Reading List: Sauna Competitions, a Scurry of Academics, and Have You Examined YOUR Fears of Fascism Today?
Dearests, it is once again Friday, the end of the work week and a reminder that I need to refresh my Kindle list so that I may have the longform brain fuel required to consume content in cafes and coffee shops as the 100% extrovert that I am (meaning: I need to be around people, but don’t you dare interrupt my bingereading of political commentary.)
TO THE WORDS, NERDS!
A whole bunch of academics, The Moral Machine experiment (Nature) - A group of science folks surveyed a metric crapton of people (2 million, for you crapton laypeople) and asked who you'd kill, in a lose-lose situation in a fancy self-driving car, if presented with two shitty option. Some of you dweebs will recognize this conundrum. Myself, I took exactly one philosophy/ethics class in college—which I barely passed in a pass/fail situation YOLO—and all I remember from that class was the famous Trolley Problem. Then last year, I was reminded of said problem by the super amazing excellent show The Good Place. Since then, said Trolley Problem has been lodged in my brain, especially when aggressively asking self-driving car CEOs at an Autonomous Vehicle conference how they choose who on their team codes a similar decision into AI, because software is never truly autonomous as it is created and coded by humans with experiences and morals and biases and fallibilities, so therefore one software engineer at a large AV company could theoretically have an outsized impact on the state of modern ethics and potentially the lives of millions, and shouldn’t we be ensuring that those decision-makers don’t get pulled solely from a homogenous selection of Silicon Valley engineers and what does this line of thinking foretell about the path of our moral future and shit, now I’ve gone cross-eyed.
(I was alerted to this by Tracey Lindeman’s VICE piece, Driverless Cars Should Spare Young People Over Old in Unavoidable Accidents, Massive Survey Finds, which I think is a snappier and more easily tweet able title, naturally.)
John Sudworth, China's hidden camps (BBC) - This piece is one you’re going to want to read on your desktop or mobile. Sudworth’s investigation into the rapid creation of what allegedly appears to be concentration camps in China to imprison Muslim Uighurs includes satellite imagery, state propaganda video stills, and his own photos taken as Chinese police interrogated him about his reporting.
Jason Stanley, Opinion | If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be (The New York Times) - This is a video by a Yale philosopher who has spent the last decade of his life studying fascist propaganda, so imma let it speak for itself...
Jennifer Bendery, In Deep Red Idaho, Voters Are Fanatic About Democrat Paulette Jordan (HuffPost) - ...but at least we have dynamic gubernatorial candidates like Paulette Jordan! Because even if she doesn’t win, she’s causing these sorts of reactions (From Bendery’s piece): “Some people, often older men, cry when they meet Jordan. Others tell her she’s inspiring them to vote for the first time in years. Strangers have asked her to marry them. A local artist spent months creating a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an image of Jordan in it, dressed in what appears to be a velvet suit and standing on a crescent moon.”
Have a great weekend, my darlings. Be kind to each other.