Never Give Robots Guns

Never give robots guns. Guns are for killing. Robots can’t make analogue decisions and those are the only ones that should ever control the taking of the life of another person. Robots make quantised decisions, not analogue ones. The quanta reflect the programming, and the programming arises from the approximation  and modelling of a human view.

When a technologist embodies their or their employer’s view of what’s fair into a technology, any potential for the exercise of discretion is turned from a scale to a step and humanity is quantised. That quantisation of discretion is always in the interest of the person forcing the issue.

Calls for better robots that make better judgement calls are misguided and pointless. A robot that can successfully make life-or-death decisions is a piece of bad science fiction. Any technology that attempts to perform human judgement quantises discretion and inherently dehumanises culture. That technology should never have a weapon.

___________
Background reading

[Microsoft]: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/194338-here-come-the-autonomous-robot-security-guards-what-could-possibly-go-wrong
[Halting]: https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/halting-problem-proves-that-a-lethal-robot-cannot-correctly-decide-whether-to-kill-a-human-7c014623c13f
[3-Laws]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics
[Goedel]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems
[Motherboard]: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-the-pentagons-skynet-would-automate-war
[DoD]: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123651
[DoD-Paper]: http://ctnsp.dodlive.mil/files/2014/09/DTP1061.pdf
[Moratorium]: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-moratorium-killer-robots.html


[Onion]: http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-law-enforcement-robot-can-wield-excessive-forc,36220/

Blue Lights

Child me lit up for blue lights, wanted to ride them,
saw the freedom to break rules and drive fast.
Missed that they’re arrest lights – police and cardiac;
find fear; lose liberty; run away with life.

I don’t want to ride the blue lights any more.
Blue is for skies and ribbons, for eyes and summer dresses.
The blue lights drain colour from our faces;
presage loss; predict shorter life; pin sadness in each flash.

I don’t want to ride the blue lights any more
and I don’t want you to either.

 

April 9, 2017

Will You Become A Patron?

Is the answer to the “gig economy” patronage? I hope to find out using Patreon!

Turning silver into gold

The Gig Economy

We’re moving more and more into what’s called the “gig economy”, where instead of a single, full-time, lifetime-long job, people engage in multiple activities. It’s certainly what I have been doing for the last few years; consulting on open source, serving on the boards of a variety of civil society organisations, arranging and conducting study tours, writing for several publications, writing on my own sites, speaking at events and more. Few of those have been paid work. Continue reading

Responding To Post Truth Politics

In his article Understanding Trump, George Lakoff offers a master class in the psychology of the Trump phenomenon. It is definitely worth your time to read it.

At the end, he outlines a game plan for responsing to Trump which I think is superb. But I think it applies to more than just US politics; it’s a way to respond to post-truth politics anywhere. Here is a quick edit of the final section of Lakoff’s essay that generalises it for use anywhere: Continue reading

What Is An API? The Clue Is In The Name…

At the end of my testimony in the recent Oracle v Google trial in San Francisco, Judge Alsup asked me to explain what an API is. My answer aimed to simplify the answer for a general listener while remaining recognizable to most programmers. Here’s what I said. Continue reading

Get A Discount & Help Me Get To OSCON!

My first OSCON was in 2000 in Monterey, CA. It was the one where Sun released OpenOffice.org as open source (and pledged to hand it over to a Foundation, something they forgot later despite many reminders) and I had only been a Sun employee for a very short time. I have attended most of them since then as a speaker, and have delivered “keynotes” (OSCON has a chat-show format for plenaries so talks are short) several times as well. I’m still on the Program Committee. Continue reading

Joining A Community Means Accepting Its Norms

The progress of Microsoft towards acceptance into the open source community continues. The Azure team is definitely a force for good in the company, constantly pushing Microsoft’s developer teams to understand how important the Linux platform and open source developer components and tools are to the success of Microsoft’s cloud business. After the partnership with Red Hat, the news they will release SQL Server for Linux, while not surprising to me, was very interesting, as was the news they are joining Eclipse. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: