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If machine learning transforms the nature of knowledge, does it also transform the practice of critical thought? Machine learning-programming computers to learn from data-has spread across scientific disciplines, media, entertainment, and government. Medical research, autonomous vehicles, credit transaction processing, computer gaming, recommendation systems, finance, surveillance, and robotics use machine learning. Machine learning devices (sometimes understood as scientific models, sometimes as operational algorithms) anchor the field of data science. They have also become mundane mechanisms deeply embedded in a variety of systems and gadgets. In contexts from the everyday to the esoteric, machine learning is said to transform the nature of knowledge. In this book, Adrian Mackenzie investigates whether machine learning also transforms the practice of critical thinking. Mackenzie focuses on machine learners-either humans and machines or human-machine relations-situated among settings, data, and devices. The settings range from fMRI to Facebook; the data anything from cat images to DNA sequences; the devices include neural networks, support vector machines, and decision trees. He examines specific learning algorithms-writing code and writing about code-and develops an archaeology of operations that, following Foucault, views machine learning as a form of knowledge production and a strategy of power. Exploring layers of abstraction, data infrastructures, coding practices, diagrams, mathematical formalisms, and the social organization of machine learning, Mackenzie traces the mostly invisible architecture of one of the central zones of contemporary technological cultures. Mackenzie's account of machine learning locates places in which a sense of agency can take root. His archaeology of the operational formation of machine learning does not unearth the footprint of a strategic monolith but reveals the local tributaries of force that feed into the generalization and plurality of the field.
An examination of the ethical issues raised by the possibility of human life extension, including its desirability, unequal access, and the threat of overpopulation. Life extension-slowing or halting human aging-is now being taken seriously by many scientists. Although no techniques to slow human aging yet exist, researchers have successfully slowed aging in yeast, mice, and fruit flies, and have determined that humans share aging-related genes with these species. In New Methuselahs, John Davis offers a philosophical discussion of the ethical issues raised by the possibility of human life extension. Why consider these issues now, before human life extension is a reality? Davis points out that, even today, we are making policy and funding decisions about human life extension research that have ethical implications. With New Methuselahs, he provides a comprehensive guide to these issues, offering policy recommendations and a qualified defense of life extension. After an overview of the ethics and science of life extension, Davis considers such issues as the desirability of extended life; whether refusing extended life is a form of suicide; the Malthusian threat of overpopulation; equal access to life extension; and life extension and the right against harm. In the end, Davis sides neither with those who argue that there are no moral objections to life enhancement nor with those who argue that the moral objections are so strong that we should never develop it. Davis argues that life extension is, on balance, a good thing and that we should fund life extension research aggressively, and he proposes a feasible and just policy for preventing an overpopulation crisis.
Explorations of design, use, and reuse of information technology in diverse historical and cultural contexts. This book explores alternative cultural encounters with and around information technologies. These encounters are alternative because they counter dominant, Western-oriented notions of media consumption; they include media practices as forms of cultural resistance and subversion, "DIY cultures," and other nonmainstream models of technology production. The contributors-leading thinkers in science and technology studies, anthropology, and software design-pay special attention to the specific inflections that different cultures and communities give to the value of knowledge. The richly detailed accounts presented here challenge the dominant view of knowledge as a neutral good-information available for representation and encoding but separated from all social relations. The chapters examine specific cases in which the forms of knowledge and cross-cultural encounters are shaping technology use and development. They consider design, use, and reuse of technological tools, including databases, GPS devices, books, and computers, in locations that range from Australia and New Guinea to Germany and the United States. Contributors Poline Bala, Alan Blackwell, Wade Chambers, Michael Christie, Hildegard Diemberger, Stephen Hugh-Jones, James Leach, Jerome Lewis, Dawn Nafus, Gregers Petersen, Marilyn Strathern, David Turnbull, Helen Verran, Laura Watts, Lee Wilson
"Imagining Science "brings together internationally recognized artists, scientists, and social commentators to feature a body of original artwork and essays which explores the complex legal, ethical, and social concerns about advances in biotechnology, such as stem cell research, cloning, and genetic testing. Many important questions and themes emerge from this exchange, highlighting the linkages between scientific and creative research. This collaboration also stresses the vital role art can play in critiquing these biomedical technologies, particularly as advancements in science begin to challenge our ethical boundaries.
