This is definitely worth a look, whether you’re into the idea of post-publication peer review or not.
Lethal Autonomous Robots (\”Killer Robots\”)
Monday, 18 November 2013 05:00 pm to 07:00 pm EST
Global Learning Center (in Tech Square), room 129
WATCH the simultaneously streamed WEBCAST at:
Debate and Q&A for both
Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) are machines that can decide to kill. Such a technology has the potential to revolutionize modern warfare and more. The need for understanding LARs is essential to decide whether their development and possible deployment should be regulated or banned. Are LARs ethical?
“The ‘big’ there is purely marketing,” Mr. Reed said. “This is all fear … This is about you buying big expensive servers and whatnot.”
Also funny what he says about his own education ….
Impact Story is one of the two altmetrics tools that allow individual researchers to find out something about the social media buzz surrounding their activities; the other is Altmetric.com. Although other developers exist, I can’t seem to figure out how I, as an individual, can use their tools (I’m looking at you, Plum Analytics).
There are a few major differences between Impact Story and Altmetric.com from a user standpoint. First, Impact Story is not for profit, while Altmetric.com is a business. Second, Impact Story steers one to create a collection of products that together tell a story of one’s impact. Altmetric.com, on the other hand, steers one to generate figures for the impact of individual products. Third, Impact Story allows for a range of products, including those tagged with URLs as well as DOIs; Altmetric.com only works with DOIs. This means that Impact Story can gather info on things like blog posts, while Altmetric.com is focused on scholarly articles. Finally, and this is a big difference, Impact Story deemphasizes numbers, while Atlmetric.com assigns a number, the Altmetric score, to each product.
Here is my latest Impact Story.
It’s interesting to see how Impact Story and Altmetric differ, both in their approaches and in terms of what they find on the same products.
I think the implications of these tools are enormous. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!
Francis Rememdios has organized a session at the 4S Annual Meeting in which he, David Budtz Pedersen, and I will serve as critics of Steve Fuller’s book Preparing for Life in Humanity 2.0. We’ll be live tweeting as much as possible during the session, using the hashtag #humanity2 for those who want to follow. There is also a more general #4s2013 that should be interesting to follow for the next few days.
Here are the abstracts for our talks:
Humanity 2.0, Synthetic Biology, and Risk Assessment
Francis Remedios, Social Epistemology Editorial Board member
As a follow-up to Fuller’s Humanity 2.0, which is concerned with the impact of biosciences and nanosciences on humanity, Preparing for Life in Humanity 2.0 provides a more detailed analysis. Possible futures are discussed are: the ecological, the biomedical and the cybernetic. In the Proactionary Imperative, Fuller and Lipinska aver that for the human condition, the proactionary principle, which is risk taking, is an essential part should be favored over the precautionary principle, which is risk aversion. In terms of policy and ethics, which version of risk assessment should be used for synthetic biology, a branch of biotechnology? With synthetic biology, life is created from inanimate material. Synthetic biology has been dubbed life 2.0. Should one principle be favored over the other?
So, I am sorry to have missed most of the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy. On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my involvement with the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility for any other academic opportunity. I love the CSFR meetings, and I think we may even be able to make a difference occasionally. I always leave the meetings energized and thinking about what I can do next.
That said, I am really happy to be on my way back to the ATL to participate in the last day of the Atlanta Conference. Ismael Rafols asked me to participate in a roundtable discussion with Cassidy Sugimoto and him (to be chaired by Diana Hicks). Like I’d say ‘no’ to that invitation!
The topic will be the recent discussions among bibliometricians of the development of metrics for individual researchers. That sounds like a great conversation to me! Of course, when I indicated to Ismael that I was bascially against the idea of bibliometricians coming up with standards for individual-level metrics, Ismael laughed and said the conversation should be interesting.
I’m not going to present a paper; just some thoughts. But I did start writing on the plane. Here’s what I have so far:
Bibliometrics are now increasingly being used in ways that go beyond their design. Bibliometricians are now increasingly asking how they should react to such unintended uses of the tools they developed. The issue of unintended consequences – especially of technologies designed with one purpose in mind, but which can be repurposed – is not new, of course. And bibliometricians have been asking questions – ethical questions, but also policy questions – essentially since the beginning of the development of bibliometrics. If anyone is sensitive to the fact that numbers are not neutral, it is surely the bibliometricians.
This sensitivity to numbers, however, especially when combined with great technical skill and large data sets, can also be a weakness. Bibliometricians are also aware of this phenomenon, though perhaps to a lesser degree than one might like. There are exceptions. The discussion by Paul Wouters, Wolfgang Glänzel, Jochen Gläser, and Ismael Rafols regarding this “urgent debate in bibliometrics,” is one indication of such awareness. Recent sessions at ISSI in Vienna and STI2013 in Berlin on which Wouters et al. report are other indicators that the bibliometrics community feels a sense of urgency, especially with regard to the question of measuring the performance of individual researchers.
That such questions are being raised and discussed by bibliometricians is certainly a positive development. One cannot fault bibliometricians for wanting to take responsibility for the unintended consequences of their own inventions. But one – I would prefer to say ‘we’ – cannot allow this responsibility to be assumed only by members of the bibliometrics community.
It’s not so much that I don’t want to blame them for not having thought through possible other uses of their metrics — holding them to what Carl Mitcham calls a duty plus respicare: to take more into account than the purpose for which something was initially designed. It’s that I don’t want to leave it to them to try to fix things. Bibliometricians, after all, are a disciplinary community. They have standards; but I worry they also think their standards ought to be the standards. That’s the same sort of naivety that got us in this mess in the first place.
Look, if you’re going to invent a device someone else can command (deans and provosts with research evaluation metrics are like teenagers driving cars), you ought at least to have thought about how those others might use it in ways you didn’t intend. But since you didn’t, don’t try to come in now with your standards as if you know best.
Bibliometrics are not the province of bibliometricians anymore. They’re part of academe. And we academics need to take ownership of them. We shouldn’t let administrators drive in our neighborhoods without some sort of oversight. We should learn to drive ourselves so we can determine the rules of the road. If the bibliometricians want to help, that’s cool. But I am not going to let the Fordists figure out academe for me.
With the development of individual level bibliometrics, we now have the ability — and the interest — to own our own metrics. What we want to avoid at all costs is having metrics take over our world so that they end up steering us rather than us driving them. We don’t want what’s happened with the car to happen with bibliometrics. What we want is to stop at the level at which bibliometrics of individual researchers maximize the power and creativity of individual researchers. Once we standardize metrics, it makes it that much easier to institutionalize them.
It’s not metrics themselves that we academics should resist. ‘Impact’ is a great opportunity, if we own it. But by all means, we should resist the institutionalization of standardized metrics. A first step is to resist their standardization.
I have accepted an offer to become Visiting Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I am thrilled to return to Atlanta for a year. I am also thrilled to join the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech.
I expect to resume posting more regularly after the move. But I’ll pat myself on the back for not having missed a PhyloPic Phryday … yet!
More soon from the ATL … Hotlanta … no more Texas T.