Our Class Archive

At this point in time, the class has created an archive of blog posts full of many different ideas, ranging from the effects of music to robots. As a whole, these blog posts all relate to one specific topic: technology. Having a topic chosen but also having a lot of free space to write gives the student guidance while still giving them the ability to write about what they’re interested in.

This same idea pertains to when the blog must relate to an essay read previously; everyone has a general topic to write about (like “the self”) but everyone approaches this topic in a different way. This is what makes the blog posts as a whole interesting and enjoyable to read. It groups them together in one way but also allows for individuality as everyone has their own opinions and thoughts about certain concepts. As a fellow student, I enjoyed looking through all the blog posts because I got to pick up ideas that I didn’t think of before.

The best way to describe a lot of the blog posts is passionate. Especially when it comes to the blog posts pertaining to the final paper (in which people chose their own topics that they are interested in), they show passion and excitement about a topic (because of the leniency of the paper). To be able to see this on a massive scale while scrolling through the blog is inspiring.

Our class’ compilation of blog posts serves as a mix of ideas. This can be seen through the ability to write comments. One person may write a post expanding on a thought, while a few people might comment and include their own thoughts on the same topic. The same goes for the option to tag something. This gives a reader or fellow blogger the ability to look up a topic and find slightly different ideas about the same thing.

As the archive continues to grow every week with each person’s new blog post, more ideas are developed that otherwise would not have been. Before the blog posts, there were certain topics I hadn’t thought about, or certain thoughts I haven’t shared with anybody. With the posts, I received the ability to do both of these.

Even as the semester ends and everyone in the class moves on with different plans, we are all still interconnected through the blog. Every one of us can go back onto it and read through our old posts along with others’ posts. As we continue to gain more knowledge on different topics, our views may expand or change. This means they might be different from what we wrote on the blog. However, it is still good to know that the blog posts are available to see and it is interesting to think that we can look back and see how our views have changed. Maybe we will even rediscover an idea we forgot about that can inspire us in the future. Either way, the blog isn’t just a technology that aids us in the past and until the end of the semester. It can affect us far into the future if we let it.

Comments on Artificial Intelligence Posts: An Archive from Konno8

There are many great and interesting points brought up about Artificial Intelligence within these blogs. Many of these points speak on the effects that some Artificial Intelligence may bring in the future. These possible effects can be both good and bad. I’m going to analyze a few of these points and share some of my thoughts on the topic.

“You may not realize it, but artificial intelligence is everywhere.” This is a great point and one in which I completely agree with. At a basic level, Artificial Intelligence is technology created by humans, that has human like qualities. For example, things like being able to make decisions or recognizing speech may be considered Artificial Intelligence. Many technologies in the modern age have these qualities.

The idea of Artificial Intelligence in movies is another interesting topic. I think it’s important here to realize that most of this stuff is highly fictional and will not likely exist in the near future. At the same time, however, it’s exciting to think about AI in the present and the possibilities we have for AI in the future. I’d also like to comment on the possibilities of AI for good vs. bad, or the fears that it brings upon people. The good plays in where AI is able to do things for humans, often times much faster and more efficiently. This can be seen in financial technology, often making decisions for humans and taking some of the work out of their hands. AI also allows us to learn new things, and provides us with endless hours of enjoyment. This is seen through AI in video games. A new movie came out called Chappie, which involves a future where crime is controlled by a set of mechanized police. When one of them is stolen and given new programming, however, it allows him to be able to actually feel emotion and think for himself. I think this is one of the biggest worries that humans may have about robots and Artificial Intelligence in general. It’s crazy to watch movies like this and imagine that technology could go so far as to be able to have real emotions. At the same time, if technology we create can think for itself, what control do we have at that point? Also, what would stop them from doing things for themselves or even taking over the world? These ideas are interesting to explore, and this is really where the idea of fear plays in with Artificial Intelligence. For me, this doesn’t seem like it would ever be possible, but obviously I can’t predict the future.

So again, the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in the future seem to be endless. We have no idea about the exact future of this technology. However, we can fantasize about some of these possibilities, and it often seems like AI could make the world much more productive and in many ways easier. At the same time though, people like to think about the bad side of AI, and many of the fears that come from these possibilities. Artificial Intelligence is exciting, and I can’t wait to see some of the changes that will come in the future.


Personal Research Reflection of Artificial Intelligence

As humans, we are influenced by a great multitude of things that can vary differently.  They can be abstract, such as dreams or ideas.  They can also be concrete, such as a beautiful landscape or a bustling city.  We are also influenced in many different ways.  We can be influenced both positively and negatively.  We can be influenced both consciously and subconsciously.  Many different influences have led me to write a research paper about artificial intelligence, and this blog post will describe these many influences.

