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.
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.
By Ed Finn,
Computer, IEEE Computer Society 48
Researchers at Arizona State University have received a four-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to use the interactive, engaging nature of digital narratives to invite deeper conversations about questions of scientific creativity and responsibility.
Higher education is obsessed with 3-D printing. Makerspaces and fab labs are sprouting like extruded weeds on college campuses, and everyone from business school deans to librarians are asking how 3-D printing and fabrication can be implemented in teaching.
Published as part of a series of short stories and essays over at Medium.com’s magazine Matter on climate change, climate fiction, and how to survive the future. Check out the entire series… The trouble with climate change is that it’s too slow: a creeping disaster causing […]
Climate fiction, or “cli fi,” can be a dreary genre. Storytellers like to make a grim business of climate change, populating their narratives with a humorless onslaught of death, destruction, drowned monuments, and starving children. Margaret Atwood is the conspicuous exception, somehow managing to tackle the subject, including these familiar elements, with deadpan wit and an irreverent playfulness, making it both more interesting and believable. The flood is coming, her MaddAddam trilogy promises, but there is hope.
Launch event for Project Hieroglyph’s first anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (HarperCollins, 2014) at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ on October 22, 2014.
This anthology unites twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff.
On April 25, 2014, Ed Finn spoke at the 2014 Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about the Center about thinking big, science, technology and the power of narratives to shape the future.
This article originally appeared on ASU News Ed Finn, director of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, was featured on the public radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge, […]
I recently read about the launches of both an “ultrasecure” mobile phone for protecting privacy and a clip-on camera that takes a picture of everything you do at 30-second intervals. Our cultural relationship with data is more complicated and contradictory than it has ever been, and our debates on the subject almost always center on privacy. But privacy, the notion that only you should be able to control information about yourself, cloaks a deeper tension between information and meaning, between databases and insights.
In this episode of 5 Burning Questions, we talk with Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and assistant professor in ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering and Department of English, about science fiction, narrative, the humanities and the future.