Category Archives: Ramblings

08

Feb, 2017

Every now and again I get on my soap box. You can blame it on my mother who has taught ethics for over twenty years. I will try to make it brief and relatively painless.

Technology and innovation is expanding at an ever increasing pace. The internet has given us thousands of ways to communicate and not communicate at the exact same time. Complex technologies are layered so deep that thousands of people can work on a single project. It becomes easy to sit back and be a faceless member of that project.

Recently there have been some high profile instances of questionable ethics in innovation and technology. A great example of this is the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Here was a company that asked the programmers and engineers making the emissions control software to knowingly falsify results. I can’t imagine a situation where the programmers and quality control people wouldn’t see the problem. I expect that the justification was that the boss asked it to be done and so the blame rests with them. This is a false assumption. The blame rests with all of us.

We have a culture where we are afraid to stand up and say “this is the wrong thing to do”. If you are one engineer in a staff of hundreds and you refuse to do something because it’s not ethically right, you will most likely be replaced with someone who fears for their job more than you do.

Large and small companies, government agencies, and institutions of all types need to have a culture where it is easy for someone to say “we shouldn’t be doing this”. This can range from open – non judgmental – lines of communication with your boss, to departments where ethical concerns are listened to – and acted upon. An open discussion on what is the right thing to do is vital to our future with technology.

As technology continues to get more advanced, the ethical thinking that we have taken for granted must be put at the forefront of development. If we don’t, we will soon face a reality where we won’t be able to make those decisions anymore.

Ethical decisions in technology development are not a luxury. Ethics should be front and center or we won’t have them to worry about in the future.

16

Nov, 2016

crystal-ball

I’m going to break out the fuzzy crystal ball today. It’s chipped in places and it seems to have an odd smell of sweat socks, but hey, you use what you have. (Full disclosure: I have no psychic powers whatsoever)

We are rapidly approaching a future that many of us don’t see – or want to see. This is a future where just about anything that can be done by a person will not be. This is a future where the job you have today (or tomorrow) won’t even exist. This is not just about manufacturing. This will transcend all fields and job types. Give me any example and I will most likely be able to argue that a machine or Machine Intelligence will be able to do that job better than most – probably within our lifetimes. (more…)

06

Oct, 2016

img_3dprinthead

Two words that we don’t usually put together: artisan and technology. In our daily lives the technology that we use is mass produced and void of individual character. Rarely do we see something from new technology that is unique and representative of the creator. (more…)

img-ransomwareThere has been a lot of news recently regarding Ransomware. From hospitals shutting down until they pay up, or the latest tricks that makes the malicious software look like a Windows update, it looks like our computer files are going to be hijacked around every corner of the internet. (more…)

06

Aug, 2012

Curiosity - Photo: NASA/JPL-CaltechI always get a little excited each time there is a milestone in our exploration of space, and last night was no exception as I watched the Mars Curiosity landing. I believe that our future lies outside of our tiny spot in the universe. While watching the faces of the engineers and scientists that brought about one of the most complex extra-terrestrial landings ever, it was clear that they shared this vision. They believe in striving for something better and expanding our expectations.

(more…)

15

May, 2012

The last year has been very busy around Miller Consulting Services, and I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who had the projects that kept me that way. However, with the increased work came an increased need to be “available”. (more…)

08

Oct, 2010

I’ll admit it – I’m a geek. I enjoy implementing new technology before it becomes mainstream. I canceled my cable service about a year ago and I haven’t looked back. It has been replaced by media servers and streaming systems that give me more choices than I ever had before. I’ll go over some of those choices and show you just how easy it is to get started. (more…)

29

Jul, 2010

I’ve written a lot about social networking lately; both my skepticism and how I finally broke down and joined the surge. Just a little while ago I came to a realization: none of this is new. We’ve all heard the phrase “there’s nothing new under the sun” but when it comes to services like Facebook and Twitter, isn’t that something new? Let me explain. (more…)

04

Mar, 2010

Today I want to get on my soapbox. I hope you will forgive me if I stray out of the tech realm just a bit – although most of what I will talk about is related to technology in our lives.

Oh those spying eyes…
Most of you have probably heard and maybe even followed what has been happening in the Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia. For those of you who haven’t here is a quick refresher. (more…)

29

Jan, 2010

We all do it in one way or another. Watching the neighbor out the window, listening to the cell phone conversation of the person next to us, or even just reading the latest news. It’s all a form of voyeurism. We want to know what is happening and what other people are doing, and one part of us wants to think that we can do it better. (more…)