Discontent of the Day

“Robotic Barista”

The automated coffee robot, a $25,000 dollar investment that fulfills 300 to 400 orders a day. Cafe X is a start-up with a new robotic barista designed to make 120 cups of coffee per hour. Customers order their beverage via their phone through the Cafe X app or provided tablets.  When customers order is complete a notification is sent alerting them to pick it up. These robots make drinks using exact measurements bringing the best taste to the customer. Each Cafe X location is staffed with one to two product specialists who work in conjunction with the machines, and focus on restocking ingredients, and what the company calls “coffee education.” Although Cafe X has replaced human baristas with a robot who arguably makes a better cup of coffee and more efficiently too, I think that Cafe X is not only taking many jobs away by a 25 thousand dollar purchase, but it also takes the personal connection away from a customer to their barista every morning which many people value. With high demand and an even higher curiosity factor, Cafe X is focused on scaling its manufacturing capabilities in 2019 and will be launching additional locations in 2020.


Conner Worthington


“Do the Latest Baby Monitors Ease Fears or Add Anxiety?”

Technology is clearly a very relevant matter in our daily lives, including those of parents with newborns. The “advanced baby monitor market” is continuously advancing it’s technology to track vitals on babies while they sleep to try and ease parents fears during the night. Examples of these new devices include monitors that clip into babies diapers, and socks which measure the infants heart rate and oxygen levels. Companies that provide these high tech monitors assure their users that they can rely on them but as most things do, there seem to be glitches. Glitches in these systems have lead to through the roof anxiety for parents as many have complained of beeps going off, meaning there is a sudden drop in heart beat, to find out later, that the app “unexpectedly shut down”. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute went on to conduct further research and found that the monitors occasionally sounded false alarms while other times missed real problems.


Brooke Raboutou


“How AI Will Rewire Us”

Artificial Intelligence has become increasingly present in the world as people rely more and more on it. Despite the decrease in jobs, AI is also proving to impact the way humans interact with each other. Human’s capacity to love, create friendships, cooperate, and teach each other has grown and evolved through the years. People fear that these basic emotions will depreciate as AI becomes more present. Cooperation can be affected as shown in a case study involving money. The participants could either give the money to their neighbors and be likely to receive more from them as well or keep the money for themselves. Adding AI to the mix and making AI selfish and keep the money made the other participants selfish as well. Along with this, people are also concerned about children growing up with AI. People worry that the greater influence of AI will lead to children not acquiring empathy or connection and other emotions as well as they would have without it.


Julia Wiley

“A Voice Assistant Has Become My Co-Parent”

Apparently parents are always wishing that they had another parent in the house to help navigate the struggles of raising children. Now, some people have been employing the help of the Amazon Echo to ease the process of parenting. They use it for all sorts of things, ranging from reminding them of their children’s deadlines, ending their times on screens, helping with homework, and even talking from across the house using its drop in feature. They are even using that feature to help the child with nightmares, so instead of making him get out of bed he can simply use the intercom to talk to the parents in the other room. The nonjudgemental tone of the Echo apparently helps with arguments as well, as the kids will have an easier time listening to the machine than they do their own mother.


Max Wetter

“AI and Hashing Still Can’t Block Videos on Social Media”

Over the past weekend video platforms have been bombarded with people uploading the video from the New Zealand mosque shooting. These platforms such as Facebook and youtube use hashing to filter the videos and ban content that is deemed inappropriate but the process relies on the users to report them. The mosque shooting video was originally streamed in extremely radical groups on Facebook and was not flagged until 30 minutes after it finished streaming. The talk of AI being developed to filter these videos has been promised but is still a far way off from being able to detect violence in videos without the assistance of a human to first flag the video.


Victoria Walz

“Amazon Wants You to Use Alexa to Track Health Care”

Amazon’s invention “Alexa” has now come out with new innovations to transfer personal health information and track prescriptions for the consumer. Alexa has expanded into becoming a digital health service and has the ability to voice blood-sugar readings, and helps set up medical appointments. Although this seems like a fantastic addition, this voice technology could lack the confidentiality of consumers and could expose their medical records and private information to the public. Healthcare acts like HIPAA have made requirements that Alexa needs to keep the information confidential to patients when needed to be accessed, in order to not suffer criminal charges. Alexa has had privacy issues in the past that have been made public, but this time the company claims they will keep medical records private and only to the consumer.

