What We’re Reading This Week Across the Web (Through Feb 28)

Enjoy this week’s stories!

ROBOTS: Will Robots Be Able to Help Us Die?
Graham Templeton | Motherboard
“From robo-assisted suicide to commercial drone use in urban areas, robots will create new ethical quandaries at precisely the same rate that engineers imbue them with new abilities.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Rise of the Fembots: Why Artificial Intelligence Is Often Female
Tanya Lewis | LiveScience
“One reason for the glut of female artificial intelligences (AIs) and androids (robots designed to look or act like humans) may be that these machines tend to perform jobs that have traditionally been associated with women.”

WEARABLES: Google Glass, HoloLens, and the Real Future of Augmented Reality
Stephen Cass with Charles Q. Choi | IEEE Spectrum
“The truth is that well before the debut of HoloLens, the AR ecosystem had been moving away from Google’s model of always-available wearable computing and toward the idea that AR headsets should be—at least for now—something you use only for specific tasks.”

DATA ANALYTICS: The ethical blindness of algorithms
Steve Jones | Quartz
“The problem is that because the role of analytics is to aggregate, and aggregation by definition emphasizes group dynamics over individual traits, there is a strong possibility that the data will identify patterns which can be matched to specific minority groups.”

GENETICS: Is DNA the Language of the Book of Life?
Regan Penaluna | Nautilus
“Indeed, it seems were are only now just beginning to shake off the powerful hold genes have had on our imaginations…this is not to say that the language of genetic information has not been very helpful, or that it should be abandoned. What these philosophers and thinkers care to do is draw attention to the ways that scientists fail to fully consider the language they use, and so inhibit scientific progress.”

NEUROSCIENCE: Can I Make My Brain as Plastic as a Child’s?
Rebecca Boyle | Aeon
“Rather than disappearing, it turns out, plasticity has merely been suppressed by a network of inhibitory neurons and the molecules that they use to communicate. Depending on circumstance, the brain can open up and become plastic again. The possibility of reawakening our youthful, receptive brains has piqued a lot of interest among educators, therapists, and those in search of expanded experience or thought.”

FUTURE OF WORK: Why the Gap Between Worker Pay and Productivity Is So Problematic
Gillian B. White | CityLab
“Globalization and technological change brought great benefits to the U.S. economy, but it had a few other consequences…it put intense pressure on the middle class, which found itself competing for jobs with hundreds of millions of skilled, ambitious workers around the world…for those who had unique skills, this became a golden age because now, those individuals were able to sell their talents around the world, amplified by technology. So this is when we see inequality begin to soar.”

[image credit: Petras Gagilas/Flickr]

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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