TEDxASU event looked ahead to the future

If you missed the fourth annual TEDxASU event earlier this spring, you’re in luck — the presentations are now available to view online. 

The March 25, student-organized event showcased nine speakers with expertise ranging from cancer diagnosis and plastic pollution to space governance and the nexus of art and technology. 

“It’s important to us to place a variety of people on stage — students, faculty, community and industry leaders from different backgrounds and perspectives,” says Ammar Tanveer, founder and executive director of TEDxASU.

Organizing around the theme “NextGen,” speakers cast their minds to the 22nd century to imagine what waits on the horizon in their respective fields. 

“We settled on NextGen for a couple reasons,” says Tanveer, a doctoral candidate in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We wanted to convey that TEDxASU was taking a step forward as an organization, but also to focus on the future broadly, and incorporate talks from different viewpoints and disciplines.”

More than 1,600 people attended the event at Gammage Auditorium, an increase from the attendance at the previous events which were held at Tempe Center for the Arts and the Marston Exploration Theater. 

Professor Katina Michael explored the idea of brain implants, their benefits and applications, as well as their dangers — some of which she sees today. Photo courtesy of TEDxASU

Professor Katina Michael explored the idea of brain implants, their benefits and applications, as well as their dangers — some of which she sees today. Photo courtesy of TEDxASU

Katina Michael, a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, explored the possibility of widespread brain implants and the dangers inherent in such a technology.

She imagined a future in which humans become so thoroughly integrated with the digital world that bodies became secondary and in some cases, obsolete altogether. Michael examined the benefits of a purely digital existence before calling into question the effects, some of which we’re grappling with already.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are becoming entangled in the wires and cables,” said Michael. “We lust for high tech but have no overload switch and are short circuiting as a result.”

Find out more about neuroprostheses in “Brain Implants: Hope or Hype.”

Source: August 6, 2019, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Arizona State University, https://research.asu.edu/20190806-tedxasu-event-looked-ahead-future

With an Eye on the Future

Photography by Paul Jones of the University of Wollongong

Accompanying article written by Carly Burns in The Future of Series.

TotalBookCover.jpg

Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’

Hyderabad: The international conference, a first of its kind, on ‘Women in Law Enforcement’, jointly organised by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy(SVPNPA) and the Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia started here on Tuesday with Aruna Bahuguna, director, SVPNPA, urging all women officers to build on breakthroughs achieved by women pioneers. In her inaugural address, she said that “as today’s world has shrunk into a global village and crime and terrorism sweep across continents, it is but logical that women law enforcers join hands to fight crime- be it terrorism, technology or radicalization.” Introducing the conference, Professor Tracey Green of CSU, Australia, emphasized that this was a unique opportunity for networking at every level from global, regional to national scale on many key aspects of policing from organized crime, border security, terrorism and radicalization and counter radicalisation. Chris Elstoft, Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, touched upon the long-standing relationship between Australia and India.

“We have been collaborating and working on a range of transnational issues related to money laundering and counter terrorism to name a few and this conference is yet another milestone that we have achieved coalescing the issue of women policing and gender equality.” Elaborating further, Professor Green stated that “terrorism worldwide demonstrates the need to strengthen global response in the critical areas of investigation. Technology: A Double-edged Sword Speaking on the benefits and harms of National Security Technology, Associate Professor Katina Michael, who has been researching on security technology for over 16 years, of University of Wollongong in Australia said technology’s pervasiveness can be hideous. Speaking about micro-chipping people embracing the technology into one’s body, she touched upon India’s Aadhaar-unique identity cards. According to her, keeping upto the pace of change in technology one forgets the basic needs. “What is the need for collecting biometrics of 1.2 billion people, without a legislation, when the country already has a national registry. Wait till a hacker takes your identity and how you would not be able to reclaim your identity,” she warned of a concept called ‘Identity theft’.

Women as agents of de-radicalisation Gulmina Bilal Ahmad,an independent researcher from Pakistan, speaking about the radicalisation related tendencies in her country, pointed out how women police force could be used in counter-radicalising terrorist activities. According to her, evidences suggest that certain militant organisations use specific messages targeting women groups, youth and children oriented groups. She said a certain militant group in SWAT were recruiting militants through a radio station talking about social justice that resonated with majority population. She reiterated that women police personnel who form less than one per cent of Pakistan police force and remain largely un-utilised should be used as de-radicalisation agents by engaging youngsters in dialogue. Higher ranks & not Numbers matter While pointing out that the representation of female police officers in International Police Force was higher and has reached an all-high of 44 per cent in Interpol, Dr Saskia Hufnagel of Queen Mary University London, said “It is not enough to improve the numbers of women in police force, what we need to do is to ensure that women make it to the higher ranks.”

