College of the North Atlantic made news recently when journalism instructor Jeff Ducharme developed a drone journalism code of conduct that his students will have to follow when using the unmanned aerial vehicle for news gathering.
This is a significant step towards standardizing drone use in public and private spaces, a very contentious issue for our future. Continue reading
Google’s recent announcement that they would be unveiling a self-driving vehicle prototype soon spawned a lot of the reactions you’d expect from such an announcement, mostly split between “cold, dead hands”-type comments to outrageous hazard-challenges that would give Mario Andretti pause.
I’d hate to chalk it all up to just plain technophobia; however, we have seen this kind of denial about new technologies before—for instance, when the Horseless Carriage was first introduced—and the song seems to be the same, note for note, but with the addition of synthesizer quaver and a bit of traffic sound sampling to remind us that it’s 2014.
But we’ve seen automated cars in movies like Minority Report. I’ve written about them in my novels Sarcology and Chasing the Light. And although they’re not depicted as death machines in popular media, they are still thought of that way by the public. Why?
Invasive technologies, by definition, tend to have the most initial resistance to their introduction to society. It can be hard to imagine a future world in which new and sometimes disturbing, often painfully-disruptive technologies come to be accepted, even common, parts of our lives.
Sarcology, recently updated and re-released, depicts a future world full of these invasive technologies, making it easy for the reader to question the likelihood and desirability of this future reality.
But given time, and often contrary to public perception, we have seen that even the most invasive of tech can overcome initial resistance and become accepted, even ubiquitous, in society.Continue reading
Some of you are probably aware that Google has been testing a self-driving car on California streets since last year. (Check out a few videos if you’re interested.) They believe they have progressed far enough in their tests that they have gone to the Nevada legislature to legally allow their cars on Nevada roads… and that they earn an exemption from the law prohibiting texting while driving.
There’s nothing new about the concept of the self-driven car; science fiction has been toying with them for decades, of course. But with the latest in sensor systems being applied to digital roadmaps and image recognition technology, cars are learning to recognize roads and hazards and direct themselves. As a 2010 NY Times article put it: “Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated.”
I’m not sure whether the Google car is really ready for prime time, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. Continue reading