Gift of Fire

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Transcript Gift of Fire

A Gift of Fire
Third edition
Sara Baase
Chapter 1: Unwrapping the Gift
Slides prepared by Cyndi Chie and Sarah Frye
What We Will Cover
• Rapid Pace of Change
• New Developments and Dramatic
• Issues and Themes
• Ethics
Gift of Fire
• Prometheus, brought us the gift of fire
– Awesome gift
– Awesomely destructive
• Chicago Fire 1871 (100,000 homeless)
• San Diego county 2003
– Lost hunter sets a signal fire that burned
for days and killed 14, destroyed 2200
homes and 280,000 acres
• Despite the risks few of us would want to live
without Fire
Gift of Computer
• Computer Technology has been most significant new
technology since the beginning of the industrial
• Awesome technology
– Makes the routine quick, easy and accurate,
saves lives and create large amounts of new
• Powerful problems
– Potential loss of privacy
– Multi-Million dollar thefts
– Breakdown of large, complex systems (e.g. air
traffic, communication networks, banking systems)
Ubiquity of Computers
• 1804 Lewis and Clark explored the western
United State
• It took many years before the news of their
journeys was published
• Many explorers didn’t realize they weren’t
first. Lewis and Clark in many instances had
made it there before them
• Information traveled no faster than a horse
How many computers
do you use daily?
How many computers
do you use daily?
Personal computers
Household appliances
DVD players
Cyberspace (e.g. Web servers)
Storage media
Rapid Pace of Change
• 1940s: The first computer is built
• 1956: First hard-disk drive weighed a ton and
stored five megabytes
• 1991: Space shuttle had a one-megahertz
• 2006: Pocket devices hold a terabyte (one
trillion bytes) of data
• 2006: Automobiles can have 100-megahertz
Rapid Pace of Change:
Discussion Question
• What devices are now computerized
that were not originally? Think back 10,
20, 50 years ago.
• Trends of Change
New Developments and
Dramatic Impacts
• In a way not seen since Gutenberg’s printing
press that ended the Dark Ages and ignited
the Renaissance…
• The microchip is a epochal technology with
unimaginably far-reaching economic, social
and political consequences - Michael
Rothschild (Beyond Repair: The Politics of
the Machine Age are hopelessly Obsolete)
• People socialized in Pubs and Churches
before social-networking sites…
New Developments
Blogs (Word made up from ‘web log’):
• Began as outlets for amateurs who want
to express ideas or creativity
• Appealing because present personal
views, are funny and creative, and
present a quirky perspective on current
New Developments (cont.)
Blogs (cont.):
• Now used as alternatives to mainstream
news and for business public relations
• Popular blogs have 100,000 to 500,000
readers per day and can peak at
several million views per day
Popular Blogs
25 Most Popular Blogs
New Developments (cont.)
Video Sharing:
• Rise of amateur videos on the web
• Boom of websites like Youtube and
• Many videos on the web can infringe
copyrights owned by entertainment
New Developments (cont.)
Cell Phones:
• Can now be used for travel, last minute
planning, taking pictures and downloading
• Talking on cell phones while driving is a
• Cell phones can interfere with solitude, quiet
and concentration
• Cameras in cell phones and privacy issues
• Texting while Driving
– Distracted Driving: What you don’t see
New Developments (cont.)
Social Networking:
• First online social networking site was in 1995
• Myspace, founded in 2003 had roughly
100 million member profiles by 2006
• Facebook was started at Harvard as an
online version of student directories
New Developments (cont.)
• Wikipedia, the online, collaborative
• Open Directory Project (ODP)
• Collaboration between scientists in
different states or countries
• Watch-dogs on the Web
New Developments (cont.)
E-commerce and Free Stuff:
• Free stuff on the web: email, books,
newspapers, games, etc.
• started in 1994 and
10 years later annual sales reached
$8.5 billion
• TV show episodes are available to view
on the Web
New Developments (cont.)
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, and Motion:
• Robots that sing, run and assist humans
New Developments (cont.)
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, and Motion:
• AI suited to narrow, specialized skills
• Robotic devices often special-purpose
devices, and may require AI to function
• Motion sensing devices are used to give
robots the ability to walk, trigger airbags in a
crash and cushion laptops when dropped
New Developments (cont.)
Tools for Disabled People:
• Restoration of abilities, productivity and
• Screen readers and scanners
• Speech recognition
• Prosthetics and motion sensors
New Developments (cont.)
What’s Next?
• Medical records on chips attached to
medical bracelets
• Biological and computer sciences will
combine new ways to insert microprocessors or controlled devices on
human bodies
New Developments (cont.)
Discussion Question
• What changes and new developments
do you expect in the next 50 years?
• How will life be different than it is today?
• Dr. Ray Kurzweil (Visionary Futurist)
– Forward Thinking
– How technology will transform us
– Future of Man & Machine
Part1 Part2 Part3 Part4
• Dr. Michio Kaku’s
Future Car Physics of the Impossible
New Developments (cont.)
Discussion Question
• New Development in User Interfaces
– Multi Touch Sensing
Issues and Themes
• Unemployment
• Alienation and customer service
• Crime
• Loss of privacy
• Errors
Issues and Themes (cont.)
• Old problems in a new context: crime,
pornography, violent fiction
• Adapting to new technology: thinking in
a new way
• Varied sources of solutions to problems:
natural part of change and life
Issues and Themes (cont.)
Themes (cont.):
• Global reach of net: ease of
communication with distant countries
• Trade-offs and controversy: increasing
security means reducing convenience
• Difference between personal choices,
business policies, and law
What is Ethics:
• Study of what it means to “do the right
• Assumes people are rational and make
free choices
• Rules to follow in our interactions and
our actions that affect others
Ethics (cont.)
Ethical Views:
• Deontological
– Duty & Absolute Rules
• Utilitarianism
– Increase Happiness or Utility
• Natural rights
– Treating people as ends rather than means and
wish to increase happiness (e.g. people make
their own decisions)
• No simple answers
– Do organizations (businesses) have ethics?
Ethics (cont.)
Important Distinctions:
• Right, wrong and okay
• Negative rights (liberties)
– The right to act without interference
• Positive rights (claim-rights)
– An obligation of some people to
provide certain things for others
• Liberties & Claim-rights p35
Ethics (cont.)
Important Distinctions (cont.):
• Difference between wrong and harm
• Personal preference and ethics
• Law and Ethics p 37
Discussion Question
• Can you think of examples of liberties
(negative rights) and claim-rights
(positive rights) that are at opposition to
each other? p35