Worldwide Web Watch

WWW

July 29, 2015

Peter Swire, in a paper for the New America Cybersecurity Initiative, considers what the decrease in the shelf-life of secrets means for the intelligence community.  In The Declining Half-Life of Secrets, Swire recommends a system overhaul with respect to the intelligence community’s approach when classified information has been gathered, stored and prematurely and/or wrongfully disclosed.  His recommendations flow from the characteristics of our present-day landscape, composed of evolving sociological and technological factors.  Swire proposes improved communications and greater transparency on the part of intelligence agencies, along with the development of action plans when notable secrets are purposely or inadvertently divulged to the masses on the “front page.”

Technology Triple Trivia

TTT15

3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers.

July 28, 2015

1. What do urine and a basketball have in common?

Hint:

Answer: both bounce.  San Francisco, in an attempt to control its Peeing Tom problem,  is putting a special coat of UV-coated, urine-repellent paint on some of its city walls.  If urine hits the wall, it bounces right back at the perpetrator.   This might just be a better deterrent than the decade-old $50-$100 fine.   Read more here.

2. What recent win for labeling is causing some brains to swell (and rightfully so)?

Hint:

Answer: the City of Berkley has passed an ordinance that requires cellular phone retailers to warn customers that mobile phones may be a health hazard.  The “Right to Know” ordinance (aka precautionary principle on steroids) is based on a purported unsubstantiated correlation between cell phone radiation and cancer.  A lawsuit, alleging a First Amendment violation against Berkley by a cell phone industry interest group, has already been filed.  The Right to Know ordinance, which implies the presence of a threat, however unlikely or non-existent, is a close cousin of the GMO labeling effort — also rooted in pseudoscience.  As experts point out, non-ionizing cell phone radiation is not the same as cancer-linked ionizing X-ray radiation.  Just because there is radiation, does not mean it is cancerous.   Read the details here.

3. What does an AI arms race potentially mean for the human race?

Hint:

Answer: an impressive list of signatories is attached to a letter calling for the abandonment of autonomous weapons development that would result in an AI arms race.  The letter, which made its official public debut yesterday, cautions if human control over weaponry is eliminated, the human race could succumb to a similar fate.  The letter points out that “most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons” and highlights a fear that AI’s benefits could be sideswiped by bad use of the technology.  Read more here.

Worldwide Web Watch

WWW

July 22, 2015

Megan Zavieh is right.  21st Century lawyers cannot afford to turn a blind eye when it comes to technological advancements.  Technology is too omnipresent for that, affecting a multitude of aspects within the legal profession, from client correspondence to the acquisition of case-related general and highly specific information.   Nowadays, it often is the only way to collect practice-related content.  In the Lawyerist, Zavieh writes about the emergence of legal cases requiring lawyers to use and stay on top of technology.  From a client’s perspective, technology is a money-saver and has been shown to be less error-prone than the fallible human lawyer.   “Better and faster” has resulted in the development of legal and ethical standards that impact legal competence.  The lawyer’s job and the elements the job, such as thoroughness, organization, diligence and effectiveness, demand use and application of technology in addition to awareness of its pitfalls (e.g. data security, confidentiality) in an effort to avoid the legal and ethical implications of choosing to remain a luddite.

Technology Triple Trivia

TTT5

3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers.

July 21, 2015

1. What Rolling Stones hit is getting a lot of air time in the health and wellness industry?

Hint:

Answer: biotech start-up Arivale is belting out Start Me Up! to the tune of millions of dollars, thanks to the support of seasoned investors, including genome sequencing guru Lee Hood.  With ongoing reductions in genome sequencing costs, resulting in greater accessibility to the masses, Arivale hopes to bring big data wellness home to the individual.   This is personalized medicine in action, with an annual $2,000 health & wellness monitoring price tag.   Read the details here.

2. How might we make “honesty” not such a lonely word for politicians?

Hint:

Answer: from the Stones to Billy Joel —  honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue, honesty is hardly ever heard, and mostly what… we need from our politicians and others who serve the public.  In the wake of surging police brutality allegations, discussions are underway regarding a requirement that law enforcement’s movements be transparent (i.e. recorded).   Let’s take it one step further, why not subject our politicians, including our President to the same scrutiny?  Wearable devices are taking accountability to a whole new level.  In professional segments, where performance is key, we might seriously consider holding our representatives accountable for the promises they make, where and how they spend our money, who they associate with and so forth, all in real time.   If security is a concern, certain data, such as precise location, could be scrambled.   Sound plausible?  Read more here.

3. What recent incident has added injury to the insult?

Hint:

Answer:  in 10 of 14 road accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars, Google’s cars were rear-ended with no reported injuries.  However, on July 1, in the 11th rear-ender, both the Google vehicle’s passengers and the driver of the other vehicle complained of minor injuries resulting from the 17 mph collision.  The occurrence of rear-enders is not surprising given that they are, allegedly, the most common type of car accident in the U.S.   However, one wonders whether the Google vehicle might need to be reprogrammed to begin slowing down at a greater distance or in some other manner.  Read the details here.

Marchant Publishes in Prestigious NAS Journal

Gary Marchant

Gary E. Marchant, Regents’ Professor of Law | Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics | Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability | Director of the newly established GET Program, Center for Law, Science and Innovation, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law | all at Arizona State University.

 ASU law professor Gary E. Marchant, recently co-published an article in the National Academy of SciencesISSUES in Science and Technology journal.  The piece is entitled Coordinating Technology Governance and it explores the need for, and application of, a nimble authoritative coordinating body, referred to as a Governance Coordination Committee, to fill an urgent gap with regard to the assessment of the ethical, legal, social and economic consequences of emerging technologies.  This newly created entity, with broad functions that are detailed in the paper, would manage issues unique to nascent technologies.  It would “act like an orchestra conductor,”  focusing on the harmonization and integration of the various realized or proposed governance approaches and flag those that should be abolished or amended due to their present-day impracticality and inefficiency.  The article explores not only the need for such a governing body but also looks at other precedent-setters, proposes what an effective program should look like and addresses its potential challenges and concerns.  The essay is co-authored by Wendell Wallach, a prominent consultant, ethicist, and scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.  Wallach has several additional professional affiliations including the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics (ASU).