“There are no objective values.”

J.L Mackie, 1977, p. 15

Humanity has no moral canon which a common set of ethics can stem from. There is conflict all around us. Most, if not all conflicts arise out of differences in opinions, which in turn occur because people have their own set of unique morals.

The issue of difference in moral opinions has brought to the table many heated debates. One that has always been seen in the spotlight is policy and law making on various issues, for example: someone is happy with a healthy baby and yet another person is deeming it their right to resort to feticide. Someone who has watched a dear one suffer from a debilitating condition over an extended period of time has a different opinion on euthanasia versus someone who hasn’t. Law enforcement officers in violent neighborhoods who have witnessed fellow officers being shot have a different perspective of whether to fire when in doubt, versus human rights activists who haven’t.

Parleys between parties who have different sets of moral values are indisputably endless, and therefore, I will dwell no more on those than necessary. The aspect of this debate that I intend to focus on in this article is the labyrinthine world of machine ethics. Machine ethics, also known as computational ethics is a part of the ethics of artificial intelligence concerned with adding moral behaviors to machines which use artificial intelligence, otherwise known as artificial intelligent agents. As the sphere of technology is constantly being updated, we are now seeing more autonomous machines than ever. This has presented programmers with a large scale problem, unprecedented and intricate.

Let’s take the example of self driving cars, an innovation that is taking off big time. You are in a self driving car that is running on the road, “boxed in” by vehicles all around. On your right side is a motorcycle, to the left is a regular SUV, in front and to the back of you are two large trucks. The safety of each party is considered by the smart car before it comes to its decision. To elaborate, the smart car knows the following: swerving right immediately results in high damage to the motorcyclist, heading back or front means you will be compromising on your safety. Swerving left to the SUV may be slightly less damaging in terms of net harm done. What should the smart car do?

 Another scenario: say you’ve been found in the same situation, but with motorcyclists on both sides. However, the one to your left is wearing a helmet, and the one to your right is not. What will your robot car crash into? Forward, endangering your own life?  Left: to the safer, helmet-armed passenger? or to the right: the exposed, law breaking motorcyclist? “If you say the biker because she’s more likely to survive, then aren’t you penalizing the motorist? If instead, you swerve towards the biker without the helmet because he’s acting irresponsibly, then you’ve gone way beyond the initial design principle about minimizing harm, and the robot car is now meting out street justice” These are the scenarios displayed in a TED-Ed video:

If a human was driving the same car, whatever they do can be written off as human impulse, and they may not be punished. However, the action of the smart car is pre-meditated, and may pose legal confusions. How can this be resolved?

Coming back to our smart car, what will it do? Well, obviously what it’s been programmed to do. What will the programmer do then? Now, that is a tricky question, which can cause an outcry in any way it is answered. As discussed before there are no objective values and therefore, no one can say there is a correct answer. Trying to program the smart car to act in a certain way in various situations will always bring up questions like: is the life of a younger person more valuable than an older one? Would you kill one person if it means saving five even though your inaction means the one person is safe? Dilemmas like this present themselves all the time in machine ethics, and it is unclear if there can ever be a unambiguous answer.

How can researchers equip a robot to react when it is “making the decision between two bad choices”.Computer scientists working on rigorously programmed machine ethics today favour code that uses logical statements, such as ‘If a statement is true, move forward; if it is false, do not move.’ Logic is the ideal choice for encoding machine ethics, argues Luís Moniz Pereira, a computer scientist at the Nova Laboratory for Computer Science and Informatics in Lisbon. “Logic is how we reason and come up with our ethical choices,” he says. But how can this be done when they all have different morals? Isn’t this somewhat like placing justice on these programmers’ plates?

McDonald and Pak (1996), while researching cognitive frameworks used by people to make decisions, identified eight frameworks that influence ethical decisions:

  • Self-interest: selfishly gaining the greatest degree of personal satisfaction
  • Utilitarianism: the decision to produce the greatest ratio of good over bad for everyone
  • Categorical Imperative: regardless of the consequences, the decision is either morally right or wrong
  • Duty: the decision may be inherently right because of the duty one has
  • Justice: concerned the fairness of the decision
  • Neutralization: the decision to reduce the possible impact of norm-violating behaviors upon self-concept and social relationships
  • The light of the day: the decision to consider the question what if this information went public?

