Notes for Section 1: “Living Data”
Synopsis: Long, warm evenings have arrived in DellVille AZ bringing hope for rational recovery from years of social upheaval. Casey Hawke begins an adventurous summer with a tech-filled 50th (OMG) college reunion which goes awry. A professional gig in Washington DC reunites her with former colleague Sally Rhodes to discuss technical interests, professional misgivings, and Sally’s saga with vision loss. A strange mangling of web pages captures Casey’s career-long Internet interest then invokes Sally’s assistive technology expertise. Casey returns home to DellVille overwhelmed with lessons and questions from this momentous trip.
New rules govern privacy, conversation and technology in 2021. Industries re-organized after the social media revolution of 2020, amid the confusing regime of The Great Trickster. Casey’s experiences show how a new device, the Whisperer, works in conjunction with the trusted overlord CumuLinker which controls living data in the Universal Social Graph. CumuLinker now branches into face-to-face interactions to heal conversational norms.
Enchanted with the potential of Whisperers, software engineering researcher Casey envisions applications that revive — technologies *ParaLog and *Consequential Reasoning — abandoned after the Dawn of the Web. Recognizing the twin evils of bias and greed, ethics is weaving
into professional computing practice through “threat casting” and the history-based reflections of Casey and Sally.
Keywords: computational thinking, logic programming, algorithmic cruelty, threat casting,
- Our Profile of Ada Lovelace, highlights the essay “Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace” by Stephen Wolfram and fiction-biography “Enchantress of Numbers” by Jennifer Chiaverini.
- National Academy Symposium summarizes “Computational Thinking” as defined by Jeannette Wing in 2006. To simplify this multiply-defined term, just think “abstraction, algorithms, accuracy”. “Computing Education” blog tracks related education.
- The Japanese Fifth Generation Initiative stimulated Sally and Casey to apply * Consequential Reasoning to social policy problems.
- Book: “Warnings” Finding Cassandras To Stop Catastrophes” by Richard Clarke
illustrates the need for Cassandra individuals and groups that look
ahead for threats, warnings, preparations and recovery. Think “9-11
terrorist attack”. Related podcast “Future State” explores current
Book: “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff, explains the world-changing effects of advertising and personal data for sale.
- Book: “Weapons of Math Destruction”, by Cathy O’Neill identified algorithmic mayhem through social examples.
- Book: “The Spire” by Richard North Patterson describes a campus and spire and town similar to the scene at the OMG Reunion.
- IBM 1620, 1960s, low cost computer was used for academic and administrative computing, with card reader, line printer, typewriter output, no graphic display.
- The act of “algorithmic cruelty” describes the real event in 2014 by Erich Meyer.
- Modules for ethics are entering computer science curricula, although earlier taught as a separate subject, e.g. professional standards or ‘computers and society’. See also “CHI for Evil” workshop at 2019 ACM SIGCHI, Computer-Human Computer design fiction scenarios.
- NSF proposals are traditionally rated by originality,
diversity, investigator, and other merits but not questioned for
threats, hazards, and other consequences.
- See our “Disability Explainer” appendix with terminology, concepts, and practices in accessibility and disability.
- @AccessSally is a neat Twitter handle named, for no good
reason, after “Axis Sally”, a Nazi propagandist. “Sally Forth” is an
idiom meaning “set off in an energetic manner”.
- * “Consequential Reasoning” is a loaded name for a programming paradigm based on Prolog, for “Programming in Logic”,
referred to as *ParaLog. The idea is to state facts and rules to form
policies or scenarios enacted by adding specific data then executing a
‘reasoning engine’. Building the policy or specification challenges
assumptions and interactions. A False outcome is welcome if it shows
missing reasoning or an invalid conclusion or vacuous assumptions.
- “The Art of Logic” by Eugenia Cheng illustrates how logic can formulate arguments that fit modern conversations and policies.