Autonomous vehicles: policies and ethics

Robin Chase on policies to ensure that autonomous vehicles serve the public good (“Will a World of Driverless Cars Be Heaven or Hell?”): So policy makers, taxpayers, road warriors, city lovers: Which path forward will we choose? Our future hinges on two things. First, will the cost for autonomous vehicles be high enough that each [...]

Sherry Turkle: AAAS talk on sociable robotics

The theme of this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting is the “unreasonable effectiveness” of science. Friday’s plenary talk was by MIT social scientist and psychologist Sherry Turkle on “sociable robotics.”  The idea of some kind of artificial companionship has become the new normal. … But I think that this new [...]

Sensors, netness, and the public good

Scenarios of a very near future: If Fido and Rover jump the backyard fence, their collars send off an SMS message. When motion is detected around the house, photos are snapped and saved to Dropbox. If the baby awakes, her cry triggers whatever kind of alert you choose. These promises of superconnectivity are the types [...]

Matthew Salganik: Wiki surveys

“As you can see, this is basically kitten war for ideas,” said Princeton sociologist Matthew Salganik in introducing the wiki survey tool All Our Ideas at the Collective Intelligence 2012 conference. Instead of a simple poll of which cat is cuter — like at — participants are asked the equally direct: Which idea is [...]

Thomas Malone: Patterns of collective intelligence

Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, talks about their research in an Edge video: “How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any person, group or computer has ever done before?” He describes three factors as significantly correlated with group intelligence: average social [...]

Proxy voting platforms for liquid democracy

Citizen deliberative councils, participatory budgeting, the Occupy movement’s consensus decision making: These are all experiments in more participatory forms of democracy. Technologies can support these types of experiments, from the keypad and CoVision technologies used by AmericaSpeaks in deliberative dialog and polling to the geographic information systems used by the Madrona platform for participatory spatial [...]

Four dimensions of crowdfunding

JOBS Act or not, crowdfunding platforms and opportunities are evolving rapidly. How might we better understand the crowdfunding ecosystem — what’s out there, what’s promised, and what might be missing? Here are four dimensions for consideration. Payback: What’s the nature of the exchange? A May 2012 global industry report distinguishes four kinds of platforms: donation-based, [...]