Since it is obvious that the degree to which each of these frameworks applies to each of us, how is the problem of machine ethics solved? Is it right to program robots to the customer’s own personal moral values? Is it even feasible? Should a government regulated set of rules be applied to this, similar to normal law making?

These are a few questions that I think us, as a society should discuss and reflect upon. The pace of development is such that these difficulties will soon affect health-care robots, military drones and other autonomous devices capable of making decisions that could help or harm humans.

Note: the words ‘morals’ and ‘values’ have been used interchangeably. So have the words ‘computer scientists’ and programmers’. This article is more discussion-al than anything and is intended to be opened up for further  meaningful dialogue.

 Credits: medium.com, wikipedia.com, springer link 

This article was written by Bharati Challa a new contributor and soon to be writer

We at Quarksnews have recently held an interview with a consultant and representative of VOXX discussing the new release of a shoe sole that gives you enhanced abilities. This technology can be felt instantly by nearly all people who experience this, and our consultant believes it can be spread most by public demos. Us here at Quarksnews have personally tried and tested this technology, doing comparative tests to other foot soles and even testing for placebo effects, concluding that this technology is somewhat effective. Our consultant claims that he has received better sleep, felt more relaxed, can lift his DJ equipment easily and faster and others have even noticed his increase in focus.

How does it work?

This device contains a three-dimensional code resembling a QR code or a fingerprint. Once the foot comes into contact with the code Neuropoints are activated in the foot. This sends signals up to the brain and creates an enhanced state of homeostasis, or equilibrium, in the midbrain. The area of the brain that is responsible for automatic functions such as balance, flexibility, power, range of motion, stability as well as increasing strength, shortening reaction times and reducing pain.

“Its basically for anyone with a brain”

“Ahead of its time”

The VOXX technology can increase the motor homeostasis in the body for two reasons: One, the feet are one of the most receptive parts of the human body and are therefore most receptive to this sort of stimulation. Two, the VOXX HTP doesn’t create the effects but rather unlocks the effects that were locked away long ago when humans stopped relying on their sense of balance and strength to find their next meal.

At the moment the technology is available in the form of socks, insoles and a patch.

Love the fit and feel of the athletic line socks, I have tried 3 out of 4 of the line and just ordered the mini crew for myself …so far I absolutely love all 3! They feel like a hug for my foot! However, the best thing of all is what the HPT is doing for my neurological system

Sheryn Willis

How it’s going to impact the world?

The VOXX technology was originally developed by a man who wished to help with his mothers’ multiple sclerosis (MS). After spending years of research into innovative solutions for this he came upon this technology. Ever since his breakthrough, he has furthered his work and research on the product, introducing the first models recently primarily as a sporting aid, due to its effects on strength and balance. And according to one of the top practitioners in the world to be 100 years ahead of modern technology

2000 medical practitioners advise it 

 As quoted from the VOXX website

“In the case of professional and amateur athletes, the spectre of Performance Enhancing Drugs has seemingly invaded every sport at every level. Athletes want and need safe, natural and legal alternatives to achieve maximum performance. Athletes are also consuming supplements, vitamins, protein powders, compression apparel, and high-performance shoes all with the aim of improving their performance. People are investing in training and coaching to reach their peak.”

What is Neuralink?

Neuralink is the new company that Elon Musk has set up which aims to bridge the border between mind and machine. By inserting 10’000 electrodes into your brain, Neuralink will allow the subject to control and run things with their mind. Musk states that there are two goals for this technology; the short term goal being to help patients with brain issues, and the slightly dystopian longterm goal being our ability to “go along for the ride” utilising a “high bandwidth brain-machine interface”, even as we are likely to be overtaken by AI due to the rapid changes happening in that field. Musk’s aspirations, as always, appear to be in the science fiction, yet this one may be the craziest one yet.

Is it going to change everything?

