In October 2023 I had the privilege to talk at the Nerd Night in Christchurch. This event series operates at the intersection of comedy, popular culture and science. I talked about my adventures in exploring the peer review process. Some of them to the annoyance of my fellow scientists, conference organizers and predatory publishers. But always with a nod to comic effect and a focus on the overcompetitive beast we call academia.
What a national survey reveals about AI in New Zealand
We just published the article “Personality and demographic correlates of support for regulating artificial intelligence” in the AI and Ethics journal. We analysed data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study survey that collected around 48 thousand responses from New Zealanders. The survey asked them if they support the strict regulation limiting the development and use of Artificial Intelligence. We analysed if the response to this question is related to the respondent’s personality and social economic indicators.
Data revealed that support for strict regulation of AI is positively related with agreeableness, neuroticism, and honesty–humility. However, it is negatively related to openness to experiences. Being female, older, non-European, religious, being single, a parent, living rural, being born in NZ, and living in a more economically deprived region were all related to support for strict regulation of AI. However, how secure one felt in their current job and one’s level of education were not significantly related to their support for the strict regulation of AI.
Are robots zombies? This might seem like a strange question at first, but it leads to one of the most important questions in science today: what is consciousness and can robot’s become conscious? These questions fascinate many people. And when Blake Lemoine suggested that Google’s latest AI Lambda had become sentient, it triggered a worldwide media frenzy. In this HRI podcast episode, I talk with Professor Jack Copeland about machine consciousness.
The Christchurch City Council changed its fee structure for swimming pool admission as of October 1st, 2022. There are some important changes for disabled swimmers who have a Hāpai Access card.
While there is a 25% discount for annual pool membership, there is a 50% discount for casual entry fees. The later includes multi-visit pass. The question now is, how often do you need to swim per week before the annual membership becomes the cheaper option.
The graph above shows that you need to swim around 3.25 times on average per week before the annual membership becomes cheaper.
While I applaud the Christchurch City Council for increasing the discount for casual fees from 25% to 50%, I would have appreciated it even more if they had extended this discount to the annual membership. Active swimmers will be forced to give up their annual membership if they swim more than three times a week. Normally, discounts are setup so that the more you use a service, the higher the discount becomes.
No other discount category, such as Community Services Card or Super Gold Card, has this inconsistency.
For abled visitors with no discount or visitors with a 25% discount (Community Services Card or Super Gold Card), already visiting the pool more than twice a week justifies an annual pool membership:
It is unclear why the Christchurch City Council wants to make going to the pool for disabled swimmers more of a hassle than for others. Annual memberships is quick an easy. No need to constantly refresh the cards or pay every time at the counter.
It would be great if the CCC would make our live not only more affordable, but also easier.
Autonomous Vehicles (AV) are the riskiest form of human-robot interaction. One the one hand they offer unparalleled improvements to the safety and comfort of drivers, passengers and other traffic participants. They also promise to reduce emission. On the other hand, they demand new considerations for trust and responsibilities in human-robot interaction. The field of tension between autonomy, trust and liability can only be manoeuvred on the basis of objective data. Government agencies will have to implement clear obligations and standards for reporting the performances of AVs. This is the only way for consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases and the associated risks. In this podcast episode we will critically review the available data, the market situation and the recent developments.