Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Robot Aibo a Good Boy or Bad Boy

I read the title of an article today "Skilled robots to infiltrate schools and military" and somehow I found myself thinking about the terrible tragedy of the school shooting in Connecticut. This article about robots in schools didn't seem to set well with me. Perhaps it was the word used in the title "infiltrate" that set my mind wheeling in multiple directions.

Skilled robots set to infiltrate schools and military  
Hmmm, robots as waiters or butlers perhaps?     (see Robot waiter arrived in Abu Dhabi)    

Or perhaps it was the suggestion of robots in schools as compared to the military that upset my stomach.

Hmmm, robots for national security perhaps?    (see The Rise of the Drone)    

They say that new details about the Connecticut tragedy suggests that the shooter was awkward, peculiar, rarely spoke, and that he even gave a school presentation entirely by computer while never uttering a word. He reportedly liked tinkering with computers and gadgets and enjoyed violent video games ( New details emerge about Connecticut school shooting gunman).

Side note: the shooters weapon of choice when playing violent video games was a military-style assault rifle.

Second side note: On Friday, the National Rifle Association reportedly called for armed police officers to be stationed in schools. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is said to have stated "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Hmmmm, how about robot with a gun for a security guard?     

Would that take out the human error factor? Scary thought of the possibilities of weapons, robots, and bad guys with visions of violent video games get together. Hmmmm!   Not meaning to get into a gun control debate in this post. I sort of got off track here and I need to regroup -----   :)

Instead my purpose when I first started to write this was to talk about the good possibilities for robots and the social factors that influence and effect implementation (after all, for a short while I was heavily involved with FIRST - which stands For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, where school students entered competitions with robots while discovering science and engineering). You know, the good kind of Robots!!!  Humanoid robots serving mankind's every need. Those cute little robots like the ones the Japanese made for Honda and Fujitsu.... I heard they have even made a female-like robot that walks with a swing in the hips like the real thing???

See the Top 10 robots of 2012

My wife says I need a Robot or a Clone or something to help me with my school work so that I can spend more time with her, LOL.... now that is social impact. Similarly, here is a robot that cooks 360 hamburgers an hour....

Funded by Lemnos Labs in San Francisco and developed to replace fry cooks in burger restaurants (like they are a big expense to afford, LOL). But it's estimated that the patty flipping machine will save US $9 billion a year. For real???? That tells me that $9 billion will go out to settling up some fry cooks with unemployment because they certainly won't be employed by the robot manufacturers. Is there an ethical issue here? Where is the trade off? Silicon Valley technology for replacing minimum salary workers?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Technology's Promise

Technology's Promise
by William E. Halal
Forecast – Faster and Farther: Building the Global Transportation System
Today a new Silk Road is forming as the West is being connected to the East through jet travel, global markets, and electronic media. Meanwhile future breakthroughs in car design will take us faster and further on fleets of “lean and clean” hybrid and fuel cell cars which are guided by intelligent systems along automated highways. (Halal 2008).

Perhaps subject to change due to the impact of mobile communication and computing devices, it can be argued that more than any other artifact of modern technology, the automobile has shaped our physical, social, and cultural environment. At the same time, the history of the automobile demonstrates how decisions made by governments, entrepreneurs, and the general public have strongly affected the automobile's evolution.  In review of a few fun facts about the automobile we can begin to see that impact, for example:

Fact 1) Of the 4,192 cars produced in the U.S. in 1900, 1,681 were steam-powered, 1,575 were electrics, and only 936 used internal combustion engines

Fact 2) General John Pershing organized a convoy of 79 trucks that crossed the U.S. from Washington to San Francisco in 1919. Hampered by the poor state of the roads upon which they traveled, the trucks averaged only fifty miles a day, and needed 56 days to complete their journey.

Fact 3) in 1960, the entire Japanese automobile industry exported fewer than 1000 cars to the United States; by the early 1980s, it became such a threat to the U.S. auto industry that the U.S. government limited Japanese imports to 1.65 million cars per year.

Fact 4) although focused on the United States, it is global in scope, with comparisons to how the automobile developed in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere.