Musk claims that not much will actually change about the average person in day to day life. He states that us, as humans, live in three distinct levels: the lumbar, the cortex, and the tertiary. The tertiary being the tools and information around us, be it a pen, a book or a smartphone. All Musk claims to be doing is shortening the input and output speeds between the cortex and the tertiary levels. Right now our input speed to our tertiary level is rather slow, generally being the speed one can write with their right thumb. Although the output speed, or the speed that one can read at, is significantly better than our input speed, it’s still not as fast as we need it to be. By creating a high bandwidth link between the tertiary and the cortex levels we will be able to access information at a level faster than our own thought.

Say we wanted to know when the Battle of Hastings was. Currently not having Neuralink, we would first think back and see if we would know the answer, then formulate a question, then open Google, then type the question in, then allow Google to run it’s software and process the information we just input, then we read it, and then that information is processed in our brains and we know it. With a Neuralink implant, we would be able to easily access and process the information as we form the thought, due to the processing power being faster than our thought process. See how many times less you read the word then.

How does it work?

Neuralink will be implanted into the subject’s head, yet due to its incredibly small size and ease of operation, this will not need to be done by a neurosurgeon, nor under an anesthetic. This would be done by a specialized robot that first scans the head of the subject for blood vessels before painlessly implanting the electrodes into the subject’s brain in targeted locations. These neurons link to a chip which feeds back through the scalp to a wearable earpiece containing batteries and a Bluetooth connector.

The individual electrodes get put in a cluster of neurons. When a current is sent down a neuron an electromagnetic field is created, which induces a current in the nearby electrode. This is sent to the chip which analyses the shape and intensity of this increase in potential difference before deducing which neuron or neurons it came from, thus allowing for one electrode to read multiple different neurons. This radius of readable neurons from a single electrode is roughly 60 microns, making it necessary for the electrode to be implanted into the brain rather than resting on the scalp. To input information to the brain, a similar process occurs. The electrode will send out the same pattern in potential difference, thus activating the desired neurons. As the electrodes themselves are on the same scale as a neuron they can enter and stay in the brain with no disruption to function.

How is this going to help?

Neuralink, like all other brain to computer interfaces, has been designed for the short term goal of helping with brain conditions. So far Neuralink and others like it have definitively cured Parkinson’s Disease, Dystonia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Epilepsy. Yet due to its current lack of refinement as a form of technology, it can be costly and invasive. Investigatory research and limited test trials show that has the potential to cure Depression, Chronic Pain, and Tinnitus. Even with the limited amount of physical trials and time, this type of solution is already showing incredible results.

Before any more hypothesising is done to what it can cure, it is important to know what Neuralink is capable of. For patients who have lost limbs, electrodes can be set up in the area of the unused motor neurons to allow for the same thought to cause a robotic action. E.g. Rather than trying to teach someone to move a cursor on a screen by chance, the Neuralink consultant will ask them to move their non-existent arm up, causing the cursor to move up on the screen. This would allow for a faster transition between the two stages and the possibility of the interface then being able to be linked to a cybernetic arm, which would potentially be able to carry out movement as normal. The training for this movement is done through an iPhone app, which allows for practising efficiency in typing and cursor movement on the phone, along with an integration to the phone so people can complete tasks completely hands-free. Neuralink has also shown promise in giving the patients the ability to ‘feel’ where the cursor is, another connection to regaining regular limb movement. This would be the same sensation as being able to know where your arm is without looking at it. Connecting the physical world to the digital world in a way no one has ever seen before.

But where will this lead us?

With Neuralink, cameras can hopefully be set up to be able to create live, coloured, three dimensional images that can be sent directly to the brain, thus allowing the blind to regain complete or even enhanced vision. Which I’m sure will excite any of you La Forge fans out there. This ablility, along with the ability to connect to fine-tuned touch sensors, manipulating the amount of force felt in targeted areas of the hand can allow for virtual reality to become even more realistic. Becoming a platform not just for gamers, but for social events, work, family time, sports, and more!

