Stuart Russell, vice chair of the World Economic Forum Council on robotics and artificial intelligence, called for a “ban of highly human-like humanoid robots” during the Milken Institute’s panel titled “Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?”
“We’re just not equipped in our basic brain apparatus to see something that’s perfectly humanoid and not treat it as a human being,” he said. “So in some sense, a humanoid robot is lying to us using the lower levels of our brain we don’t get to control.”
“Particularly for young children, growing up in a household where there are humanoid robots and humans it could be extremely confusing,” he said. “And we could see psychoses developing as a result of machines not behaving as the child expects them to behave because they think its a human.”
A study done by various Japanese researchers actually found that children are likely to show “serious abusive behaviors” towards robots. The researchers concluded that the more human-like the robots looked (or more they approached the uncanny valley) the more likely it was for kids to start beating them up.
Little kids might just be evil though… it’s a distinct possibility…
Senior officers and veterans from Polish and British special forces are to gather in London to mark the 75th anniversary of a little-known chapter of the secret war against the Nazis.
The soldiers will on Saturday be honouring the Cichociemni (the Silent and Unseen) – Polish guerrilla fighters trained in Britain. They were parachuted at night into occupied Poland from 1941 onwards, the first such air drops behind German lines, to lead the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation.
The Armia Krajowa (the “home army”) had 300,000 men and women fighting for it at its peak, by far the biggest resistance movement under the Third Reich, and it temporarily succeeded in liberating Warsaw in the summer of 1944. Many of its leaders were Cichociemni. However, their history was suppressed even before the war was over by Poland’s new Soviet occupiers, who saw them as British agents.
Of the 316 Cichociemni who parachuted into occupied Poland, 103 were killed in the war, either in combat or in camps or under Gestapo torture. Nine were killed by the Soviet secret police after the war, and many more were imprisoned. Some managed to avoid capture by melting back into postwar Polish life, either changing their names or keeping their wartime exploits a secret.
Just one of the 316 is still alive. Aleksander Tarnawski, who flew to London for this weekend’s event, is 95 but evidently still fit. Less than two years ago, he carried out a parachute jump.
When Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist living in exile in Brooklyn, started her online campaign two years ago encouraging women in her home country to post photos of themselves in public without their headscarves, it was a powerful statement for gender equality.
At great personal risk, thousands of Iranian women have defied the law and removed their hijabs in defiance.
A movement that celebrates women’s freedoms would seem like an obvious one for public support. But lately in the United States, it’s been a challenge for Alinejad to get active endorsements. Sure, some celebrities have tweeted about her effort. And it’s received a lot of positive international media coverage. But people are afraid to be too vocal, she said, because they don’t want to appear anti-Islamic in the era of Donald Trump.
“The atmosphere that [Trump has] created in the United States put us in trouble as well when we want to talk against Islamic restrictive laws. Because people now don’t want to touch the sensitive issue of compulsory hijab because they think it’s a cultural issue and they don’t want to be seen as [aligned with] Donald Trump,” she said in a recent interview. “They want to stand with minorities here. A Barbie wearing a headscarf can make news. In the U.S., it shows you’re tolerant, you’re open-minded, you’re not like Donald Trump.”
But to Alinejad, her effort has never been about being anti-hijab or anti-Islam. Her parents are religious. Her mother proudly covers her head. It’s about giving women the freedom to choose either way.
She has a dream that one day her mother may visit her in the United States and they can walk side by side, her mother in her hijab, and not have to worry about Trump wanting to kick her mother out of the country. And she dreams that she can return to Iran, where she surely would be arrested, and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with her mother, her hair flowing freely, without fear of getting in trouble.
“It’s two extremes — and women in the middle are stuck because if we talk loud against Islamic restrictive laws, then people think we’re supporting Islamaphobia,” she said. “But if we keep silent then we have to forget about our own identity and obey all the discriminatory laws.”
Alinejad has never been one to sit quietly on the sidelines.
When Lucky Strike server Laura Ramadei reportedly felt a male customer touch her ass “ever so gently” as he told her that he’d like to take her “to go,” she knew exactly what to do. Not only did she rebuff his awkward advance in person, she went home and did some sleuthing. By plugging the name on the receipt—Brian H. Lederman—into Google, she found her harasser right away: Lederman is a hedge-fund manager who works with Swiss Performance Management and Truehand AG.
Ramadei posted Lederman’s receipt to Facebook along with her story, eventually drawing widespread media attention to his alleged misdeed. For his part, Lederman denied the accusation but didn’t do himself any favors by telling the New York Post that he has nonetheless “grabbed plenty of girls’ asses in [his] life.” In this same interview, he also called Ramadei a “cunt” and threatened to destroy her chances of employment in New York City. Now, when you Google “Brian Lederman” the first result describes him as someone who “grabs a lot of asses.”
