cases, empowerment run amok, with corporations and institutions amassing evenmore power and influence and individuals becoming unconstrained by social accountability. (Imaginethe hotheaded discourse of the Internet taking physical form.) Nourbakhsh also offers acounter-vision: a robotics designed to create civic and community empowerment. His book helps usunderstand why that is the robot future we should try to bring about.
Author: Michael Anderson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2011-05-09
The new field of machine ethics is concerned with giving machines ethical principles, or a procedure for discovering a way to resolve the ethical dilemmas they might encounter, enabling them to function in an ethically responsible manner through their own ethical decision making. Developing ethics for machines, in contrast to developing ethics for human beings who use machines, is by its nature an interdisciplinary endeavor. The essays in this volume represent the first steps by philosophers and artificial intelligence researchers toward explaining why it is necessary to add an ethical dimension to machines that function autonomously, what is required in order to add this dimension, philosophical and practical challenges to the machine ethics project, various approaches that could be considered in attempting to add an ethical dimension to machines, work that has been done to date in implementing these approaches, and visions of the future of machine ethics research.
Author: Peter Dombrowski
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2006-09-26
In Buying Military Transformation, Peter Dombrowski and Eugene Gholz analyze the United States military's ongoing effort to capitalize on information technology. New ideas about military doctrine derived from comparisons to Internet Age business practices can be implemented only if the military buys technologically innovative weapons systems. Buying Military Transformation examines how political and military leaders work with the defense industry to develop the small ships, unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced communications equipment, and systems-of-systems integration that will enable the new military format. Dombrowski and Gholz's analysis integrates the political relationship between the defense industry and Congress, the bureaucratic relationship between the firms and the military services, and the technical capabilities of different types of businesses. Many government officials and analysts believe that only entrepreneurial start-up firms or leaders in commercial information technology markets can produce the new, network-oriented military equipment. But Dombrowski and Gholz find that the existing defense industry will be best able to lead military-technology development, even for equipment modeled on the civilian Internet. The U.S. government is already spending billions of dollars each year on its "military transformation" program-money that could be easily misdirected and wasted if policymakers spend it on the wrong projects or work with the wrong firms. In addition to this practical implication, Buying Military Transformation offers key lessons for the theory of "Revolutions in Military Affairs." A series of military analysts have argued that major social and economic changes, like the shift from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age, inherently force related changes in the military. Buying Military Transformation undermines this technologically determinist claim: commercial innovation does not directly determine military innovation; instead, political leadership and military organizations choose the trajectory of defense investment. Militaries should invest in new technology in response to strategic threats and military leaders' professional judgments about the equipment needed to improve military effectiveness. Commercial technological progress by itself does not generate an imperative for military transformation. Clear, cogent, and engaging, Buying Military Transformation is essential reading for journalists, legislators, policymakers, and scholars.
Author: Keith Frankish
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2014-06-12
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding, modeling, and creating intelligence of various forms. It is a critical branch of cognitive science, and its influence is increasingly being felt in other areas, including the humanities. AI applications are transforming the way we interact with each other and with our environment, and work in artificially modeling intelligence is offering new insights into the human mind and revealing new forms mentality can take. This volume of original essays presents the state of the art in AI, surveying the foundations of the discipline, major theories of mental architecture, the principal areas of research, and extensions of AI such as artificial life. With a focus on theory rather than technical and applied issues, the volume will be valuable not only to people working in AI, but also to those in other disciplines wanting an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the field.
A new look at maths without the Boring Bits . . . How many trillions are there in a googol? Which fractions are vulgar? What famous mathematician refused to eat beans? And which one never travelled without his pet spider in an ivory box? Mathematical theorems and equations are inextricably entangled with the great, and often eccentric thinkers who made breakthrough discoveries. Teacher and numbers expert Liz Strachan takes readers beyond the classroom, combining anecdotes, proofs and party tricks to reveal the foundations of algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a clear and entertaining style. From the Difference Engine to magic squares and from the Fibonacci rabbits to Fermat's Last Theorem, this fascinating tour of the weird world of numbers, imaginary, real or infinite, will appeal to anyone with an enquiring mind.
Author: John Markoff
Release Date: 2015-08-25
As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society—on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health—Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: will these machines help us, or will they replace us? In the past decade alone, Google introduced us to driverless cars, Apple debuted a personal assistant that we keep in our pockets, and an Internet of Things connected the smaller tasks of everyday life to the farthest reaches of the internet. There is little doubt that robots are now an integral part of society, and cheap sensors and powerful computers will ensure that, in the coming years, these robots will soon act on their own. This new era offers the promise of immense computing power, but it also reframes a question first raised more than half a century ago, at the birth of the intelligent machine: Will we control these systems, or will they control us? In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web, offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers. Over the recent years, the pace of technological change has accelerated dramatically, reintroducing this difficult ethical quandary with newer and far weightier consequences. As Markoff chronicles the history of automation, from the birth of the artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation communities in the 1950s, to the modern day brain trusts at Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, and on to the expanding tech corridor between Boston and New York, he traces the different ways developers have addressed this fundamental problem and urges them to carefully consider the consequences of their work. We are on the verge of a technological revolution, Markoff argues, and robots will profoundly transform the way our lives are organized. Developers must now draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine, or risk upsetting the delicate balance between them.