Citation: Staff, 7 October 2015, ‘Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’, New Indian Express.

The Apple Watch and Wearable Downsides

We are witnessing an explosion of wearable devices. People are now seen wearing a watch, a FITBIT and carrying their mobile phone. What next? Do away with all these externals and just go for an implantable that can do all of this for the price of one and is invisible? Not only are these wearables a status symbol but people truly believe they can gain many benefits from reminders to do with getting up and walking when they've been sitting all day behind a computer at work. No one can discount the potential benefits but there are also downsides. What if we lived in a future where our health insurance providers could dictate our premium based on the number of steps we took each day? What if our future employer could make a decision on whether we'd be a good employee based on our data, sold on from App companies to third parties? Don't think we will ever live in such a future? Think again-- it's already here! We just seem to be too busy to realise because we're looking for the latest gadget that will make us more hip and ultimately chew up more of our scarce time. We're too busy interacting and messaging too notice what is going on right before our very eyes. Jack and Candice explore the issues at hand in this interview.

Citation: Powerfm and Katina Michael, May 25, 2015, "The Apple Watch and Wearable Downsides" 94.9 Powerfm: 8.50am-8.56am.

East Para Primary School pupils to have fingerprints scanned: does it really work?

biometrics in schools.jpg

Does biometric ID in schools work? No. There is no evidence to suggest that biometrics introduces better recording keeping systems which are more accurate. In the case of East Para Primary, a private school in South Australia, we learn that a dual automatic and manual system will be run in parallel to allow children who don't wish to be fingerprinted to opt-out. Of course, student can opt out for any number of reasons, including philosophical, cultural, health and religious reasons. Consultation has not been made widely enough, this much is obvious. Students risks have not been considered. Paradoxical in this interview was that the school counsellor, a well-meaning person, cannot see the potential for psychological harm through the use of biometric IDs. What are we teaching our young people? To accept enslavement? To accept forced enrolment? This is very surprising to say the least. I know as a school helper to my kids' school, that I can often forget to sign in. The school is supportive to point this out, and ask parents to return to the front desk if they have forgotten to "sign in". Whether I had a biometric to sign in or not, would not remind me to go to the front desk. So ID does not work for its intended purpose in this instance. Biometric ID systems have been in wide use since the 1970s. Most schools who have adopted and then abandoned the system soon after because the system doesn't work, acknowledge that it does nothing for better records. Good record management is a cultural issue which technology will not solve. People also often point to emergencies as why they need to institute pervasive technology. Unfortunately this does not work either because having someone's ID does not mean that they are definitely ON or OFF the premises. Lastly, the most disturbing issue? That we are teaching our kids to accept new technologies because we think they are good for us. We are also teaching them to give away their privacy and not be concerned about it. This is the most grievous issue I have with the whole East Para case study.

Citation: Sonya Feldhoff, Bob Greaves and Katina Michael. "East Para Primary School pupils to have fingerprints scanned: does it really work?" Afternoons 891 ABC Adelaide (2015), Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/525/

UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy

Monday, July 22, 2013

UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy

Ian Hannah of Avrobotics.ca displayed his professional hexcopter at the UAVs Pros Cons Symposium in Toronto.

One of the biggest drone-related stories to make the rounds is about a little Colorado town that is attempting to institute a $100 reward for anyone who shoots down an unmanned aircraft. I'll not post a link to this story, or name the actual town, since it appears this is little more than a stunt to attract media attention to the town.

The townspeople may or may not be "real" about their proposed law, given the likelihood of people being injured by gunfire or falling drones, but fear of unmanned aircraft systems (dronephobia?) is real. This fear is rooted in a disconnect between popular media, and the actual uses and potential for the technology.

UAVs Pros-Cons was an effort bring expert knowledge to the public, while at the same time providing a discussion of many of the legitimate concerns over drones and their uses.

Hosted June 30 at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Business Management in downtown Toronto, this was the first public event organized by DronesForGood.

Ian Hannah, a certified pilot and owner/operator of aerial photography provider Avrobotics.ca, displayed his professional-grade hexcopter, which is equipped with a high-end camera gimbal system for a digital SLR camera. Ian has uploaded some samples of what's possible with his equipment on Vimeo.

I also brought one of the four fixed-wing drones from the Drones for Schools initiative, which is one of the 32 programs originating from the five-year National Science Foundation grant EnLiST (Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching and learning). These unmanned aircraft are designed to take aerial photo mosaics and photomaps.

Ian and I answered questions, and gave talks on drones and their many peaceful uses in media, agriculture, and scientific research.  For the final talk of the symposium, I explored the portrayal of drones in the media, how that clashes with reality, and discussed the origin of the word "drone." I also gave examples of how drones can provide communities valuable data in times of crisis, and what kind of special ethical considerations drone journalists may have to consider.

