May 22, 2014

© 2014 Microsoft CorporationDiscrimination by Favoritism (of People Like Us)
Discrimination isn’t just about exclusion. According to a new study, open displays of hostility are actually not the most common form of discrimination. We’re much more likely to discriminate by showing favoritism to people who are like us. (Rachel Nuwer, Smithsonian.com)

Training the Brain for Affection and Tenderness Using Neurofeedback
Scientists based at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro believe they can amplify affection by letting individuals read their own minds. The approach relies on neurofeedback, in which people can see and respond to their own real-time brain activity. Although the therapeutic utility and mechanism of neurofeedback are contested, proponents of the process generally suggest that by observing one’s brain responses a person can subsequently modify them. (Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American)

Ethical Rules for Robotic Cars
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the ethics of robotic cars. Put simply, should your autonomous car kill you if it means saving two other people? This is actually a philosophical issue that’s been around for a long time, but it doesn’t make the solutions any easier. What rules should robotic cars live by? (Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik)

A Mobile App That Lets You See Someone Else’s Experience of the World
A new app makes it possible to anonymously live the life of a stranger for 20 days, seeing where they go and what they do—not the carefully curated version they might put on Facebook or Instagram, but the everyday details like the fact they always go to the same sandwich spot for lunch. “The question was, could we produce some kind of software that brings out the capability of imagining the lives of strangers?” says Kevin Slavin, director of MIT Media Lab’s Playful Systems research group, which developed the app along with MIT’s Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. (Adele Peters, Co.Exist, Fast Company)

The Search for ET
Curious about whether there is life beyond Earth? The answer should come within 20 years, astronomers told members of a congressional science committee on Wednesday. A three-way race is under way to learn if life exists elsewhere in the solar system or beyond, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, said during a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee. (Irene Klotz, Discovery News)

Category: Field Notes

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