Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Airs Sunday, November 15, at 6 p.m. Machines have no friendship to offer, and yet we persist in the desire for conversation, companionship, and even communion with the inanimate. Has the simulation of empathy become empathy enough? The simulation of communion, communion enough? We are at the robotic moment not because we have made robots that are ready to be our companions but because we are willing to be theirs. Who do we become when we talk to machines? What do we forget when we talk to machines?

Sherrel Johnson

A new graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote an article in the new issue of a newsletter for civil engineers that demonstrates how Union County, Arkansas, found a solution to the rapidly declining Sparta Aquifer. It’s a success story that’s now 16 years in the making.

Robert Sowby, a fellow graduate student and his adviser traveled to El Dorado earlier this year to examine the Sparta Aquifer. Sowby was impressed to learn how residents, local industries, and government all pulled together to find a solution to the rapidly depleting water supply.