One cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying. — Arthur C. Clarke The late futurist and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s observation has long been a staple theme of science fiction stories, especially those involving smart machines and whether the algorithms used to make decisions would be for the benefit of humankind or its destruction. As artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research has progressed along with growth in computing power, that programming question has steadily moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the computing technical community over the past decade. This has been especially true in the military establishment as the use of robotics rapidly Read more
Robert N. Charette is a Fellow with Cutter's Business Technology Strategies practice. He is also President of ITABHI Corporation, a business and technology risk management consultancy. With 35 years’ experience in a wide variety of international technology and management positions, Dr. Charette is recognized as an international authority and pioneer regarding IS, IT, and telecommunications risk management. Read more ...
A person who lived through the introduction of digital automation in the 1950s could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu. Once again, there is a growing feeling of unease in the public that perhaps digital automation has progressed to a point where this latest generation of “smart machines” will indeed cause massive unemployment of today’s workers. Feeding this nervousness are recent pronouncements by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has said that “20 years from now, the labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower,” or by technology professors Carl Frey and Michael Osborne from Oxford University’s Martin School, who claim that an estimated 47% of US jobs are at Read more
The financial community recently seems to have added a new twist to the advice given in Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Part 2) with regard to lawyers in the wake of the US $130-billion-plus write-offs that are increasing daily due to the subprime mortgage debacle. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce recently fired its chief risk manager after that bank faced write-downs of CDN $2 billion on top of the previous CDN $978 million quarterly write-offs related to its holdings in subprime mortgage debt in the US. The expectation by financial analysts is that the subprime losses for the bank will continue to grow throughout this year. The risk management units at Citigroup (which had to take Read more