Are you willing to sacrifice robots to save human lives?


Supposed she looks like, sounds like, your daughter? Your wife?

❝ A team led by Sari Nijssen…and Markus Paulus…have carried out a study to determine the degree to which people show concern for robots and behave towards them in accordance with moral principles.

❝ …The study set out to answer the following question: “Under what circumstances and to what extent would adults be willing to sacrifice robots to save human lives?” The participants were faced with a hypothetical moral dilemma: Would they be prepared to put a single individual at risk in order to save a group of injured persons? In the scenarios presented the intended sacrificial victim was either a human, a humanoid robot with an anthropomorphic physiognomy that had been humanized to various degrees or a robot that was clearly recognizable as a machine.

❝ The study revealed that the more the robot was humanized, the less likely participants were to sacrifice it. Scenarios that included priming stories in which the robot was depicted as a compassionate being or as a creature with its own perceptions, experiences and thoughts, were more likely to deter the study participants from sacrificing it in the interests of anonymous humans. Indeed, on being informed of the emotional qualities allegedly exhibited by the robot, many of the experimental subjects expressed a readiness to sacrifice the injured humans to spare the robot from harm. “The more the robot was depicted as human – and in particular the more feelings were attributed to the machine – the less our experimental subjects were inclined to sacrifice it,” says Paulus.

As robots become more like humans, develop redirective processes in their “brains”, communicate with us on a level comparable to or better than our meat-machine peers…how might you decide to act?

Family believed son possessed by a demon — so they killed him

❝ A jury has been selected in the trial of a family accused of killing a vulnerable young man, believing he was ‘possessed by a demon’.

❝ Parents Josephine, 55, and Kenneth Ife, 64, and their five sons are accused of the manslaughter of 26-year-old Kennedy Ife.

Kennedy died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the family home in Lancaster Avenue, Barnet, north London, where he was allegedly restrained in 2016.

❝ Judge Anthony Leonard QC told potential jurors…‘The defendants are all members of one family. The parents and children of the person who died was either their son or their brother…‘The issue in this case is that the 26-year-old man who died fell ill and the family did not seek medical help for him because through their religious beliefs they thought he was possessed by a demon.

‘He was restrained and no medical help was given to him.

It would be a laughing matter – if it was a laughing matter.

Sometimes the Cops of the World are told to obey the rule of law

❝ The European Union has announced the setting up of a payment mechanism to secure trade with Iran and skirt US sanctions after Washington pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal last May.

The proposal of a financial instrument has been a key element in the EU’s strategy to keep Iran from quitting the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was signed to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

❝ The new institution, named INSTEX – Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges – will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. It is a project of the governments of France, Germany and Britain and will receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members…

The mechanism is the first concrete step by the EU to counter Trump’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

Overdue. Sometimes the Cops of the World have to be told to obey the rule of law.

Millennials & Generation Z differ with their predecessors

❝ No longer the new kids on the block, Millennials have moved firmly into their 20s and 30s, and a new generation is coming into focus. Generation Z – diverse and on track to be the most well-educated generation yet – is moving toward adulthood with a liberal set of attitudes and an openness to emerging social trends.

❝ On a range of issues, from Donald Trump’s presidency to the role of government to racial equality and climate change, the views of Gen Z – those ages 13 to 21 in 2018 – mirror those of Millennials. In each of these realms, the two younger generations hold views that differ significantly from those of their older counterparts. In most cases, members of the Silent Generation are at the opposite end, and Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fall in between.

RTFA. Usual thorough and well-thought out job of surveying from Pew. They’ve become the standard-setters in recent years. My generation invented selling-out.

The Standoff at Sabarimala


Click to enlargeAFP/Getty Images

❝ In India, they tell us that women can be anything we wish. We can be fighter-jet pilots, corporate CEOs, paratroopers, athletes — and, of course, prime minister. (We never get tired of reminding Americans of this, since the United States is still waiting for its first female head of state.)

But God forbid we dare to argue that, in 2019, menstruation should not bar us from praying at a temple. What sort of global power can the world’s largest democracy aspire to be when our monthly period is still used to make women feel like polluted pariahs who must be kept at a distance? Is this not repugnant modern-day untouchability?

❝ Last week, a 620-kilometer “women’s wall” made up of an estimated 5 million protesters drew global attention to the shame unfolding at the Sabarimala shrine in the southern Indian state of Kerala. For more than two months, there have been violent protests and riots over the entry of women at Sabarimala. According to mythology, Lord Ayyappa, the deity at the 800-year-old temple, was a bachelor god who took a vow of celibacy and set clear rules for the pilgrimage to seek his blessings. And thus, by custom, women in their reproductive years must keep away.

The women’s wall is a fight for what agitators are calling “renaissance values.” Mobilized by the left-wing government in Kerala, the women, with their arms outstretched in determined defiance, occupied all the national highways across the state to protest the brazen discrimination at the temple. It may well have been the largest single gathering of women in the world.

RTFA. Don’t tell me how India is going to surpass China as the leading economic force in Asia. Please.

As long as spooky religious ideology holds political sway in a nation in the modern era, that nation is guaranteeing minor status for itself on the world stage. Start that way – or convert – and you are done for unless government and law resume normal service with justice for all.

Protect and Serve – for real


Click to read original and thread

Thanks, Steve Terrell

My great-uncle Gus was a cop in NYC for a couple of painful decades. He left the force after 20 years and moved up to Duchess County just down the road from my Italian grandparents’ farm. Finished out his life with my grandfather’s sister working for the post office. He always said there weren’t good cops and bad cops…just human beings working as coppers who happened to be good or bad.

I always felt he was pretty much right. The only exception being cops of either flavor working for a government, local or otherwise, that required their police departments to violate human rights. We’ve had enough of that in American history.

Trump Foundation gets to dissolve and giveaway leftover$ to legit charities


Fake president must give up favorite personal piggy bank

❝ President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation reached a deal Tuesday to go out of business, even as Trump continues to fight allegations he misused its assets to resolve business disputes and boost his run for the White House.

New York’s attorney general and lawyers for the Trump Foundation agreed on a court-supervised process for shutting down the charity and distributing about $1.7 million in remaining funds to other nonprofit groups…

This leaves his presidentship campaign, transition, inauguration and real estate empire continuing under investigation.

❝ NY State AG Barbara Underwood cited “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”

The foundation operated as “little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” she said.

Who says Republicans don’t understand perpetual motion? As long as it involves pocketing other peoples’ money – they never stop.