Courtesy of Mandatory
Happy Friday All!
August 24, 2016
In an ASU law school class, Law, Science and Technology, LSI faculty recently highlighted that while judges, expert witnesses and humans in general are subject to biases (unintentional or otherwise), algorithms are so as well. An algorithm may be viewed as more objective given its (current) lack of human qualities, but as an article in The Conversation points out, bias remains. However, such bias may be fixed with awareness — by observing how, when and where it occurs (which is easier with digital systems) and tweaking the software as needed. Interestingly, as the article notes, algorithms and monitoring thereof allow for faster recognition of the existence of bias and, thus, quicker fixes.
August 23, 2016
Answer: as long as it’s traceable, it doesn’t really matter. More and more, fish industry suppliers, wholesalers and distributors are concerned with fish transparency: when was it caught, where was it caught and who caught it? At this time, available fish-tracker software technology is limited to fish caught in American waters. However, this fall, international fishing practices will be monitored via a group, which includes Google, called Global Fishing Watch. Fish subject to such rigorous monitoring is available for online purchase and delivery to certain zip codes at AmazonFresh. Read more here.
2. Everyone knows Phoenix is hot but what sector is heating up most?
Answer: when it comes to tech start-ups, Phoenix is the place to be these days. According to one Forbes report, tech employment in Phoenix has grown “78 percent since 2000, while software employment has grown 28.8 percent since 2010. Phoenix’s tech location index is, remarkably, now higher than that of Los Angeles.” ASU, home to LSI, a university which is ranked #1 in the nation for innovation in 2016 (ahead of Stanford and MIT) is included in the boom. Go Devils! — read the details here.
3. Dust is in the house, in the air, and in Kansas, in the wind — where else can we now find it?
Answer: University of California Berkeley scientists have produced injectable “neural dust” sensors to oversee the function of organs, muscles and nerves in real time. The goal is to one day use the smart dust technology for brain-machine interfaces to control prosthetics and other technologies. This, of course, leads one to contemplate all sorts of liability scenarios — one can foresee having to ask whether it was human will or faulty technology resulting in a crime. At this time, the dust must be injected into the human body to function but as is pointed out, perhaps one day, it will be available in a capsule. Read the story here.
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On August 16, 2016, LSI Faculty Director and Regents’ Professor of Law, Gary Marchant gave a CLE presentation on Blockchain and Bitcoin: Implications on the Practice of Law to members of the Coconino County Bar Association, including Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law alumn and former LSI Center Scholar, Brian Webb (’09), who practices law in Flagstaff and is owner of The State Bar, a wine bar in Flagstaff and Cottonwood, AZ. Additional photos below.
Gary Marchant & Brian Webb
Brian Webb at The State Bar
August 17, 2016
As we navigate a world filled with great science and not-so-great science, one thing comes to light: the masses are not always right. The Authorea Team unveils eight instances of unjustifiable shunning of good science and asks us to ponder what other incredible ideas, proposals and advancements of tomorrow are being stalled today?
3 QUESTIONS. 3 HINTS. 3 ANSWERS.
August 16, 2016
Answer: young children fighting a rare but deadly inherited brain disease called MLD may be treated overseas with gene therapy whereby original bone marrow is destroyed and replaced with genetically modified marrow. Scientists are not yet sure whether the gene therapy results in a permanent fix or whether the disease will eventually return. In order to qualify as a candidate, a child must be symptom-free. This presents a great difficulty — unless a child has been tested, either in vitro, in vivo or after birth, there is no way to know whether a child is afflicted, until symptoms appear. If a parent is aware she or he carries a copy of the defective recessive gene, each child’s outcome can be measured in percentages. If both parents carry a defective copy, a child has a 25% chance of being affected. Researchers are currently studying whether automatic screening of newborns for MLD is feasible. Read more here.
2. How can we teach artificial intelligence to be fair?
Answer: a warning label is an allegedly insufficient beginning when comes to bias in algorithm-based recommendations or decisions. Fairness testing and transparency are being called for so that people have an opportunity to scrutinize and challenge collected data and ultimate results. The European Union’s due process condition for automated decisions is a step in the right direction but even this form of transparency, allowing citizens to review automated findings, is limited to software-based outcomes that otherwise would not involve human judgment. Read the details here.
3. How have unintentional mountain collisions become a thing of the past?
Answer: airline pilots have come to rely on a mapping safety system originally developed by Honeywell engineers, led by Don Bateman. Crashing into mountains used to be the leading cause of death in airplane incidents. Bateman’s technology virtually ended the “Controlled Flight into Terrain.” Bateman worked tirelessly over the years to improve the safety device. His goal: save as many lives as possible. Today’s result: the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System. In 2011, Bateman was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Read the story here.
Happy Friday All!
In a paper titled Decoupling knowledge and expertise in personalized medicine who will fill the gap? Bowman et al., discuss the issues emanating from the field of direct-to-consumer testing (DTC) — where consumers have access to health tests and results without a physician order. In certain states, like Arizona, any test may be directly obtained by a consumer as long as it is provided by a certified lab. The article explores the potential benefits and pitfalls of DTC generally: in terms of patient autonomy, empowerment and responsibility, the opportunity is extraordinary. On the other hand, consumer understanding, interpretation and reliability of the available DTC tests is a big issue — just take a look at Theranos‘ fall from grace. As such services become more and more widespread, ensuring the ultimate outcome is better health, is key.