Is the Mac back or on its way out?

Apple recently held a big event in which it updated a number of its non-iPhone products, namely the MacBook Air, the Mac Mini, and the iPad Pro. 

For the first two, this update is the first in several years.  As Will Oremus points out in his take on the event, this fact cannot help but suggest that these devices are on their way out:

But for the Macs, it feels less like a golden age than the golden years.

AI: Good or bad?

I was intrigued by a couple of videos that I came across today.  These videos concern the merits and accomplishments of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.  They provide an interesting contrast in approaches that we may adopt about the increasing role of AI in our lives.

Progress in treatment with antibiotics

In our class on Design & Society, we discuss the so-called dilemma of progress.  With any design whose introduction poses potential risk, there is a decision to make on how to regulate it.  In simplest terms, there are two possibilities:

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.

Technology and the fragility of human dignity

Ian Bogost has written a lovely little essay for the Atlantic, musing on the ends of technology and their impact on human dignity.  His conclusion is fundamentally pessimistic, that humanity is perhaps blindly and inexorably headed towards a state where people work for their machines rather than the other way around.

Is that baby monitor fair?

A brief article in the Journal of the American Medical Association raises a significant issue related to app-enabled baby monitors.  Bonafide et al. draw attention to the increasing popularity of wearables for infants that supposedly monitor their health status and report it to parents via their smartphones.

Triclosan no longer on hand

The Globe and Mail reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently banned the sale of antibacterial ingredients from soaps.  Manufacturers have one year to reformulate their products to exclude compounds such as triclosan and triclocarbon.

Apple ditches headphone jacks! Is that progress?

Yesterday, Apple revealed that its newest iPhone (model 7) will not include a headphone jack.  Executives gave a number of reasons for the move.  Phil Schiller, senior vice president for marketing at Apple, said that the jack took up a lot of space in a device that Apple is determined to shrink.

Brain stimulators for Olympians?

With the approach of the Rio Summer Olympics, the role of technology in sport comes naturally to the fore.  Many of those questions center on issues of enhancement.

Death in Tesla using autopilot function

On 7 May 2016, Joshua Brown was killed as his Tesla drove underneath an 18-wheeler on US 27-A highway in Florida.  The truck was making a left turn from the westbound lanes across the eastbound lanes when the eastbound Tesla Model S struck it.  

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