Episode 78: Donald Trump, Wisdom and Walls

And he might say he was joking or he’s changed his mind about any of these things, and private individuals are allowed to change their minds - we all do it. But when he’s sworn in as president on January 20th, 2017 - on that day, his opinions are going to matter.
— John Oliver of Last Week Tonight
I hate how he exploits people’s fears instead of appealing to their aspirations, their better angels. I hate how he gives people license to say hateful things. I understand why Trump’s backers are angry, and I don’t subscribe to the theory that most of them are bigots. But they are condoning bigotry.
— Ron Fournier, The Atlantic

In less than a year, Donald Trump has made a profound impact in the political, media and social spheres of the United States. Some are enthralled by his relentless fervor, confidence and promises to "Make America Great Again". Others, understandably are disgusted by the Islamophobia, racism, sexism and derogatory remarks he has made towards journalists, political rivals and everyone in between. Beyond the public reaction, it is important for each of us to consider not only our responses to the current Republican front-runner but our own values, concerns and perceptions. Is hatred an appropriate response to a man who has shown the terrifying influence of hatred? Do our discussions on social media promote recognition of his name? Undoubtedly, we must confront the political juggernaut he has become and the deep-seated problems he has revealed. Will we do so civilly or will Donald Trump's legacy be the spark of a greater conflagration?

Episode 67: "Robots Have Emotions Too"

In our research, we showed how a simple, small robot could pressure people to continue a highly tedious task—even after the people expressed repeated desire to quit—simply with verbal prodding.
— Dr. James E. Young, "How to Manage Robots and People Working Together"
Research has shown people feel less comfortable around robots who break social norms, such as by having shifty eyes or mismatched facial expressions. A robot’s personality, voice pitch or even the use of whispering can affect feelings of trust and comfort.
— Dr. James E. Young, "How to Manage Robots and People Working Together"

This week we analyze and respond to an article written by Dr. James E. Young.  He and fellow researchers conducted studies to determine the current sentiments human beings have towards robots. Their research indicates that people have an inherent impulse to personalize robots and imbue them with intentions, emotions, social abilities and attachments. He theorizes that in future, steps should be taken to facilitate productive, prosperous working relationships between people and robots in a variety of settings, including combat and other dangerous environments. We use this article as an entry point to discussions about humanity as it relates to robotics and how robots may substantially affect our lives in the future.