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Interview with an Activist: Mike Cormack and Welfare Reforms

Mike Cormack is involved in Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty. This is an interview with him discussing his work and the issues which he sees at stake particularly as the current welfare reforms are pushed through in the UK. Offering counsel and support to people who receive benefits to understand their rights and resist unfair sanctions, Mike has been involved in activism for many years. Read more

One Day Without Us Edinburgh: A Celebration of Migrants and Standing up to Xenophobia by Alex Dunedin

Concerned with some of the messages which I have encountered recently which are xenophobic and racist I found myself going along to the event staged on the mound to see and hear other people who felt strongly about some of the nasty rhetoric which is on the rise. I suspect it is connected with the insecurities which people are feeling in the general day to day lives of so many who live financially precarious existences and are also confronted with such a lot of media which is frankly poisonous. Read more

Thoughts on the Structure of Language by Alex Dunedin

In the writings of Gottfried Leibniz can be found many elements relating to the possibility of a universal language. Specifically he was working on a constructed language as a concept which would gradually come to replace that of rationalized Latin as the natural basis for a projected universal language. Leibniz conceived of a ‘characteristica universalis’, an “algebra” capable of expressing all conceptual thought. This kind of algebra would include rules for symbolic manipulation, which he called a calculus ratiocinator. Read more

Security, Privacy, Information and Surveillance Discussion by Prof William Webster, Prof Charles Raab and Dr Andrew Neil

We live in a surveillance age where digital technology has become ingrained in almost every part of our lives, and the personal data is collected, pooled and examined by various commercial and political agencies.  With such developments we are yet to find our feet with how information should be regulated and in what ways it should flow from one system to another.  Privacy seems to be traded off with security in many dichotomous statements made around who gets to do what, but are these helpful or correct ways of perceiving the issues at stake ? Read more

Inclusion Scotland press release: Scottish disabled people call for human rights to be met

In advance of a United Nations Committee’s examination of the UK Government’s record on meeting disabled people’s human rights, a new report maps the many ways in which those rights have not been met. Compiled from the views of disabled people themselves, the report reveals the devastating impact of the UK Government’s austerity agenda and demonstrates the need for Scottish Government to take urgent action to implement its human rights pledges. Read more

Horizon-scanning: Ethics for Robots – Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? by John Sawkins

The driver-less car is already here: how many of us knew that it will be pre-programmed to make its own ethical decisions? For example, unlike the human driver, who would understandably, if given the option, seek to protect his or her family if the worst were to happen and a crash with lethal consequences occurred, the driverless car would dispassionately choose the option with the least number of casualties as opposed to saving the lives of its own passengers. Read more