‘The Kid Who Would be King’ is Available now on Blu-Ray

the kid who would be king, fantasy, adventure, patrick stewart, joe cornish, blu-ray, review, 20th century fox

‘The Kid Who Would be King’ a modern twist on a well known tale

The story of King Arthur is not a new one. It has been told and retold in many different ways. When I heard about The Kid Who Would be King I wasn’t that excited to see it. Some people I know told me it was actually pretty good though. So when I heard it was coming out on Blu-Ray I decided to give it a shot. I was able to get a review copy and this is what I thought of this film.

the kid who would be king, fantasy, adventure, patrick stewart, joe cornish, blu-ray, review, 20th century fox

(c) 20th Century Fox

You can read the plot for The Kid Who Would be King here:

Alex thinks he’s just another nobody, getting bullied at school and told what to do by his teachers, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, with the help of the legendary wizard Merlin, he must unite his friends and school yard enemies into an allied band of knights to defeat the wicked enchantress Morgana. With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be and save the world.

the kid who would be king, fantasy, adventure, patrick stewart, joe cornish, blu-ray, review, 20th century fox

(c) 20th Century Fox

I didn’t like The Kid Who Would be King that much. The movie starts off slow, and takes a while to get interesting. Some of the special effects looked cheap and pretty awful too. Patrick Stewart was barely in this film, only showing up a few times. This was a real shame because I think he could have helped this movie out if he was in it more. As the story moved along it was pretty obvious what was going to happen next. The ending was okay but at the same time not that impressive. Some people might like this movie but I wouldn’t recommend it.

the kid who would be king, fantasy, adventure, patrick stewart, joe cornish, blu-ray, review, 20th century fox

(c) 20th Century Fox

The Kid Who Would be King is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD. You can follow this film on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2ZyrvEM

I Am Growing Healing

  • When I set a new intention for my life, my old stuff rises to the surface to be examined. -Rev. Jane Beach

 

  • The person who is happy within, who rejoices within, who is illumined within, that Yogi, becoming the Eternal, goes to the peace of the Eternal. –Bhagavad Gita

 

  • The hidden wisdom of God is the knowledge that we are one…… This is revealed when we see the Eternal in everything. –Ernest Holmes

 

  • Demand the guidance (in prayer) saying “Infinite Spirit, reveal to me the way.” -Florence Scovill Shinn

  • When the mind is stilled…..it brings rest and repose to the body, just as birds fly to the tree for rest, all things in life find their rest in the Self. –Prashna Upanishad

 

  • It isn’t what you don’t know, but what you know that isn’t so. – Rev. Dr. Lloyd Barrett

 

  • Give even when it hurts, but don’t disturb your peace. If you know it will disturb your peace, don’t do it. –Satchidananda

 

  • Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. –Lao Tzu

 

  • I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing. –Anais Nin

 

  • Mind-breath practice: Breathe one word below on the in breath….. and then the next word on the out breath…and then the next word on the in-breath…..repeat and continue until you feel calm and confident…..repeat during the day as often as you can remember…

 

……Complete……….

 

……temporary…….

 

.….loving………….

These quotes are shared by Robert Rannigan, LPC, to touch, inspire, and motivate moms and dads to reflect upon what is important in their lives and those of their spouses and children. The role of fathers has been slowly changing over the years. Dads are now expected to be more emotionally involved with their kids and–most of all–desire more emotional closeness with them. To do this, men have to establish a sense of safety, certainty, and knowing within their own internal environments. Through increased mindfulness and focus, they will then be able to create these very things for themselves, as well as for the families they love.

Grouped by a common theme, “Quotes for Parents” bring words of wisdom, almost daily, from great minds—current and old—into the lives of modern parents (and the rest of us) to nudge them (and us) ever so closer to the mindfulness and self-awareness we should all be practicing every single day.

These quotes are provided as encouragement to observe the power of words and to choose your words carefully. In the morning, choose one (or some of their impactful words) to meditate upon and guide you in a positive direction as you navigate the day’s challenges.

 

This post was originally published on Robert Rannigan’s Daily Quotes for Parents and is republished here with his permission.

