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FSN Seminar – March 9 at 1 pm EST


We should trust Artificial Intelligent (AI) to make moral decisions under certain preconditions – A foresight view on Artificial Intelligent Systems of tomorrow

Abstract

The presentation will begin by providing an introduction to some contemporary technological issues around Artificial Intelligence (AI).  This will be followed by an examination of the following thesis about the future of AI in the context that “we should trust AI to make moral decisions under certain preconditions”.

A brief review of selected literature related to the thesis statement will follow along with a discussion about some present unresolved ethical and moral issues.  We will then discuss the ‘promise’ of artificial intelligence in serving society.  This will be coupled to the observation that we are living in an emerging technological environment that is going fully digital and in so doing is creating vast quantities of data that can be further exploited.  We will then show how the philosophy of information impacts our understanding through the exploitation of AI.

Next, we will look at the human moral cognition process that helps us understand the differences between right and wrong and good and bad.  We will then see if we can apply the human concept of “good” to AI systems.  This will be undertaken by considering the philosophy of the Canadian Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian Bernard Lonergan and his Generalized Empirical Method (GEM), as an ideal moral practice that could be used in developing moral AI systems.

Finally, we will show through further analysis, as per the use of GEM, a way of doing self-evaluation.  The seminar will end with conclusions and recommendations for future work.

Biography Richard Viger, CD, BSc., MA

After completing high school Richard spent one year studying electronics at the Collège Lionel-Groulx.  He then joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the late seventies, where he was trained as an Air Force Communications and Radar Systems Technician.  He then spent a number of years applying his skills in the NavCom lab at Canadian Forces Base Comox, in British Columbia.

Richard was selected to participate in the Canadian Forces University Training Program.  He completed his Bachelor of Computer Science (BSc.) from the University of Victoria.  Upon graduation Richard received his military commission in the Air Force wing of the Canadian Forces as a Communication Electronics Engineering Officer.  He was then posted to Ottawa to manage various computer systems and act as a communications and security engineer in a number of Defence Headquarters’ offices until his retirement in 2001 after 22 years of service in DND.

Two months after 9/11, Richard joined the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE), where he held a number of positions in various business areas of the Establishment.  He spent his last few years in the Research Coordination Office within the Research Directorate.

In 2020, Richard graduated with a Master of Arts (MA) in Public Ethics, with a focus on Science & Technology from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Then in the fall of 2020, Richard retired from CSE after 41+ years of service in the Government of Canada.  Today, Richard continues his research in the fields of AI and ethics.

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FSN Seminar – Feb 25

Social technologies and the ideology of connection

Speaker: Dr Zoetanya Sujon, Programme Director for the Communications and Media Department, London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK

Abstract

 
In the transition to the 21st century, we have moved from a media and communications paradigm dominated by mass and broadcast media to one where networked and social technologies shape personal and public relationships. In this talk, Zoetanya Sujon draws from her forthcoming book, The Social Media Age, to share her view of the what this shift means for the infrastructures of everyday life, cultural patterns and economic systems. The aim of this work is twofold: to introduce a critical framework for making sense of social media as historically grounded technologies, and to push users past the seamless interfaces of social media.
Understanding social media means asking questions about society, culture and economy. What we find are dense connections between platform infrastructures and our experiences of the social. Indeed, a closer look unveils complex tensions between the materialities of networks and platform ideologies as they shape and shift social relations with often paradoxical and complex consequences. Sociality, like social media, is increasingly public and private, commercial and personal, hyperglobal and hyperlocal. The links between specific instances of social relations, like memes and selfies fit into the rise of datafication and dataveillance, as well as broader transformations in screen industries, social movements, intimacy and personal connection.

Bio

 
Dr Zoetanya Sujon is Programme Director for the Communications and Media department in London College of Communication (LCC), University of the Arts London. Before joining LCC in 2018, Zoetanya was a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Regent’s University London and lecturer/Fellow in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she completed her PhD. Originally trained as a sociologist, Zoetanya draws from an interdisciplinary lens to address the relationships between new technologies and social life. Zoetanya has published in leading media journals such as New Media and Society, Social Media + Society, and the International Journal of Communication.
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US Election Results – Implications

Please find the FSN Discussion Group paper resulting from the January 29th meeting on the US Presidential Election here: FSN Post-US Election Sessions – Final


