#16 – Lastly me.

It’s the end of the semester and honestly I do not feel like taking the time to look for an article, reading it, elaborating, summarizing it, and giving you my opinion on it. Instead, my last blog post will consist of an experience I have had. Don’t worry it still has to do with technology and ethical implications.

So as usual, on Monday’s I wake up and do the whole morning routine; kick my blanket off my legs, stretch, and tell myself that waking up this early will be over soon.

So, I headed out the door and prepared myself to drive for an hour to school. At the moment in time, I did not realize how rare I am. No I am not egocentric, I just didn’t know how rare woman were in computer science till that day. I am a woman and I am studying computer science, therefore I am rare ;).

Anyway, I got to school safe, if you were wondering, and headed to my eight a.m morning class. As I was walking up the stairs I could hear two boys having a conversation and I am not one to eavesdrop, but I did hear two words women and computer science. So I halted. I stopped in between going up and going down, so the corner of the stairs hid me well from their sight. I didn’t want to be seen as the girl who froze in the stairway, so I acted like I was tying my shoe.

I know, I know, your probably wondering what they said. I mean this whole article is based on what they said, so yeah this part is pretty important. Here it is. Besides talking about the usual things teenagers talk about and making fun of things that aren’t really good to make fun of they commented that computer science is not the place for women. They said that such career should be only for men.

Yup, there is still people who think that way. So, now I ask you all, what is a girl job and what is a boy job? If you can answer that question for me, and give me a great reasonable answer that makes sense I will give you $100. Seriously.

For me there is no such thing. I believe that gender has nothing to do with how well you are at your job or your passion. In fact, it has been proven, my professors always say it, and I always see it posted on the walls, “if you work hard and practice on something you like to do, you will be able to learn it and master it”.

Also, as the years go by, we woman have proven ourselves worthy, not like we needed to, but we did! We have become founders of great tech companies, leaders of HUGE tech companies, we have became developers and engineers. Computer Science is for everyone, technology does not have a gender, so why should the people creating it?

So, why do people still think this way? The best answer I got for you all is because they are still living in the flinstone area, or like my mother likes to say “la era de la picapiedra”.

Some advice, don’t hang out with those people. They are crazy.



#15 Down

Today’s blog will be about something different, a topic that is huge in people’s mind, but not a huge topic out in the open. It’s sad. It’s a topic that a lot of us don’t understand.


The reason I bring it up is because I see a lot of news and articles about people killing themselves using Facebook live. Why? I mean the way I define suicide is when a person is sad, alone or they feel alone, and do not have an incentive to live. But what makes them decide to use technology to show millions of others how miserable, sad, and defeated they are? Is it to raise awareness? Is it to just call attention? Maybe they are looking for a reason to live. For someone to tell them that they are worth everything and that they are loved.

Sometimes all they do is post something, a hint, just a small piece of proof that they are planning their own death. Take for example, a young man in my town, 5 hours before hanging himself posted a song that spoke about death and what to do with him when he was dead. Another young man, also from my town, posted a video in which the speaker is trying to convince the person watching the video not to kill themselves. I believe the reason they do this is for a last call for help. It can even be the reason to kill themselves or not. Of course everyones story is different. But, as far as I have seen many of these stories end the same, “I would have never thought X person would’ve killed themselves”. Why not? Because we didn’t know them? Because we did not pay attention to all the warning signs? Because we were too busy handling our own lives we couldn’t give a second to someone else?

Many of the people who have killed themselves have had a past where they are not satisfied with who they are and what they do, they don’t love themselves and feel unworthy. They believe they have no reason to live. In fact, these people give hints. They actually do tend to ask for help, but sometimes they go to the wrong people and do not receive the help they need. Even when people claim that there were no warning signs, there always is. The warning signs are there if you chose to ignore them or neglect them, that is a different story.



So, is killing yourself on Facebook live or any other technological product or service that lets you broadcast your death to the world a right thing to do? Well it’s probably not the nicest thing to see. But as the years go by, suicide is listed as one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. So, broadcasting and showing people what happens when they are bullied, treated unfairly, and pushed around or maybe just ignored and neglected. If knowing that suicide one of the leading causes of death does not help with making it aware letting people know it exists and is happening, then maybe something like broadcasting will open people eyes. It is real. It is happening. It is a topic that we should all be aware of.


#14 Uber Extra

In the past months or if you’d like in the past year, I am sure most of us if not all of us have heard some type of story regarding Uber, their culture, and their sinking reputation.

All this Uber propaganda started with a woman’s blog which talked about her perspective and description of the culture at Uber. It was not a nice description. Another women followed her steps and made her own blog describing a similar experience full of discrimination and sexual harassment. With this many people questioned the culture in Uber, if it really was a stable, caring, and inclusive culture. However, many people questioned the women who blogged bad about the 50 billion dollar company. A few months later Uber was accused of using some type of algorithm to offer their services in cities that had explicitly denied and forbid Uber from offering their services. Now even more people were questioning Ubers culture and their values. Maybe what these women had experienced, were true after all? However, others would refrain themselves from believing such accusations, so they still held their favorite carpooling application at a high stand.

