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Interchange – Big Data Is Watching You

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This week on Interchange host Doug Storm presents “Big Data Is Watching You,” a conversation with Colin Allen, Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University.  Allen is a philosopher of biology and cognitive science and he’s joined us once before on Interchange to talk about the possibilities of machine morality and perhaps rather the necessity of building morality into source codes.  If nothing else, this week’s program should make that at least clear, and clearly an imperative.  Of course we’re stuck with the question, who will craft this ethical code?

We also present here for podcast the unedited conversation which covers more ground and even attempts to explicate Yeats’s “Second Coming” (1919) as an ode to the coming of the Mind of Big Data.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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Interchange – Colin Allen: Thinking About Thinking Machines

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This week on Interchange, host Doug Storm talks with Colin Allen, a professor in the Department of History and the Philosophy of Science, about robotics, autonomous moral agents, and their portrayal in popular culture.  Allen talks about Google Cars, C3PO, and military and surveillance drones.  His work seeks to response to Rosalind Picard’s assertion that the more freedom a machine has the more it will need a moral sense.

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