Thank you all for great discussion, here are the slides:Présentation 29.01.21v.ff


FSN ZOOM DISCUSSION of the US Election Results – implications

29 January 2021, 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Hosted by Peter MacKinnon, moderated by Guy Stanley. Bios attached

Abstract

This FSN discussion is a follow-up to the FSN session of November 26th regarding the then state of the US Presidential Election and gazing into the near-term future post Inauguration.  Thus, the time for the second discussion has arrived.  Here is the  Moderator’s discussion Paper from the November session (US Election FSN Moderator’s report 26.11.20 session). It will be used to set the stage for the ensuing discussion against the themes of the paper and the latest events as they happen up until the meeting date

Two questions that were used to guide the initial discussion can be found below.  They are still relevant in slightly modified form to guide the next conversation:

  • What and when might we see a New Normal, given post US election and post COVID-19?
  • What are the key drivers, trends, wild cards & indicators that will shape and characterize the “New Normal and when?

For this session, the aim is to collect and collate ideas on points in the discussion paper and on questions (a) and (b) above.  The overall objective being to glean a view or views on where the next US Administration is heading, especially with respect to the Trump Administration.

Bios

Guy Stanley has been active with the Foresight Synergy Network for many years. Born in Toronto, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in international history (LSE 1974) and a BA (History & Pol. Sci.) from the University of Victoria (1967).  His career combined consulting with Fortune 500 multinational firms and international organizations with university teaching and research in Geneva, New York, Montréal and Ottawa. Guy was Director of the IMBA program at the University of Ottawa (2000-3) and Director of Technology & Innovation at the Conference Board of Canada. (2004-7) He taught international commerce at McGill and HEC, Montréal 1991-2007 and worked with l’Ecole polytechnique de Montréal (2007-8). His latest book, Rebuilding Liberalism, Dundurn Press, was published in July 2019. He lives in Beaconsfield, QC.

Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with both Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.  He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society such as Smart Cities. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/.  In late 2020 Peter was appointed a member of one of the world’s major artificial intelligence advisory bodies in the form of the American Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (https://ieeeusa.org/volunteers/committees/aiaspc/).

NOTE/RSVP

The Zoom link will be sent out the night before the meeting. Should you wish to join this seminar and have not done so through the Foresight Network, please contact the host, Peter MacKinnon at “mackinnon.peter” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com> before 17:00 on January 28th.

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FSN Seminar: An Overview of Smart Cities Five to Ten Years Out in a Post Pandemic World


FSN ZOOM SEMINAR January 15, 2021, 1 to 3:30 pm

Title: An Overview of Smart Cities Five to Ten Years Out in a Post Pandemic World

Abstract
The current pandemic is accelerating the need for cities to transform from independent transactional environments of siloed city operations into open data and digitally interconnected cityscapes.

This presentation is based on findings from a recent research report prepared by a team from Global Advantage, an Ottawa based management consultancy, for a federal agency.  The approach was an internet-based literature review on smart city technologies and trends out to 2030.
This talk will touch on the organization and structure of Smart Cities, the technology components to become a Smart City, Smart City technology trends, and a systems view of Smart City applications with examples in ITS, eHealth and energy.
Bio
Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with Telfer, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa.
He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has been involved in Smart Cities initiatives since the mid-1990s.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society and has contributed to building various national technical assets such as Canarie, CIRA, and Compute Canada. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/
Note/RSVP
Should you wish to join this seminar please contact the speaker at “mackinnon.peter” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com> before noon January 15th.
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UNESCO High-Level Futures Literacy Summit – An Invitation to Participate

UNESCO High-Level Futures Literacy Summit – An Invitation to Participate
Online 8 to 12 December 2020
A High-Level Futures Literacy Summit will provide testimonials from around the world that being futures literate changes what people see and do. From high ranking leaders in the public and private sector to activists, artists, students and professors, the Summit will show how people become futures literate and the impact it has on all aspects of life, from dealing with COVID-19 to breaking the reproduction of oppression.

 

Now, as always, the future is uncertain. Climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, social exclusion, racism, oppression of women, inter-generational conflict, and more, shatter the conventional images of the future that humans use to feel secure, to be confident enough to invest in tomorrow.

This is not a small problem. Without images of the future that inspire hope and foster collaboration there is a high risk of despair and war. The malaise of poverty-of-the-imagination must be overcome.

