In electronics, technology propels the world and its economies
forward relentlessly, but we have similar moral/cultural issues we
rarely confront as loudly. Technologists created dynamite, machine guns,
planes to drop bombs on civilian targets and atomic weapons. We can
now fly drone aircraft half a world away, kill a suspected terrorist and end the mission, walking out of a trailer in Nevada and grabbing
Starbucks on the way home.
Technology has spawned an amazing information age, but it's
transformed society in dark, slimy ways we're just now grappling with: I'm
thinking here of families sitting around a table staring at their
phones, conversing with everyone but the people sitting a foot away.
What's the impact on basic human communications and society?
Technology has spawned an incredible Internet-of-things that is
revolutionizing many aspects of society, but it will also continue
to crash into our civil liberties through cameras and sensors we
can't even see.
These technological consequences are as troublesome as those from
the spread of bleeding-edge pharmaceuticals (perhaps more so because
they are effecting everyone, not just athletes). And yet… little of
isolated discussion. When bicyclist Lance Armstrong gets nailed
(what a breathtaking use of technology!), it's Page 1
Neither electronics nor pharmaceutical technology can be stuffed
back in the toothpaste tube, and issues of "level playing fields" in sports and technology are hogwash.
So, how do we manage this tension? How
do we move beyond the simple-minded "cheaters" mantra? Or do we?
If Bonds doesn't make the HoF, then nobody even remotely suspected of steroid use (everyone who played) ought to.
That said, I don't agree that we should just allow professional athletes to do steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, even though they are adults and are free to balance the risk rewards for themselves. The reason is the millions of children (including my own) who look up to professional athletes and want to emulate them (ask Dean Kamen about that). We can't allow our kids to believe that PEDs are table stakes to any chance of becoming a professional athlete.
Besides, Brian, we Giants fans no longer need Bonds' exploits to make our franchise special. We've got two championships in three years. Giants are legit now, without Bonds and (mostly) without Melky.
I thought that Susan Slusser's article makes some good points about the conflicting opinions that will cloud the decisions. I also don't give the HoF that much credibility or weight in my judgment of whether a player was the best among his peers during his time in MLB.
I'm also a Giants fan who is glad that the 2010 and 2012 teams won the World Series, demonstrating that it takes a whole team effort and not just one player.
The focus of this column also makes me wonder what technologies current and future ballplayers will use to try to keep an edge as their bodies wear down.
I'm reading former major leaguer Doug Glanville's book, "The Game From Where I Stand" and it's a fascinating look at MLB from about 1997-2004. It also turns out that he studied engineering in college!
Steroids first hit in the 60s (Cortizone was used as a pain-killer/recovery agent for one year at De Matha circa 1964 until Coach Wooten realized it had allowed a player with a simple fracture to go back into a game because he felt no pain.)
Within a few years, I noticed football players at big-time high schools were getting huge. It rapidly got to where normal kids could not make those teams and players from the opponents could easily get trashed.
So, the motivation for the pre-professionals in the high schools who wanted big college scholarships and then became real professionals in the colleges taking payments and free uses of Mercedes and BMWs (backs) and Cadillacs (Linemen).
And, we all remember the East German Women(?) swimmers that destroyed a good set of American women swimmers. PBS has a good program about the health problems of the EG Swimmers.
I recall the slime ball reporters calling our swimmers crybabies when they complained that there was something wrong. So, really the sports reporters have been mostly ignoring this for 40 years. Somebody interviewed Mark Spitz at the 2008 Olympics and he detailed how athletes were using PEDs that were either not detectable or not yet banned. NBC did not run the interview. Obviously, would have hurt ratings and risked their Billion dollar event.
Assuming that many pitchers in the MLB were not doping, do you think they like having their life-time statistics were trashed by the juicers hitting about twice as many home-runs as they would have if they were honorable?
At some point, we will be able to build a mechanical arm with built in optical sensors that will be able to hit a homerun almost every time. Should we allow an MLB player who loses his arm to Cancer to get such an arm and then play? Also, it could be calibrated to throw from deep in the corner to one foot above the plate at about twice as fast as Roberto Clemente or Willie Mays. If so, do we allow someone who mysteriously got Flesh Eating bacteria in their arm to cut it off and replace it with such a cool little machine? Such arms might let average tennis players serve at 180 or 300 MPH.
Too bad, if the opponent or a ball boy or someone in the stands, is occasionally killed.
Might actually make tennis interesting to NASCAR fans.
My dad told me a story about a deaf linebacker that could read lips. He would get down on all fours and scamper back and forth while the other team was in the huddle so he could see the quarterback's lips. He was amazingly effective at 'guessing' where interior runs were going.
Now, let us modify our linebackers' helmet with a microphone and earplugs so they can listen in on the offense's huddle.
Clearly, you are on a slippery slope and you are gunning your engine going down hill.
I don't actually mean this to generate flames and angry responses, but to remind you that people with money can by expertise, medical, engineering and otherwise, that can change a sport into something entirely other.
I note that there are people smarter than me that can think up more clever things than I winged above.
WRT MLB: I would go back and cancel out every run scored and every RBI due to a a hit from known juicers and reset all pitchers' lifetime win-loss and ERA statistics. Certainly wipe the juicer's stats and certainly ban them from the HoF. Same as Cycling did with Lance Armstrong.
It is called Honor.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.