What We’re Reading This Week Across the Web (Through Dec 13)

Enjoy this week’s stories on technological progress and the resulting tension caused!

ROBOTS: Does the Halting Problem Mean No Moral Robots?
Michael Byrne | Motherboard
“The general idea under consideration is whether or not a robot can make an ethical determination. How capable is an algorithm of sorting right from wrong?”

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: Chemists create ‘artificial chemical evolution’ for the first time
“A team from the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry report…how they have managed to create an evolving chemical system for the first time. The process uses a robotic ‘aid’ and could be used in the future to ‘evolve’ new chemicals capable of performing specific tasks.”

TECHNOLOGY: Why Has Human Progress Ground To A Halt?
Michael Hanlon | Aeon
“The Golden Quarter was a unique period of less than a single human generation, a time when innovation appeared to be running on a mix of dragster fuel and dilithium crystals…Today, progress is defined almost entirely by consumer-driven, often banal improvements in information technology.”

ENVIRONMENT: 2014 From Above: The Year’s Most Powerful, Beautiful, and Chilling Satellite Images
Will Oremus & Lisa Larson-Walker | Slate
“DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 satellites [are] among the most powerful commercial satellites orbiting the planet. They’re capable of achieving resolutions so sharp that the U.S. government prohibits them from being released for public view. ”

INTERNET: The rise of AdBlock reveals a serious problem in the advertising world
Frédéric Filloux | Quartz
“Put another way, if your site, or your apps, are saturated with pop-up windows—screaming videos impossible to mute or skip—you are encouraging the adoption of AdBlock Plus—and once it’s installed on a browser, do not expect any turning  back.”

CITIES: Tech Culture and Rising Inequality: A Complex Relationship
Richard Florida | CityLab
“All of this suggests that ‘startup’ urbanism—not just the winner-take-all mentality of the one percent—is at a minimum connected to growing inequality and increasing unaffordability of America’s leading knowledge cities.”

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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