Ever since I can remember, I have always had a fondness for movies.  I love how a director is able to capture a whole storyline in only a couple of hours.  Many of the movies I especially cherish are sci-fi action movies, such as Star WarsTerminator, and recently the new Avengers movies.  While these are only a few examples of such movies, they all serve a point for this post—they all include some form of artificial intelligence.  In Star Wars, the audience is introduced to C-3PO, a humanoid robot that assists the rebels.  The cyborgs in Terminator are sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor and her son.  Avengers has Iron Man’s artificial intelligence, named Jarvis, assist him with tech development, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron will see the team square off against a form of artificial intelligence in Ultron, who is attempting to eliminate the human race.  What has always intrigued me about these movies is that humans either have to rely upon something that is clearly not human, as such is the case with Star Wars, or destroy a technology that man originally made to help the human race.

In the Midwest of the United States, I have lived a pretty privileged life compared to others around the globe.  I have almost everything I want, especially when it comes to technology.  The artificial intelligence I use everyday, including my iPhone, laptop, and even my calculator would be seen as prized possessions, even rarities, in other parts of the world.  This is perhaps why I take a very conservative approach when it comes to artificial intelligence.  While others may view it as something that is spiraling out of control, perhaps one day leading to our extinction, I am unable to see it in this light.  My artificial intelligence helps me in so many ways everyday that I cannot imagine what it would be like to be without it.

One of the first real experiences I can remember with artificial intelligence was the first GPS my parents bought.  I remember being fascinated by how the device knew where our car was at all times.  I tried to think of how this was even remotely possible, not yet understanding the power satellites have in our world.  I remember asking it for close restaurants, and being astounded when a list of over twenty restaurants popped up on the screen.  I thought that it was the coolest invention ever.  Now that we live in an age where there seems to be nothing our smartphones can’t do, I don’t get that same feeling of wonderment I used to.  Though I do believe all of the great technological innovations engineers are making with artificial intelligence are great, they do not give me the same sense of wonderment as the GPS did because I have come to expect these innovations.

In conclusion, I first became interested in artificial intelligence through the many movies I watched growing up.  My first real memory of fascination with a physical source of artificial intelligence was my parents’ GPS.   Finally, because of my upbringing, I perhaps do not have some of the same reservations about the future of artificial intelligence that people from other parts of the country, even the world, do.

Bitcoin and Artifact Politics: Through the Lens of Langdon Winner

Bitcoin is the first virtual currency of its kind: completely conducted through the Internet and transacted anonymously with the use of a peer-to-peer network. But who controls bitcoin? What central authority regulates its value and production? The unique thing about bitcoin is that it lacks a governing body. Without a company to oversee it, bitcoin operates solely through users and their computers, and value is based on demand and how often bitcoins are being “mined.” The question which arises with this system is whether or not bitcoin will be sustainable without a central organization to monitor and guide it. Langdon Winner, in his work The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, offers insight into the political aspects of such advanced technologies, and the necessity for either an authoritative power or government regulation.

In Winner’s writing, he analyzes how new forms of technology serve as “political artifacts.” Many advanced technological forms serve as a way to build order in our current society.1 Winner explains that “Consciously or unconsciously . . . societies choose structures for technologies that influence how people are going to work, communicate . . . and so forth over a very long time.” Bitcoin as a virtual currency can similarly be analyzed. Because currency is traditionally maintained by the government in order to ensure security and stability, there is debate over whether bitcoin should be federally regulated. In fact, some users have confidence in bitcoin specifically for its separation from the government. It offers an alternative for those who mistrust the money supply stability and fear an abrupt and purposeful inflationary period. If bitcoin continues to grow in popularity, it could signal general dissatisfaction with the management of U.S. currency.

The social form of many technological systems can be a major determinant in its effective function. In The Whale and the Reactor, Winner discusses a specific study in which it was found that routine operation of many systems requires “a large-scale centralized, hierarchical organization administered by highly skilled managers.”1 This hierarchy specifically relies on executives to keep track of and coordinate responsibilities. Bitcoin, however, does not have a central authority and is therefore run by no single person or organization. This also means that there is not a “contractual relationship” between the people mining bitcoins and the initial creator of the system. 2 According to the previously stated theory, bitcoin would consequently not serve as an efficiently-working system with a proper social organization.

Some may argue that the solution to this lack of central authority is simply government regulation. The anonymity of bitcoin transactions creates an additional fear of its use for illegal activity and money laundering. However, some inherent characteristics of bitcoin make regulation difficult. Primarily, its existence as a virtual currency, rather than a physical coin or paper, prevent it from regulation as a “community currency,” or any medium of exchange that is not the national currency.­2 Additionally, an injunction or other action to terminate the use of bitcoin is impossible, given bitcoin’s lack of a central company against which to act. According to Winner’s The Whale and the Reactor, bitcoin’s nonexistent principal authority and resistance to government regulation classifies it outside of the structure of traditional technological advancements.

1Langdon, Winner. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986.

2Kaplanov, Nikolei M. “Nerdy Money: Bitcoin, the Private Digital Currency, and the Case Against its Regulation.” Loyola Consumer Law Review 25:1 (2013). Web.