Cloning was first published in 1985. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.Cloning has become in recent years a subject of widespread speculation: the word is a source of fear and wonder, the concept a jumping-off point for the fantasies of cartoonists, film producers, and novelists. With this book, cell biologist Robert Gilmore McKinnell provides the first clear scientific explanation of the procedure for general readers.Cloning is best defined as the asexual reproduction of genetic duplicates. The word clone derives from the Greek word for a twig or a slip, and the first cloners were in fact horticulturalists. Early attempts to clone animals culminated in 1952 when biologists reported that they had produced frogs by transplanting genetic material from an embryonic body cell into an egg from which the nucleus had been removed.In this account, McKinnell traces the historical background of cloning and describes in detail the modern procedure used in the cloning of frogs--the highest animal thus far cloned. He emphasizes that the purpose of cloning is not to produce numerous frogs--or people--but rather to serve as a tool in biological research--to achieve greater understanding of cancer and aging, immunobiology and the differentiation of cells.McKinnell also deals with questions about potential mammalian clones and examines the social, ethical, and biological problems we face in our considerations about human cloning. He concludes that human clones are not necessary for research purposes and that the diversity achieved with sexual reproduction is far more desirable than the sameness of cloned creatures.
Drawing upon field studies conducted in 1978, 1980, and 2001 with the Oksapmin, a remote Papua New Guinea group, Geoffrey B. Saxe traces the emergence of new forms of numerical representations and ideas in the social history of the community. In traditional life, the Oksapmin used a counting system that makes use of twenty-seven parts of the body; there is no evidence that the group used arithmetic in prehistory. As practices of economic exchange and schooling have shifted, children and adults unwittingly reproduced and altered the system in order to solve new kinds of numerical and arithmetical problems, a process that has led to new forms of collective representations in the community. While Dr. Saxe s focus is on the Oksapmin, the insights and general framework he provides are useful for understanding shifting representational forms and emerging cognitive functions in any human community. Video and visual supports for the book, the Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas: Papua New Guinea Studies, which are key to a deeper understanding of this ground-breaking project are available online at http: //www.culturecognition.com
Data is everywhere. We create it every time we go online, turn our phone on (or off) or pay with a credit card. This data is stored, studied, bought and sold by companies and governments for surveillance and for control. "Foremost security expert" (Wired) Bruce Schneier shows how this data has led to a double-edged Internet-a Web that gives power to the people but is abused by the institutions on which those people depend. In Data and Goliath, Schneier reveals the full extent of surveillance, censorship and propaganda in society today, examining the risks of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. He shares technological, legal and social solutions that can help shape a more equal, private and secure world.
Since the late nineteenth century, medicine has sought to foster the birth of healthy children by attending to the bodies of pregnant women, through what we have come to call prenatal care. Women, and not their unborn children, were the initial focus of that medical attention, but prenatal diagnosis in its present form, which couples scrutiny of the fetus with the option to terminate pregnancy, came into being in the early 1970s. Tangled Diagnoses examines the multiple consequences of the widespread diffusion of this medical innovation. Prenatal testing, Ilana Loewy argues, has become mainly a risk-management technology-the goal of which is to prevent inborn impairments, ideally through the development of efficient therapies but in practice mainly through the prevention of the birth of children with such impairments. Using scholarship, interviews, and direct observation in France and Brazil of two groups of professionals who play an especially important role in the production of knowledge about fetal development-fetopathologists and clinical geneticists-to expose the real-life dilemmas prenatal testing creates, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned with the sociopolitical conditions of biomedical innovation, the politics of women's bodies, disability, and the ethics of modern medicine.
Sheila Jasanoff charts society's embrace of technological solutions and technology's complex interplay with ethics and human rights. She dissects the ways in which we delegate power to technological systems and asks how we might regain control. From GMOs to gene therapy, biomedicine has challenged traditional definitions of life and death and raised difficult questions, such as who owns our genetic information. The Internet has redefined privacy with social media and search giants operating as new, all-powerful "data oligarchs", while cyber warfare has weakened the boundaries of the nation-state. Jasanoff shows that, far from being an amoral or apolitical force, technology has important consequences for government of, by and for the people. The Ethics of Invention challenges us to build a future in which we work in open, democratic dialogue to manage the risks and promises of technology.
Ask a person on the street whether new technologies bring about important social change and you are likely to hear a resounding "yes." But the answer is less definitive amongst academics who study technology and social practice. Scholarly writing has been heavily influenced by the ideology of technological determinism - the belief that some types or technologically driven social changes are inevitable and cannot be stopped. Rather than argue for or against notions of determinism, the authors in this book ask how the materiality (the arrangement of physical, digital, or rhetorical materials into particular forms that endure across differences in place and time) of technologies, ranging from computer-simulation tools and social media, to ranking devices and rumours, is actually implicated in the process of formal and informal organizing. The book builds a new theoretical framework to consider the important socio-technical changes confronting people's everyday experiences in and outside of work. Leading scholars in the field contribute original chapters examining the complex interactions between technology and the social, between artefact and humans. The discussion spans multiple disciplines, including management, information systems, informatics, communication, sociology, and the history of technology, and opens up a new area of research regarding the relationship between materiality and organizing.
From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, this is a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job. A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control. Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.