Emily Valian  https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-clears-path-for-alexas-use-as-health-service-11554669234


“How GPS Tracking Technology Can Curb Domestic Violence”

Currently, more than 40 states allow for GPS tracking to protect victims of domestic violence and while this has shown to reduce violence from these offenders, it also poses some issues. GPS tracking is a rather new technology, one that is fascinating but also a bit frightening. There can be a lot of racial or sexual bias as to determining who is required to carry a tracking device and it can be difficult to truly know who is allowed access to these peoples locations. Hacking these tracking networks is possible and the privacy of these people can be infringed upon. While the government ensures safety, it is impossible to know the truth behind all of it, especially when tracking someones every move is involved.


Antonia Thomson



Nuclear Energy Research

On March 27, 2019, a bipartisan group of 15 Senators reintroduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act. This bill sets goals for the federal government to research and utilize nuclear energy in addressing the problem of climate change. It would allow the government to enter into 40-year agreements with nuclear power companies to foster research, and set deadlines on when demonstrations would happen. Nuclear energy is an attractive option for combating climate change because it is carbon-free and readily available to harness. It has the support of Bill Gates, who owns nuclear energy start-up TerraPower. Some worry that utilizing nuclear power as energy will cause more harm than good, especially in the production of nuclear waste. Another concern that this article does not bring up is if this technology becomes internationally used, potentially dangerous or unstable governments would have the power to use this as a weapon. However in the U.S., passing this law would foster research in using nuclear energy to replace fossil fuels, giving rise to more legislation to stimulate the market demand, and could prove to be a feasible option for combating climate change.


Bryanna Rivas

“Mastercard Wades Into Murky Waters with it’s New Digital ID”

This article discussed a new form of technology that Mastercard recently began developing. This phone application would be called a digital ID that would function similarly to digital credit cards. It would allow you to compile different forms of identity onto your phone onto one location. Although this would allow for the user to have easy access to forms of identification at many times, the article brought up multiple concerns surrounding this new system. This new platform would decentralize data storage and thus each person’s identity information data would be stored on each persons device opposed to in one large storage unit that stores all identification data. The potential problems with this is that with each data being stored independently although it is less likely that there will be large data breaches it will potentially be easier to hack each identity on the individual level. This article also brought up the other concern surrounding the potential threat of surveillance that could also arise from the smaller scale storage format. Mastercard still needs buy in from the government and identification management personnel before this technology can come to the market.


Christine Partington

“Big Mac” to “Big Data”

McDonald’s recently acquired Dynamic Yield, a “decision logic” technology company estimated at a value of over $300 million. McDonald’s wants to begin utilizing this technology with their drive-thrus. This would be a screen where you order from that offers different options depending on the day, time, weather, and location. It could even begin to recognize license plates and bring up your previous orders or favorites. The screens could also offer simpler items to make when the lines are long to move more quickly.  This technology could analyze mass amounts of data to bring more efficiency and income to the McDonalds industry. The downsides of this new technology could be a loss of jobs for workers at McDonalds as everything becomes more digital. This technology could also begin to blur the lines between physical and technological interaction. Finally, there could be resistance from the public as this technology will have access to lots of personal information, such as license plate or possibly credit card and food preferences.


Kate Morris


We live in a world where the majority of our population consumers meats, despite the efforts made by veganism and vegetarianism. Although we look passed the cost meat has to our economy and environment it is important to acknowledge them. Meat production involves the cutting down of forests to establish cattle farms, inefficient use of resources for low outputs and most importantly there is the ethical aspect of slaughtering animals. The article above discusses the achievements of synthetically 3d printed meat.This is a process of the cloning of the muscle cells of cattle in order to replicate them and to structure them into muscle fiber in order to replicate meat. Even though this solution may sound appealing at first we still do not know the risks of such technology as it is fairly knew. Yet synthetical meats have already entered markets in the US which only begs the question of to what extent is synthetically 3d printed meat beneficial over traditional meat.

Parsa Kanani

Last Monday, Apple had an Apple event that announced its expansion from best-selling devices, to services that deliver great content.They announced Apple News +, Apple Car, Apple Arcade, and Apple Tv+. If this plan progresses, in 5 years, Apple could make an additional $20 billion of revenue. Apple news + was a paid ($10/month) subscription for news that had supporters from magazines and Wall Street Journal, but did not convince newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Implications of Apple News +, is that it would mash articles together of the same news, from different publications, in one place. The Apple credit card will require Touch ID and they are offering consumers no late fees. This would give apple power and diminish that of the different newspapers. The greatest news was the video streaming service that would compete with markets like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney. Apple Tv + will target big stars and producers (doesn’t guarantee success), unlike other streaming services that target franchises.


