Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Monday roundup…Google vs. closed information societies, virtualizing the Great Game, Asian MMOs, and, yes, more robots

with one comment

1.  The director of Google Earth / Google Maps connects objections to these programs to “closed information societies,” naming “…China to some extent and in Russia and legacies of that in places like India.

2.  SimAfghanistan. The McNamara legacy lives on…with better visualization techniques, I’m sure.

3. Via Wired’s Danger Room, a Navy-sponsored report from Cal Poly on “Autonomous Military Robotics:  Risk, Ethics, and Design.” The report alludes to the potential for “asymmetric response” to the increased use of military robots, but misses what I think is a central question:  is the “man-in-the-loop” (or “tele-operator,” in the lingo of this report) become a legitimate military target for the opposing side? If so, does that not risk loosening the ethical barrier against “total war,” considering that many of these tele-operators may be on U.S. soil? The technology is moving too fast here to focus solely on the ethics of American use of military robots. Rather, the U.S. should take advantage of its lead in this area to drive an international convention defining the use and limits – the law of war, if you will – for robots as they exist today and might exist in the next five years.

4.  Four of the top five massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) are Asian, in terms of revenue. The other one is, of course, World of Warcraft…and rounding out the rest of the top ten are other Western efforts. GigaOm speculates that the most popular MMORPG in this group is not WoW, but likely one of the Asian games – possibly China’s Fantasy Westward Journey

5.  In tangentially related news, South Korea announced a four-year, $25B (shared by the government and telecom operators) effort to upgrade Internet service to 1 Gbps, which GigaOm notes is 200 times as fast as a U.S. DSL connection. Korea has always been a fascinating lab to watch the development of “wired society,” from social networking and VoIP technologies (watch the video) to national plans for robotics and treatments for web-addiction. The aforementioned video asks why several Korean technologies – such as a forerunner to MySpace – went largely unnoticed outside Korea, and offers a partial answer in culture. I say partial, because it speaks to a dynamic between code and culture that still isn’t well understood.

Written by Mark

February 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm

One Response

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  1. […] questions beyond rules of engagement as exercised by a semi-autonomous or autonomous robot – for instance, whether controllers, safely ensconced hundreds or thousands of miles away, constitute …. All such questions point to a grave potential – the probability that the growing use of […]

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