Harbisson, Neil, “Humans Should Challenge Technology by Becoming a Cyborg”, New York Times, 05 December 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/12/05/is-artificial-intelligence-taking-over-our-lives/humans-should-challenge-technology-by-becoming-a-cyborg OP-ED

In his newspaper opinion piece, (Humans Should Challenge Technology by Becoming a Cyborg), Neil Harbisson suggests that if we do not want technology to become more intelligent than humans, we need to become technology: i.e., cyborgs. Harbisson believes that by becoming cyborgs, we can add new senses and additional organs to our bodies and, in effect, redesign ourselves to evolve at the same speed as A.I. Harbisson’s purpose is to persuade his audience that our current evolutionary step is to merge with technology and take an active part in the birth of our future selves. Harbisson seems to be targeting readers aged 24-35 who are willing to manipulate their bodies to change the world.

Harbisson’s argument falls primarily on policy, and it becomes apparent when he states, “If we become cyborgs we can evolve at the same speed as our technological counterparts.” Harbisson acknowledges the existence of A.I.: conjecture; and defines A.I. as advancing quicker than humans but by adding it to our bodies, we could advance just as quickly. The audience can infer that Harbisson believes it would be beneficial for society to implement A.I. into our bodies, such as when he states, “We are the first generation that can truly … extend our bodies’ capacity to experience the world.”: referencing quality. Harbisson’s policy – society should change themselves to keep up with technology – directly opposes Ito’s policy – we should change technology so it will not reflect society.

Ito, Joi, “Well-Intentioned Uses of Technology Can Go Wrong”, New York Times, 05 December 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/12/05/is-artificial-intelligence-taking-over-our-lives/well-intentioned-uses-of-technology-can-go-wrong OP-ED

In his newspaper opinion piece, (Well-Intentioned Uses of Technology Can Go Wrong), Joi Ito argues that without control, technology meant to advance our well-being could amplify the worst aspects of our society. Ito acknowledges the existence of A.I. but focuses on a subsect of A.I, E.I. Ito’s article implies that because humans create E.I., they will propagate the same biases that plague society. Ito’s purpose is to persuade his audience – Innovators who will direct the advancement of A.I. – that we must build a new kind of computer science that creates technologies that are not only “smart,” but are also socially responsible.

Ito’s argument falls primarily on policy, which becomes apparent when he states, “…we must build a new kind of computer science that creates technologies that are not only “smart,” but are also socially responsible.”. Ito acknowledges the existence of A.I.: conjecture, but focuses on a subsect of A.I., E.I. Ito defines E.I. as algorithms trained by humans with the ability to propagate the same biases that plague our society. Ito believes that without action, E.I. will amplify the worst aspects of our society: quality. Ito’s policy – we should change technology so it will not reflect society – directly opposes Harbisson’s policy – society should change themselves to keep up with technology.

Popcorn, Faith, “Artificial Intelligence May Usher in a New Golden Age”, New York Times, 05 December 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/12/05/is-artificial-intelligence-taking-over-our-lives/artificial-intelligence-may-usher-in-a-new-golden-age OP-ED

In her newspaper opinion piece, (Artificial Intelligence May Usher in a New Golden Age), Faith Popcorn claims that robots replacing our jobs will free our minds from the drudgery of work so that we might revel in a new Golden Age. Popcorn supports this argument by providing evidence of robots being efficient at jobs held by humans; for example, Watson, the IBM supercomputer, diagnosed a Tokyo women’s rare leukemia when doctors could not. Popcorn aims to convince her audience that “robo-replacing” may not be such a bad thing as it can allow society to evolve from a work-driven mess to a more creative and collaborative environment. Her purpose suggests that her intended audience are the working class concerned about the effects robots may have on their jobs.

