Bnote12  -- version: Mon Apr 26 12:17:08 EDT 2010

Ch 12 - Evaluating Technology: Ethical Aspects of Emerging Technologies pp.361-388


 i.e., new fields created by intersecting science/technology

 e.g., Virtual Reality (VR)  =   video technology + computers 

       Bioinformatics        =   ?  +  computers

 new fields ====> new ethical/social concerns   

                  e.g., new kinds of privacy concerns

                  genetic privacy     ???

                  location privacy    ???


AmI - Ambient Intelligence - "a technology that enables people to live and work in 
                              environments that respond to them in 'intelligent ways'"

examples...... intelligent office

               intelligent store
               intelligent home   ....   features????

         e.g., inhabitant recognition
               lighting control
               heating control  
               window/door control
               knowledge of preferences
               knowledge of activity patterns
               smart home appliances -- stove
                                     -- refrigerator
               smart cabinets
               networked info sharing (local & internet)
                    -- e.g., food reordering
               intelligent building


Ambient Intelligence ingredients - Pervasive computing
                                 - Ubiquitous communication
                                 - Intelligent user interfaces


    "a computing environment where information and communication
     technology are 'everywhere, at all times'"

     Computing technology in everything

                              "omnipresent computers"
                              "invisibly and unobtrusively"

          How far have we come with this? 
          What is computing in?





Enabled by - smaller circuits
           - printing/embedding circuits into objects
           - printing objects (rapid prototyping)

Areas of life affected...?     i.e., opportunities for ethical issues


     "flexible and omnipresent communication possibilities between
      interlinked computer devices that can be stationed at various locations" 

Ubiquitous Communication = mobile phones + wireless networks 

              - wireless local/personal networks
              - wireless body area networks (for wearables)
              - RFID (smart labels)

Areas of life affected...?     i.e., opportunities for ethical issues


Intelligent User Interfaces = User Interfaces + Artificial Intelligence

Many more devices do/will have interfaces - 'fridge
                                          -  phone
                                          -  car
                                          -  house 
                                          -  coffeemaker
                                          -  ATM

desire for easy, natural interaction, and efficiency

             i.e., a 'fridge isn't a general purpose computer

What can an IUI provide for you?

It includes a user model and task model:

     - it knows you
     - it knows your preferences
     - it knows/recognizes your goals
     - it knows your activity patterns
     - it allows "natural" interaction   
                           e.g., eyes, gesture, expressions, brainwaves,... 
     - it can learn 
     - it can adapt dynamically 
     - it can have expectations
     - it can respond to your emotions

     - it can know your situation, context, or environment  -- explain???

Areas of life affected...?     i.e., opportunities for ethical issues


AmI: Freedom & Autonomy

    +ve   we'll have more potential control over the environment;
          our needs will be met more without requiring intervention.
                 * environment is responsive
                 * we can get detailed personalized info about our environment
                 * we expend less effort (on tedious stuff)
    -ve   delegation of control to machines 
                 * the responses can be wrong
                 * humans need to correct errors
                 * AmI can work for others   ----  for example?  whose?

Other negative uses of AmI ????

  Ubiquitous services <====> Ubiquitous hindrances!  

  for example...?

AmI: Technological Dependency


        Imagine that your cell phone stops working

               How much does that change your life? 

        Imagine that there is no electricity for a week in the middle of winter.

               How much does that change your life? 


        Imagine that Ambient Intelligence is common, 
            and that it stops working. 

               How much does that change your life? 

      Imagine that Ambient Intelligence is common. 

               What will you stop being able to do?   (i.e., forget)

               Will there still be light switches? 

AmI: Privacy & Surveillance

     "all our moves, actions, and decisions will be recorded by
      tireless electronic devices, from the kitchen and living room of
      our homes to our weekend trips in cars"

Your life will be ... digitized
                  ... stored 
                  ... retrieved

i.e., a huge Privacy issue

New issues due to AmI    

       - ubiquitous
              Privacy threats are more pervasive

       - invisible
              You dont realize that AmI is present

       - sensing 
              Becoming more personal (fear, stress, excitement, interest)

       - memory 
              Can creat a "life-log" - all public & private life 

Huge amount of data collection -- opportunies for data mining 

                               -- to learn what?

Possibility of comprehensive surveillance network

                               -- in the wrong hands? 

                               -- in the right hands?

Impact on population when nothing is private?  

How might we act? 

Opportunities for social control? 


          Bioinformatics = Biology  +  computers

Management of biological information 

      e.g., your records
            population records

            the Visible Human


         Computational Genomics = Genetics + computers 

Computational tools have enabled this field.  

Science has been advanced by worldwide sharing of data
                          by electronic cooperation: e.g., polymath
                          by internationally edited/reviewed journals
                          by new data processing algorithms
                          by new vizualization techniques

Ethical Aspects of Bioinformatics

personal genetic information  -- who owns it? 
                              -- why is that important? 

does it help Privacy if data is aggegrated?  

      i.e., actual data not stored

other medical records

datamining  -->  new categories  


allows person  --to-->  record+genes  --to-->  disease mapping 

e.g.,  person owns red BMW  ==> more likely to get colon cancer 


Banker:  would you lend them money?

Valid Informed Consent 

for personal genetic data

i.  Individuals must have adequate disclosure of info dissemination process.

ii. be able to fully comprehend what they are being told about the
    procedure or treatment.

Potential secondary uses (due to data mining perhaps) known? 

Contextual Integrity!


Ethical Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) guidelines 

In context of certain technology? 

Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act  (GINA) 

what kind of discrimination? 


"the study, design and manipulation of natural phenomena, artificial
 phenomena, and technological phenomena at the nanometer level"  

nanometer = one billionth of a meter

atom diameter = 0.1 to 0.5  nanometers

nano-level devices -- mechanical, electrical 

nanomachines = nanites

nano-scale assembler - "a molecular machine that could be programmed
                        to build virtually any molecular structure or
                        device from simpler chemical building blocks"

i.e.,   Molecule by molecule manufacturing!!

real?  * 2007 basic radio device 

       * Motors ...

        'The bacterial flagellar motor is an example of finished
         bio-nanotechnology, and understanding how it works and
         assembles is one of the first steps towards making man-made
         machines on the same tiny scale,' said Dr Richard Berry, a
         Tutorial Fellow in Physics at Oxford University. 'The
         smallest man-made rotary motors so far are thousands of times

         This motor has the same power-to-weight ratio as an internal
         combustion engine, spins at up to 100,000 rpm and achieves
         near-perfect efficiency. Yet at only 50 nanometres across,
         one hundred million would fit onto a period.  [] 

       * computer memory device at HP 

Predicted -- nanocomputers 

computers + motors + mechanical & electrical parts   gives......??



The Promise of Nanotechnology

Molecule by molecule manufacturing would:

1. be self-sufficient and dirt free

       no chemical pollution 

       nanites can be used to remove environmental hazards

2. create unprecedented objects and materials

       strong, lightweight materials

3. enable production of inexpensive high-quality products

       especially technological devices (even smaller phones!)

4. be used to fabricate food rather than having to grow it

       molecule by molecule food assembly

       nanite garbage recycling 

5. provide low-prices and superior equipment for health care

       medical nanites --  could do what?
                       --  where? how? 

       defense against viruses! 

6. enable us to enhance our human capabilies and properties

       overcome disease, pain, etc. 

       remove aging?  
                     -- any new ideas? 
                     -- how many children? 
                     -- do the old get younger, or stay old?

       many conceptual muddles to come! 

The Perils of Nanotechnology 

Molecule by molecule manufacturing could result in:

1. severe economic disruption

       abundance of low-cost products

       rapidly changing employment patterns

2. premeditated misuse in warfare or terrorism 

       new weapons

       fast manuf of old-style weapons

       minuturized components

       nanites as weapons???

3. surveillance with nano-level tracking devices



            GPS devices in your bloodstream? 
            additional privacy concerns - location privacy 

4. extensive environmental damage


     Certain types of carbon nanotubes -- microscopic graphite
     cylinders used in a small but growing number of Space Age
     applications -- could pose a cancer risk similar to that of
     asbestos if inhaled, scientists reported Tuesday. 
        [LA Times 2008]


     nanite assemblers in food chain

     in the air 

5. uncontrolled self-replication 

     nanite assemblers build nanite assemblers?


     use world's resources as fuel   (grey-goo scenario)

     even without replication they'll last a long time!  removal?? 

6. misuse by criminals and terrorists

     nanite weapons of mass destruction  (black-goo scenario)

     black market nanites   

Precautionary Principle 

Nanocomputing will produce "irreversible and entirely unforseeable side effects"

So CS professionals should NOT get involved. Right? 

ACM & IEEE have no stance on this. 

Precautionary Principle:

  If some action has a possibility of causing harm, then that action
  should not be undertaken, or some measure should be put in place to
  minimize or eliminate the potential harms.


  Direct harm:

       e.g., cancer causing

  Harm by misuse

       e.g., person privacy damaged

  Harm by accident 

       e.g., runaway nanobots

Freedom of Research:

  assume freedom 
     -- objectors should show that research is dangerous

  research likely to cause harm 
     -- researchers should prove that it is safe 


"Spare parts" for bodies -  e.g.?  

Therapeutic vs. Enhancements 

Natural vs. Technological? 

Intelligent "Spare parts" for bodies (with AI)

Maintain and restore the body's natural functions? 

Superhuman human?    


do you believe that we will become cyborgs??

should it be limited??

what sort of cyborgs should be become??

Sphere of Moral Consideration 

What can we "use" (or abuse) as we see fit? 

 - people

 - animals

 - plants 

 - environment

 - robots?

       "The robot's animacy was measured, amongst other measurements,
        by the users' hesitation to switch it off.  The results show
        that participants hesitated three times as long to switch off
        an agreeable and intelligent robot as compared to a non
        agreeable and unintelligent robot."


What makes us think that we should apply moral consideration?

       - thinking 

       - rational characteristics

       - feelings

       - learning 

       - looking like humans

       - reproduction 

"To kill a mockingbird robot"

    Robots are being introduced in our society but their social status
    is still unclear. A critical issue is if the robot's exhibition of
    intelligent life-like behavior leads to the users' perception of
    animacy. The ultimate test for the life-likeness of a robot is to
    kill it. We therefore conducted an experiment in which the robot's
    intelligence and the participants' gender were the independent
    variables and the users' destructive behavior of the robot the
    dependent variables.  ... but we can conclude that the robot's
    intelligence had a significant influence on the users' destructive


   Robots could demand legal right
   (Dec 2006) 

   The paper which addresses Robo-rights, titled "Utopian dream or rise
   of the machines?" examines the developments in artificial
   intelligence and how this may impact on law and politics.

   The paper says a "monumental shift" could occur if robots develop
   to the point where they can reproduce, improve themselves or
   develop artificial intelligence.

   The research suggests that at some point in the next 20 to 50 years
   robots could be granted rights. 

   If this happened, the report says, the robots would have certain
   responsibilities such as voting, the obligation to pay taxes, and
   perhaps serving compulsory military service. 

   Conversely, society would also have a duty of care to their new
   digital citizens, the report says. 

   It also warns that the rise of robots could put a strain on resources
   and the environment.  


Moral Machines

Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics (1942)

   1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow
      a human being to come to harm. 

   2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except
      where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

   3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such
      protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. 

Can we rely on people to get this right?