Panning for Nuggets

“Although there’s little debate that computer technology complements—and often enhances—the human mind in the quest to store information and process an ever-growing tangle of bits and bytes, there’s increasing concern that the same technology is changing the way we approach complex problems and conundrums, and making it more difficult to really think.”  -Samuel Greengard-

Samuel Greengard suggests that we (humans) are losing the ability to think and store information due to the advancement of technology in Are We Losing Our Ability to Think Critically? article.  He compares thinkers from the past that defined and redefined our society, like Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity, or Albert Einstein redefining the view of the universe.  But in the age of computers, video games, and the Internet, there’s a question of how the technology is changing people’s critical thinking skills, and redefining the thinking process.  In a way, there are much more “auto-pilot” mode on our brains.  This can be exemplified in military warfare; there are so many creation of robots and machines that people don’t have to think anymore to operate these monstrous machines.  Now, in our new era, soldiers don’t have to be actually in the battle field.    Robots like Schaft, can successfully drive a car (as shown in the linked video) without a help of human brain.  What’s more fascinating is that due to our advancement in technology and the creation of robots, we are heading towards a world with a mushy swamp somewhere between perception and reality; measurable and incomprehensible.

“The trend suggests that the pace of productivity growth has decelerated since the first half of the 2000s and this begs an important question.  There’s considerable speculation that the pace at which machines are displacing workers has accelerated.  I keep hearing about “the end of work” based on the assumption that the pace of labor-saving technology—robots, AI—has accelerated.”  -Jared Bernstein-

One main focus I want to take out from Bernstein’s quote is “machines are displacing workers has accelerated”.  In some similar ways, Bernstein’s argument supports and connects to Greengard’s argument on our deterioration of critically thinking skills.  Bernstein’s point of view on the robots replacing labor work can be a cause of our decelerating critically thinking skills, as mentioned by Greengard.  In some ways, the more we advance in robotic technology, the more we will loose the definition of reality, because we would be heavily dependent on robots of our every mundane tasks.  This can be implied to my research topic: military.  Now, with known coordinates, nuclear bombs can be launched with one button.  Without giving a second thought or even using our brain, people can press one button and create a mass destruction and devastation to half of our world.  Are we manually driven by our brain or are we on “auto-pilot” due to technology advancement?  Will robots actually help us destroy this planet, or will robots help us for the better?



NOTE for my research:

(As I was reading and researching, I thought I wanted to post this case up, so I won’t forget it in my research paper.  KEEP! – This has nothing to do with Panning for Nuggets…  just my trail of thought.)

Since war is bringing more injured soldiers home with disabilities, there are greater advancement in robots replacing humans missing arms or legs.  In these cases, the brain becomes numb and useless in controlling what was there before, but now gone missing limbs.  [Major Advances in Robotic Prosthetics]  In a way, people are benefiting from robotic prosthetics, but in reality, there are going to be more amputees, and more injured soldiers coming back from war.  [Describing the lost – Question to Ask: What is the cause of robotic technology advancement?]

Diigo Dynamics

In the Diigo Group Website that was previously populated by UNIV 200 students, I found websites like CBS News, Huffington Post,  and CNN web pages.

I found an article: Encouraging Social Interaction Skills In Children With Autism Playing with Robots.  Even though I will  be studying robotics technology in military, I thought this article could be semi-related to my topic of study.  Especially, when I was looking into robots in prosthetic legs and arms for veterans who lost part of their body, I could use some information as the benefits of using robots in therapy.

“Robots, virtual environments and other computer based technologies are more and more being applied in therapy and education.”  -Ben Robins-

“Another advantage of using a robot over a period of time was to facilitate the possible emergence of spontaneous, proactive, and playful interactions. Real time interaction (in contrast to virtual environment and other computer systems) in playful scenarios may encourage full-body experience which can not only increase body awareness and sense of self, but also the level of enjoyment during play and thus make social interaction a more positive experience.”  -Ben Robins-

Artificial Intelligence and the Real World article by Anne Jenkins, concludes the use of robots and co-existing with machines beautifully.

