Techno Sapiens: The Automate Everything Edition

Welcome to Techno Sapiens, a biweekly series of six podcasts hosted by Future Tense fellows Christine Rosen, senior editor of the New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, and Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer who has worked for Google, eBay, and Dropbox, among others. Each podcast will examine how technology—now and in the future—will impact us as a species, and how we relate to each other.

On today’s episode, Christine and Marvin discuss online automation with Christopher Steiner, engineer and author of Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World. The hosts ask whether we’re removing human error by letting algorithms take over everything from the stock market to driving, or if we’re ceding too much control to calculations that may have serious flaws.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

  • Cockpit automation is causing pilots to daydream while flying, studies show.
  • Algorithms are taking over Wall Street.
  • Could trading algorithms cause another catastrophic “flash crash”?
  • Even just getting regular directions from an app like Siri could be dangerous to your cognition.
  • Deep learning algorithms are taking hold in the medical industry.
  • The finely tuned algorithms of the music service, Pandora, are increasing listening hours.

Contributors:

Christine Rosen was a Future Tense fellow. She is a writer and senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, where she covers the social impact of technology, bioethics, and the history of genetics.

Marvin Ammori