By using it as an interface with the hippocampus, memories and moods will be able to be transferred and communicated. In the short run, this would allow for trauma survivors and sufferers of PTSD and related disorders to have memories deleted, for people with depression to have digital psychotherapy. But in the long run the ideas are endless. Neuralink mentioned the idea of direct telepathy of not just words, but emotions, concepts, and intuition. This could be programmed into apps to create google maps with a local’s intuition built-in, emojis which convey the accurate feelings of a person. This access would also allow for complete control over hunger and cravings, instant translation of any languages, and even enhanced mathematical and logical thinking.

However the main concern that arises from this is the idea of individualism; in a world with memories, intuition, strengths, and abilities shared amongst the entire population, is anyone truly unique, truly different? Truly free?Click here to watch the whole Neuralink launch event

The James Webb telescope is a new, massive, state of the art telescope which will be launched on 30th of March, 2021.

It has a 6.5 m wide, individually adjustable 18 segment primary mirror with an area six times larger than the Hubble’s primary mirror and one better than the Hubble. It will be deployed using an origami-like unfolding system where the small dense object will become a massive space telescope. Its sun shield and other thermoregulatory homeostatic devices give it an increase in temperature and pressure allowing it to operate only a few degrees above absolute zero.

You might ask yourself how this telescope is going to help the world. Well, it has amazing possible implications for space exploration, such as it can detect water vapor on distant planets which can give an indication of where. It has uncomparable inferred sensitivity allowing it to be observed heat traces of galaxies for the last 13.5 billion of years.

This product, released in 2016, has managed to stay near the top of the market for high quality, yet affordable VR headset. The remote is easy to recenter and stays centred for long periods of time whilst keeping accurate to your hand movements. Whether its fighting and spell casting or playing mini golf this has not yet failed me.

Yet the determining factor which gives this product so much benefit compared to other VR headsets is that it works so well for 360 degrees photos and with the google pixels astonishing camera the headset allows you to walk right back into a memory. The headset is also compatible with the Moto Z, Huawei Mate 9 Pro and ZTE Axon 7 as well as joining Samsung with an update available for the Galaxy S8 and higher. The other large appeal is how easy it is to use with an inbuilt display similar to the oculus and the set up literally being a card saying download and open the daydream app (google phones already have it preinstalled) and put the phone in the said slip. From there it’ll give you a very straightforward tutorial on using the controller. Overall it is a great headset and in my opinion the best VR experience with Pixel phones.

Researcher Dr. Glen Bremmar at the University of British Colombia has developed a dynamic glazed, or more commonly known as “smart glass”. This smart glass is sensitive to thermochromism (heat), photochromism (light), and electrochemical oxidisation (electricity) and can change colour when stimulated by these energies. The material change when will go through a chemical change once stimulated making a screen that can be affected autonomously controlling the heat and light intensity of a room, as well as be controlled by electricity for custom modification. This could be applied to buildings and offices helping to maintain heat levels and light intensity without air conditioning and blinds. This could have large economic and environmental advantages as it will greatly reduce energy used for ‘building homeostasis’ with an entirely sustainable option. At the moment Dr. Glen Bremmar is working on making the glass monochrome, turning it grey rather than blue, as it is a more neutral colour which does not disturb the environment. He is also working on making the price of the material cheaper, as at the moment the dynamic glazed glass is 500 to 1000 USD per square meter whilst regular glass ranges from 30 to 200 USD per square meter. Making the dynamic glazed glass the pricier option yet the more energy efficient one.

Credits:

  • ubcpublicaffairs
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XzDSsTxXYI
  • Science daily https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308143049.htm
  • UBC http://www.ampel.ubc.ca/controlling-light-transmission-recent-developments-in-smart-windows-at-switch-materials-inc-dr-glen-bremner/

The advancement in technology has only been a recent phenomenon for mankind. However, nature has been innovating for perfection for millions of years. Man has arrived where physics and materials restrain us to push forward. Inspiring from nature’s strategies to push physics boundaries enables men to further innovate. It is a sustainable solution as it is always well adapted to life on earth. Here is one of the millions of nature’s examples: Sharkskin.

