Transparency and legitimacy in Ontario elections using e-voting

Many Ontario municipalities are currently involved in debates over the adoption of e-voting.  I recently wrote a report that I submitted to the City Council of Guelph (where I live) urging against its adoption here.  I also delegated to the Council on this issue (24 April).  Since other speakers were covering matters such as security and accessibility, I decided to use my five minutes to raise the issue of transparency. 

New book: Design and society

My new book is now out!  The full title is, "Design and Society: Social issues in technological design."  The book was written for the STV 202 course but is also suitable for a general audience since it is non-technical and assumes no previous familiarity with the topic.  It is also brief, at under 250 pages, and contains numerous, practical examples of concepts discussed.

Ethics in technological design

The theme of CSTV's Design & Society course is "good design".  When I ask students what this expression means, they tend to think, first of all, about technical matters, e.g., efficiency, cost, usability, and so on.  However, as the course progresses, we come to ethical issues, e.g., is the design "good" for people, and in what sense?

Fair algorithms

An interesting piece by Matt Reynolds in New Scientist describes work that aims to make algorithms fair.  A team of computer scientists at the Alan Turing Institute in London defines a fair algorithm as follows:

[a fair algorithm is] one that makes the same decision about an individual regardless of demographic background.

Why have augmented reality on a smarphone?

Mark Sullivan at FastCompany reports that Apple is planning its entry into the augmented reality market.  In rough terms, augmented reality (AR) involves layering computer-generated graphics over live views of a given scene.

Seats for disabled passengers

An interesting post by Áine Pennello in CityLab discusses how disabled passengers may find seating on public transit.  There is often not enough seating for everyone, so the matter of who sits becomes an important issue. 

The LZR bike

Ben Coxworth at New Atlas recently posted a short piece about a bicycle going by the name of the Camard LZR.  One look at the design shows that the bike is meant to be distinctive.

Is soymilk milk?

Candice Choi published an interesting article in STAT about a controversy regarding "fake milk".  Dairy producers in the USA are asking the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on products with names such as "soymilk", arguing that they are not really milk under FDA rules.

“Mammals produce milk, plants don’t,” said Jim Mulhern, president of the National Milk Producers Federation.

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