Flipping convention on its head, Eric Dietrich argues that science uncovers awe-inspiring, enduring mysteries, while religion, regarded as the source for such mysteries, is a biological phenomenon. Just like spoken language, Dietrich shows that religion is an evolutionary adaptation. Science is the source of perplexing yet beautiful mysteries, however natural the search for answers may be to human existence. Excellent Beauty undoes our misconception of scientific inquiry as an executioner of beauty, making the case that science has won the battle with religion so thoroughly it can now explain why religion persists. The book also draws deep lessons for human flourishing from the very existence of scientific mysteries. It is these latter wonderful, completely public truths that constitute some strangeness in the proportion, revealing a universe worthy of awe and wonder.
Digital Media: Human-Technology Connection examines the technologically textured world through case studies that illustrate the way humans and technology connect with each other and the world. An interdisciplinary array of sources from philosophy, postphenomenology, philosophy of technology, media studies, media ecology, and film studies shows that digital media and its content are not neutral. This technology textures the world in multiple and varied ways that transform human abilities, augment experience, and pattern the world.
A feminist media history of quantification, uncovering the stories behind the tools and technologies we use to count, measure, and weigh our lives and realities. Anglo-American culture has used media to measure and quantify lives for centuries. Historical journal entries map the details of everyday life, while death registers put numbers to life's endings. Today we count our daily steps with fitness trackers and quantify births and deaths with digitized data. How are these present-day methods for measuring ourselves similar to those used in the past? In this book, Jacqueline Wernimont presents a new media history of western quantification, uncovering the stories behind the tools and technologies we use to count, measure, and weigh our lives and realities. Numbered Lives is the first book of its kind, a feminist media history that maps connections not only between past and present-day "quantum media" but between media tracking and long-standing systemic inequalities. Wernimont explores the history of the pedometer, mortality statistics, and the census in England and the United States to illuminate the entanglement of Anglo-American quantification with religious, imperial, and patriarchal paradigms. In Anglo-American culture, Wernimont argues, counting life and counting death are sides of the same coin-one that has always been used to render statistics of life and death more valuable to corporate and state organizations. Numbered Lives enumerates our shared media history, helping us understand our digital culture and inheritance.
There are many who believe Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus came back from the dead. Others are certain that exorcisms occur, ghosts haunt attics, and the blessed can cure the terminally ill. Though miracles are immensely improbable, people have embraced them for millennia, seeing in them proof of a supernatural world that resists scientific explanation. Helping us to think more critically about our belief in the improbable, The Miracle Myth casts a skeptical eye on attempts to justify belief in the supernatural, laying bare the fallacies that such attempts commit. Through arguments and accessible analysis, Larry Shapiro sharpens our critical faculties so we become less susceptible to tales of myths and miracles and learn how, ultimately, to evaluate claims regarding vastly improbable events on our own. Shapiro acknowledges that belief in miracles could be harmless, but cautions against allowing such beliefs to guide how we live our lives. His investigation reminds us of the importance of evidence and rational thinking as we explore the unknown.
How technologies can get it wrong in sports, and what the consequences are-referees undermined, fans heartbroken, and the illusion of perfect accuracy maintained. Good call or bad call, referees and umpires have always had the final say in sports. Bad calls are more visible: plays are televised backward and forward and in slow motion. New technologies-the Hawk-Eye system used in tennis and cricket, for example, and the goal-line technology used in English football-introduced to correct bad calls sometimes get it right and sometimes get it wrong, but always undermine the authority of referees and umpires. Bad Call looks at the technologies used to make refereeing decisions in sports, analyzes them in action, and explains the consequences. Used well, technologies can help referees reach the right decision and deliver justice for fans: a fair match in which the best team wins. Used poorly, however, decision-making technologies pass off statements of probability as perfect accuracy and perpetuate a mythology of infallibility. The authors re-analyze three seasons of play in English Premier League football, and discover that goal line technology was irrelevant; so many crucial wrong decisions were made that different teams should have won the Premiership, advanced to the Champions League, and been relegated. Simple video replay could have prevented most of these bad calls. (Major League baseball learned this lesson, introducing expanded replay after a bad call cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.) What matters in sports is not computer-generated projections of ball position but what is seen by the human eye-reconciling what the sports fan sees and what the game official sees.
The world is configured in ways that seem systematically hospitable to life forms, especially the human race. Is this the outcome of divine planning or simply of the laws of physics? Ancient Greeks and Romans famously disagreed on whether the cosmos was the product of design or accident. In this book, David Sedley examines this question and illuminates new historical perspectives on the pantheon of thinkers who laid the foundations of Western philosophy and science. Versions of what we call the 'creationist' option were widely favored by the major thinkers of classical antiquity, including Plato, whose ideas on the subject prepared the ground for Aristotle's celebrated teleology.But Aristotle aligned himself with the anti-creationist lobby, whose most militant members - the atomists - sought to show how a world just like ours would form inevitably by sheer accident, given only the infinity of space and matter. This stimulating study explores seven major thinkers and philosophical movements enmeshed in the debate: Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, the atomists, Aristotle, and the Stoics.