Author: Steven A. Fino
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2017-10-17
"The fielding of automated flight controls and weapons systems in fighter aircraft from 1950 to 1980 challenged the significance ascribed to several of the pilots' historical skillsets, such as superb hand-eye coordination--required for aggressive stick-and-rudder maneuvering--and perfect eyesight and crack marksmanship--required for long-range visual detection and destruction of the enemy. Highly automated systems would, proponents argued, simplify the pilot's tasks while increasing his lethality in the air, thereby opening fighter aviation to broader segments of the population. However, these new systems often required new, unique skills, which the pilots struggled to identify and develop. Moreover, the challenges that accompanied these technologies were not restricted to individual fighter cockpits, but rather extended across the pilots' tactical formations, altering the social norms that had governed the fighter pilot profession since its establishment. In the end, the skills that made a fighter pilot great in 1980 bore little resemblance to those of even thirty years prior, despite the precepts embedded within the "myth of the fighter pilot." As such, this history illuminates the rich interaction between human and machine that often accompanies automation in the workplace. It is broadly applicable to other enterprises confronting increased automation, from remotely piloted aviation to Google cars. It should appeal to those interested in the history of technology and automation, as well as the general population of military aviation enthusiasts."--Provided by publisher.
Author: Timothy P. Schultz
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2018-04-08
"Pilots were a major problem in aviation development. They were exposed as feeble, vulnerable, and inefficient as aircraft flew higher, faster, and farther. Pilots asphyxiated or got the bends at high altitudes; they blacked out during high-G maneuvers; they spun into the ground after encountering clouds or fog; and they found innumerable ways to commit fatal errors. This is the story of how physicians and engineers, spurred by airpower enthusiasts seeking to advance the military potential of aviation, sought new means to address these problems and bridge the widening gap between human and machine performance. It provides an original view of how their efforts connected the technological, the medical, and the human element and effected changes that transformed the pilot's role and redefined flight. Schultz explores the major changes in the pilot-aircraft relationship that transpired primarily between World War One and the end of World War Two and applies them to modern flight. Archival resources illuminate the pilot's evolution, and theories of technological change inform the innovations and institutional imperatives that elevated the roles of life scientists and engineers."--Provided by publisher.
Author: Ross Baird
Publisher: BenBella Books
Release Date: 2017-09-12
Genre: Business & Economics
Our innovation economy is broken. But there’s good news: The ideas that will solve our problems are hiding in plain sight. While big companies in the American economy have never been more successful, entrepreneurial activity is near a 30-year low. More businesses are dying than starting every day. Investors continue to dump billions of dollars into photo-sharing apps and food-delivery services, solving problems for only a wealthy sliver of the world’s population, while challenges in health, food security, and education grow more serious. In The Innovation Blind Spot, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ross Baird argues that the innovations that truly matter don’t see the light of day—for reasons entirely of our own making. A handful of people in a handful of cities are deciding, behind closed doors, which entrepreneurs get a shot to succeed. And most investors are what Baird calls “two-pocket thinkers”—artificially separating their charitable work from their day job of making a profit. The resulting system creates rising income inequality, stifled entrepreneurial ambition, social distrust, and political uncertainty. Our innovation problem makes all our other problems harder to solve. In this book, Baird demonstrates how and where to find better ideas by lifting up people, places, and industries that are often overlooked. What’s more, Baird ultimately outlines how to create long-term success through “one-pocket thinking”—eliminating the blind spot that separates “what we do for a living” and “what we really care about.”
In the early stages of the Pacific War, General Douglas MacArthur was expected to prevent the Japanese from taking Australia. With limited forces, MacArthur had to be tactical, and the key to the continent’s defense was the island of New Guinea, just above the northeast tip of Australia. In order to defend New Guinea, MacArthur sent a small task force to Milne Bay, where the Coral Sea rounded the southeast tip of the island. His plan: to establish an airfield base for bomber and fighter planes that could attack enemy invasion convoys as they rounded the tip of New Guinea to attack Australia. In the fall of 1941, at the age of twenty-six, Jules Archer joined the US Armed Forces. A few months later, he joined MacArthur as a member of the small task force being sent to New Guinea. With good reason not to expect to return alive, Archer and his troop were plunged into a new kind of war. They fought in a jungle among a primitive Melanesian people, some tribes of which were headhunters. For nearly four years they endured in the distant jungle. This is an inside look at one of the lesser-known stories of one of the worst wars the world has known. It’s a story of the absurdities, fears, camaraderie, and even humor of life as a wartime solider.