Alex Gomes: Manifesto

1. When making informal plans, whichever method of communication gets the most done in the least time is correct.

More of a clearly stated social norm than a definitive normative statement, this idea is one that proposes to make the best use of the technology we have. One of the common problems with rapidly advancing technology is that it outpaces our understanding of how best to use it. In essence, it suggests that the clear way to decide which form of communication to use in what context with time as the most important factor, at least for this example of planning events. For example, if you can text, call, or IM a friend to see what they're up to, and you're certain they will answer all three possibilities, the phone call is your best bet. If you are both in a place like the quiet floor of the library, and leaving the floor to take a call would take more time than having the conversation online, then have the conversation online.

I adopted this statement because too often I see plans become muddled by multitasking. By focusing on speed and efficiency above all else, then planning should be much less of a headache. Polling two friends with back and forth texting takes far longer than simply calling each, getting a straight response, and generating a plan on your own.

If others adopt this plan, it will mean more direct, goal-oriented conversations for everyone with regard to event planning that, if used right, means that the event itself should be more enjoyable. It's a simple rule, and may sometimes require a little more responsibility on the person adopting it, but I think it's ultimately the clearest way to understand how to best use our technology.

(Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)

2. All apps or devices intended to be used while driving should require a thumbprint identification.

Whether it's a device strictly for GPS, or a multifaceted device with GPS functionality, they all should be outfitted with a fingerprint/thumbprint reader. This functionality would ensure that drivers will not endanger themselves or others by distracting themselves with these gadgets. Because it focuses on devices with GPS capability, that means that it can track how fast the device is going. If the user attempts to use the phone or GPS while it is in excess of 5 miles per hour, they will be prompted for a fingerprint scan. If the fingerprint matches the user, then access will be denied. Otherwise (in the case of a passenger being able to navigate) the device will operate normally.

In Group 2's discussion, it became evident that texting and driving is our generation's new accident waiting to happen, like drunken driving was in the past. Right now, we kinda shrug it off as something everyone sort of does, but ads and recent laws are growing in popularity because of how serious an issue this is.

If widely adopted, this measure will dramatically reduce accidents caused by drivers being distracted by their various devices. Routes will have to be plotted ahead of time, and if drivers are alone, they will have to safely pull over and stop the car in order to adjust their trip. While mildly inconvenient for the driver, the safety guaranteed by this measure cannot be stressed enough.

(Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)

3. If people trust an AI to be their companion/therapist, the manufacturers of that AI have every right to record as much data as they like.

Before I explain the statement, I'd like to make a disclaimer: this statement only holds if the patient initially has a choice between a human or AI therapist. No one should be forced to divulge information that they don't want to.

That said, if a person chooses to use an AI as a therapist, then they make that decision under the agreement terms of the legal team of the AI's producer. While therapy and companionship are based on trust, examples like AIBO or Paro show that people are already willing to bridge that gap.

I adopted this idea because I really like the idea of an AI that can help you with tougher situations than math calculations. I think that people open themselves up to the internet all the time through social networks that will be keeping the information¬¬—why not let technology use that information to better serve you?

If this were adopted, I think it could have far-reaching results in the field of both Computer Science and Psychology. It's already been proven that people often have an easier time opening up to computers than people. Computers may be cold and calculating, but they aren't judgmental. The introduction of enough survey data through people using an AI therapist service would help reduce the cold side of that conversation as well. There will never be an absolute replacement for professional therapists, but for some, the freedom provided by the internet and computers may be an easier place to start improving themselves.

(February 12 class discussion)

4. In technical fields such as medicine or engineering, the collective opinion of a crowd should never inherently hold any more weight than an expert; both expert and mass opinions will be considered by the persuasiveness of their claims.

Books like The Wisdom of Crowds have explained that "asking the audience" can do wonders for obtaining reliable information and promoting democracy, but that doesn't mean it's always the case. With data processing often being a cheaper and more efficient alternative to hiring experts, the temptation to replace experience with algorithms can be tempting, but it is not always wise.

When we discussed the power of crowds in class on April 4th, one example in particular stood out to me, doctors. WebMD is notorious for giving graver-than-necessary results for people's searches, and at our current level of technology, is by no means a replacement for the experience and insight of an actual doctor. The field of medicine is far too important to leave up to the unexplored, unpredictable nature of crowdsourcing.

If applied, this statement will ensure that experts keep their hold on the fields they've studied, while still allowing crowdsourced wisdom to have a say. Since both options will be based more on their arguments and logic than which of them will cost less, we can ensure that the more sound argument ought to win. Crowdsourcing is a new and exciting tool for gathering information, but sites like WebMD show that it has a long way to go before we can consider it as a legitimate replacement for more experience-driven fields.

(April 4th class discussion)

5. The word "cyborg" only applies if the person has a device is physically attached to them, it contains at least a microprocessor, and regulates one of their five senses.

As technology becomes more advanced and offers us a variety of ways to augment our body, either directly or indirectly, it can be a little harder to draw the line on what dictates a cyborg. What differentiates a tool from a cyborg implant? Glasses that augment vision have been around for hundreds of years, and even the use of a rock to bludgeon our meals was humans' attempt to modify our strength and hardness. By encouraging the three key aspects of a cyborg implant described above, the distinction will be made a bit clearer.

I adopted this statement because "what do you consider to be 'technology' was one of the first questions proposed in this class, and the microprocessor popped into my head quite immediately. The more we discussed in class, the more I felt that it made sense to use as a metric. Items like gears and manufactured material like plastic simply don't feel 'new' enough to deserve the term "cyborg." It's when AI has enough of a processor or 'brain' to think that the concept of humanity becomes truly compromised.

By applying these three checkpoints for determining cyborg-hood, the conversation about applying these types of devices can become much more about their application, and less about the semantics of what differentiates tools from something that fundamentally changes who (or what) a human is.

6. Any country that cites liberty as a right of its citizens shall make no law limiting any individuals' time spent on the internet.