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Photo Credit: Photos from iStock by Getty Images

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2GEsDiE

Reflections on a Social Media Lenten Fast

It began as an experiment for the season of Lent.  I could sense my growing agitation with Twitter and Facebook.  I had a friend who practiced a Lenten Fast of various technologies throughout the years.  One year he left all television watching, another year he washed dishes by hand instead of the automatic dishwasher.  The purpose was to learn something.  He wasn’t particularly religious in his approach.

Instead, it was an attempt to see what would shift in his mind.

Then I came across Cal Newport’s new book, Digital Minimalism.  He described the intentional manipulation of users of the various Social Media tools, especially Facebook.  In particular, Newport points to the fundamental shift that occurred when Facebook introduced the “Like” button.  What the company discovered was a dramatic increase in screen time.

People were staying on Facebook longer or returning more frequently because they were curious about how many “likes” they received.  Similar to the pavlovian response of mice, we users were being lured into a little drip of dopamine. This feel-good chemical reaction leads all of us to stay on the platform longer and longer times.

Then it hit me.  Lent is the perfect time for a Fast.  For six weeks I would leave Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  I removed these three social media tools from my iPhone and the links from my laptop browser.

Now, I make the return, but my use will be different.  Here’s a summary of what I learned and how I’ll use these tools going forward:

First, I realized that going Cold Turkey was right for me.  I need a purge, a sort of cleansing.  If I’d attempted some gradual decrease, I don’t think I would have noticed any change.

The second discovery centered around the amount of time I had been spending on these social media platforms.  The latest iPhone operating system has a clock that indicates how much time you are spending on your phone.  Here’s how to see what you are doing.

What I quickly discovered is that in my first week of my fast, I gained close to two and a half hours.  That’s a stunning revelation. 2.5 hours of my day, was spent on my phone.

Now to be clear, it wasn’t just Facebook & Twitter. I had also removed all of my News Apps, which I had been compulsively checking.  You think, “oh, I’ll just check a few headlines for just a minute.” But, next thing you know, a half hour disappeared from my life.

In the six weeks of this Social media and other app use Fast for Lent, I figure I gained 105 hours or close to four and a half days.  Yikes! That’s a frightening number, and I now realize the claws this thing has in me.  Learning about all this lost time has a significant impact on how I will use my phone going forward, which I’ll describe below.

Third, my angst has declined.  Yes, my overall anxiety about life, work, and the world is reduced.  Twitter, in particular, has a way of getting me all tied up in knots.

Partly, that’s my fault since I have used it in the past as a venting tool about the state of US American politics.  When you vent online people respond to those provocations with their own equally hostile posts.  But, even beyond that, I find I’m generally more focused on what I believe, what I can control and not control, and generally more at peace with myself.

Don’t misread this section.  I’m still incredibly frustrated with the state of US American politics, the attacks on constitutional principles and the coarseness of rhetoric particularly by this current occupant of the White House.

So where am I going with my online life?  Here are three changes.

1.    I’ll return to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but my use will be different.  I’ll post less frequently, and only from my computer.

2.    The apps are staying off my phone permanently.  I’m turning my phone back into its original purpose: Telephone calls, texting and an iPod for listening to Music, Podcasts and Audio Books.

3.    I plan to write longer form articles.  I will post these writings on my website, instead of 240 characters or just sharing something written by someone else.  I’ll provide links to these blog posts and articles on Social Media.  The goal is to be substantive.

The overall goal here is to use these social media tools, rather than be used by them.

==

Previously Published on Bishop on a Bike

ID: 1312116365

The post Reflections on a Social Media Lenten Fast appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2DuCaqI

7 Things You Need to Do to Grow as an Entrepreneur

Startups are on the rise and youngsters are keen to launch their own business instead of a nine-to-five job. As simple as it sounds, opening a business needs patience and the right planning. Moreover, the profits gained can help you meet your financial obligations and realize other dreams.

Young entrepreneurs must learn the skills of investing money within the right channels as most startups fail because of a shortage of funds. Every entrepreneur has a chance to innovate, create new jobs and have an influence on society. It’s our responsibility to continually grow and push forward, usually beyond our comfort zones.

