David Collin

Beaverton, OR, United States

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Comments & conversations

123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
Is it OK if private companies disclose all your social network or other internet records to police authorities to quell civil disturbances?
Both. Legally are privacy agreements with service providers meaningful if authorities want to commandeer information? What about the legality of obtaining information about associates that may or may not have any relation to the situation in question. If one person is inquired about will others become "of interest" by association? Morally don't providers have an obligation to serve the privacy interests of their users even if the authorities panic or just want the convenience of data -- including photos -- available from participation in social activities?
123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
When is a "riot" a good riot and when is it a bad riot?
Geesh! Even Scientific American is getting into the commentary about riots. They have a piece on their website today titled: "Rabble with a Cause." (http://bit.ly/owR0oN) It's a rundown of riot and mob behavior studies over the years. Here's a quote: "Even what appears to be a clear case of crowd violence can be misleading. A recent review of crowd behavior theories (pdf) pointed to the old idea of a mob, where "individuals lose all sense of self-responsibility... and primitive behavior results." But in reality, any riot includes both collective action and individual acts of opportunism, and these are hard to tease apart. Some individuals, Reicher explains, will use a crowd as a "cover," to do things they would not normally do. These single-minded actions do not necessarily represent the behavior of the group as a whole, even though it can appear so. " Ironically a lot of studies of riots are cases of rioting in Britain. NPR has an article summarizing four riots in Britain in the '80s titled: "Foreign Policy: Deja Vu — UK Riots Nothing New." (http://n.pr/qkgimo) Still, the social networking that seems to have spread the rioting is a new twist. If and when there are more riots in the US it'll be interesting to see how it gets tweeted.
123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
When is a "riot" a good riot and when is it a bad riot?
British PM Cameron invited ex-LAPD Chief Bratton to consult with them on how to suppress "gangs". Unfortunately Bratton is likely to recommend some things Cameron and Scotland Yard don't want to hear. Bratton is quoted as saying:"...he said that 'the issue of why kids join gangs is pretty universal: They want to belong to something. They feel disenfranchised; many come from broken homes without parents in any sense of the word.'" (http://lat.ms/qZGwS4) Uh-oh! You mean the police might have to listen to these kids and maybe support solving some community problems? That doesn't sound like Cameron who just says they're all criminals. Cameron has also declared that multi-culturalism in Britain has failed. That's not a good way to start a conversation. I think Cameron only wants to learn how to put the boot-heel down on the necks of rioters and thinks we know how to do that better in America than they do in Britain. In the US we do have 2,000,000 people in prison. That's one way to thin the herd. For minorities its known as cradle-to-jail life.
123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
Atheism = 1 belief system, what are the rest of yours?
Thanks for the links, Vasil. Excellent. Why not just reject being labeled? For my dad religion didn't exist. He never thought about it one way or the other. It played no role in his life whatsoever. If you asked if he was an "atheist" (with its pejorative implications) he certainly would have said "no". In what other area are we pushed to accept and defend some kind of label when it is irrelevant to us?
123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
Human mind Vs Robotic program
Thanks for the reference to Harris' article, Jonathan. I read it quickly and I've got to say I don't get it. I'll need to do more reading on "compatibilism". At the end he concludes: " Thoughts and intentions simply arise in the mind. What else could they do?" I dunno, Sam, what's your theory? Let's test it. He trashes free-will but leaves us with something as inconclusive as that! I don't buy it. Seems to me the article is a mish-mash of ideas about thought and mind that have been chewed on by philosophers for a couple thousand years mixed in with a smattering of recent neuroscience. And, as with philosophy and psychology through the past few centuries, we still have very partial knowledge of how the brain -- the only organ of consciousness and mind we can be sure of -- works. I will explore more, but I've learned to be more patient and wait until more is known scientifically with these deeply complex questions before standing on some conclusion. In the meantime we can all have a lot of fun with speculation, personal hypotheses, and opinions here on the TED forums. When science finally spells it out we'll have lost an entertaining mystery.
123271
David Collin
Posted about 3 years ago
Human mind Vs Robotic program
Well "ever" has the suggestion of infinity and I'd be foolish to say anything can never be done. But my observation is that quite frequently big ambitions greatly underestimate the complexity of what's involved so they fall short of their prognostications. Curing cancer, nuclear fusion as an abundant power source, and, above all, artificial intelligence seem to be things that have turned out to be far more complex than anybody thought. Some prognosticators are still making extravagant claims (eg, Kurzeweil, et al and the singularity). I'm no longer impressed with electronic engineers who think they can reverse-engineer the brain. I've personally known Silicon Valley engineers who thought they could manage cancer research better than medical and biological scientists. It took them a few years to learn that all biology is more complex than any electronics they had worked on. Perhaps the biggest finding of the last decade of genome decoding is that the processes of gene expression into a phenotype is much more complex than anybody thought when the first genome was sequenced a decade ago. Beyond these mountains are more mountains.