Halal suggested that there are parallel dimensions of travel and communication. This is well considered and suggests that as new communication technologies are developed so will there be new or advancing automotive and travel technologies. Furthermore, both automotive technology and communication technology are forces to be considered in advancing current capabilities of travel. For example, new modes of communication are already leading small trends in telecommuting for many business companies nationwide. Employees can now do business via internet web-conferencing making it more economical to travel less and can often alleviate the need for distance business travel to attend conferences globally as well. Thus, telecommuting trends would lead one to believe that travel will become less and less of a demand both globally and or international, which somewhat holds true for many of today’s business models that rely on internet ecommerce. However, there are still many business needs which will continue to rely on the ability to travel, and although this may become less and less of an issue, when coupled with the common interest of the population to travel for recreation and pleasure (social forces) and as population growth continues (which translates into more people = more vehicles driven = more environmental impact = force to be considered in travel technology) so will the interest to travel expand globally (due in part to the impact of electronic information) thus it is important to consider many of the extended needs and desires for travel.  


Today's "cutting edge" is tomorrow's "commonplace."


8 Great New Advances in Auto Technology – Posted May 2009 at:

Rear Mounted radar

2010 model availability

Night vision with pedestrian detection

2010 model availability

Automatic High-Beam control

2010 model availability

Parental control

2010 model availability

GPS vehicle tracking

2010 model availability

Multi-Camera Pano View

2010 model availability

Driver capability assessment

2010 model availability

In-car Internet

2010 model availability




We've outlined some of the best technological achievements of the past year, highlighting systems that made cars more advanced, faster, more economical and - in nearly all cases - just a little bit smarter.


Top Technology for 2012  - Posted at:

inflatable seat belts

2013 model availability

small engines big power

2013 model availability

smartphone-capable infotainment

2013 model availability

rise to electric vehicle

2013 model availability

saving weight - new materials

2013 model availability

electronic driving assists

2013 model availability

automated driver health monitoring

2013 model availability

collision avoiding systems between cars

2013 model availability

As suggested, new technologies for vehicles are appearing at a blistering pace, while most are related to safety, many are for pure convenience and even entertainment. As new technologies become more advanced such as gps communications, these tend to overflow into the auto market as well.  Many of these are first introduced in higher-end cars as options and eventually trickle down to less expensive vehicles as cost of the technologies decrease.

Future of Vehicle Technologies & Transportation

Browse to

The Vehicle Technologies Program is developing more energy efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum. The long-term aim is to develop "leap frog" technologies that will provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.
For More Information
It is not the intent of this post to address all facets of technology that can and will affect travel for the future as it is a rather complex issue, rather it was my intention to merely reach the reader with some basic ideas for consideration as they begin to form technology assessments of their own.

For additional thoughts and ideas, be sure to visit my post at

Innovation Idea & Two Forces

Monday, September 10, 2012

Technology Assessment 101 - Part Three


In Technology Assessment 101 Part One there was discussion on what I termed "Evaluating Evaluation" where discussion was about why we should evaluate and why we should learn about assessment theory. In part two, the discussion was based on our our initial abilities to perform assessment and in particular aspects for idealized inquiry. To further Part One and Two discussions I would like to continue with brief post of discussion here on the functions of Technology assessment, our abilities for applying reasoning and critical thinking towards assessment and additional discussion on improving decision making while involving citizen participation, and collaboration with expert analysis.

Functions of Technology Assessment

Technology assessment vs. evaluation – often these are used synonymously since we tend to use the term technology assessment in an everyday sense when we are talking about technology evaluation. However, technology assessment is typically a systematic attempt to rate a technology and or foresee the consequences of introducing a particular technology. Although the differences may seem vague, this is not the same as technology evaluation where the primary purpose is for judging a technology for impact(s) in a particular context and in a particular time frame, and is not particularly concerned with making judgments about what may or may not happen in the future. Consequently there are distinctions between these that are important to note as a practitioner and in particular for discussion between various stakeholders about whether or not they actually want an assessment or an evaluation. The point being is that there is need for clarity in discussion and a definition for end result, such as, is there a desired “real analysis” to be made of performance, or is there a desired “predictive analysis” of how it might perform and what the impact of the outcome might be.
Characteristics of effective assessments

Applying reasoning and critical thinking towards assessment

Input here, still putting my thoughts together about this concerning macro, meso, and micro levels, the optimists and the skeptics, and the logic differences and similarities between of Deductive Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Empirical Thinking, and Abductive Reasoning, etc.

Improving decision making through participation and collaboration

Input here, but still putting my thoughts together about this as well, considering Democracy and Technology, social consequences and synergisms, as well as a holistic approach etc.  

For further entries to this discussion of evaluation and assessment see: 

Technology Assessment 101 - Part One for a short discourse on evaluating evaluation, why we evaluate and why we should learn about assessment theory

Technology Assessment 101 - Part Two for a short discourse on the need for assessment, our assessment abilities, and ideas for an idealized inquiry with an iterative process

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Technology Assessment 101 - Part Two


In Technology Assessment 101 Part One there was discussion on what I termed "Evaluating Evaluation" and in particular discussion about why we should evaluate and why we should learn about assessment theory. In part, the discussion was based on our continual need for evaluations and assessment to insure quality. To further this discusion I would like to continue with post of discussion here on our abilities for assessment activity.

I read today in the news that Sir Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation ranked Sweden as tops in a new global index evaluating the state of the web in 61 countries with the US coming in second and the UK coming in third.  Ranking was based on both social and political impact of the web. I found it interesting to learn that one in three people are using the web globally and that 95% of the population of Iceland uses the web, Very impressive figures, and the ability to assess something as large and complex as the internet even further impresses me.

In an article titled Web Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Web, the author states that the web must be studied as an entitity in its own right to ensure it keeps flourishing and prevent unanticipated social effects. In extension to that however, despite the web's great success as a technology, it remains as an entity suprisingly unstudied. In fact it has been surmissed by many that the web is a technologywhich is changing at a rate greater than what even the most knowledgeable researchers have the ability to observe. Still, it is now inextricably linked to the future of human society, therefore we have a duty to ensure that future development of the web  will make the world a better place.

One may ask how this correlates with our ability for assessments and I digress that it merely stresses a need for the increasing need for finetuning our methods of analyis and our abilities to assess. Furthermore, if I may suggest that considerations be made raising our awareness of the need for assessment and that possibly it could begin with an idealized model for inquiry. This is not to say that the models presented here are the only ideal forms as prescribed by the steps presented and that is not the intention of this post, rather it is to present some of the important aspects of inquiry. It is important to note that variations may be needed and in fact recommended such that appropriate inquiry can be made, and these changes may often lead to new ideas, concepts and theories for further use.

Idealized Inquiry as suggested from

a. Formulate problems - dicover real world situations, construct phenomena, specify variables, analyze it
b. Observe - phenomena in real world conditions
c. Invesitgatge - select appropriate research methods, instruments, tools, designs, and sampling procedures
d. Analyze - explore and describe data, relations, and draw conclusions
e. Communicate the findings such as observations, interviews, surveys, etc.

Idealized Inquiry as suggested from

Steps in the definition of Inquiry -

a. complex situation
b. frame and focus on a triggering question,
c. articulat observations,
d. clarify meaning,
e. cluster inductively,
f. develop shared language,
g, vote and rank,
h, structure abductively,
i. intepret learning,
j. evaluate

Idealized Inquiry as suggested by Karl  

a. Uncover and discover – complex situation or phenomena  
b. Acquire a baseline - be a hunter and gatherer
c. Systematic Analyses - Holistic Critical Thinking
d. Baseline – Lay-it-all-out-there
e. Iterate - lean on design to refine (see 5 why’s below as a example)
f. Get Consensus – include stakeholders
g. Present new knowledge - results, ideas, concepts
           Repeat as necessary -
Note: steps are often non-linear and may become concurrent processes

