Why: Mark Siegel is an award-winning illustrator, New York Times bestselling author and the founder and editorial director of First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers that creates graphic novels for every age category, in a wide range of themes and styles, with talent from all over the world. Mark visited ASU to present a […]
When technologists describe their hotshot new system for trading stocks or driving cars, the algorithm at its heart always seems to emerge from a magical realm of Spock-like rationality and mathematical perfection. Algorithms can save lives or make money, the argument goes, because they are built on the foundations of mathematics: logical rigor, conceptual clarity, and utter consistency. Math is perfect, right? And algorithms are made out of math.
Our neocortex is very adept at automation – at habitualizing complex behaviors and routines of thought. Consider: how much of your day is patterned? How much of your thoughts are processes you’ve repeated before? A lot! And this is a good thing: automation frees up our minds for the good life, the life examined, the life of the mind.
We spend an awful lot of time now thinking about what algorithms know about us: the ads we see online, the deep archive of our search history, the automated photo-tagging of our families. We don’t spend as much time asking what algorithms want.
In 1562, Don Carlos, the seventeen-year-old heir apparent to the Spanish throne, falls down a flight of stairs. Tragically, he sustains a terrible head wound. His father, King Philip II, orders physicians to attempt every available cure. Nothing works – not the birthwort powder applied to the skull, not the mixture of turpentine and egg […]
Every sea on Earth is plagued by massive amounts of trash. Refuse in the ocean kills hundreds of thousands of birds and marine mammals per year, and hazardous heavy metals bind to plastic particles and enter our food chain. The Ocean Trash Write-Away contest challenges writers to imagine solutions to this global challenge and write an inspiring short story set in a future where we’ve turned the tide on ocean trash.
A lot of ink and electrons have been spilled on the task of getting our machines to pass the Turing test. It is indeed an accomplishment of some proportion if a computer’s linguistic or artistic output can pass for human-generated. But does a passing grade really mean genuine awareness?