"Foundations of Space-Time Theories " was first published in 1977. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The essays in this volume are based on the papers given at a conference on the philosophical aspects of the space-time theory held under the auspices of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science.
Language, Mind, and Knowledge was first published in 1975. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This is Volume VII of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, a series published in cooperation with the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota and edited by Herbert Feigl and Grover Maxwell. Professor Maxwell is the present director of the Center. Some of the papers in this volume were presented at or grew out of a conference on the philosophy of language which was held at the Center under the direction of Professor Gunderson. Others were written independently.The aim of the book, like that of the conference, is to assemble a wide variety of approaches to issues in the philosophy of language with emphasis on the ways in which the issues involved have bearing on other matters such as linguistic theory, cognitive psychology, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. There are twelve papers by eleven contributors: "Languages and Language" by David Lewis; "Logic and Language: An Examination of Recent Criticisms of Internationalism" by Jerrold J. Katz; "The Meaning of 'Meaning'" by Hilary Putnam; "Reference and Context" by Charles Chastain; "Language, Thought, and Communication" by Gilbert Harman; "Knowledge of Language" by Noam Chomsky; "Language, Rules, and Complex Behavior" by Michael D. Root; "A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts" by John R. Searle; "On What We Know" by Zeno Vendler; "Vendler on Knowledge and Belief" by Bruce Aune; "Reply to Professor Aune" by Zeno Vendler; "Brain Writing and Mind Reading" by D.C. Dennett.
This open access book examines key aspects of international cooperation to enhance nuclear safety, security, safeguards, and non-proliferation, thereby assisting in development and maintenance of the verification regime and fostering progress toward a nuclear weapon-free world. The book opens by addressing important political, institutional, and legal dimensions. Current challenges are discussed and attempts made to identify possible solutions and future improvements. Subsequent sections consider scientific developments that have the potential to increase the effectiveness of implementation of international regimes, particularly in critical areas, technology foresight, and the ongoing evaluation of current capabilities. The closing sections examine scientific and technical challenges and discuss the role of international cooperation and actions of the scientific community in leading the world toward peace and security. The book - which celebrates 60 years of IAEA Atoms for Peace and Development and the EURATOM Treaty - comprises contributions presented at the XX Edoardo Amaldi Conference, where eminent scientists, diplomats, and policymakers were able to compare national perspectives and update international collaborations.
Alister McGrath shows how science can take us only so far in answering the big questions about our origins, and how Christianity can take us further. A book for all who want to explore the reasons why the universe exists, and why we are in it.
Analyses of Theories and Methods of Physics and Psychology was first published in 1970. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This is Volume IV of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, a series published in cooperation with the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota and edited by Herbert Feigl and Grover Maxwell. Dr. Feigl was the director of the Center.In a preface to the first volume in the series, Professors Feigl and Michael Scriven noted the extensive concern of the Center with "the meaning of theoretical concepts as defined by their locus in the 'nomological net' and the related rejection of the reductionist forms of operationism and positivism." In this volume, several contributors are again concerned with philosophical, logical, and methodological problems of psychology. As before, some papers deal with broad philosophical issues, others with more specific problems of method or interpretation. However, a deep concern for logical and methodological problems of special relevance to the physical sciences is reflected in a number of essays.The contents are arranged in two sections, the first part being based on the papers and discussion from a conference held at the Center on the problems of correspondence rules. Contributors are Herbert Feigl, Paul K. Feyerabend, N.R. Hanson, Carl G. Hempel, Mary Hesse, Grover Maxwell, and William Rozeboom. The second group of essays, by various members of the staff of the Center and some of its visitors, reflects current issues and controversies of great interest. The contributors are William Demopoulos, Keith Gunderson, Paul E. Meehl (three essays), and Michael Radner.
Biotechnologies already on the horizon will enable us to be smarter, have better memories, be stronger and quicker, have more stamina, live longer, be more resistant to diseases, and enjoy richer emotional lives. To some of us, these prospects are heartening; to others, they are dreadful. In Beyond Humanity a leading philosopher offers a powerful and controversial exploration of urgent ethical issues concerning human enhancement. These raise enduring questions about what it is to be human, about individuality, about our relationship to nature, and about what sort of society we should strive to have. Allen E. Buchanan urges that the debate about enhancement needs to be informed by a proper understanding of evolutionary biology, which has discredited the simplistic conceptions of human nature used by many opponents of enhancement. He argues that there are powerful reasons for us to embark on the enhancement enterprise, and no objections to enhancement that are sufficient to outweigh them.
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