Archive for February 2019

Originally coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970, the term “uncanny valley” describes our strange revulsion toward things that appear nearly human, but not quite right. This revulsion usually involves robots, but can also include computer animations and some medical conditions. THE UNCANNY VALLEY AND ANIMATED MOVIES. There’s a big difference between two popular animated movies released in 2004. The Incredibles portrays characters with intentionally angular and exaggerated features that leave no doubt to the viewer that they are watching cartoon characters. However, audiences packed with children cringed while watching The Polar Express with its dead-eyed people and an uncomfortable dark-tinge to the demeanor of the conductor - not to mention the unsettling message of the movie to carelessly hand over faith to complete strangers.  The movie slipped into the uncanny valley and wasted a stellar performance by Tom Hanks on a movie that’s perhaps better heard than viewed. TRANSHUMANISM. Dr. Perrodin shares a discussion he had with a friend that explored the matter of transhumanism, or the international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology. An example might be contact lenses that allow people to record what is happening around them or even bio-engineering to increase intelligence. What are the security implications, for example, of people being able to record everything in their vicinity without awareness or consent of others? LIL MIQUELA. This teen has a million social media followers - an impressive feat, considering that she is a fictional person managed by a team of engineers, marketers and dreamers. Dr. Perrodin argues that Lil Miquela has crossed the uncanny valley - especially for children with perceptual or intellectual disabilities convinced that she is an authentic person. IMPLICATIONS OF AVATAR REALISM. Elections and marketing are immediate areas where avatar realism will substantially impact “the way things have been done” in the world. It’s completely possible to tailor an appealing realistic avatar that is a mouthpiece for political agendas or brands. While this arguably happens with people, the accountability of an avatar won’t be as susceptible to shaming and people will be less interested in applying pressure to the persons programming the avatars. SCHOOL SAFETY AND MANIPULATIVE AVATARS - THE NEW RISK TO CHILD GROOMING. Dr. Perrodin expresses concern that CGI avatars will eventually fall into the hands of child groomers and provide a means by which to develop a more comprehensive profile for online bait profiles. He urges schools and parents to make children aware and skeptical of potential realistic avatars. Dr. Perrodin notes that well over half of people “friended” on social media are never met in person - and this practice has made it easier for skilled avatar engineers to jump the uncanny valley as few people seek to validate or authenticate sources. SCARILY REALISTIC ‘DEEP VIDEO PORTRAITS’ & FAKE NEWS - ANYONE COULD BE FALSELY PRESENTED.  Finally, Dr. Perrodin mentions a new technology that allows the user to edit facial movements of persons to match dubbed voices. While not yet perfected or available at the retail level, such technology could be deployed to make it appear that anyone gave a certain speech or made certain comments. This is a novelty if you want to watch yourself giving a State of the Union address through some basic uploaded video. However, what if this software was used to make it appear that you made inappropriate comments? If a 30-second video clip of this fabricated presentation went viral, it could result in permanent personal and career ruin. Is it even possible to protect yourself against this method of character attack? FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: www.safetyphd.com The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward  productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com LOOKING FOR DR.  TIMOTHY LUDWIG, PHD? Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com Lil Miquale article referenced in this episode: https://www.thecut.com/2018/05/lil-miquela-digital-avatar-instagram-influencer.html

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An optimal decision is a decision that leads to at least as good a known or expected outcome as all other available decision options. It is an important concept in decision theory. So, by deduction, a suboptimal outcome wouldn’t be “lesser than” an optimal outcome – but Dr. Perrodin questions the long-held belief that suboptimal outcomes are mistakes. SUBOPTIMAL DECISIONS CAN BE BRILLIANT. We need to understand how this conflates with decision making, as when we are talking about suboptimal outcomes, we are also recognizing that suboptimal decisions were made to arrive that suboptimal outcomes. This infers that the decision-making process could be tuned, and perhaps that is true, but perhaps the suboptimal decisions were quite brilliant in the presented context and situation.  Remember, all decisions are laminated to time, context and situation. Any study will frame sub-optimal choice from the deficit perspective. Whether it is the “paradox” of suboptimal choice or solving the problem of suboptimal choice. FLAWED THINKING. Dr. Perrodin argues that the way suboptimal outcomes are portrayed primes people for a single, convergent, universally-acceptable solution. In other words, the false premise that there is only one correct way to do something. MARKETING and CONSUMERISM. Advertising attempts to convince us that an optimal outcome, such as owning a functional economic vehicle, is actually a suboptimal outcome as the driver could be behind the wheel of an expensive luxury vehicle – which would deliver the identical optimal outcome of conveying him from one location to another. This myth of stacking optimal outcomes is vanity. SCHOOL SAFETY and SUBOPTIMAL OUTCOMES. Dr. Perrodin gives examples of when linear thinking and assuming there is a direct path to an optimal outcome can degrade a school safety situation. For example, if an evacuation route is blocked during a fire drill, staff and students will need to evaluate “suboptimal” alternatives that will eventually liberate them from the building. Another example would be an evacuation rally site that needs to be moved further away from the school due to circumstances that convinced responders to expand the perimeter around the incident zone. If you are unable to process suboptimal alternatives, you will be unable to incrementally move yourself toward safety. FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: www.safetyphd.com The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward  productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com LOOKING FOR DR.  TIMOTHY LUDWIG, PHD? Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com

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