In February last year, the world baulked as the media reported that a South Korean broadcaster had used virtual reality technology to “reunite” a grieving mother with the 7-year old child she lost in 2016.

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As part of a documentary entitled I Met You, Jang Ji-sung was confronted by an animated and lifelike vision of her daughter Na-yeon as she played in a neighborhood park in her favorite dress. It was an emotionally charged scene, with the avatar asking the tearful woman, “Mom, where have you been? Have you been thinking of me?”.

“Always”, the mother replied.

Remarkably, documentary makers…


It is our human inclination to want to look good. Our desire to impress keeps the fashion industry alive, it also motivates many of us to work or study hard, and there are billions of dollars to be made from our desperation to look visibly fit and healthy. So, it should come as no surprise that as algorithms hold more and more sway over decision-making and the conferral of status (e.g. via credit or hiring decisions), many of us are keen to put our best foot forward and play into their discernible preferences.

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This is certainly true of those in…


On November 3, two oppositional forces went head to head and the results were…divisive. With commentators and pundits still reeling from the poor performance of US election pollsters, it seems fitting to ask — can AI (ultimately) solve a problem like election prediction?

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At least this time around, the answer seems to be no, not really. But not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Here’s how it went wrong according to Venturebeat:

Firms like KCore Analytics, Expert.AI, and Advanced Symbolics claim algorithms can capture a more expansive picture of election dynamics because they draw on signals like tweets and…


“The degree to which this diversity criminal acts may be enhanced by use of AI depends significantly on how embedded they are in a computational environment: robotics is rapidly advancing, but AI is better suited to participate in a bank fraud than a pub brawl. This preference for the digital rather than the physical world is a weak defence though as contemporary society is profoundly dependent on complex computational networks.”

AI-Enabled Future Of Crime Report

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The field of AI ethics has received much (very worthy) attention of late. Once an obscure topic relegated to the sidelines of both tech and


In 2000, a group of researchers at Georgia Tech launched a project they called “The Aware Home.” The collective of computer scientists and engineers built a three-story experimental home with the intent of producing an environment that was “capable of knowing information about itself and the whereabouts and activities of its inhabitants.” The team installed a vast network of “context aware sensors” throughout the house and on wearable computers worn by the home’s occupants. …


“GPT-3 is not a mind, but it is also not entirely a machine. It’s something else: a statistically abstracted representation of the contents of millions of minds, as expressed in their writing.” — REGINA RINI, PHILOSOPHER

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Alan Turing statue, Manchester, UK

In recent years, the AI circus really has come to town and we’ve been treated to a veritable parade of technical aberrations seeking to dazzle us with their human-like intelligence. Many of these sideshows have been “embodied” AI, where the physical form usually functions as a cunning disguise for a clunky, pre-programmed bot. …


More businesses are looking to keep tabs on their employees amid the shift to home-based working. This undermines the new atmosphere of trust and flexibility.

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Writing for Aeon last week, Martin Parker, a professor of organization studies at the University of Bristol in the UK, relayed the origins of the word “management”, explaining:

“It is derived from the Italian mano, meaning hand, and it’s expansion into maneggiare, the activity of handling and training a horse carried out in a maneggio — a riding school. From this form of manual control, the word has expanded into a general activity of training…


In Shoshana Zuboff’s 2019 book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, she recalls the response to the launch of Google Glass in 2012. Zuboff describes public horror, as well as loud protestations from privacy advocates who were deeply concerned that the product’s undetectable recording of people and places threatened to eliminate “a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy and/or anonymity.

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Zuboff describes the product:

Google Glass combined computation, communication, photography, GPS tracking, data retrieval, and audio and video recording capabilities in a wearable format patterned on eyeglasses. …


With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions issued across the globe, millions of us have been forced to hunker down “in place”, or severely limit our movements outside of the home. On learning this, most will have reached reflexively for the nearest device — if we didn’t learn it from that device, to begin with. Yet mostly we are cinched in a love-hate relationship with the presiding artefacts of our time, and we often resent tech’s power over us.

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Nevertheless, new circumstances can breed new attitudes. Despite having spent the last few years debating whether or not technology will destroy us, March 2020…


As more of us embrace virtual space, how should we deal with aggressive, abusive, or indecent acts that occur in a parallel world?

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“If you’ve got something that is independent of your mind, which has causal powers, which you can perceive in all these ways, to me you’re a long way toward being real”, the philosopher David Chalmers recently told Prashanth Ramakrishna in an interview for the New York Times. Chalmers invoked remarks by fellow Australian philosopher Samuel Alexander who said that: “To be real is to have causal powers”, and science fiction writer Philip K. Dick who said that, “a real thing is something that doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it.

Professor Chalmers’ comments were made in reference to…

Fiona J McEvoy

Tech ethics researcher. Founder of YouTheData.com. Tech issues for non-tech audiences. @YouTheData @FionaJMcEvoy

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