About innovation, the future, and ethics:
A coalition of tech entrepreneurs will try to tackle climate change. A connection between urban sprawl and devastating wildfires. What about the legal status of climate refugees who are currently not recognised in the Geneva convention (and the idea of helping to adapt rather than compensating for losses)? Uruguay gets 94.5 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy and got there in 10 years.
The New York Times, on the questionable over-use and the implicit ideology in the concept of "resilience":
But where ‘‘resilience’’ can suggest new avenues for civic infrastructure — admitting that disaster can’t always be diverted and shifting the focus to survival strategies — it is indistinguishable from classic American bootstrap logic when it is applied to individuals, placing all the burden of success and failure on a person’s character. ‘‘It’s pretty much the same message that’s drummed into us by Aesop’s fables, Benjamin Franklin’s aphorisms, Christian denunciations of sloth and the 19th-century chant invented to make children do their homework: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,’ ’’ the social scientist Alfie Kohn argued in an op-ed article in The Washington Post. ‘‘The more we focus on whether people have or lack persistence (or self-discipline more generally), the less likely we’ll be to question larger policies.’’
The New York Times Magazine: The Profound Emptiness of ‘Resilience’, December 1, 2015
In the New Yorker, a long article about the "doomsday machine" or possible implications of an artificial intelligence surpassing the capabilities of its creators (and Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence. Paths, Dangers, Strategies):
Many of the world’s largest tech companies are now locked in an A.I. arms race, purchasing other companies and opening specialized units to advance the technology. Industry is vacuuming up Ph.D.s so quickly that people in the field worry there will no longer be top talent in academia. After decades of pursuing narrow forms of A.I., researchers are seeking to integrate them into systems that resemble a general intellect. Since I.B.M.’s Watson won “Jeopardy,” the company has committed more than a billion dollars to develop it, and is reorienting its business around “cognitive systems.” One senior I.B.M. executive declared, “The separation between human and machine is going to blur in a very fundamental way.”
The New Yorker: The Doomsday Invention, November 23, 2015
On the debate about CRISPR, the gene editing technology ahead of the moral debate about gene editing: how and why would we use the technology to edit human genes? Wired about ethics and the law.
On finding a global response to the refugee crisis instead of reacting hastily by closing borders and playing into ISIS's hands - on how to talk about the refugee crisis "in a world of commonplace horrors", and:
So far, more than a few European leaders have seen through the ISIS campaign of strategic disinformation. The head of the European Commission and the speaker of the European Parliament have declared that Europe must not allow ISIS to dictate the terms of its refugee policy. American state governors and Republican candidates for president, on the other hand, have been calling for a ban on Syrian refugees in the US. This is fear masquerading as prudence. Canada, Australia, and Britain, countries that have been attacked by terrorists, have not backed away from their commitment to take Syrian refugees, and the US shouldn’t either. To bar refugees from US borders would allow the enemy to dictate the terms of the battle. The US has every reason—moral, humanitarian, and strategic—to refuse to give in to fear and to continue to provide refuge for those escaping barbarism.
The New York Review of Books: The Refugees & the New War, December 17 2015 Issue
The New York Times with an editorial that calls to "End the Gun Epidemic in America":
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
The New York Times: End the Gun Epidemic in America, December 4, 2015
About the James Deen case: in Medium, about how men like James Deen use the marketable identity of feminism to cover up abusive behaviour, and in the Guardian -
The stigma fuelling those messages – that no one would do porn willingly, so the line between porn and rape doesn’t matter, but also that porn performers who are raped are at fault – is responsible for keeping porn performers silent. It is what puts them at risk. As Stoya, Raphael, Leathers and other performers told me, the stigma is the reason so few come forward about sexual assault. Whether you are a porn performer or not, for anyone who speaks out about rape, often it’s one’s sexual history that becomes the object of inquiry, not the rape. The difference for porn performers is that what is seen as their sexual history – their performances at work – is already a matter of public record and debate.
The Awl, with a long conversation with art historian, photo critic and writer Teju Cole.
Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen of Portlandia talk to Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City about friendship, performance and acting. And here, the former two are selling holiday sweaters.
In Brooklyn Magazine, OITNB's Uzo Aduba's Road to Success.