At this time, Uber was not doing so well in terms of their reputation and values. For a few months, it seemed as all this chaos was drowning and being forgotten. However, recently a new article has been published, yep, you guessed it. It’s about Uber and it is BAD.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I sure did. Uber’s doings have been increasing badly in the situations that is partakes or that they are accused of partaking. So what can be worse that having a bad culture that can be un-inclusive and defaming, or what can be worse than breaking a law and disrespecting and defying a cities request? What has Uber done this time?

A recent article was published that a former employee killed himself. The reason being, according to his family members, was that Ubers work was more than a soul could manage. His family described the young 34 year old man as smart, persistent, and happy before working at Uber. They state that after only a few weeks of working for Uber he slowly began to have panic attacks, high anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating.

His wife believes that his suicide had to do with harassment and stressed induced by his job and blames Uber for his death. Of course Uber denies any affiliation with his deatha and has stated that the young man always looked happy and never had a problem. Unfortunately, workers compensation is not an option.  His father also commented on Ubers culture and work, “If you put a hard-driving person on unrealistic tasks, it puts them in failure mode,”.

The family has moved on to another state and the trial is still pending.

I am really sorry for the family. I do not believe nor do I believe that the man killed himself because of Ubers fast working culture. Although, I have heard that Uber moves quickly, I believe it must move quickly in order to succeed. Super smart engineers are currently working at the company, hence the awesome products that they are creating. I do believe that these engineers are expected more than they can give since the company is a HUGE startup. Uber needs and wants more as it grows more. The man should have gone for help, but decided to cope with is some other way. If he killed himself just because of work, then it does not make sense. I can’t believe that someone would kill themselves over work? Wouldn’t you just quit. He could have quit and looked for another job, at the end of the day he made it into Uber, he could have worked himself up to another company.


Uber Engineer Suicide

#13 Let it Go?

So, my article if you have yet to realize will be one about autonomous vehicles, specifically autonomous tractors in the field. I came to the realization that the topic might not have enough resources to fill up 10 pages or 2,000 words, so I will also be talking about autonomous machines in agriculture. Of course, there is many autonomous machines in agriculture, but on my research paper I will only be talking about autonomous tractors and milking robots. This blog post, however, will be primarily on autonomous tractors. So, if you are still not fed up with me speaking about autonomous machines keep reading.

So overall autonomous cars have been the talk of the year. We hear about autonomous cars emerging from all companies, Ford, Apple, Google, and more. So far, we have concluded that these cars are able to drive on their own, which is what they are made to do. But of course, a new product will always have defaults and ethical implications that will follow them until of course they are resolved. One of the many implications is, what happens when a car must chose to protect it owner, the driver, or pedestrians?

According to the article, “Are autonomous Cars ready to go at it Alone”, cars are not ready to go at it alone. There has been a lot of incidents that have happened where a driver must interfere and take control of the autonomous vehicle in order to avoid crashing or involving the car in some type of accident. So this makes me wonder, if autonomous vehicles are not as safe as they have portrayed them to be where does this leave tractors at in the rate of safety? Especially knowing that there is more research and attention going towards autonomous cars than tractors it makes me wonder how much safer are tractors if cars are not so safe at all.

See, but thats the thing. We cannot compare two whole different machines together. So, for an autonomous car, someone WILL be riding on it. The point of a car is to get a human being to and from a destination. An autonomous tractors purpose it to be able to plow fields, cut hay, and more. So, in other words an autonomous tractor does not need a person riding on it, unless for a special reason. Another point is that an autonomous car will be riding in the highway or road, where millions of people will be crossing and driving, thus exposure to different circumstances that can eventually lead to deathly accidents. On the other hand, an autonomous tractor will only be used in the fields, where not a lot of people will be at.

Overall, the comparison between these two is wrong and incorrect as they are two different machines.

Of course, just because they are not the same, it does not mean that autonomous tractors are 100 percent safe. We still have to acknowledge that there is millions of different situations that can take place. That topic will be for another day, another blog post.


#12 ME. ROBOT.

Imagine sitting on a bus and someone sits next to you. Now imagine this someone turns and smiles. Just then you realize it isn’t a someone but a what. A human like robot who’s intentions up to this point is to become friendly, full or emotion, perfect thing. As time passes robots are becoming an enlarging subject, specifically when we talk about ethical view points, robots are a topic that we have yet to define a fine line of what a robot can or should be able to do.

