We’re Making Systems That Decide Things For Us. But Do We Know How They Do It?


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The powerful and often shortsighted ways in which our creations are making our choices for us.

Continuing our partnership with Medium Premium to create series in conjunction with noted authors and journalists, Guidance Systems, by science and tech reporter Jacob Ward, explores the role technology is having in our decision making process. The premise of this series: We’re building technologies and businesses that shape our lives in dramatic and fundamental ways, without throughly analyzing the long-term consequences of these actions. Military robots that have already taken the ethics of war out of human hands. Addiction specialists who are building the neuroscience of habit into apps. Children’s television producers are trying to use their shows to build certain values into their young audience.

Ward refers to these technologies as Guidance Systems, tech that seems to improve our lives by offering us new choices, but also shape or remove our ability to decide things for ourselves. Addictive social media, killer robots, and other systems that can bring out the best and the worst of humanity. Shouldn’t we understand them better?

Explore the Series here: Guidance Systems

Part I: What Cigarettes Can Teach Us About the Risks of Breakthrough Technology

Part II: Killer Robots and the Moral Dilemma of Automation (1 of 2)

Part III: Killer Robots and the Moral Dilemma of Automation (2 of 2)

Part IV: The Causes We Click (and Die) For

Part V: Why Is Russia Using Twitter and Facebook? Read This Polish Report to Find Out

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