Evaluating and Controlling Lecture (Eval)

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Nov 5, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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Evaluating and
Controlling
Technology

CS4020

Overview


Information, Knowledge, and Judgment


Computers and Community


The ‘Digital Divide’


Evaluations of the Impact of Computer
Technology


Making Decisions About Technology


Source of Information :
Evaluating Information
on the Web


Web a prevalent source of information.


Is the source good? Not as obvious as in print
medium? Hard on web to even sometimes know who
the “author”/source is.


Expert information or individual opinion or ‘wisdom of
the crowd’?


Daunting amount of information on the web, much
of this information is not correct


Search engines are replacing librarians, but Web
sites are ranked by popularity, not by expert
evaluation


Wisdom of the crowd
-

ratings by public of website


If millions participate, the results will be useful

Evaluating Info on the
Web


An example: Wikipedia


Written by volunteers, some posts are
biased and not accurate


Although anyone can write, most people do
not


Those that do typically are educated and
experts

Evaluating Info on the
Web


Wisdom of the crowd


Problems of unreliable information are not new


The Web magnifies the problems


Rating systems are easy to manipulate



Vulnerable viewers


Less educated individuals


Children


Compared to print media…where you have to
physically get it….we can have wide audience
“find” web material through search engines…



Responsibilities of site operators


Should identify user
-
supplied content


Make clear which information has been verified

Media on the Web


Manipulation of images:


Movies and videos use special effects to add
creativity and enjoyment of entertainment


People can use technology for deception and
fraud


Ease with which we can modify digital images and
video



Should news agencies modify images and videos?




Faking photos is not a new phenomenon; more
people can do it now because it’s easy

Writing, Thinking and
Deciding?


Have computer/technology/web tools displaced skills
that were once important??


Example: Is it okay to create a paper by
“mashing” together other peoples thoughts quickly
found/taken from the web.



Abdicating responsibility…the future? The now?


People willing to let computers do their thinking
(computer models…see next slide)


Reliance on computer systems over human
judgment may become institutionalized


Fear of having to defend your own judgment if
something goes wrong (so let the
computer/web/technology speak for you)


Computers Thinking for
us: Computer Models


Computer Models = program/system that
autonomously or semi
-
autonomously models
a situation and possibly makes decisions or
presents results/ conclusions

Computers Thinking for
us: Computer Models


The PROBLEM


How well do the modelers understand the
underlying science or theory?


Models necessarily involve assumptions
and simplifications of reality…..so, they
produce results that may not be absolutely
correct.


How closely do the results or predictions
correspond with the results from physical
experiments or real experience? Are they
better than the human experience?

Computer Models…more


Why models may not be accurate


We might not have complete knowledge of the
system we are modeling


The data describing current conditions or
characteristics may be incomplete or inaccurate


Computing power may be inadequate for the
complexity of the model


It is difficult, if not impossible, to numerically
quantify variables that represent human values
and choices


Discussion Questions


Eval.1) How do you evaluate the reliability of
information you find on the Web? How do
your evaluation methods compare to the way
you evaluate information from other sources?


Eval.2) Some computer models are better
than others. What types of models work
well? What types don't? Why?



Post your answers on discussion board.

Computers and Community


It is human nature to form associations based
on common interests and beliefs



Some feared early technologies, such as
telephones, thinking communication would be
de
-
humanized



Computers and the Internet were blamed for
the decline in community involvement and
memberships in clubs and organizations



But, the Internet provides communities
focused on specialized interests or problems

Computers and Community
(cont.)


The Internet brings people together from all
over the world



E
-
mail and the Internet provide convenient
and cheap ways for families and friends to
stay in contact



New trends include social
-
networking sites
such as MySpace and virtual environments
such as Second Life

Discussion Questions


Eval.3) How convincing is the argument that
electronic commerce threatens small (“brick
and mortar”) community businesses and thus
the health of small communities?


Eval.4) Do you think that communicating by
text messaging and via social
-
networking
sites depersonalizes or dehumanizes your
relationships with friends?



Post your answers on the discussion board.

The "Digital Divide"


New technologies only available to the wealthy



The time it takes for new technology to make its way
into common use is decreasing



Cost is not the only factor; ease of use plays a role



Entrepreneurs provide low cost options for people
who cannot otherwise afford something



Government funds technology in schools



As technology becomes more prevalent, the issues
shift from the haves and have
-
nots to
level of
service

The "Digital Divide"
(cont.)

The Global Divide and the Next Billion Users:


Approximately one billion people worldwide have
access to the Web; approximately five billion do not


Non
-
profit organizations and huge computer
companies are spreading computer access to people
in developing countries


Bringing new technology to poor countries is not just
a matter of money to buy equipment; PCs and
laptops must work in extreme environments


Some people actively working to shrink the digital
divide emphasize the need to provide access in ways
appropriate to the local culture

Impact of Computer
Technology

The
Neo
-
Luddite View
of Computers, Technology, and
Human Needs:



Movement of opposition to specific or general
technological development


Computers cause massive unemployment


No real need (We use technologies because they are
there, not because they satisfy real needs)


Computers cause social inequity


Benefit big business and the government


Do little or nothing to solve real problems


Computers separate humans from nature and
destroy the environment


The term
Luddite

is a political/historical term relating
to a political movement during the Industrial
Revolution

Impact of Computer
Technology (cont.)

Accomplishments of Technology:


Prices of food are down and raw materials
are abundant (cheaper to produce w/
technology)


Real buying power is up (easier to distribute)


Food supplies and GDP are growing faster
than the population


Dramatic impact on life expectancy (hmm?)


Assistive technologies benefit those with
disabilities

Making Decisions About
Technology

The Difficulty of Prediction:


Each new technology finds new and unexpected
uses


The history of technology is full of wildly wrong
predictions


Weizenbaum argued against developing speech
recognition technology


Mistaken expectations of costs and benefits


Should we decline a technology because of
potential abuse and ignore the benefits?


New technologies are often expensive, but costs
drop as the technology advances and the demand
increases

Making Decisions About
Technology

Intelligent Machines and Super
-
intelligent
Humans
-

Or the End of the Human Race?


Technological Singularity
-

point at which
artificial intelligence or some combined
human
-
machine intelligence advances so far
that we cannot comprehend what lies on the
other side


We cannot prepare for aftermath, but prepare
for more gradual developments


Select a decision making process most likely
to produce what people want



Discussion Questions


Eval.6) If you could decide what technologies
should be developed, what would you
develop? Why?


Eval.7) Does the prospect of super
-
intelligent
robots scare you?



Post your answers to discussion board.