The transcript from an lecture presented by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture-capital arm, on the ethics of drones, military robots, and cyborg soldiers.
Thursday, December 29
On a child diagnosed with autism:
The worst part was that I knew he sensed it, too. In the same way that I know when he wants vegetable puffs or puréed fruit by the subtle pitch of his cries, I could tell that he also perceived the change—and feared it. At night he was terrified to go to bed, needing to hold my fingers with one hand and touch my face with the other in order to get the few hours of sleep he managed. Every morning he was different. Another word was gone, another moment of eye contact was lost. He began to cry in a way that was untranslatable. The wails were not meant as messages to be decoded; they were terrified expressions of being beyond expression itself.
Wednesday, December 28
A 21-year-old falls into a coma from which he’ll never emerge. His mother, desperate to grant his wish of becoming a father, has his sperm preserved. Two years later, after a fruitless search for other alternatives, she finds a willing doctor and tries one last option: carrying her son’s child herself.
Military recruiters reveal just how corrupted—and sometimes deadly—their job has become.
Tuesday, December 27
There is so much talk now about the art of the film that we may be in danger of forgetting that most of the movies we enjoy are not works of art.
The unlikely people who’ve turned to selling weed in the recession.
Monday, December 26
A doctor reveals widespread organ harvesting of prisoners in China.
Walter Isaacson’s book is long, dull, often flat-footed, and humorless. It hammers on one nail, incessantly: that Steve Jobs was an awful man, but awful in the service of products people really liked (and eventually bought lots of) and so in the end his awfulness was probably OK.
A profile of Carrie Brownstein, riot grrrl and creator of Portlandia.