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Inappropriate or PC run amuck?

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by Biker, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    This one had me scratching my head as to why everyone is in a frenzy.

    OK? And?

    If you've been following the news, there were two high profile cases over the past couple of years (Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott). Both girls were raped and then ridiculed online. Both girls committed suicide.

    Now, this computer instructor also specializes in AI and taken in this light, I see nothing wrong with this assignment. Heaven forbid an assignment challenge the beliefs and skills of our students and cause them to really think about the underlying cause of someone's death and maybe creating something that helps prevent a suicide. Bonus points for a routine that scans a site (like Facebook) and automatically flags profiles that may fall into this category.

    But no. Instead of meeting a challenge head on, you get the cries of how wrong and insensitive it is for an instructor to use this type of topic in an assignment. Seriously? I'd think they'd jump at the chance to create something that's not your typical run of the mill, "create a poker game for your grade" assignment.

    Oh, that's right. In today's society, it's terribly wrong to remind people that there are bad things that happen and if you ignore it, it'll go away.

  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I don't get his motive though. I can't defend this as I have no idea what he was trying to do.
  3. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    I'm struggling with this too from several angles. I don't know enough about programming to understand if the project is actually do-able. I also don't know why he wanted to focus on that particular topic. He could simply have wanted to do something to help prevent suicides in this area, or he may have had a less lofty motive.
  4. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Back when I was taking courses in programming, one of the things that always stuck in my mind was the difficulties of getting a computer past the "age of 4" when it comes to AI. In other words, they can get a computer to mimic intelligence of a 4 year old, but anything past that and the system begins to crap on itself. It's been over 20 years since those courses, so I have to wonder if there have been any advances since then.

    Imagine, if you will, a program that is able to scan a site like Facebook, and based on a set of factors, is able to predict with a reasonable certainty that an individual is at risk of suicidal behavior. How many lives could be saved with such a program?
  5. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    That's interesting. It might be able to profile people on FB, etc., but controlling their behavior after they got singled out would be challenging.
  6. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    His motivations are to create an algorithm that will search for human characteristics that are high risk. The end goal is to prevent suicide. The machinations of the project are what seem to insult people.

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