Popcorn’s argument primarily falls into definition because her article does not reach quality. For example, Popcorn states, “Yes, it’s possible that thousands of us will be robo-replaced [but] With our minds freed from the drudgery of work, perhaps we’ll elevate our society and revel in a new Golden Age.”. Because popcorn states “perhaps we’ll elevate our society” she never clearly states if “robo-replacing” will benefit or harm society: prohibiting her from reaching quality. Popcorn acknowledges the existence of A.I.: conjecture and defines A.I. as efficient services that may replace human occupations. Popcorn and Okorafor have similar conjecture and definition. They both talk about the existence of A.I. in robots: conjecture, and how robots are already providing efficient services that will only continue to get more efficient: definition.

Okorafor, Nnedi, “Robots Are Making Roads Safer and Less Congested in Africa”, New York Times, 05 December 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/12/05/is-artificial-intelligence-taking-over-our-lives/robots-are-making-roads-safer-and-less-congested-in-africa OP-ED

In her newspaper opinion piece, (Robots Are Making Roads Safer and Less Congested in Africa), Nnedi Okorafor claims that robots provide efficient, unbiased services and believes A.I. will allow them to perform even more complex tasks. Okorafor supports this argument by explaining how humanoid robots planted in African city intersections perform the job of four traffic lights and cannot be bribed like many police in the city. Okorafor aims to persuade her audience of a positive effect on the advancement of A.I. in these cities. Her purpose suggests her intended audience are people who have influence over these African cities that might be ambivalent on the implementation of A.I. into the cities.

Okorafor’s argument falls primarily into quality, which becomes apparent due to her emphasis on the robots. For example, Okorafor states, “These robot traffic cops work around the clock and are beloved by locals — and they don’t accept bribes … the next logical step would be to upgrade them with artificial intelligence so they can perform their complex tasks better.” Because of her emphasis on the robot, the audience can infer that Okorafor’s definition is that these robots are already providing efficient, unbiased services and that Okorafor believes the implementation of A.I. into these robots will benefit society: quality. Both Okorafor and Popcorn have similar definitions; however, Okorafor’s definition – robots provide efficient unbiased services – opposes Ito’s – E.I. reflects the biases that plague society. This opposition occurs because both Okorafor and Ito acknowledge the existence of A.I: conjecture; but diverge in their definition, with Okorafor talking about a robot currently without A.I. and Ito talking about human-made algorithms (E.I).

Conclusion

The four authors agree that A.I. exists: conjecture, but then split at definition. For example, Ito’s definition focuses on human-made E.I. (a subsect of A.I.). He believes that without control, E.I. will propagate the same biases that plague society. Okorafor’s definition focuses on efficient unbiased traffic robots currently without A.I. She believes that if we were to implement A.I. into these robots, it would allow them to perform even more complex tasks. Popcorn defines A.I. as replacing human occupations and believes that A.I. could elevate our society if we let it. Harbisson Defines A.I. as advancing quicker than humans. He believes if we were to implement A.I. into our bodies, we could advance just as quickly.

However, even with their different definitions, three of the four articles continue to be quality. Ito and Harbisson show similar qualities, believing that A.I. can go out of our control if society doesn’t act. Okorafor’s article, on the other hand, implies that A.I. implementation into these traffic robots will allow them to complete more complex tasks without any adverse effects. Popcorn never reaches quality because she doesn’t clearly state if “robo-replacing” will benefit or harm society, stating, “perhaps we’ll elevate our society”. For policy, Harbisson and Ito are the only articles to reach it and take opposing sides on how society should act. Harbisson believes that if we don’t want A.I. to evolve past humanity, we need to implement A.I. into our bodies to evolve at the same pace. On the other hand, Ito believes we should change A.I. instead of changing humans, stating, “…we must build a new kind of computer science that creates technologies that are not only “smart,” but are also socially responsible.”. With stasis lying at definition, the authors’ qualities and policies do not align. If a rhetor were to enter this debate, they would need to create a definition that unifies each of the authors’ definitions so that their other levels of stasis can be analogized.

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