More thoughts on inquiry and process:
For me recently, when attempting to do a causal diagram for my study, the process of diagramming cause-and-effect helped me brainstorm through some of my thoughts and ideas on the concepts and constructs that I wanted to hit upon. Diagrams are a great tool and often provide a good start. Hopefully the process in generating new diagrams will help by requiring you to re-visit your baseline while creating a visual construct of the data (but I am a visual type person, so that is my preference). It's even more applicable when you are hitting on a topic based on model based reasoning. Have you tried the Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams too? They may help with identifying and listing out key concepts or ideas you may have, and they are a very good "quality control" tool that can be used to help analyze (or qualify) your question(s). 
 It may also help to go through iterations using the 5-whys question-asking technique too.
5-Whys Example
As I was thinking about this the other day, just for interest sake I tried one and thought I would share to help spark some thoughts:

For further entries to this discussion of evaluation and assessment see:

Technology Assessment 101 - Part One for a short discourse on evaluating evaluation, why we evaluate and why we should learn about assessment theory

 Technology Assessment 101 - Part Three for short discourse on assessment and evaluation, making effective assessments, and understanding the decision making process

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Technology Assessment 101 - Part One


This Topic of Choice for this week’s post is part of my own discussion for consideration of completing my dissertation and coincidentally relates to the Futuring and Innovation CS855 course I am taking this term, so I have decided to include posts about it here.

Evaluating Evaluation  – Why evaluate? And why learn assessment theory?

The term “evaluation” is used in a myriad of contexts often used to cover many different kinds of judgments, from which it can be generalized to be the act of judging and assessing the worth of an item or as a systematic determination of a subject’s value and merit. In this regard, we all engage in various forms of evaluation on a daily basis. Whether it be a part of an informal and or part of a formal form of a process. In the case of informal evaluation, the process is often implicit and with little or no structure and where we go through a routine activity of determining a value and making a judgment. For example, in making a decision of which gas station to purchase gas at, or which breakfast cereal to buy at a grocery store, we quickly evaluate the various implications of our decisions and determine a solution. Whereas in the form of a formal evaluation, we go through an explicit process where we follow (generally) a set of data driven activities with structured steps during the decision making process. An example of which can be anywhere from simply deciding on a college to attend, or a car to buy, or it can be as complex as determining company policies and or program directives. Never the less, the outcome of our evaluations will be the decisions that we make for one course of action over another.

Evaluation is an essential tool for improving and maintaining quality. From product, to programs, to services, to organizations and or as equally important, to technologies, it is important to continually assess for quality and in some cases for application. By evaluating evaluation methods we can ensure accountability and prepare/build for the future and by understanding the importance for use of best practices in use of assessment, further allows us to strengthen our credibility of our processes. Furthermore, we can begin to base success of the process, based on sound principles that a fundamental feature of almost every type of evaluation and assessment is its complexity and that we should therefore subscribe to the view that the evaluator can help ensure the quality of feedback about the assessment by making certain that evaluation is “future action-directed, carries both scientific and stakeholder credibility, and takes an holistic approach.” (Chen,2005, p. 6)

The approaches and methods of evaluation that have been developed and are in use are plentiful, thus, it is important for evaluators to select an approach or method that is appropriate for use. For example, if one were to take a Universalist approach, a view would be that there is a “best” method for evaluation. This would be hard pressed to hold true, since one best evaluation approach or research method cannot possibly cover every type of evaluation since situations and conditions may vary greatly from one assessment to another. Therefore an alternative and perhaps better approach to a Universalist theory is that of a Contingency View. In contrast, a contingency view is a perspective that there is no single best way to perform evaluation, and the basic principle is that the individual nature and the uniqueness of evaluation require a range of variation within each approach. In general the contingency viewpoint provides for adjustment in evaluation methods which best fit and serve the needs of the assessment. A lack of understanding of various theoretical and paradigmatic positions and the different methods of evaluation could undermine the design, conduct, and outcome of the desired assessment. Alternatively, one of the first forms in which theories and paradigms are considered is the theory about doing evaluation where we familiarize ourselves and begin to understand desired variations based on our personal beliefs and assumptions about evaluation (evaluating evaluation).

