Valley News – Column: Being Human and Raising Intelligence

Published: 7/30/2022 8:00:13 pm

Modified: 7/30/2022 7:57:03 pm

I am not a techno-romantic person. But I believe that technology can solve our most complex problems, although it sometimes raises legal, ethical and social issues in the process. Climate change, reproductive freedom, school safety, random gun violence and other puzzles cry out for technologically innovative solutions. When policy wins and lawmakers clash, technology can come to our rescue.

Humans will not be replaced, but their capabilities can be increased manifold by technologies with embedded intelligence systems. Just imagine how NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has given us a glimpse into the early universe with its sharp and deep infrared photos. We don’t know what impact it will have on our daily lives, if any, but there is no doubt that more than the political dramas being played out in the Capitol, our future will be determined by technologies including information communication technology (ICT), artificial Used to be. Intelligence (AI), Nanotechnology, Space Technology, Biotechnology and Quantum Computing.

There is no endgame in technology. Gun powder, the printing press, the steam engine, the telegraph, the Internet, mobile phones, for example, have been the determinants of history.

The disruptive potential of technologies on societies should not be underestimated. In the early days of globalization, for example, technology pushed jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap skilled labor. Capitalism loves cheap labor. But jobs in the future will be lost not to countries with cheap skilled labor, but to network systems with human-machine embedded intelligence, which will require a new type of skilled workforce, people working with semi-autonomous smart systems. can.

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And no one is more eager to develop smart intelligent systems than the U.S. Army’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to enhance the military’s first response capabilities and keep the nation as out of danger as possible. . They call this the Early Awareness System (EAS), which is different from the Early Warning System (EWS). In EAs, you visualize and calculate the probabilities of events that could happen, events that could happen, and take appropriate proactive measures. On the other hand, in EWS, you deal with developments that have already happened. The concept of First Response Capabilities based on Embedded Intelligence and Early Awareness Systems is finding applications in business, law enforcement and counter-terrorism.

Technologies are rarely alone in this age of digital networking. They have a recombinant ability and converge with others to create new technologies that can be used in ways the original inventors never imagined. A new world of sensory surroundings in which nothing will remain communicative is arising. Based on the convergence of sensors and intelligent technologies, law enforcement and counter-terrorism experts are dealing with terrorism, among other problems, in completely different ways and perhaps more effectively.

Airplanes of the future will have sensors installed inside that record and broadcast any unusual activity to a monitor-and-control center for pre-emptive action. Scientists at QinetiQ, a commercial arm of the UK Ministry of Defense, have developed a working model of a sensor-embedded airplane seat that is able to capture signs of physical changes in a passenger and transmit the information to a cockpit monitor. The signals can enable the system to analyze whether the person is a terrorist or someone who is suffering from deep vein thrombosis, for example.

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The smart seat will eventually be able to record the signs of emotional stress a passenger feels during flight. Hidden seat sensors will provide unobtrusive in-flight monitoring and provide actionable intelligence about activities including the health status of in-flight passengers. More importantly, this information will enable plainclothes air marshals to take preventive action when there is a threat of terrorists taking down or hijacking aircraft. The cockpit will become the Anti-Terrorism Cell.

We have become accustomed to different types of intrusion searches at airports, banks and other places. If the aim is to enhance security, we do not object to the data smart environments collect. We know security cameras are upon us; But when we go to an ATM or a bank teller for a transaction, we do not feel the self-awareness that we are being spied on. This is the price we pay for security and convenience and freedom. There can be no freedom without security. So perhaps we wouldn’t mind getting on a sensor-embedded train or bus if it took us safely to our destination where we can enjoy the privacy we want.

Ahh! But here is the challenge. Can school buildings like airplanes be turned into early awareness smart systems with embedded intelligence? We’ve seen gruesome video of the Uvalde school shooting in Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman walked freely and shot and killed 19 students and two teachers, and wounded 17 others. If Robb Elementary School had been equipped with an embedded networked early awareness intelligence system, the gunman would have been caught long before he could commit the massacre.

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The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is sacred to most Americans, but it should not become a black hole that sucks out all of our other cherished liberties.

Batra teaches at the Graduate College of Norwich University. He is the author of several books, including The First Freedoms and America’s Culture of Innovation, and the most recent, India in a New Key: Nehru to Modi. He is working on a novel about the people of the Upper Valley.

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