“If I’m on a park bench, and I’m next to someone, and I hear them talking about symptoms of cancer, am I obligated to turn around and tell them they might have cancer?” advertisement advertisement Samuel Volchenboum, Director of the Center for Research Informatics and Associate Professor of Pediatric Oncology at the University of Chicago, lets the question float in the air for a moment before breaking his own silence. “You’ll get different answers depending who you ask.” Medical ethics is a complicated topic. For a practicing doctor tending to their patients inside a hospital, the rules are relatively clear. But as soon as that doctor steps into the real world, their vast knowledge of the human body gives them the power to diagnose a potentially unwilling populace–people who might not be asking for a diagnosis of a terminal illness, or to have the telltale signs of their chemical addiction broadcast to every fellow passenger on … [Read more...] about The UX Of Ethics: Should Google Tell You If You Have Cancer?
Google search algorithm
Do a Google search for “YouTube for Good” and you won’t get too many relevant hits. There certainly isn’t a landing page on YouTube. But YouTube can be a platform of change, even in the midst of thousands of cat videos and people doing bedroom renditions of Beyonce songs. So says Hunter Walk, the director of product management at YouTube and head of YouTube’s Social Good Initiative Team. advertisement advertisement I spoke to Walk at the Social Innovation Summit, where he explained what YouTube for Good (founded in 2011) is all about. “It’s really more about YouTube as a whole than a separate program. It’s comprised of some efforts to ensure that nonprofits, educators, and activists are as successful on YouTube as entertainers, comedians, and athletes,” he explains. If it’s not a separate program, where can we find YouTube for Good in the larger YouTube universe? One place to start is the YouTube Nonprofit Program, … [Read more...] about YouTube For Good Wants You To Watch World-Changing Films Alongside Cat Videos
Twitter still can’t get its ongoing harassment problems under control. Facebook refuses to take a stand on protecting what’s true. But Pinterest continues to make doing the obvious, right thing look easy. advertisement Pinterest’s newest feature, launched this week, spots search queries that involve self-harm. And instead of then showing something that might validate a user’s impulse to hurt themselves, or just showing nothing at all, the company offers users 10 exercises to cope with feelings and release dangerous tension. (Previously, Pinterest offered external links to resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Now, such resources are integrated directly into Pinterest.) The exercises aren’t complex, and neither is the tool. There are no fancy AI algorithms at work, and the presentation looks more like a digital brochure than anything else. The entire intervention is really just a nicely formatted list of things you can do when … [Read more...] about Every social media company should copy Pinterest’s newest feature
A police officer is patrolling the neighborhood when he gets an urgent notification on his phone: the face of a passerby matches that of a suspect in a police database. He touches a button to request backup and glides his hand to his holster. advertisement advertisement To Rick Smith, the energized chief executive of police supplier Axon, the company formerly known as Taser, this “Robocop”-like vision is a tantalizing possibility in a larger vision of AI-assisted policing. In the case of a cop killer on the loose, Smith told me in 2016, “we can’t expect an officer to not get that alert if there’s official information on this guy.” Since then, that idea has zoomed from science fiction to fact. Casinos, merchants, and police can now identify individuals captured on high-quality surveillance footage in mere seconds, thanks in part to advances in AI and cameras. Also new to the face recognition challenge: cloud-connected databases … [Read more...] about Cop cameras can track you in real-time and there’s nothing stopping them
One day in the spring of 2008, Colonel John Montgomery walked into a ground-control station at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada for his regular shift flying a Predator drone over Iraq. The mission that day was an open patrol over Sadr City, a densely populated neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad. Montgomery’s squadron had been watching the area for weeks. advertisement advertisement As Montgomery settled into his seat, his sensor operator turned to him. “There’s something wrong in this city,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but things just don’t feel right to me.” Montgomery sensed it too. “It was a vibe. It just wasn’t right,” he later told me of the mission. Montgomery’s crew was so familiar with the streets of Sadr City that they understood the rhythm of the neighborhood; they even committed to memory the exact spots where local women hung laundry from their balconies. When something was off, it was … [Read more...] about How Big Tech is helping build the Pentagon’s all-seeing eye-in-the-sky