Revenge, it seems, is a dish best served through search engine optimization.
Here we go again. Somebody’s accidentally let the infernal swamp of badness that exists inside of their soul bubble to the surface, where it’s eked noxious ooze out and into the slipstream of the internet. Oops! They’ve done a racist tweet, a homophobic Facebook rant, an ableist Snapchat story, and now everybody knows what a bad person they are. People who previously had no idea they existed are now flooding their mentions with four-letter words and death threats. This is an internet shaming – an online pants-down – and it is only going to get worse.
Yesterday, it was the turn of south London artist Hetty Douglas. Before last night she was only known to a small circle of art students for work which basically amounts to blobs of paint with phrases like “ur fit do u wanna finger my m8” written over them. Now, since a tweet featuring a problematic comment Douglas made on Instagram went viral, every bored student and Sun-reader in the UK wants her blood.
So what can she expect from the coming days? What have we learnt from the internet shamings of old? With every passing scandal the internet has become a leaner, more efficient ignominy engine, obliterating careers in record times. But how? Pray silence, and mute your notifications, as we consider the five stages of an internet shaming.
The bottom line is that humans come equipped with the potential to experience shame for good reason. Tempered, situationally-based shame and self-blame can functionally guide us toward humility, foster learning, and be socially sensitive. However, when shame and self-blame are characterological, there is a cancer at one’s core sense of self, perhaps hidden, but eating away in a destructive manner.
A few weeks ago, I was on a Tube train eating an M&S pasta salad. It was a fairly inoffensive snack but even so, I’d purposefully moved somewhere quiet so that I could do it without disturbing anyone.
Halfway through munching it, I noticed a man get up out of his seat to move opposite me and take my photo. I knew that he’d done it – he’d pointed the phone at me and adjusted it for an angle. I moved away and didn’t think too much more about it. But then a friend noticed me on the Facebook group “Women Who Eat On Tubes” (20,000 members and counting) and texted me to let me know.
When I saw my photo, I felt vindicated and almost relieved that I hadn’t just been paranoid about what he was doing. But I also felt hurt and humiliated – especially by the comments mentioning my “gaping orifice” or sarcastically pondering, “I’d like to know the name of her finishing school.” I was the butt of a joke without my knowledge, in front of thousands of strangers. I’d been “stranger-shamed”.
And unlike other women who have since got in touch with me to say that they’ve been featured on similar sites and felt “helpless” to do anything, I wasn’t going to let it slide. Not only am I a journalist with time on my hands to sort this out, but with a few internet searches, I found the email address of the man who had uploaded the photo of me. I asked him to remove my picture, and although it’s now been taken down (by Facebook, not by him) hundreds of other women’s photos are still up there.
The thing is, I’m also of a generation whose default setting is “broadcast”. I tweet prolifically. I Instagram a new picture each day. I’ve perused blogs such as “Look At My F**king Red Trousers” and properly laughed at “Jeans and Sheuxs” (anonymous photos of the fashion crime of wide-legged denim with smart pointy shoes). I admit that I’ve taken photos of people without their permission and uploaded them to social networks or texted them to friends – although it’s never been broadcast to thousands of people and it’s never for something so basic as eating food on public transport.
It’s not illegal, but it is a bit odd when you think about it. When we’re in environments such as the Tube or on the web, we feel anonymised, and looking through the periscope of our cameras, we’re disconnected from the situation. Obviously, since my experience, I’ve decided that I’m never going to stranger-shame again.
Since I appeared on the Facebook group, dozens of people have been in touch, including creators of a women-eating-on-the-Tube flashmob set up with the intention of getting lots of women to eat on the Underground to overwhelm and defy any would-be photographer. There is also now a group setting out to shame men taking photos of women eating on the Tube.
But I do question whether e-vigilantism is the way of getting things done. Instead, I hope that by identifying the phenomenon of stranger- shaming, people will think twice before doing it. I don’t want anyone – female, male, old, young, wearing a diamante belt buckle reading “porn star” – to be shamed like this. Sure, it’d be lovely if Facebook closed down stranger-shaming groups or if the British Transport Police could ban people taking photos of strangers on public transport. And I have every faith that Project Guardian, a scheme from BTP which sets out to deal with harassment, will tackle stranger-shaming.
But to really stop this from happening, we need to police ourselves. Next time you see someone wearing or doing something weird, don’t get a phone out. Do your friends really want to see that picture of the guy in socks and sandals? Are you really going to be the equivalent of that old family friend who would come round to show you a slideshow of their holidays? Shame on you if so.