Here are the seven must-learn tips to grow as an entrepreneur:

1. Read Books and Articles

For many new entrepreneurs, your first mentors are usually found in the pages of books and blogs. Much often learned from the writings of others, and fortunately these days, people are sharing their experiences. A survey found that 88% of the world’s wealthiest people read for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. By comparison, only 2% of the overall population reads this much daily.

Read chapters in books, and articles to get new ideas and skills. Some ideas might not be directly relevant to what you’re doing these days however, it could come helpful a year or so down the road.

My advice is to search out those leaders and writers who resonate with you. You’ll understand when you’ve hit on something when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time and time again.

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato

2. Perform SWOT Analysis

Business students and old-school marketers should be very aware of mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). If you’ve never made a SWOT chart, write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in four quadrants on a piece of paper.

In reality, you’ll jot down a couple of notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, however despite the simplicity, if done right, a SWOT will shed light on crucial areas that require improvement. Most significantly, don’t shy away from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses isn’t fun however, no good comes from avoiding the fact.

3. Be Willing to Take Risks

It’s impossible to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen. See how many times you stand-up. Being an Entrepreneur isn’t that easy; it’s an up-and-down game like a business. Be willing to come up with new plans even when old strategies are working. It’s through such risks that your business will grow. You’ll learn and meet new partners or investors. Even so, the risks must be calculated. Doing the analysis and making consultations is vital in this case.

4. Open Your Eyes Wide

Many opportunities are arising in the business world every day. For instance, many companies are willing to come up with a mobile solution for a startup without charging immoderate prices. This info can only be discovered if you’re keen.

Before dismissing adverts from websites and mainstream media, conclude if they’re relevant to your business. Also, follow the events happening in the stock market and international business summits. You’ll find the opportunities which will take your business to a new level.

Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is possible if you learn, take risks, evolve, innovate, and stay motivated. You must be realistic regarding your abilities and watch the events that unfold in your world.

5. Lead the Way for Your Team

Young entrepreneurs need to encourage employees and provide help at every juncture. For any young entrepreneur who aspires to be a leader it’s necessary to be:

  • Honest
  • Ambitious
  • Courage and Risk Taking
  • Dedicated
  • A Team-player
  • An effective listener
  • An effective communicator
  • Able to inspire confidence
  • Positive

An entrepreneur who has all the attributes of a leader leads the employees to productivity. It’s essential that the team respects a leader. The hunger and aspirations of the leader to strive for success inspire the employees to put in that extra effort to be successful.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

6. Learn How to Keep Initial Success at Bay

Do not enjoy the shrubs of initial success for too long. Return to the drawing board and draw the future course of action. To move on to the next phase:

  • Utilize local and online channels to make hype for the services
  • Start expanding by hiring employees to enhance productivity
  • Cater to a good segment of the audience by providing various services
  • Re-invest the profitable revenue into new business efforts

Never let the initial success get to your head. The online platform is an ever-changing arena. Analyze what’s working and what new tactics can be utilized to strengthen the market base.

7. Find and Keep Business Partners

You will always go far if you have people to carry your hand during hardship in business. They’ll share ideas that have made them successful and provides you funds whenever necessary. Demonstrating that you are organized, capable, and serious is vital when nurturing such relationships. Keeping records, creating financial contributions to society, and attending forums are some of the choices worth trying.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll face many up-and-downs, risks, financial crisis, and many more. Be ready to face these problems if you want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t about making money, it’s about innovating new things and represent new concepts and ideas to the world.

source https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/7-things-you-need-to-do-to-grow-as-an-entrepreneur/

How to Master a Language is Easier than You Might Think


Jim Rohn had a knack for creating short, thought-provoking quotes. One of his classics is “Success leaves clues.” How right he was.

It’s not rocket science. If you want to learn how to give a good presentation, study individuals like Steve Jobs and Tony Robbins. If you want to learn how to write an ad, study the work of Claude Hopkins or perhaps pick up a copy of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman.

You can find clues to be successful in any field in any number of places. You just to keep your eyes posted and your ears open. I’ve found them in all the usual suspects; books, audio lectures, and Ted Talks. But I’ve come across some powerful ideas in TV shows, comic books and, of all places, cartoons.

