This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Nov 21)

ROBOTICS: Google’s robot group struggles to fill leadership vacuum as it shoots for ambitious launch before 2020
Jillian D’Onfro | Business Insider
“Nearly two years ago, Google announced a new robotics division that had secretly snapped up almost ten companies. The state of those efforts is now in flux, and the group is in a difficult position as it tries to meet a goal of creating consumer robot technology by 2020. ”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The Emotional Uncanny Valley — How zombies could be the future of artificial intelligence
Adam Elkus | Slate
“Imagine a situation in which we encounter a human-like entity (let us call it Robo-Shylock) that is the most realistic replication of a human science has ever encountered….while Robo-Shylock shows what we might regard as outward signs of pain and appropriate behavioral reactions to being pricked, internally it has no concept of pain or being pricked. It does not experience a sensation of pain the way we would, despite bleeding and reacting as if it has been pricked. If such a scenario like the plot of a bad 1950s science fiction movie to you, then you are not alone. Robo-Shylock is what philosophers of mind dub a ‘philosophical zombie’ or ‘p-zombie’ for short.”

ETHICS: We have greater moral obligations to robots than to humans
Eric Schwitzgebel | Aeon
“If we someday create robots with human-like cognitive and emotional capacities, we owe them more moral consideration than we would normally owe to otherwise similar human beings. Here’s why: we will have been their creators and designers.”

INTERNET: So This Is How Net Neutrality Dies
Jason Koebler | Motherboard
“Over the last, say, 18 months or so, telecom companies have been ravenously snatching up and partnering with content creators. At first, it was easy to look at these acquisitions…merely as cable and telecom companies attempting to diversify in response to the potential economic crisis presented by cord cutters and people who never subscribed to cable networks in the first place. But that’s too simple an interpretation. Instead, telecom is attempting to control the content, the means of getting it to you, and the advertising networks that support them.”

FUTURE OF WORK: Should Computers Decide Who Gets Hired?
Gillian B. White | CityLab
“Humans can certainly exert bias and illogical preferences, which can color hiring practices when managers use personal discretion to sift through applicants….But on the other hand, relegating people—and the firms they work for—to data points focuses only on the success of firms in terms of productivity and tenure, and that might be a shallow way of interpreting what makes a company successful.”

ROBOCARS: The Dream Life of Driverless Cars
Geoff Manaugh | The New York Times
“One of the most significant uses of 3-D scanning in the years to come will not be by humans at all but by autonomous vehicles. Cars are already learning to drive themselves, by way of scanner-­assisted braking, pedestrian-­detection sensors, parallel-­parking support, lane-­departure warnings and other complex driver-­assistance systems, and full autonomy is on the horizon.”

VIRTUAL REALITY: Welcome To Brain Science’s Next Frontier: Virtual Reality
Tina Amirtha | Fast Company
“Neuroscience is a field for limitless exploration and new discovery. The biggest technical revolutions of the last century—nuclear energy, computing power, and space exploration—all started with basic science research that had no immediate industrial use, but evolved into important industries with rewarding applications. Now, science advocates say neuroscience is the next revolution. By exploring the mysteries of the brain, budding technologies could benefit. These technologies will, likewise, enhance basic research.”

LEARNING is the Global Grand Challenge
for the Month of November

“Access to skills and information for all people at all stages of their lives for personal fulfillment and benefit to society.”
from Singularity University’s 2015 Impact Report

Check out our Future of Learning series running all month on Singularity Hub!

CURRICULUM: Texas school board rejects push to enlist academics to check textbooks for factual errors
Robert T. Garrett | Dallas News
“The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the founding fathers.”

COST OF EDUCATIONCould “Nanodegrees” Be The Solution To The Student Debt Crisis?
George Lorenzo | Fast Company
“‘By the end of next year, we are going to have more than 50 [nanodegree programs],’ Thrun says. ‘We have a meticulous plan that we are working through, and it covers areas such as big data, cybersecurity, and tech entrepreneurship with things such as project management and design.'”

EMPLOYMENTOnline Skills Are Hot, But Will They Land You a Job?
Lauren Weber | Wall Street Journal
“The recognition of specialized skills could go in two directions, employers and labor market experts say. Independent groups could step in to develop standards for credentials, or employers could test more applicants’ skills during hiring, which could make some laurels—be it a bachelor’s degree or boot-camp diploma—superfluous.”

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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