“When machines outsmart humans’ is the wrong stance to take in considering the futures of AI, not just for the underlying competitive values outlined above, but also because it implies that the advanced, autonomous AI will be directly comparable to humans. But if we can be sure of anything, we can be sure that they will be vastly different to us. This is important because what we need to know is can we live with them? Will there be any or enough understanding between the two races, enough to allow real conversation? We can place our hope in finding ways to co-evolve. It could provide the key to keeping the lines of communication open, and to narrowing the gap between our ways of thinking.”  -Anne Jenkins-

The more intelligent one is, the more men of originality one finds. Ordinary people find no difference between men.” Pascal, Pensées, 1670.

I can use this article to support the use of machines and robots co-existing in our world for the benefit of technology advancement.  Like Jenkins have stated in her article, the robots’ required elements of intelligence and opportunity for robotics technology growth may have capacity to superior the human’s intelligence (may benefit human intelligence).

Questing My Dream

I am studying the social impact, an advancement in robotic technology will have on military.  Even though not everyone is studying the same topic of research, there are similarities within the trend of the research.

There are few dreamers, who are searching about Google Glass.  For example, tariktilahun, UNIV 200 – Team Zoetrope blog, is searching about Google Glass and the Glass’ nifty “non-hand held” phone device.  I can incorporate Google Glass as one of the features of military advancement, and how Google Glass can be a “part” of my robotics studies.

Another blogger, khairnique, will be studying the neurotechnology, and explores how brains can be another way of communicating between one another.  Here, the blogger will “demonstrate how technology and our minds are forming a new style of communication”.  I want to see where this blogger goes with his or her research.  Maybe, just maybe, I can use some communicative information in my research paper about how robotic technology is broadening our communications in military.

I definitely know that having other bloggers, and teaming up with them will be helpful to my research.  The other bloggers might have found some information that I never knew, and when they share their articles on ThoughtVectors’ Diigo website, I can have twice the resource to write my research paper.  More information, and more knowledge I have over my research topic, more I will have things to write about!

Connections: Week 3

I am dearly amazed at how fast time flies when I am on Thoughtvector website.  I get on rampages after work to start on my blog post for the day, but end up reading other students’ posts till well over the night.  Searching through waves of blogs and finding their opinions and their thoughts as my classmates’ write away on their blogs amazes me.  Students’ posts are fascinating and interesting, but it’s their passion for why and how they want to study their research topics that is most eye catching.  Their curiosity for certain topics that is sparked within the revolution of technology and the way my fellow classmates express their concerns and worries as to how we, as society, is going to solve the on-going problems and finding the solutions within our research, is just awe-inspiring.  What fascinates their interest for their certain topics and what triggers their innovative ideas are questions that are still unanswered; and as this class goes on, I hope to find the answers to these questions.

Reading blogs makes me reflect whether I want to truly study my topic, and why I have chosen to study robots.  There are so many days when I think that my research topic is not interesting enough or I don’t see a reason why I am studying the robotics technology when I don’t support the advancement of robotics technology.  However, reading through other peoples’ blogs truly helps me to realize my weaknesses and strengths for my research topic, and why I want to study through with robots, and to take a stand for what I believe in.

Other students’ ideas are contagious and their blogs are addictive drugs to my brain!   Students are not only sharing their writings, but they are creating an opinion that they have passion for and by reading their blogs, I find people with beautiful souls.  Here’s Justin’s Thought Vectors blog, where this blogger is studying the trend of feminism in regard to the development of social networking.  In a way, this blogger is taking a stand in advocating women’s rights, and asks for equality in a very rich and subtle ways.  I found his research topic to be bold and beautiful, because still today, we are fighting with equality rights and sometimes topics like equality and racism is on the border line of freedom and slavery (oppression).