Nikola Danaylov of the Singularity Weblog documented the talks, and posted them free to the public. More info about the symposium is available on the Ubverveillance blog. 

In talking with Ian at the symposim, there was one message which seemed most urgent. He described to me how he was once invited by a colleague out to a soccer field, which are fairly common around airports given how the noise level makes most development unsuitable.

Ramona Pringle, a professor of media at Ryerson, facilitated the public discussion on UAVs at the symposium.

This person had a drone, and a rather expensive one. Ian estimated it was worth about $10,000. His colleague fired up the motors, and the drone immediately rose into the airspace near the airport, dashed over a busy road, and crashed nearby. It was all over fairly quick.

We have a code of ethics which we abide by on DroneJournalism.org, which specifically mentions that an operator must be familiar with his aircraft and operate it in a safe fashion. Obviously, there are going to be people who do not use common sense when operating these devices.

Ian is a proponent of certification, and after hearing about that incident, I have to say I'm a proponent as well. There are concerns in the UAV community that such a regulatory structure could be manipulated by "big players," which would needlessly direct people to specific, expensive hardware, thus blocking access to the skies.

Should everyone own a drone? Given the things I've seen and heard, I'm not so sure. We have public roads, but we don't let just anyone drive on them.

University of Toronto professor Andrew Clement spoke about the lack of compliance on private security cameras, and how drone surveilance could even further complicate this situation.

One thing I am sure about is the operational environment needs a lot of improvement in terms of safety. Without a safe operating record, journalists and small unmanned operators will have an exceptionally difficult time persuading the public to let us fly. And this is on top of all the sensationalist reports we've been struggling against.

I write a lot about openness of data on this website. Adding certifications may restrict some from flying, but that doesn't mean that the data those aircraft obtain has to be closed-source. The key might prove to be skilled operators, but who fly in the public interest by keeping their data available on the internet.
 

Avner Levin, Chair of the Law & Business Department at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, speaking about "drones for bad" and the threat to privacy.

UAVs Pros Cons was sponsored by in part by DroneJournalism.org and DronesForGood.com. Ryerson University and the Privacy & Cyber Crime Institute at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management provided patronage of this event. Convenors for this event included Katina Michael (Wollongong), Alexander Hayes (DronesForGood.com), Susannah Sabine (DronesForGood.com), Rob Manson (MOBLabs), Jai Galliot (jaigalliott.com), and myself.

Photos here are courtesy of Alexander Hayes, via Flickr. Below are video from talks by Ian and myself. More videos are available on the Singularity Weblog. 

By Matt Schroyer at 9:00 AM

Tags: Alexander Hayes Andrew Clement Avner Levin Avrobotics.ca drones Ian Hannah Katina Michael ,pros cons Ramona Pringle Ryerson sUAS Toronto UAS UAVs UAVs Pros Cons

Citation: Matthew Schroyer, July 22, 2013, "UAVs Pros Cons in Toronto: safety and dialogue are keys to legitimacy", Mental Munition Factory, http://www.mentalmunition.com/2013/07/uavs-pros-cons-Toronto.html

Social Implications Behind Emerging Technologies Examined

WOLLONGONG, Australia, June 7 -- The University of Wollongong issued the following news release:

A three-day international symposium focusing on the social implications of emerging technologies including microchip implants for humans, cyborgs possessing artificial and natural systems and the growth in nanotechnology is being held at UOW from 7-9 June.

It is the first time that the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society has come to the Southern Hemisphere in more than 25 years.

Symposium Program Chair, Associate Professor Katina Michael, said the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society has attracted speakers from 15 countries who will be presenting more than 70 papers.

Discussions will centre on themes and ideas about:

* Automatic identification

* Location-based services

* Social networking

* Nanotechnology

* Privacy, security and human rights

The symposium has brought together academics and practitioners from multiple disciplines including information technology, engineering, law, sociology, ethics, policy, medical, business, accounting and economics.

Some of the key topics at the symposium are examining:

* Nanotechnology: Will it revolutionise health care?

* Ethical aspects of ICT implants in the human body

* The challenge of cyborg* rights

* Tracking and monitoring of living and non-living things

* Internet filtering and regulation in Australia

[*The first generation of cyborgs is alive, well, walking among us - and even running. Pacemakers, clumsy mechanical hands and renal dialysis machines may not match the movie but they have been the leading wave. Greater challenges are posed by the legs of sprinter Oscar Pistorius].

The full program is available here (http://www.uow.edu.au/conferences/2010/ISTAS/program/index.htm)

Targetted News Service, June 7, 2010, "Social Implications Behind Emerging Technologies Examined".