These little teeth on the sharkskin are known as denticules. They prevent water swirls and therefore create no resistance for the shark to swim making it much faster. They are what makes the shark completely silent. No parasites can attach to the skin. The engineer used this microstructure to cloak competition sailboats to never have to worry about parasites and algae and increase the speed. Furthermore, recreating these nanostructures to cloak boats is not a pollutant and far more sustainable than using strong and deadly chemicals every 5 years to kill parasites on the boat’s hull.

Swimmers also used it on their swimsuit. They are so effective that they during the Sydney Olympics, 83% of medallists were wearing sharkskin swimsuits and are now forbidden.

Moreover, Sharkskin doesn’t only apply to ships but also to aeronautics. In 2013, Lufthansa undertook two years of test involving covering an airbus-340 and 300 with denticules. They calculated that if a plane was covered by 40 to 70% of shark skin technology, it could decrease the fuel consumption by 1%. The equivalent of 90’000 tones of kerosene by plane each year. Therefore, just by cloaking part of a plane with sharkskin could save a phenomenal number of tones each year knowing there are about 6000 planes the air right now.

This outstanding innovative leap for mankind is a result of inspiring from nature, which had millions of years to find a solution such as reducing swirling and make sharks silent and fast predators. This is just an example of the discovered nanostructure or adaptations of animals capable of changing our lives such as geckos, lotus flowers Mantis shrimps, night butterflies and many more…

Picture Credits: Pascal Deynat/Odontobase

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Denticules_cutan%C3%A9s_du_requin_citron_Negaprion_brevirostris_vus_au_microscope_%C3%A9lectronique_%C3%A0_balayage.jpg

If you like retro gaming, you will love terminal’s hidden games. These mini-games can only be accessed by simple lines of coding. However, using Terminal can be dangerous if playing around with coding because it is an electronic hardware device that is used for entering data into a computer system and can screw your computer up.

The easiest to open terminal is to search it in your apps or go in the utilities folder. Follow the steps below carefully to open the hidden games.

Step 1: Type “emacs” and hit return.
Step 2: Once you see the lines of code appearing, hit the escape key.
Step 3: Then simply type in “x” and it should bring you to a “M-x” prompt on the bottom left corner of the screen.
Step 4: Now you can choose from a variety of retro mini-games.

– To play Tetris: type “Tetris” and hit return.
– To play Pong: type “pong” and hit return.
– To play Snake: type “snake” and hit return.
– To play Gomoku ( connect 4): type “Gomoku” and hit return. – To play 5×5: type “5×5” and hit return

– To play Dunnet: type “Dunnet” and hit return.
– To play landmark: type “landmark” and hit return. – To play Doctor: type “doctor” and hit return.
– To play Blackbox: type”blackbox” and hit return
– To play Decipher: type “decipher” and hit return
– To play Spook: type “spook” and hit return

You need to make a new Terminal window to change/ restart games. Have fun!

The promise of flying transport has always been a futuristic concept, but Lilium Aviation is making it a reality with their new flying car. This air taxi can travel at 300 kilometers per hour and take off and land vertically. 

They have just confirmed, on Tuesday, secured a total of $90 million in Series B funding from William’s group, along with LGT, Atomico, and an investment firm, Tencent.

They say they want to massively expand there already 70 people crew and finalize the distance the 5 seater air taxi can do.

If you want to read more about this flying car of the future click here (http://www.bypole.net/?p=326) to access my earlier article I wrote or visit mashable through this link http://mashable.com/2017/09/05/lilium-jet-90-million-closer-to-manned-flight/?utm_cid=hp-h-1#RgsuAuVk.iqX

The Lenovo Folio is Lenovo’s new prototype for a foldable tablet or expandable smartphone depending on your point of view. It has a 7.8-inch screen with 1,920 x 1,440 pile resolution on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Once it’s folded through a hinge in the middle of this tech piece it turns into a 5.5-inch phone. Then UI automatically adjusts, side buttons are made on the side of the phone and the back screen goes temporarily dead. Other similar prototypes have been rumored to be in the creation such as the Galaxy X from Samsung yet there is no evidence yet. This product is predicted to go on the market in 2019.