In evaluating technology and in particular regarding causal processes, two basic assumptions (or theories) can be generalized and described as follows. A Descriptive assumption concerns the causal processes that lead to whatever problem a technology, or technology-based project or program is aimed at addressing whereas a Prescriptive assumption prescribes those entities and activities (components, resources, systems, people, etc.) that the designers and/or other key stakeholders in a technology, or technology-based project or program deem necessary to its success. (Learning Space, 2012). Furthermore, in evaluating technology it also becomes important to consider opposing positions or perceptions that often occur. Two of which that commonly occur are those of techno-optimism and those of techno-skepticism.

For further entries to this discussion of evaluation and assessment see:

Technology Assessment 101 - Part Two for short discourse on the need for assessment, our assessment abilities, and ideas for an idealized inquiry with an iterative process
Technology Assessment 101 - Part Three for discourse on assessment and evaluation, making effective assessments, and understanding the decision making process


Clarke,A. (1999) Evaluation Research: An Introduction to Principles, Methods and Practice, London, Sage.

Chen,H.-T. (2005) Practical program evaluation: assessing and improving planning, implementation, and effectiveness. Thousand Oaks, Sage.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Visioning Activity

Lets just say you had all of the time, money and talent in the world. What would you do in these areas?  On your own, try to list 10 ideas for each category (50 total) and do not limit yourself to what is possible today


- learn a language, master Aikido, get a doctorate,
learn guitar

- think tank researcher, mad scientist,
astronaut, CEO, rock star

Philosophical and/or Religious
- visit the Vatican archives, Tibet, a sweat lodge

- go beyond your favorites to your wildest dreams.
I'm off to Mars!

- swimming pool, observatory,
riding academy, private beach


Realizing that these can be somewhat personal as it pertain to personal goals and desires and that it is also subject to change over time, I am not recommending you share these here, but I still thought I would share some of my own here (as an additional thread to CTU CS855 Futuring & Innovation).

I hope you have fun entertaining this on your own as well.

Enjoy and thanks for visiting,


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Here is My List  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


1.      Write a text book
2.      Learn a variety of languages
3.      Participate in a think tank
4.      Develop an emerging media program
5.      Develop a global learning institution
6.      Teach at multiple institutions
7.      Get additional degrees in Math and Science
8.      Complete Post Doc Studies and Research
9.      Privately study and apprentice with a prominent Artist
10.  Visit/consult/apprentice at top university labs across the nation

1.      Write and manage a grant for technology related research
2.      Semi-retire happy
3.      Work in a multinational location
4.      Work on joint school venture for instructional design
5.      Become a Freelance artist
6.      Become a Freelance writer
7.      Own an art studio
8.      Do consulting for programs at top engineering university labs across the nation
9.      Complete a research project to help advance solutions to cure Alzheimer’s
10.  Work on a design to advance future GUI and engineering design interfaces
 Philosophical and/or Religious
 1.      Complete a Christian mission
2.      Take a couple of years off to explore my inner self
3.      Learn to express and share through writing
4.      Learn to express and share through art
5.      Participate long term in a mind and cognitive science forum
6.      Develop total control over my own level of NLP and mental causation
7.      Lead a community art project
8.      Investigate different paths and solutions to inner happiness
9.      Investigate different paths and solutions to social well being
10.  Investigate  and develop different paths and solutions towards Altruism
1.      Take a summer cruise
2.      Backpack across the Uinta’s
3.      Backpack across Europe
4.      Travel across the US in a motorhome
5.      Ride my bike from coast to coast
6.      Go fly-fishing among different continents
7.      Experience deep space travel
8.      See the 7 Wonders (+ plus) of the World
9.      In extension to 7 wonders, visit the latest international Architectural achievements
10.  Experience different nations/cultures for intimate knowledge and experience
1.      Addition for large family gatherings
2.      Build an outdoor kitchen bbq
3.      Convert portion of garage for art studio
4.      Modernize for latest home controls
5.      New Master bath
6.      Swimming Pool
7.      Summer Vacation Condo
8.      Winter time second Home
9.      Mountain Recreation property
10.  Home and care center for multi-generations and or extended family

(See my comments to this post below for further ideas about this activity)