The future is already here, I'm just trying to aggregate it.
“The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.”
So let’s quickly parse out this logic: It is inscribed within our current legal structures that the president can hypothetically use lethal force on U.S. soil. But this hypothetical has already been deemed acceptable under certain circumstances — so it’s not “entirely hypothetical,” because it’s actually already legally permitted according to the attorney general. All that is up for grabs is what counts as “catastrophic” circumstances — something, of course, that executive powers decide.
Ask not for whom the
bell (uh) drone tolls, it tolls for thee.
And in other, drone related, news:
FBI Investigating Unidentified Drone Spotted Near JFK Airport
It’s becoming trendy for Corporate Marketeers and Research departments to call themselves Anthropologists or call what they do Ethnography. And while I myself do this to some degree (I actually prefer phenomenologist but I’m basically doing the same thing) I totally understand the frustration expressed by academic anthropologists.
But the bigger issue for academics is the fear that corporate anthropology is an ethical free-fire zone. “If there isn’t an IRB [institutional review board], a sort of neutral third party that watches out for the interests of those who are being researched, then obviously there is cause for concern,”
Roberto González, a cultural anthropologist who teaches at San Jose State University, goes so far as to argue that those who don’t follow the American Anthropological Association’s code of ethics should no longer be considered anthropologists at all. “Part of being an anthropologist is following a code of ethics, and if you don’t do that, you’re not an anthropologist”—just as you’re no longer fit to call yourself a doctor if you do unauthorized experiments on your patients. “Of course,” Hugh Gusterson adds, “we don’t license anthropologists, so we can’t un-license them either.”
Marketers can adopt the practices but if they don’t also adopt the ethics then it’s like security guards calling themselves police officers. One is hired to protect the people and one is hired to protect corporate property. There’s some overlap but it’s very superficial.
One of the main things I see lacking in corporate anthropology is the simple process of stopping and asking what harm this study might do.
A primary ethical obligation shared by anthropologistsis to do no harm. It is imperative that, before any anthropological work be undertaken —in communities, with non-human primates or other animals, at archaeological and paleoanthropological sites — each researcher think through the possible ways that the research might cause harm.
It’s something that doesn’t even have to be done formally but it’s something I do personally. It’s one of the reasons I feel so much more comfortable using anthropological practices in my customer experience role than I ever did in a marketing role. By definition my job is to look out for the customer.
So if you’re out there doing applied anthropology, good on you. Keep it up, I fully support it. But at least take a few minutes and read the ethics.
This is an excellent article by the man(n) who pioneered wearable computing and the glasses concept in-particular. He has some great comments in here about computer mediated life as well as potential risks to the way Glass is situated. Well worth a read.
I have mixed feelings about the latest developments. On one hand, it’s immensely satisfying to see that the wider world now values wearable computer technology. On the other hand, I worry that Google and certain other companies are neglecting some important lessons. Their design decisions could make it hard for many folks to use these systems. Worse, poorly configured products might even damage some people’s eyesight and set the movement back years.
My concern comes from direct experience. The very first wearable computer system I put together showed me real-time video on a helmet-mounted display. The camera was situated close to one eye, but it didn’t have quite the same viewpoint. The slight misalignment seemed unimportant at the time, but it produced some strange and unpleasant results. And those troubling effects persisted long after I took the gear off. That’s because my brain had adjusted to an unnatural view, so it took a while to readjust to normal vision.
Interesting to note, when I went to go buy a copy of his out of print book Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer on Amazon, the best resellers were from Portland. (Portland has a thing about cyborgs.)