What We’re Reading Across the Web This Week (Through Oct 18, 2014)

rogue robot repair

While we kept our eye on the next iteration of devices rolling out of Apple this week, the Hub team was also getting a steady dose of great articles challenging some of the very pillars of how we see technology shaping the future. It’s at times a sobering look at the challenges and consequences of modern progress, serving as a reminder of how much of an evolving landscape the world of emerging technologies truly is.

Enjoy this week’s batch of recommended stories!

ROBOTICS: Robot gets a driving lesson for DARPA challenge
Sharon Gaudin | Computerworld
“‘With speed comes a lot of uncertainty and instability. As roboticists, we like everything slow because we can control slow. As you get more and more into the dynamic range, you have to make sure all your algorithms get updated so you can handle the higher speeds.'”

COMPUTING: The Imminent Decentralized Computing Revolution
Gary Sharma | The Wall Street Journal
“The transition to a global system that is decentralized, distributed, anonymous, efficient, secure, permission-less, trustless, resilient, frictionless, almost free, with no single point of control and no single point of failure… seems inevitable.”

WEARABLES: The Next Hot Market For Wearable Tech: Grandma
Satta Sarmah | Fast Company
“As baby boomers age and seniors live longer, health industry folks have started talking about the ‘longevity economy’–an estimated $20 billion market opportunity for businesses to develop products that will provide health care services to older adults or help them live independently. ‘The new expectations of old age are what’s going to drive innovation in business, technology, and society,’ says Joe Coughlin, the director of MIT’s AgeLab.”

TECHNOLOGY: The Anti-Tech Tech Movement
Alexandra Ossola | Motherboard
“When you get an email, text or notification, your brain produces dopamine. This makes you feel good. But it also elicits what neuroscientists are calling a seeking behavior: you want more of it.”

CULTURE: Should Generation TED take a more sceptical view?
Julian Baggini | AEON Magazine
“There is a second, related contradiction, between the celebration of maverick freethinking and the web’s powerful domination by a handful of controlling big players….Google clearly struggles with this tension. It strives for an open web and still stands by its motto, ‘Don’t be evil’…But Google has now become a corporate behemoth with enormous power. Many campers expressed sotto voce a feeling that, in accepting Google’s hospitality, they had in some way supped with the devil.”

FOOD: Agriculture Is Becoming a ‘Model Citizen’
Gregory Goth | ACM
“‘The idea is to help progressive farmers, not lazy farmers,’ Rodriguez says. ‘It’s our work to set the right expectations, because when you have a robot, the quantity of data you receive is a lot more than you had before, and that information has to be leveraged. Otherwise, you’re not taking advantage of the reason to have a system like that.'”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David J. Hill
David J. Hill
David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.
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