If there were awe-inspiring, anti-corruption-bloggers, then there were also go-technology fighters.   A Closer Look At Gerell’s Thought Vectors focused the invention and innovation of 3D printers in medicine.   As soon as I read this blog, I thought of searching for innovation in organ printers that would be beneficial to the used of technology part of my research paper.  Also, imelda.jurasova‘s blog talked about the use of technology in coordinate with cancer studies, specifically in women.  There were bunch of websites that were related to the studies of ovarian, breast, and cervical cancer that I have looked to see if I can relate these findings to my research.

As I finish Week 3 of this course, each day, I am finding out how much I need to spend more time in researching my topic, and going in depth with my research topic.  From all the feedbacks that I have received, I know that I have to narrow my research topic to one main topic: robotics use in military, and how these technology advancement will be in partner with medical advances.  I still have to think of a way to integrate military technology into medical advancement, or decide whether I will narrow down into one category, either military or medicine.

Nugget: “Augmenting Human Intellect”

“Increasing the effectiveness of the individual’s use of his basic capabilities is a problem in redesigning the changeable parts of a system. The system is actively engaged in the continuous processes (among others) of developing comprehension within the individual and of solving problems; both processes are subject to human motivation, purpose, and will. To redesign the system’s capability for performing these processes means redesigning all or part of the repertoire hierarchy. To redesign a structure, we must learn as much as we can of what is known about the basic materials and components as they are utilized within the structure; beyond that, we must learn how to view, to measure, to analyze, and to evaluate in terms of the functional whole and its purpose. In this particular case, no existing analytic theory is by itself adequate for the purpose of analyzing and evaluating over-all system performance; pursuit of an improved system thus demands the use of experimental methods.”


I had a hard time extracting a nugget out from Engelbart’s Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework essay.  As soon as I read Engelbart’s introductions to his essay, I wanted to keep all the writing as my nuggets.  However, the further I read his essay, the more collection of his writings in paragraphs that I collected.  I sat down and thought hard enough, and finally chose the paragraph above.  When I was reading the paragraph above, the part where Engelbart states:

The system is actively engaged in the continuous processes (among others) of developing comprehension within the individual and of solving problems; both processes are subject to human motivation, purpose, and will.” 

stood out to me.  As I am researching about the purpose and the will of robotics technology, I am finding out the motivation: world power.  Not only is world power driving the advancement of technology as a whole, but it’s also the purpose of robotics usage.  The scientists are creating the robots to help aid military power, and what surprises me is that, we are willing to trade robots for humanity.  And, it’s the will of gaining the world power that drives our society into warfare, which in return, more advancement in robotics technology = human destruction.

“…pursuit of an improved system thus demands the use of experimental methods.”

The other part of the essay that struck out to me was that we, humans, are “constantly in pursuit of an improved system”.  Just like how we are never satisfied with what we have now.  Our society is constantly wanting more and wanting the newest innovated technology possible.  As an example, when we had television back then, our fat televisions became now thin and flexible 3D screens, as if we weren’t satisfied with the quality of images shown in 2D screens.  As more technology advances, the more we are in demand for the better, and the more we gain knowledge about the future possibilities.  At this rate, we will never be satisfied with what we have, and we will be blinded by our wants and greeds that there no longer will be our needs, but only our WANTs.

I want the newest iPhone.  I want the newest flat screen TV.  I want the newest laptop.  And, soon our wants will become our NEEDs.

I need the newest iPhone.  I need the newest flat screen TV.  I need the newest laptop.  When we don’t actually need them in first place.

EDIT ——————————————————————–

As I was looking through my classmates’ blog posts, I was tempted to change my research topic.  Not because I thought their research topic was more interesting than my research topic, but because I saw passion when my classmates talked about their research topic.  For example, blogger ID: ewingjm2 is looking to find out whether laughter can prolong people’s lives, but the blogger is looking specifically into Vines (video sharing media).  I am eager to read what the outcome will be for this topic of research.  It is amazing to see the students’ passion and the reason why they want to study their topics.

Another blog that caught my eyes was Thoughts from a Unicorn blog.  Here, the blogger compared Douglas C. Engelbart’s quote versus Vannevar Bush’s quote from both of their essays.  The blogger used compare and contrast method to look at the similarities and the differences of two quotes selected in the blog.  Both Engelbart and Bush goes further into the topic of technology, but Engelbart focuses more on the possibilities of mind, rather than to focus more attention towards technology advancement.  In a way, the comparing of two quotes in one page, helped to see the differences in an organized order.  It was easier to see the authors’ point of view, and the way the blogger organized the similarities and differences proves that even though both, Engelbart and Bush had different point of views on technology, they both agree that technology advancement is endless.

Blogger Love to Think wrote, “If we keep training ourselves to follow a certain pattern, we will continue to grow and adapt. After that, we can continue to improve and excel.”  I have to agree with the blogger’s quote; this concept can reflect back to the advancement of technology.  The scientists are constantly striving to create a better technology and renovate innovation advancement, in a way they are growing and adapting us (humans) to prepare for a more comfortable life.  And, technology advancement improves and excels humans to achieve a greater standard expectations.  The more technology advances, the more people want the next new technology, and the technology advancement creates more opportunities and possibilities that we have never thought of before.  It is just as Love to Think blogger stated, “we can continue to grow and adapt… (and) we can continue to improve and excel.”

Dreamers Unite!



I want to look at the long term effects of robotics technology in military, medicine, and education (negatives and positives).  As a engineering student, I have always been fascinated with robotics technology.  Yet, I did not know the consequences of building a robot that would be equally as smart as human beings.  Now, scientists are creating robots with the main intention to kill human beings.  Through my research, I would like to see the actual root of robotics technology, and see the cause and effect of robotics technology in three fields: education, medicine, and military.

I first thought of military usage robots, but then through out my research, the creation of robots was rooted in education.  The start up of the robots creator were expansion of knowledge within education.  From there, I wanted to study robots and what they were made to do.  The purpose of robots lead me to military technology, where mostly, almost all robots were created to advance military power.  As depressing and unhappy my topic is, I wanted to know what was driving the robotics scientists to create a robot that will eventually wipe out all humanity.  I wanted to understand why these scientists were creating such monstrous robots.  And, if there was any way to stop the human destruction/ extinction.  Maybe after all my research, I will find the hidden truth behind all these robotics creation.

Robotics medicine all ties in with military, because robots in medicine are one of the solutions that promotes robotics technology advancement in military.  Veterans will be receiving robotic arms and legs that will be controlled by the main central brain, but these creation will not solve the “main problem”.  The main problem is to have control over rapidly advancing human killing robots in warfare.  Just if, we didn’t have robots that were meant to kill us… then we won’t be dwelled in creating a prosthetic robots.  Just if… technology was created to improve our lives for the better, then maybe we, as society, wouldn’t be wasting time concealing our rooted problems.  Just if…


Texting My Dream/ The Interpretation of Dreams

I searched Google Robots on Google search engine, and found a site that would support my research paper on the benefits of using robots in U.S. military.  First, since I had no knowledge what so ever on Google’s investment on robots, I had to look at what kinds of robots Google were investing on.  The article, Google’s Robot Army in Action by Kit Buchan helped me to see what kinds of robots Google company was buying and how they were implementing robots into military.  The article (screenshot) below shows different kinds of robots and their purpose.  If you want to see the actual movement of robots and their functions, click the link below:

Google’s Robot Army In Action

For example, Schaft created a robot that will go up and down a ladder and climb any given obstacles, which will help U.S. military to move objects or materials that will be a hinderance in their path.  Also, Meka, which is a robot made to portray a human torso with a head and arms, will be useful in replacing soldiers in battle, when there is a heavy duty work that will be too dangerous for one soldier to accomplish.  Meka robot seems to be the one that is actually close to being looking like a human.

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I had an article about where the robots were produced and who were the main inventors of robots to find out the exact intent of the robot’s use.  This article provided me with the benefits of robots in military technology, because many of these robots were made to handle heavy duty lifting, or packaging boxes.  However, I  wanted to know what was the cause of robotic technology in military and the affects of robots in military.  I wanted to check to see if robots did destroy humanity.  This curiosity lead to one blog that pointed out a death that occurred due to robotic incident.  Josh asks one question, “Will robots eventually destroy humanity?” And, he answers, “Probably”.

Will Robots Eventually Destroy Humanity?  Probably. by Josh from Stuff You Should Know: THE BLOG

In Josh’s blog, he states an incident in 1981, when a Japanese engineer Kenji Urada died from the hands of a robot.

“We have customarily given a pass to robots that have caused the death and dismemberment of humans.  They’re dumb, remember, so how can they be held accountable?  There have been a number of robot-related deaths over the years; back in 1981, Japanese engineer Kenji Urada became the first person whose death at the hands of a robot was recorded in detail.  Urada failed to turn off a robot he was maintaining and it pushed him into a grinding machine, where he was ostensibly ground to death.  Robots 1, humans 0. “

Also, Josh links other deaths that were related to robotics.  I can use this opinion to support a thesis that robots will eventually destroy humans, but since this is an opinion, I had to research other side to military advancement in robotics.

**Another (2) article to keep for future reference: 10 Robots That Will Probably Kill Us in the Coming Decade**  (Also, in support of anti-robotics)  AND Robots Will Win Our Hearts Before They Destroy Us All**

I found an article that was in support for robotic technology advancement: This is Probably a Good Time to Say That I Don’t Believe Robots Will Eat All the Jobs …  by Marc Andreessen.

In the article above, Marc supports robotics technology advancement and covers the benefits of technology integrating with education.  He states that robotics involvement will improve educational quality and skills development.  Also, he doesn’t believe that robots will replace our current jobs, instead due to robotics creation, there will be more unknown jobs available in the future that won’t be replaced by robots.

Through out my research, I realized that I was only looking into robots in military technology.  In this research, I want to see how robots can affect humanity in military, medicine, and education.  After a long, careful thought, finding the benefits of robots in each different category would be more useful and precise than only looking at the impact that robots made in military technology.  In the future, I want to research and see the both benefits and disadvantages of robotics technology in military, medicine, and education.  I hope to find the cause of robotics advancement and how the robots will affect us, as society, in the future and the affects robotics advancement will have on each categories listed above (whether the robots were put to good use or whether the robots were used to create more problems for us to solve).


“We have customarily given a pass to robots that have caused the death and dismemberment of humans.  They’re dumb, remember, so how can they be held accountable?  There have been a number of robot-related deaths over the years; back in 1981, Japanese engineer Kenji Urada became the first person whose death at the hands of a robot was recorded in detail.  Urada failed to turn off a robot he was maintaining and it pushed him into a grinding machine, where he was ostensibly ground to death.  Robots 1, humans 0. ”  -by Josh from Stuff You Should Know: THE BLOG-

The quote above really intrigued me, because I have not heard of an incident where someone died due to robotics incident.  This information was fascinating, not because a robot killed a human being, but it’s interesting in a fact that this quote can actually support my theory that robots will eventually kill humanity.  I can use this information as a factual, subjective evidence that can support the disadvantages of robotics involvement in military, medicine, and education.  Urada have been killed by the hands of the robot that he built to control, not to be controlled by the robot.  As my further research provided, this was the beginning of robotics disaster.  If you look at the article below, the article provides multiple homicide incidents related to robotics (i don’t know if you can actually say that it’s a homicide, since it’s a robot killing a human being…):

Trust Me, I’m a Robot by The Economist

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I definitely know that I want to study robotics advancement in military, medicine, and education.  Main questions I am looking to answer are:

1. How will robotics change and impact education?  Which will lead to next question…

2. Will robotics technology help advance students to provide benefits to medicine advancement or will it back fire and have robots be used in military?