Marie Karam

We all know Snapchat’s face swap feature is something fun to do with friends, but now we have a more serious issue. Celebrities faces are being used in porn videos and there is no law to help them. It is not just porn videos either, there are doctored videos of political leaders saying the most outrageous things and people believe it because it looks so real. The main problem being the law doesn’t stop these videos from being made and can’t help take them down either. Although it is extremely embarrassing for the people being face swapped it does not break any privacy laws because it is not their actual body in the video and therefore, it is not exposing any of their private life. Sadly, the only thing celebrities can do is sue the creator for the misappropriation of their photos.


Mary Humphreys

Without sperm or eggs, embryologists at the University of Cambridge were able to successfully grow “realistic-looking” mouse embryos. Although the embryos were said that they couldn’t grow into mice, there is now an implication that mammals could soon be grown without an egg. At the University of Michigan and Rockefeller University, this is taken a step further with the synthesis of artificial human embryos. The development of embryos could be observed and experimented on through these studies, and the article even mentions the exploration of gene editing. While it poses ethical threats, it also sets the scene for what the possibilities of science are truly capable of. Science is advancing and our knowledge is continuing to expand; it is disturbing to know that man will soon be able to create life and even select for the “perfect” human.


Jasmine Inouye

(Megan Neitzel)

The Amazon Alexa is a fairly new product from the company. It allows user to simply say the name “Alexa” and the device will answer any question you ask her, like a vocal google search. One interesting feature of Alexa is that since it’s connected to Amazon, she can order any products if you ask her to using your amazon account. One downside of this, is if you have young children who are already tech savvy. There have been numerous instances of children who have asked Alexa to order something for them, without parental permission, and two days later a “mystery package” shows up to the front door at their parents surprise. In one case, a six year old girl ordered a $150 doll house and a four pound box of cookies. Luckily the parents used this as a teaching lesson and donating the order, but this definitely shows a downside to the ease of online shopping.


Mary Hinek

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Drones are a recently new form of technology that allows users to control a camera that flies through the sky. Drones are relatively small objects that weigh only a few kilograms, however, they cost around $2,000. Many people use drones for fun or to capture cool images, however, this article discusses the unintended consequences of drone technology that have caused an “awful lot of havoc”. For example, many airports had to shut down due to drone sightings and the potential for a drown to crash with an airplane. Particularly, on December 12th an airplane belonging to Aeromexico had to make an emergency landing in Tijuana after the nose of the plane had been badly damaged in a collision with a drone. Beyond this, drones are being used to conduct illegal activity like to “smuggle goods across borders, drugs into prisons”. For all of these incidents and others, drones, while having the potential to be used in a beneficial manner, have proven to have many negative unintended consequences.


Isabella Garcia

The article talked about the impacts robots would have on society, but not human to robot interaction rather human to human interaction. Technologies such as the printing press, telephone, and internet revolutionized the technology at the time but did not change fundamental human behaviors such as love, friendship, cooperation, etc. whereas robots could do that. A study was done that found out robots, who reminded people who made racist remarks to another human and that their feelings might get hurt, were able to cause that person’s racist remarks to decline for months. In contrast, another study was done that turned “generous people into selfish jerks” by having a few robots not donate money in a game that rewarded such action. All in all, the future of robots can be either helpful or hurtful to society. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/04/robots-human-relationships/583204/

Peyton Berger


A year following a deadly car accident involving a self-driving uber, the answers to the liability of self-driving cars is still questionable. The accident occurred when a pedestrian was hit by one of the self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona. Although Uber itself won’t face any criminal charges, the driver of the self-driving car who was not paying attention to the road could face charges. Personally I feel as though self-driving cars could improve the safety of others on the road, however I also feel as though self-driving cars can lead lots of room for error. This article relates back to Bush’s ideas behind the overtaking of technology and the terror of robots replacing the jobs of humans. Clearly technology is not advanced enough yet to be deemed safe without human supervision, however this article raises the question regarding whether or not humans are the real reason behind why technology can be used in a negative sense. https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/08/tech/uber-arizona-death-criminal/index.html

Harrison Etherington.