ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


AI Researchers Are Increasingly Worried About The Ethical Implications Of Their Work

Just as some computer scientists seem oblivious to ethical concerns, others appear to be trigger-happy with their moral outrage. - The New Yorker

Can Historians Be Traumatized By What They Study?

"The phenomenon of the historian traumatized by history remains unstudied and is not widely known. Yet anyone who has documented depravity knows the symptoms. After writing a book on the Armenian Genocide, a process that took me five years, I found it impossible to slip comfortably into sleep. All kinds of catastrophes visited me—still visit me—in that space before...

Struggling With The Meaning Of Cultural Appropriation

"Your poem was meant to be a complex double portrait of both the Black caregiver and your white grandmother, and the racist logic and history that bound them both. Did you, a young white person, the child of people you freely admitted had been shaped by racist beliefs, have any claim or relationship to this voice? Our workshop worried...

Why We Have Difficulty Trusting Science

Precisely the same methods, and precisely the same leaps of brilliance and faith that led in some cases to science that has withstood the test of centuries, led also to results that were rapidly cast into oblivion. Wish as we might, little more than the passage of time and thus hindsight tells us what was “good science” as opposed...

To Understand The Problems With Big Tech Platforms We Need To Understand What’s At Risk

Harvesting data at scale makes us collectively vulnerable in ways that go beyond breaches of individual privacy. This is a new and nasty problem: even when individual rights are formally considered (e.g., via privacy consent forms), the consequences for society may be very harmful. - 3 Quarks Daily

Was Some Of Ravel’s Best Music The Product Of A Brain Disorder?

“Think of it like traffic. There’s the language road, there’s the music road, there’s the seeing road, there’s the images road. Language is like a superhighway; it makes the other things wait for it. It puts a stoplight on the others. But when language deteriorates a little bit — which happens at the beginning of this disease — it...

Are American Progressive Ideas A Threat To France’s Identity?

French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society. “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’’ warned Mr. Macron’s education minister. - The New York Times

We Worried About Children On The Internet And Completely Forgot About Adults

Honestly, will we never learn? "Americans have expressed their concerns about each new form of media through fears about children and youth. Younger Americans were supposed to be especially vulnerable to undue influence, influence that would come through direct exposure to cheap publications, movies, radio, television, and the internet. Over multiple generations, Americans tried to guide, control, or censor...

What’s The Best Place To Work (And Work Only) From Home?

Turns out it might not be sitting on the couch behind your daughter in the TV room. (Who could have known, pre-pandemic?) - Fast Company

Why Some Are Inclined To Be Seduced By Conspiracy Theories

In the face of complicated events, bewildering new technologies, and sometimes contradictory information, the explanatory power of some occult yet totalizing narrative easily overmasters more prosaic explanations of the world. To those in thrall to such conspiracy beliefs, observable reality conceals plots that are hatched in secret by powerful people and organizations with malevolent purpose—to control, harm, or kill...

Needed: A Philosophical Means Of Regarding Technology

We live in a technopoly, a society in which powerful technologies come to dominate the people they are supposed to serve, and reshape us in their image. These technologies, therefore, might be called prescriptive or manipulatory. For example, social networks promise to forge connections — but they also encourage mob rule. The proper response to this situation is not...

Do We Have The Will To Stop Invention Of A Doomsday Device?

What we haven’t pulled out yet is a black ball: a technology that invariably destroys the civilisation that invents it. That’s not because we’ve been particularly careful or wise when it comes to innovation. We’ve just been lucky. But what if there’s a black ball somewhere in the urn? If scientific and technological research continues, we’ll eventually pull it...

Why Artificial Intelligence Will Never Write Compelling Novels

If computers could do literature, they could invent like Wells and Homer, taking over from sci-fi authors to engineer the next utopia-dystopia. And right now, you probably suspect that computers are on the verge of doing just so... Yet despite all this gaudy credentialing, the hoax is a complete cheat, a total scam, a fiction of the grossest kind....

Has Westernization In The Rest Of The World Been Over-Estimated?

The immense force of Western institutions – capitalism, democracy, Christianity – stamped itself on other parts of the globe, creating independent democratic nations committed to freedom, end of story. Or is it the end of the story? If 21st-century world trends are any indication, we might have badly overstated Westernisation’s influence and achievement. - Aeon

Our Inner Critics – Ignore Or Be Guided?

"The inner voice, which is also an inward-turning voice, tends to linger over negative content. What’s more, it can call our attention to processes that run more smoothly in the dark, deconstructing what should be seamless movement into a broken jumble of steps." - The New Yorker

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