3.  Lastly, will robotics in military destroy humanity?

I want to look at the root/ cause of robot technology advancement, and cover what impacts robots will have on our society now and in the future, at the same time, look at the benefits and disadvantages of robotics in our society as a whole.


Connections – Analyzing the Obvious

Honestly, I had a hard time coming up with “the obvious question”.   Due to my biased opinion on technology advancement, I had a hard time trying to research the benefits of technology.  Still in the back of my head, I have “love and hate relationship” with technology.  I see the benefits and the great effects of technology on human beings, but at the same time, I want our society to revert back to our old ways of communicating: meeting up with one another, communicating through telephone calls, and actually appreciating the actual relationships and humanity loves.

While looking at other student’s blogs, I can honestly say, there are times when I reflect back to see what I had done wrong in my research, or there are times when I didn’t feel confident enough to pursue my chosen topic.  And, even when I am writing this post, there are some parts of me that is still hesitant to research a topic on how technology is affecting humanity.  There are parts of me that are scared to find the real truth behind the whole purpose of technology, and there are parts of me that is eager to research more on the affects of technology.  Still as of right now, I have a one foot out the door and one foot inside the door.  I am still hesitant and unsure of my research topic.  You can say, hesitant.   However, reading other students’ blog posts helped me to choose my vague research topic into clarity.

Mirna Shaban had the same process of research method as how I had approach my research online.  I had a biased question in mind, “How significantly will technology (specifically Google Robots) affect our humanity?”  Mirna stated in her blog that she realized she was biased in her research.  By reading her blog, I felt taking a stand against something you believe in, is a one step that I needed to pursue with my research topic.  She was mainly focused on the benefits of robotic surgery, while I was mainly searching for Google Robots in military technology advancement.  Realizing that I was biased into my research topic really opened my eyes to see the greater picture.  Through Mirna’s blog, I went back to research the both, benefits and drawbacks to Google Robot in humanity affect.

Ifrah Ansari and Summer at VCU had about the similar approach to how I had approached my research topic.  They both tackled the main research question on the affect of technology on humanity and then tweaked their main stream question as they went along with their research.  I, also, had started off with a very main streamed question (“How will Google Robot affect our society?”), but had to change the question to make it more of an objective topic rather than subjective.

Definitely, looking back at my Obvious Research Question blog post, I realized how fickle I can be when I start comparing my research topic with other’s research topics.  As of right now, I know that I want to take a stand against anti-technology and write a research paper on how to prove the down turns of technology, but my worry is how to write a research paper that won’t be subjective.  I would want an objective view on my research, without my biased thoughts on technology, because then I can truly write a paper that can look into the whole picture, rather than a secular part of the problem.  From now on, I feel the need to do more research on how military technology advancement will affect humanity in general and what impact military technology will have on our human morals, whether it’s for the better or for the worst.

Extending My Dream Question:

“What are the long term effects of robotics technology in military, medicine, and education?  Are these negative or positive?”

Dreaming with Groupthink

I definitely want to study images and photographs.   As much as I enjoy taking photos with my camera, I love looking at other photographers’ work of art.  As a person who appreciates and loves any forms of photography, I have come to realize that I want to show the truth of what cameras really capture.

In Will Sullivan’s post, he states that “photos may contain many additional layers of deception”.  I do agree with Will that due to photoshop and many online photo shaping tools, photos and images become distorted in many ways.  Just like how the image below shows evidence of photo brushing and photo “re-shaping”.



Through out this course, I would love to study more on images and photographs, and be able to reveal the actual beauty of original image.