ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Using Lockdown Boredom For Good

"During this period of soul-crushing boredom, it would be valuable to pay more attention to what people are feeling and thinking, rather than trying to distract and lull them; to collect our daydreams, reveries and thoughts from this time, and let expectations and desires find common expression." - The Guardian

The Artistic Power Of AI

"AI as scientist conception runs the risk of missing out on a — the — characteristic feature of AI, particularly machine learning. Once this feature of machine learning is thrown into relief, AI as artist seems a more fitting conception." - 3 Quarks Daily

Research: The Intricacies Of Detecting Bullshit

Recently, researchers have begun to treat bullshitting as having two separate dimensions. “Persuasive bullshitting” is motivated by a desire to impress or persuade. “Evasive bullshitting” is different — as a “strategic circumnavigation of the truth”, it’s the sort that a politician might engage in when trying to cover up a mistake, for example. By definition, the creation of either type of bullshit is intentional, though of course the spreading of bullshit may not be. - Research Digest

How To Fix Our Online Dystopia? It’s A Design Problem

In this new wilderness, democracy is becoming impossible. If one half of the country can’t hear the other, then Americans can no longer have shared institutions, apolitical courts, a professional civil service, or a bipartisan foreign policy. We can’t compromise. We can’t make collective decisions—we can’t even agree on what we’re deciding. - The Atlantic

How Companies Are Rethinking What It Means To “Own” Something

Business leaders, and their lawyers, have a bias — an unjustified faith, really — that legal ownership matters. Surprisingly often, it doesn’t, and some businesses today voluntarily forgo ownership altogether, even when the law makes protection available. - Harvard Business Review

What People Regret On Their Deathbed

"Broadly, people seem to wish for a more meaningful life. They wished they’d been more authentic in their activities (1; 3). They wished they’d prioritised friends and themselves, rather than work (2; 4; 5). They wished, in short, that they’d stopped and smelled the roses." - Aeon

Study: Yes, People Really Don’t Know When To Shut Up!

"Only 2 percent of conversations ended at the time both parties desired, and only 30 percent of them finished when one of the pair wanted them to. In about half of the conversations, both people wanted to talk less, but their cutoff point was usually different. Participants in both studies reported, on average, that the desired length of their conversation was about half of its actual length." - Scientific American

American Academy Of Arts And Letters, Static For More Than A Century, Makes An Attempt To Diversify Itself

Here's the deal: "Founded in 1898, the institution had capped membership at 250 since 1908; members are elected for life and pay no dues." Before this year, the only way to add a member was for another member to die - and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Academy was made up of mostly white men. Poet Joy Harjo, one of the new, expanded membership: "“Every culture has contributed to the restoration, remaking and revisioning of this country. ... Together we are a rich, dynamic story field of every shade, tone and rhythm." - The New York Times

Battleground Over Truth (Whatever That Is)

"A striking feature of our current political landscape is that we disagree not just over values (which is healthy in a democracy), and not just over facts (which is inevitable), but over our very standards for determining what the facts are. Call this knowledge polarization, or polarization over who knows—which experts to trust, and what is rational and what isn’t." - Boston Review

The Mind As Computer? It Doesn’t Work That Way

These kinds of metaphors reduce us to achievement-driven and advantage-seeking entities, condemned constantly to self-optimise, as if our highest purpose is to be effective instruments. But effectiveness for effectiveness’s sake is an empty aim. Such imagery also casts us as competitors vying for scarce resources in a playing field in which the fittest survive – in this case the mentally fit, the emotionally agile, those who are the best self-managers. - Psyche

Maybe Human-Centric Design Isn’t The Best Way To Design?

"What if situating the human at the heart of design isn’t enough to steer innovation in the right direction? What if it’s precisely what we should avoid? Human-centred thinking has marked drawbacks. We can trace the desire to focus on the human – and the human alone – to an anthropocentric logic that has guided technological development for centuries and, ultimately, led to the current state of ecological crisis. Viewed in this light, the rise of AI represents a chance to forge new, less extractive but still productive relationships with the organisms and entities with which we share the planet." - Psyche

Needed Corrections In Explaining How The Brain Works

"As a neuroscientist, I see scientific myths about the brain repeated regularly in the media and corners of academic research. Three of them, in particular, stand out for correction. After all, each of us has a brain, so it’s critical to understand how that three-pound blob between your ears works." - Nautilus

Italy Has Too Much Tourism. How To Fix? The Uffizi Has A Plan

Enter the Uffizi Diffusi project. Meaning "scattered Uffizi," it's a reimagining of Italy's "scattered hotel" concept, in which individual "rooms" are located in different houses of a village. In this project, artworks stored in the Uffizi's deposit will be put on show throughout the surrounding area of Tuscany, turning Italy's most famous region into one big "scattered" museum. - CNN

The Virtue Of Ethics

"Until quite recently there was a concern that ethical relativism had become the dominant cultural assumption, which meant that ethics was all just a matter of opinion, every view was ‘equally valid’ with no objective standard. We seem now to have been catapulted to the other extreme. Ethical positions are often held with a fervent certainty that would embarrass a medieval monk." - 3 Quarks Daily

Social Scientist: We Need To Treat Disinformation With A Vaccine

"Our information crisis can and should be treated like a virus. Responding to fake stories or conspiracy theories after the fact is woefully insufficient, just as post-infection treatments don’t compare to vaccines. Indeed, a growing body of social science suggests that fact-checks and debunkings do little to correct falsehoods after people have seen a piece of misinformation (the unintentional spread of misleading or false stories) or disinformation (the intentional spread of such a story with a purpose in mind). Sander Van der Linden believes we can protect people against bad information through something akin to inoculation. A truth vaccine. He calls this tactic “prebunking.” - Rolling Stone

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