However, it’s important keep in mind that it isn’t a one-size-fit-all sort of thing. Success comes in all shapes and sizes. What works for one person might not work for the next.
Still, you should always play the odds.

There are many people that just shoot blindly. Take it from me, it’s no fun. Early on, my own arrogance cost me many sleepless nights and at one point, my entire savings.

Successful people might not have all the answers, but they do have some.

One of the most common questions I get asked as a time management consultant is “What’s the best way I can increase my productivity?”

My answer is always the same, “It depends.”

For some people, organizing their calendar is the answer. I know one time-management program devoted to doing just that. For others, it’s learning to say no, because they overload their schedule leaving no space for emergencies which inevitably appear.

Let me share a short story with you.

Back in my school days I studied Spanish. Things started off ok, but when I got into Junior High, I really started to struggle. I fell behind my classmates and found myself lost in class. My parents had studied French in school and also failed miserably so I figured it was in my genes. The Shepherds simply weren’t cut out for languages.

Later I learned that wasn’t the case.

At age 19, I told my father I wanted to come to Japan. He thought I was crazy.

What happened surprised both of us – I actually learned Japanese, and it taught me a valuable lesson and one that has stuck with me.

Mastering a language requires hard work. It’s especially hard to learn Japanese if your mother tongue is English. The structure is completely the other way around, and it’s as much about wrapping your mind around a new culture as it is about learning new vocabulary.

However, the lesson I learned is this – experiment.

That’s what kids do when they are around two-years old. Most of them can’t really speak yet, so they just say whatever and see what happens. What works, they keep.

Ever seen a six-year-old kicking and screaming? It’s no mystery why. Chances are high that they’re the result of bad parenting. The kid did it once and their parents gave them what they wanted, so they kept doing it. That’s how we all learn.

It’s the same with time management. I developed the One-Bite Time Management system with this concept in mind. What works for one person, might not work for the next. It all depends on our character, our circumstances and our mindset.

I am constantly testing new ideas, always on the lookout for new and better ideas. When I take a new client, rather than telling them what to do, I find out as much about their personal situation as I can.
Step 1: Diagnose the problem

.
More often than not, people aren’t as productive as they could be due to the systems they have in place. That’s where I start – looking for the flaws in their system.

Step 2: Prescribe the solution.
I like to tackle the weakest links first. I want my clients to build momentum fast

.
One by one we implement a new idea, keeping those that worked and discarding those that don’t.

Experience has shown me that many people make the same mistakes, but the solution isn’t always the same.

That’s why you do what kids do; try and see.

Learning Japanese changed my life forever, because it taught me that all it takes to is the willingness to try new ideas. And if you want to speed up the learning process seek out mentors and teachers.

So whether you want to graduate cum laude, master negotiation techniques, boost productivity or become a master sales person, the process is the same – trial and error.

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2Zysjtu

Man Alive! How to Actually Be Happy

Do you struggle some days (or often) to feel happy amidst challenges with family, career, your body, the political arena...?

With more responsibilities and a world that is speeding up and getting more complicated, is it getting harder for you to feel joyful or peaceful? I’ll admit it sometimes is for me!

The more I research and explore happiness, the more I see false beliefs I’ve absorbed about what happiness actually is.

It can be illusive and challenging to understand, but today’s podcast guest, resilience coach Joel Drazner, has found consistent access to happiness. He has guided many people from struggle and feeling stressed to happiness and a capacity to ride life’s inevitable waves and suffering.

In this conversation Joel and I discussed:

  • The difference between fundamental happiness and a passing happy state
  • The shift that allows us to experience happiness more often
  • How to reach the point where we don’t need others or situations to make us happy
  • What most of our parents never taught us about our thoughts and feelings
  • The myth of separateness and the suffering we experience as a result

 

If these days you spend time wondering where your youthful happiness has gone, or you want to continue to feel happier as you age, have a listen to this important conversation!

Even men at the top of their game find themselves wanting more from life. Man Alive is the resource for men who want more meaning, a bigger impact, unshakable confidence, a hotter sex life, more money, deeper love, solid friendships or a powerful legacy.



A version of this post was originally posted on ShanaJamesCoaching.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2UyXXDu

Thou Shalt Not…

It’s Easter, I’m a Catholic, so I went to church. The sun was shining, the altar was covered with floral arrangements, the mood was ebullient, but I was sulking in the pew. Why, because I was thinking about my neighbor’s car, a Ford Flex that he leased, and that car–actually, not the car but the fact that my neighbor could afford the payments for a Ford Flex, and I could not–had me in a full sulk.

My wife wasn’t having my sour mood, and mid-way through mass, she dug her elbow into my side and whispered angrily, “what’s the matter with you?”

I tried to smile and get into the spirit of the day, but it was tough.

On the way home she brought it up again, only this time she wasn’t whispering, and I told her that I was sulking over the Ford Flex, and she shook her head and said, you don’t want it, you COVET it!

I mumbled something and we went to breakfast.

Later on, I sat down and thought about what she said. No one uses the word “covet” much these days, and I thought about where I had heard it before.

It was the Ten Commandments. There are two commandments that mention the word covet: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, and thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods. I don’t care much for his wife, who is sharp-tongued and once asked my wife (about me): “what do you see in him anyway?

So I don’t covet her, but I do covet his goods, as in the Ford Flex.

That got me to thinking about other stuff I coveted, and guess what–it was all stuff that other people could afford and I couldn’t…I wrote it all down–made a list of all the things that I wanted that everyone else had, and it was a good-sized list of things. Will it make me covet less?
I don’t know, but at least it was out in the open.

TASK:

Go outside your house or apartment. Look around. Write down the stuff that you want, but other people have. Be precise. Do the same at work, at the gym, at the auto shop, at the movies… The list is going to be long an involved. Look at each item. Ask yourself why you want it, and if you deserve it, and if you can live without it. The results will surprise you.

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2UE2hRI

Focus on Systems Every Day, Not Goals

In business, there is too much fixation on big goals and dramatic results. “Get 1 million followers! “Build a 6-figure business!”

When you constantly focus on a big future goal, 2 things happen:

1. Your subconscious keeps whispering to you daily that you aren’t there… that you aren’t yet “enough”.

Desire is a contract we make with ourselves, to be unhappy until something specific happens. The fixation on a big goal creates an underlying layer of unhappiness with life.

2. The more you focus on the specifics of the goal, the more attached you become.

If that goal doesn’t happen in the exact way you visualized, or in the timeline you hoped, it deals a blow to your self-identity and erodes your sense of empowerment.

***

A healthier, less stressful way is to focus on our systems, our processes, rather than our goals.

Ironically, you might find it more effective in reaching your goals too.

I’m not saying to get rid of your future goals. I, too, have a vision of my future life, and specific milestones I am interested in achieving.

However, I hold loosely to those future goals, numbers, or milestones. I think of them as possibilities and potentials, rather than what my “success” means.

I use those future milestones to help me thoughtfully design a daily system that gets me ever closer to that goal, that makes those possibilities into probabilities.

None of us can accurately predict what will happen in the future (other than that the sun will probably rise tomorrow!)

When it comes to whether I will achieve my milestones, I know that there are just too many uncontrollable factors in life, society, technology, nature’s occurrences, unforeseen personal circumstances, sudden revelations that may motivate me to change directions, etc.

So let’s be careful not to get fixated on a specific future goal that we made up.

Instead, let’s create a system for our actions that makes the goal more likely.

Examples:

Goal = Lose 10 pounds.
System = Jog for 15 minutes a day.

Goal = Write a book.
System = Write 1 page a day.

Goal = Get 10 more clients in 90 days.
System = Contact 10 people a week.

Goal = Have $3,000 in passive income
System = Create 1 new online course every 60 days.

For your own system, you might want to specify the small, doable steps, to prevent procrastination.

By starting to apply your system regularly, you will also find additional clarity on how to make the system more effective for you.

As soon as we create the system, the process of daily or weekly actions, then I suggest we raise our inner reason for following that system toward a higher purpose: to grow our skills and capacity.

Truly, the only “goal” that matters is your personal growth. As long as you are growing in your abilities and character, life becomes progressively more joyful and meaningful.

Any goal becomes more achievable, if you focus on growing yourself.

**

Interestingly, when we focus on our systems, we become more likely to experience better results, more empowered to reach our goals.

Here’s a wonderful little story from the book The Practicing Mind:

“I once read an interview with a coach for the U.S. Olympic archery team. He commented that the biggest problem he faced in coaching the American team was that they were fixated on their scores, or the result of their shots.

It was as if they were drawing the bow and releasing the arrow only to hit the bull’s-eye and earn a good score.

This was in contrast to the Asian teams, who, having grown up in different cultures, were consumed in the process of properly executing the technique that led up to releasing the shot. Where the arrow hit the target was almost unimportant compared to the motion of drawing the bow correctly and releasing the shot. They viewed the result with an almost detached indifference. For them, the desired goal was a natural result of prioritizing the proper technique of drawing the bow. They operated in a completely different paradigm, and because of it, they were very difficult to beat…. The minds of the Asian archers were quiet, uncomplicated, and free from mental turmoil.

The irony was that, when compared to the results-oriented Americans, the Asians were the ones who were winning. Now, U.S. sports psychologists are teaching our athletes to think along similar lines.”
–Thomas Sterner

***

I’ll end with this encouragement:

Do not be afraid if you do not reach goals.

Focus on your systems and processes instead.

Use those systems to grow yourself everyday.

By doing this, the journey of life becomes more joyful, and you may even travel beyond your original goals.

This post was previously published on http://www.georgekao.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The post Focus on Systems Every Day, Not Goals appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2L2VsJW

To Be Ethical, AI Must Become Explainable. How Do We Get There?

As over-hyped as artificial intelligence is—everyone’s talking about it, few fully understand it, it might leave us all unemployed but also solve all the world’s problems—its list of accomplishments is growing. AI can now write realistic-sounding text, give debating champs a run for their money, diagnose illnesses, and generate fake human faces—among much more.

After training these systems on massive datasets, their creators essentially just let them do their thing to arrive at certain conclusions or outcomes. The problem is that more often than not, even the creators don’t know exactly why they’ve arrived at those conclusions or outcomes. There’s no easy way to trace a machine learning system’s rationale, so to speak. The further we let AI go down this opaque path, the more likely we are to end up somewhere we don’t want to be—and may not be able to come back from.

In a panel at the South by Southwest interactive festival last week titled “Ethics and AI: How to plan for the unpredictable,” experts in the field shared their thoughts on building more transparent, explainable, and accountable AI systems.

Not New, but Different

Ryan Welsh, founder and director of explainable AI startup Kyndi, pointed out that having knowledge-based systems perform advanced tasks isn’t new; he cited logistical, scheduling, and tax software as examples. What’s new is the learning component, our inability to trace how that learning occurs, and the ethical implications that could result.

“Now we have these systems that are learning from data, and we’re trying to understand why they’re arriving at certain outcomes,” Welsh said. “We’ve never actually had this broad society discussion about ethics in those scenarios.”

Rather than continuing to build AIs with opaque inner workings, engineers must start focusing on explainability, which Welsh broke down into three subcategories. Transparency and interpretability come first, and refer to being able to find the units of high influence in a machine learning network, as well as the weights of those units and how they map to specific data and outputs.

Then there’s provenance: knowing where something comes from. In an ideal scenario, for example, Open AI’s new text generator would be able to generate citations in its text that reference academic (and human-created) papers or studies.

Explainability itself is the highest and final bar and refers to a system’s ability to explain itself in natural language to the average user by being able to say, “I generated this output because x, y, z.”

“Humans are unique in our ability and our desire to ask why,” said Josh Marcuse, executive director of the Defense Innovation Board, which advises Department of Defense senior leaders on innovation. “The reason we want explanations from people is so we can understand their belief system and see if we agree with it and want to continue to work with them.”

Similarly, we need to have the ability to interrogate AIs.

Two Types of Thinking

Welsh explained that one big barrier standing in the way of explainability is the tension between the deep learning community and the symbolic AI community, which see themselves as two different paradigms and historically haven’t collaborated much.

Symbolic or classical AI focuses on concepts and rules, while deep learning is centered around perceptions. In human thought this is the difference between, for example, deciding to pass a soccer ball to a teammate who is open (you make the decision because conceptually you know that only open players can receive passes), and registering that the ball is at your feet when someone else passes it to you (you’re taking in information without making a decision about it).

“Symbolic AI has abstractions and representation based on logic that’s more humanly comprehensible,” Welsh said. To truly mimic human thinking, AI needs to be able to both perceive information and conceptualize it. An example of perception (deep learning) in an AI is recognizing numbers within an image, while conceptualization (symbolic learning) would give those numbers a hierarchical order and extract rules from the hierachy (4 is greater than 3, and 5 is greater than 4, therefore 5 is also greater than 3).

Explainability comes in when the system can say, “I saw a, b, and c, and based on that decided x, y, or z.” DeepMind and others have recently published papers emphasizing the need to fuse the two paradigms together.

Implications Across Industries

One of the most prominent fields where AI ethics will come into play, and where the transparency and accountability of AI systems will be crucial, is defense. Marcuse said, “We’re accountable beings, and we’re responsible for the choices we make. Bringing in tech or AI to a battlefield doesn’t strip away that meaning and accountability.”

In fact, he added, rather than worrying about how AI might degrade human values, people should be asking how the tech could be used to help us make better moral choices.

It’s also important not to conflate AI with autonomy—a worst-case scenario that springs to mind is an intelligent destructive machine on a rampage. But in fact, Marcuse said, in the defense space, “We have autonomous systems today that don’t rely on AI, and most of the AI systems we’re contemplating won’t be autonomous.”

The US Department of Defense released its 2018 artificial intelligence strategy last month. It includes developing a robust and transparent set of principles for defense AI, investing in research and development for AI that’s reliable and secure, continuing to fund research in explainability, advocating for a global set of military AI guidelines, and finding ways to use AI to reduce the risk of civilian casualties and other collateral damage.

Though these were designed with defense-specific aims in mind, Marcuse said, their implications extend across industries. “The defense community thinks of their problems as being unique, that no one deals with the stakes and complexity we deal with. That’s just wrong,” he said. Making high-stakes decisions with technology is widespread; safety-critical systems are key to aviation, medicine, and self-driving cars, to name a few.

Marcuse believes the Department of Defense can invest in AI safety in a way that has far-reaching benefits. “We all depend on technology to keep us alive and safe, and no one wants machines to harm us,” he said.

A Creation Superior to Its Creator

That said, we’ve come to expect technology to meet our needs in just the way we want, all the time—servers must never be down, GPS had better not take us on a longer route, Google must always produce the answer we’re looking for.

With AI, though, our expectations of perfection may be less reasonable.

“Right now we’re holding machines to superhuman standards,” Marcuse said. “We expect them to be perfect and infallible.” Take self-driving cars. They’re conceived of, built by, and programmed by people, and people as a whole generally aren’t great drivers—just look at traffic accident death rates to confirm that. But the few times self-driving cars have had fatal accidents, there’s been an ensuing uproar and backlash against the industry, as well as talk of implementing more restrictive regulations.

This can be extrapolated to ethics more generally. We as humans have the ability to explain our decisions, but many of us aren’t very good at doing so. As Marcuse put it, “People are emotional, they confabulate, they lie, they’re full of unconscious motivations. They don’t pass the explainability test.”

Why, then, should explainability be the standard for AI?

Even if humans aren’t good at explaining our choices, at least we can try, and we can answer questions that probe at our decision-making process. A deep learning system can’t do this yet, so working towards being able to identify which input data the systems are triggering on to make decisions—even if the decisions and the process aren’t perfect—is the direction we need to head.

This post was previously published on http://www.singularityhub.com and is republished with this Creative Commons license.

Author: Vanessa Bates Rameriz

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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The post To Be Ethical, AI Must Become Explainable. How Do We Get There? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2Dylcrt

Bernie, Citizenship, and Voting Rights

Bernie Sanders proposed at a recent CNN presidential candidates’ Town Hall that convicted felons still serving their sentences, who in every other way qualify for the right to vote, should have these rights restored. He placed his announcement in the context of the growing trend the courts and the Republican Party have undertaken to circumscribe enfranchisement through the gutting of the 1965 Voting Right Act, partisan-inspired redistricting and gerrymandering policies, and voter intimidation schemes.

Bernie is correct in his assessment of the Republicans’ attempts to control election outcomes, and though I am in full agreement with the recently-passed Florida law granting voting rights to convicted felons who had served their time and debt to society, and I believe that voting is, indeed, an automatic right of citizenship of a certain age, it is also a privilege for those who do not commit serious crimes against society.

The so-called “Boston Marathon Bombers” not only killed and maimed several individuals, but they also terrorized and maimed the hearts of the people of my beloved city of Boston and state of Massachusetts and the people of the entire nation. To reinstate voting rights to the remaining convicted bomber would be tantamount to condoning his horrific acts against We the People.

Of great concern and an often-forgotten perspective is the ever-changing definition throughout our history of who gets to be included in the definition of “citizen” with its attendant right to vote. Though the people of the United States are about to celebrate the country’s 243rd year of independence, 2020 marks only the centennial commemoration of women’s right to vote.

And “citizenship” has often served as the United States official racial policy.

Beginning the first day Europeans stepped foot on what has come to be known as “the Americas” up until this very day, decisions over who can enter the United States and who can eventually gain citizenship status and vote has generally depended on issues of “race.”

In 1790, the newly constituted United States Congress passed the Naturalization Act, which excluded all nonwhites from citizenship, including Asians, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans, the latter whom they defined in oxymoronic terms as “domestic foreigners,” even though they had inhabited this land for thousands of years. Only European-heritage men of “good character” could vote.

The Congress did not grant Native Americans rights of citizenship until 1924 with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, though Asians continued to be denied naturalized citizenship status.

Though formerly enslaved African-heritage men were granted the vote under the terms of the 15th Amendment in 1870, following the Reconstruction Era in the South, states effectively suppressed the voting rights of black people under “Jim Crow” laws.

The U.S. Congress passed the first law specifically restricting or excluding immigrants based on “race” and nationality in 1882. In their attempts to eliminate entry of Chinese (and other Asian) workers who often competed for jobs with U.S. citizens, especially in the western United States, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act to restrict their entry into the U.S. for a 10-year period, while denying citizenship to Chinese people already on these shores.

The Act also made it illegal for Chinese people to marry white or black U.S.-Americans. The Immigration Act of 1917 further prohibited immigration from Asian countries, in the terms of the law, the “barred zone,” including parts of China, India, Siam, Burma, Asiatic Russia, the Polynesian Islands, and parts of Afghanistan.

In the Supreme Court case, Takao Ozawa v. United States, a Japanese man, Takao Ozawa, filed for citizenship under the Naturalization Act of 1906, which allowed white persons and persons of African descent or African nativity to achieve naturalization status. Asians, however, were classified as an “unassimilateable race” and, therefore, not entitled to U.S. citizenship.

Ozawa attempted to have Japanese people classified as “white” since he claimed he had the requisite white skin. The Supreme Court, in 1922, however, denied his claim and, therefore, his U.S. citizenship.

Following U.S. entry into World War II at the end of 1942, reflecting the tenuous status of Japanese Americans, some born in the United States, military officials uprooted and transported approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans to Internment (Concentration) Camps within several interior states far from the shores.

In Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), the landmark United States Supreme Court decision ruled 6-3 that Executive Order 9066 was constitutional “as a matter of military urgency,” ordering Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship. Not until Ronald Reagan’s administration did the U.S. officially apologize to Japanese Americans and paid reparations amounting to $20,000 to each survivor as part of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act.

Though the Magnuson Act of 1943 gave Chinese immigrants a path toward citizenship and the right to vote, until 1952, federal policy disqualified immigrants from most other Asian countries citizenship status and voting rights.

Though the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned racial discrimination in voting, the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby v. Holder eliminated a key section of the Voting Rights Act even though the majority 5-4 opinion acknowledged that voting discrimination “still exists.”

Within hours of the decision, Texas implemented its voter ID law, which the courts later ruled was “imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory intent” against racialized people. By 2014, legislators introduced at least 83 restrictive voting rights bills in 29 states.

While I cannot stand with Bernie on the issue of restoring voting rights to currently-incarcerated felons, I support all politicians who are demanding to restore and strengthen the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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The post Bernie, Citizenship, and Voting Rights appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2GJuBNV