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Human-Centered AI — an important new book by Ben Shneiderman

Ben Shneiderman is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, and a much-honoured pioneer in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. His recent book, Human-Centered AI, is a valuable contribution to the literature discussing challenges for the appropriate use of artificial intelligence and proposing approaches and steps to achieve a safer and more humane future incorporating the likely increased use of AI.  Although there is much that…

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The Internet as a Reverse Panopticon

This article is adapted from one published March, 2013, in the ACM SIGCSE Inroads Magazine.  In 1787 Jeremy Bentham, the British Utilitarian philosopher and penal reform theorist, wrote a series of letters in which he proposed a Panopticon (all-seeing), also called The Inspection-House.  His letters put forward “the idea of a new principle of construction applicable to any sort of establishment, in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection”. For the…

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Technology and the Great Transition — to What?

This essay is adapted from “Fighting on All Fronts” a commentary in response to the “The Question of Technology” prompt as part of the Great Transition project.  Emerging—and existing—technologies are bringing us closer to the brink. And even if they turn out to be more benign, envisioning some technological advance as our salvation will waste precious time as the ecosystems upon which we rely move closer to collapse and the violent forces of authoritarianism gain…

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A Call to Action

Digital technologies for learning, health, politics, and commerce have enriched the world.  Digital heroes like Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Batya Friedman, Alan Kay, JCR Licklider, and Joe Weizenbaum have blazed trails.  Yet there is trouble.  We depend upon software that nobody totally understands. We are vulnerable to cyberterrorism.  Privacy is overrun by surveillance capitalism. Totalitarian control advances.  Daily internet news matching our beliefs makes it hard to tell true from false. People are addicted to devices.…

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Robot Companions and Caregivers for Seniors

The number of seniors is growing rapidly worldwide. The population of adults aged 60 years and over will grow from 901 million in 2015 to 1.4 billion in 2030 and 2.1 billion in 2050. The number of ‘oldest old’ — those aged 80 years and older — will grow from 125 million in 2015 to 434 million in 2050. Declining birth rates reduce the Caregiver Support Ratio, the ratio of available caregivers to those who need care,…

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