More info and access can be found here: https://events.unesco.org/event?id=255234025&lang=1033
This event runs from 8–12 December 2020, online and at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.  See URL above for details and access.
Access to this event has been made available to the FSN Group via Professor Jonathan Calof of Telfer.  If you have any questions regarding this event please contact “Peter MacKinnnon” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com>
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FSN Seminar – Nov. 26

FSN ZOOM DISCUSSION of the US Election Results – implications

26 November, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Hosted by Peter MacKinnon, moderated by Guy Stanley. Bios attached

Two questions to guide the conversation: (1) What and when might we see a New Normal, given post US election and post COVID-19? (2) What are the key drivers, trends, wild cards & indicators that will shape and characterize the “New Normal and for how long?

Basic theme: The new US admin wants to “build back better”: Is this realistic or feasible?

If “Yes” – then what scenarios apply? if No, then what scenarios apply? In both cases, what are the takeaways for the US, the world- and for Canada? And, of course, what could go wildly wrong or right?

Clearly, two hours is not enough to do more than air a lot of possibilities and policy issues. A second session after Jan 20 will re-examine the situation and perhaps aim at some firm(er) conclusions.  For this session, the aim is to collect and collate ideas on points 1 and 2 above. A rapporteur’s summary will be circulated a week or so after this first session which might be used as a starting point for a follow-up session late January, 2021.

Bio-Guy Stanley, Ph.D.

Guy Stanley has been active with the Foresight Synergy Network for many years. Born in Toronto, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in international history (LSE 1974) and a BA (History & Pol. Sci.) from the University of Victoria (1967).  His career combined consulting with Fortune 500 multinational firms and international organizations with university teaching and research in Geneva, New York, Montréal and Ottawa. Guy was Director of the IMBA program at the University of Ottawa (2000-3) and Director of Technology & Innovation at the Conference Board of Canada. (2004-7) He taught international commerce at McGill and HEC, Montréal 1991-2007 and worked with l’Ecole polytechnique de Montréal (2007-8). His latest book, Rebuilding Liberalism, Dundurn Press, was published last July. He lives in Beaconsfield, QC.

Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with both Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.  He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society such as Smart Cities. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/

Please email foresightsynergynetwork@gmail.com for zoom link.

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FSN Seminar – Oct. 23

A VICIOUS CIRCUS IN A VICIOUS CIRCLE

The New York Times Magazine has a political news column titled The National Circus. The articles, often by Frank Rich, are excellent, analytical and in-depth, going beyond a spectacle which no longer delights us but fascinates as much as it exhausts and maddens us.

For this talk, and forthcoming essay, Nicole Morgan has borrowed and built upon this image and metaphor of the circus, eliminating the overly restrictive qualifier of National. To this she adds the adjective vicious, chosen carefully from all her research on political hatred.  The internet’s instant tweets and circular echo chambers are perfect for compounding the toxicity described by Neil Postman in 1985 in Amusing Ourselves to Death, a book to be re-read. The product of today’s vicious and circular political hatred is death in many forms: death in the mind, death in the streets, death from the sky, and the death of much of our planet. Ms. Morgan will try to demonstrate that this is the goal of this vicious circus, a show with many plotters writing a unified script.

UNESCO video where it explains the analysis our modern world starting from Renaissance: http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/document-2325

Date and time: Oct. 23, 2020, 2 pm to 3:30 pm

Location: Zoom, link to be send out shortly before the event.

Posted in Papers, Uncategorized

2001 WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY

September 2001. I had just started at the Royal Military College. The World Future Society I belonged to asked me to write about terrorism, a subject they had not been previously studied. In a hurry, I produced the several scenarios trying to go beyond what I call the pull of small events and placed them into the mega changes which were agitating the world. From that perspective a burst of anxious violence was to be expected and not only from Al Qaeda. Although, later I co authored a book on Al Qaida (Mathieu Guidère Le Manuel de recrutement d’Al Qaïda, Paris, Le Seuil, 2007) , I was also lucky enough to work in St. Cyr with experts who looked at the global picture. All terrorism is alike but some is far more dangerous. In 2007 I started studying the emerging violence in the US, which led to my book Haine froide (Paris, Le Seuil, 2012). I qualify the hatred by froide (cold) because it is normalized by cold numbers. The emergence of the white supremacism is global and will persist for the while, whether Donald Trump is reelected or not.

Link to the essay: 2001 WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY