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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review

Self-Driving Cars Crash into Decades-Old Ethical Conundrum

On March 19th, 2018, a woman was struck and killed in Tempe, Arizona, by a self-driving vehicle owned and operated by Uber. For a brief period of time, the safety and future of autonomous vehicles was brought into the spotlight. However, with a settlement in the ensuing lawsuit, the story effectively ended. While Uber pulled its self-driving cars from the streets for now, this brings up an important question about the safety of autonomous vehicles. One of the most important concerns about self-driving cars is how their algorithms would be programmed to react to a “trolley problem”.

As developed by Judith Thomson, the trolley problem is a hypothetical situation in which a bystander witnesses a trolley headed towards a group of five workers. The bystander can choose to pull the lever and direct the trolley into a wall, killing the two workers on board, or do nothing, and allow the train to kill the five workers on the track.

In terms of self-driving cars, a car would theoretically have to be programmed to either protect the driver or protect the pedestrians. In a similar situation to the trolley problem, if a self-driving car is headed down the road and its brakes give out, would the car swerve into a wall to avoid a group of pedestrians, saving their lives but killing the passengers? This moral dilemma has created a serious problem for autonomous vehicle programmers.

Wired reports that Iyad Rahwan of the MIT Media Lab is conducting studies to determine how consumers understand self-driving cars and their potential to be programed to kill passengers instead of injure pedestrians. So far, he has reported, “most people would not buy a self-driving car that could make the decision to kill them as the passenger.”

This conundrum raises issues that extend beyond the ethics of robotics. Will humans ever be able to accept that technology is not perfect, and that scenarios like the trolley problem, though rare, do occur in real life?

There has been little-to-no corporate news coverage of the ethics of self-driving cars, their relation to the trolley problem, or the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) as a whole. Establishment media reported about Uber settling in court, but the details of the incident itself were marginalized.

Throughout the emergence and growth of AI, many concerns have been voiced about the danger of playing with the unknown, as have been expressed most notably by the late, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, as well as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Hawking told the BBC, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end for the human race.” Nevertheless, most corporate news outlets have focused on the benefits of new AI technologies.

Sources:

Timothy B. Lee, “Uber Self-driving Car Hits and Kills Pedestrian,” Ars Technica, March 19, 2018,://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/03/uber-self-driving-car-hits-and-kills-pedestrian/.

Ian Bogost, “Enough With the Trolley Problem,” The Atlantic, March 30, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/got-99-problems-but-a-trolley-aint-one/556805/.

Henry Grabar, “Arizona’s Lax Approach to Regulating Self-Driving Cars Is Dangerous-and Paying Off,” Slate, March 27, 2018, https://slate.com/technology/2018/03/arizonas-lax-approach-to-regulating-self-driving-cars.html.

Matt, Simon, “To Make Us All Safer, Robocars Will Sometimes Have to Kill,” Wired, May 25, 2017, https://www.wired.com/2017/03/make-us-safer-robocars-will-sometimes-kill/.

Student Researcher: Carly Tashman (University of Vermont)

Faculty Researcher: Robert Williams Jr. (University of Vermont)

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