Mike Breitenbach - Manifesto

We should introduce and explore new technologies in a way that balances the technical and nontechnical, preserving traditional and creative aspects of humanity.

As we move forward, new technologies will always be adopted by society. However, we should avoid becoming too engrossed with technology. We should aim to enhance humanity, not substitute for it. The point is to equally enhance all aspects of society. Right now, creativity and the arts are areas separated the furthest from robotics and we need to preserve our interest in these endeavors. We need to continue satisfying our need for self-actualization, the highest order on the hierarchy of needs, through characteristics like creativity and morality. These self-actualization needs are to be fulfilled last, but are the marks of a diverse, well-developed society.

In Question Forum 1 on the class wiki, Ally Hammond points out that a robot could not become the next Shakespeare or Mick Jagger because their creativity cannot be programmed. But, as technology becomes more capable, we need to find the most appropriate balance that preserves the simple and creative aspects of humanity in the face of the complex and structured. If this principle is adopted, our society will retain strong cultural traditions and creativity. The principle should be considered because we must not lose sight of our unique human characteristics in the name of technological advancement.

Source: Question Forum 1

We should regulate how and when we introduce technologies to children so that we don’t limit or narrow social education.

As digital technology has played an increasingly important role in our society, children have been introduced to it at an increasingly younger age. As this trend continues, we will eventually find that our children are disconnected from the natural world because they learn through the lens of technology. This lens will stand in between young people, forcing them to learn about the natural world in technological terms, rather than learning to use technology in natural terms. Eventually, if all our learning goes through that lens, we are helpless without the aid of technology, on which we should not be dependent.

As Olivia pointed out in Question Forum 2 in regards to testing children’s interactions with robots, “My natural response is to argue that testing extended interaction between children, especially younger children without a developed sense of self, and robots can lead to seriously disastrous consequences for these kids in the long run. Prolonged withdrawal from social circles, feelings of insecurity, confusion, and discontent are just a few outcomes that are pointed out, although I’m sure there are many other risks depending on the child’s upbringing and family circumstances.” This discussion provides a good model for the principle, demonstrating that children will lose a social education if technology becomes an overbearing force in childhood. If this principle is adopted, we will retain strong social skills in childhood education. It should be considered because we are and will remain social creatures regardless of changes in technology.

Source: Question Forum 2

We should educate parents technologically and teach them how to be more aware of their children’s use of technology.

“Almost 93% of kids, ages 12-17, are online, and most exhibit a level of digital proficiency bewildering to those of us who want to protect them." The internet has not been around that long, but even in our generation there are countless children growing up with more knowledge of the internet than their parents. In order to ensure children’s safety on the internet, parents must be taught more about the web and how to keep their children safe. If this principle is adopted, it will protect children from unsuitable content and users on the internet, also protecting the identity of parents and children. This principal extends beyond the internet, including any technologies that could pose a threat to society if not used properly. This principle should be included because technological, and particularly internet, safety is a major problem in today’s society and education is the first step to solving that problem. Educating the Digital Immigrant generation will morally improve the culture of the internet by placing more control in the hands of more mature people. Parents need to be educated on technological issues and they need to know how to educate the next generation to improve our society’s command on technology.

Source: Internet Safety 101

We should try to pursue more unique purposes for new technologies, rather than pursuing ones that imitate human characteristics, allowing us to continue specialization.

As we advance our technology, we should not seek to imitate humanity with it. Instead, we should find technologies that are unique and allow us to diversify our collective abilities. There are many examples on the internet of scientists in robotics seeking to copy the human form. This example, shows robots that actually copy specific movements and “learn” to repeat them without programming of the specific movements. There are practical uses for this sort of technology, but to make these technologies our society’s main focus would be wasteful. If we can find new, non-human tasks for robots, we can make our society more productive while retaining some degree of familiarity. By following this principle, we can also ensure that less human jobs are turned over to robots.

If we successfully adopt this principle, our society will diversify in skills and resources, allowing for the individual growth, but not merging, of technology and humans. This principle will become more and more important as the competition between robots and humans for jobs becomes fiercer. To avoid catastrophe, we must constantly evaluate the roles of technology and humans in our society.

Source: Imitation Learning in Robots

We should reduce anonymity on the internet in order to increase accountability and our ability to manage content.

The regulation of anonymity on the internet is a polarizing issue. This principle states that reducing anonymity would be a way to enforce a safe internet environment. With users actual names posted, they will be held more accountable for the content they post. Some people say that anonymity is an important part of the internet, a way that people can freely discuss issues that they might not want to discuss in a personal context. This is consistent with the original, utopian vision for the internet as a place where people would share useful and important information at an incredible rate. However, many of the top internet companies are speaking out against anonymity. For example, in a Huffington Post article, Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerburg said: “I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away.” “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.” According to the article, “Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has also made this suggestion, calling online anonymity ‘dangerous’ and predicting that governments will eventually ‘demand’ that people use their names for all online activity.”

If we increase accountability by reducing anonymity, the internet could become safer. This principle will gain importance as more complex legal issues arise from anonymity on the web.

Source: Facebook's Randi Zuckerberg: Anonymity Online 'Has To Go Away'

We should pursue less invasive technologies that free us to live more traditional lives instead of replacing tasks with unfamiliar ones.

With the integration of new technologies, we should place more priority on the technologies that free us rather than confine us. We should not seek to make things more difficult by constantly learning new ways to interact. Instead we should focus on technologies that are intuitive, ones that are easy to integrate. The idea behind this principle is to fully embrace the added efficiency of good technology without requiring major changes in the habits of society or its members. This requires that we carefully weigh the benefits of new technologies against the learning curve that they require. A dramatic example of a failure in this principle is the adoption and enforcement of e-portfolios. As Chris says in Considered Replies 2, “In the English department, seniors graduating after this Fall will be required to complete the e-portfolio class. The final product is something that all of us would be ashamed to show to potential employers.” In this case, the benefits of the technology do not even come close to the amount of time and energy we spend on them. We must avoid this sort of technological wastefulness in the future. If we can succeed in this principle, we will preserve familiar aspects of traditional life, but with the added efficiency brought by technological advancement.

Source: Considered Replies 2