Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TED Radio Hour - Do We Need Humans?

On this week's episode of the TED Radio Hour, from NPR, the topic is whether or not we need humans anymore, with TED Talks from Sherry Turkle (Connected, But Alone), Cynthia Breazeal (The Rise of Personal Robots), Andrew McAfee (Are Droids Taking Our Jobs?), and Abraham Verghese (A Doctor's Touch).

Do We Need Humans?

How can we use technology and preserve our human dignity?

How can we use technology and preserve our human dignity?

We've been promised a future where robots will be our friends, and technology will make life's daily chores as easy as flipping a switch. But are we ready for how those innovations will change us as humans? In this episode, TED speakers consider the promises and perils of our relationship with technology.



Are We Plugged-In, Connected, But Alone?
12:29, by NPR/TED Staff
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About Sherry Turkle's TEDTalk

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle looks at how devices and online personas are redefining human connection. She says we need to really think about the kinds of connections we want to have.

Sherry Turkle is concerned about how our devices are changing us, as human beings.

About Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships with others, with ourselves, with it. Described as the "Margaret Mead of digital culture," Turkle is currently focusing on the world of social media and sociable robots. In her most recent book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, Turkle argues that the social media we encounter on a daily basis are confronting us with a moment of temptation.

Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we confuse postings and online sharing with authentic communication. We are drawn to sacrifice conversation for mere connection. But Turkle suggests that digital technology is still in its infancy and there is ample time for us to reshape how we build it and use it. She is a professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. 
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Will Man's Best Friend Be A Robot?
12:17, by NPR/TED Staff
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About Cynthia Breazeal's TEDTalk

Why do we use robots on Mars, but not in our living rooms? Cynthia Breazeal realized the key was training robots to interact with people. Now she builds robots that teach, learn — and play.

About Cynthia Breazeal

Cynthia Breazeal founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at MIT's Media Lab. Her research focuses on developing the principles and technologies for building personal robots that are socially intelligent — that interact and communicate with people in human-centric terms, work with humans as peers, and learn from people as an apprentice.

She has developed some of the world's most famous robotic creatures, ranging from small hexapod robots to highly expressive humanoids, including the social robot Kismet and the expressive robot Leonardo. Her recent work investigates the impact of social robots on helping people of all ages to achieve personal goals that contribute to quality of life, in domains such as physical performance, learning and education, health, and family communication and play over distance. She's also the author of Biologically Inspired Intelligent Robots. 
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Are Droids Taking Our Jobs?
13:08, by NPR/TED Staff
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About Andrew McAfee's TEDTalk

Robots and algorithms can now build cars, write articles, and translate texts — all work that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee looks at recent labor data to say: We ain't seen nothing yet.

About Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee studies how information technology affects businesses and society. McAfee's research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition, society, the economy and the workforce. He's a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His books include Enterprise 2.0 and Race Against the Machine (with Erik Brynjolfsson).

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Is The Human Hand Our Best Technology?
11:16, by NPR/TED Staff
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About Abraham Verghese's TEDTalk

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are data points, and calls for a return to the traditional physical exam.

"Only the hand can tell where it's tender, where the patient winces." -€” Abraham Verghese

About Abraham Verghese

In our era of the patient-as-data-point, Abraham Verghese believes in the old-fashioned physical exam, the bedside chat, the power of informed observation. Before he finished medical school, Abraham Verghese spent a year on the other end of the medical pecking order, as a hospital orderly. Moving unseen through the wards, he saw the patients with new eyes, as human beings rather than collections of illnesses. The experience has informed his work as a doctor — and as a writer. "Imagining the Patient's Experience" was the motto of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, which he founded at the University of Texas San Antonio, where he brought a deep-seated empathy. He's now a professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford, where his old-fashioned weekly rounds have inspired a new initiative, the Stanford 25, teaching 25 fundamental physical exam skills and their diagnostic benefits to interns. He's also the author of a number of books, including his most recent, Cutting For Stone.
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