One of the main topics that come up is what kind of human emotions or abilities the robot can posses in order to be categorized as a robot. In fact, these abilities can determine how powerful and how obedient a robot can be. Which takes us to our next theory that people think about when speaking on the topic of robots, “What if robots take over the world?”. Of course, now that seems impossible and a laughable matter. Something that an 8 year-old boy might believe or something out of a movie. But, as we see in many occasions, robots are not becoming human-like, instead I believe humans are becoming robot-like. Think about it.

When we go to work, school, or just do something, what do we do when we “take a small break”? We check our email, missed calls, messages, social media, . . etc. When we are missing a limb, an eye, a voice, what do we use to replace it? Technology. Our lives revolves around technology and now our lives need technology. Unfortunately, in todays world we can not function without technology. We need it to survive, communicate, and work.

We need technology all . . . the . . . time.

So, when people say that robots that possess human like abilities are a danger to humans, I believe it isn’t so. Robots will not be humans, I believe that humans will become robots. From that point is where we should either worry or study this idea.

But as for now, robots are cool and very constructible technology. It is possible that machines can malfunction and break. Take for example the famous Twitter Bot, who quickly learned from tweeters and became a racist bot. Of course, this doesn’t prove that robots themselves can become something of danger, but proves that robots do and become what they are told or set out to become. So, we can potentially say that if robots possessed all of that we call and consider human qualities plus the qualities that robots posses, controllable, perfect, intelligent technology, I believe we can all smell danger and the possibility of robots becoming something else.

#11 More Autonomous Tractors

Although autonomous tractors can contribute and do good for our economy, they can also hurt and take away jobs from people. As we all know or have seen, fieldwork and farming is a difficult task that is underpaid and a job that no one wants to do. Fieldwork is a job in which the only people who agree to do it are immigrants, people who do not believe they can be or do something else. For years immigrants have agreed to work for low wages in agriculture and farming that can be both strenuous and deadly. For years these immigrants have came to America in search of a better life. A life which involves earning a small amount of money for hard labor. These jobs are the reason why many people jump borders, risk their lives, and leave their family behind. So, what happens, when we decide that we no longer need these millions of immigrants to do the hard labor? What happens when they can no longer contribute and earn some money for their families? Many people think that it is cruel and inhumane to put millions of people out of their jobs. However, we will put millions of people out of jobs, not because we want to but because we are developing country and while we are developing we will find ways to improve and become a better, efficient, and faster world.

So, while many people will be left unemployed, they can think of it as coming to a better era, where they are able to work in a place that does not jeopardize their health in return for a low wage. To only think of the negative, then we are not thinking at all.

Another problem that arises when talking about autonomous vehicles is the questions of whether they are safe or not. Many times farmers and people who have worked in the fields have unfortunately died due to deadly contact with tractors and field machines. As mentioned previously, these autonomous tractors will have the capacity to work twenty-four hours, so how do we ensure that while an autonomous tractor is working, they do not face any trouble or harm any people or livestock? Well, fortunately, autonomous tractors will be able to work independently but will still be monitored by someone. This means that when a tractor is faced with a situation it will halt and send a message to the person monitoring it. Until the person monitoring decides what to do, the tractor will not move.




#10 Value Tractors

While their may be many implications as why autonomous tractors are a bad idea, there is more good to them than bad. Like mentioned previously, technology is advancing and it will only keep advancing through out time. Autonomous vehicles are bound to happen whether it is today, tomorrow, or 10 years later, it will happen.

Autonomous vehicles are great sources for farmers and for the world. According to Trimarchi, “there are 3.2 million farmers farming 2.2 million farms on roughly 915 million acres of land in the United States [sources: EPA – Ag Center, USDA]. Together these farms produce crops for the more than 313 million people living in the U.S. — but they aren’t just feeding America; U.S. farmers ship their commodities worldwide, exporting more than 50 types of agricultural products.“. We can all agree that the world is exponentially increasing. Belton also states, “The World Bank says we’ll need to produce 50% more food by 2050 if the global population continues to rise at its current pace”, so, in order to feed the exponentially growing world we need more food and a faster means of production. This is where autonomous vehicles come in. Autonomous vehicles can work twenty-four hours a day through out the whole week, thus producing more crops and exporting more foods in less amount of time. Barett agrees, “Working day and night, the tractor could make full use of short periods of favorable weather”. These autonomous vehicles will be able to produce more crop and export more food than ever before, thus bringing more income to the farmer and lowering crop prices to the world. In fact, these autonomous vehicles being developed costs less than maintaining thousands of workers for a whole year or more. Although the autonomous vehicles can be pricey, it is very likely that the farmer will be able to make up for the costs after a year or so.

Furthermore, autonomous vehicles will take over dirty, hard, intensive jobs that only foreigners were willing to do. This means that low income folks are able to pursue a different lifestyle rather than work and endure the hot sun as they work in labor intensive jobs. They can no focus on a career different from these back braking jobs and make their money worth the job.