The “Smirk seen ’round the world” Updated 7/28/2020

sandmannUpdate: Most of what’s below was posted January 2019. Since then, the boy in the left of the image filed defamation lawsuits against several news agencies and a few of them have settled.  Here are a couple of articles about those lawsuits and their resolution. This topic also fits well with the new course concepts around knowledge and knower, knowledge and technology, and knowledge and politics.

CNN Settles Lawsuit Brought by Covington Catholic Student Nicholas Sandmann (1/7/2020)

Numerous national media outlets painted Sandmann and his classmates as menacing — and in some cases racist — after an edited video emerged of Sandmann smiling, inches away from the face of Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American man, while attending the March for Life on the National Mall. A more complete video of the encounter, which emerged later, showed that Phillips had approached the Covington students and begun drumming in their faces, prompting them to respond with school chants.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/cnn-settles-lawsuit-brought-by-covington-catholic-student-nicholas-sandmann/

And another from 7/24/2020

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/508905-nicholas-sandmann-announces-settlement-with-washington-post-in-defamation

Interesting situation from a TOK perspective. Below is a collection of articles about the topic. They raise a lot of interesting questions about how we acquire knowledge and the relationships among the various ways of knowing. It also lends itself to ask about the primacy of some WOKs over others.

 

Download Lesson plan on “the smirk”

Download smirk articles handout

TOK Day 31 (daily student worksheet)

What’s also interesting is how impactful the image was. The image seemed to be a perfect representation of how many people view the current moment in the United States. It fit perfectly into prior assumptions about the world and spoke to a deeper truth. Interpreting and explaining this image!and fitting it into preexisting mental schema seemed pretty easy.

Once more and more videos started to emerge and the greater context became known, there were some interesting developments. Some people Continue reading “The “Smirk seen ’round the world” Updated 7/28/2020″

Twitter aims to limit people sharing articles they have not read

The problem of users sharing links without reading them is not new. A 2016 study from computer scientists at Columbia University and Microsoft found that 59% of links posted on Twitter are never clicked.

Twitter’s solution is not to ban such retweets, but to inject “friction” into the process, in order to try to nudge some users into rethinking their actions on the social network. It is an approach the company has been taking more frequently recently, in an attempt to improve “platform health” without facing accusations of censorship.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jun/11/twitter-aims-to-limit-people-sharing-articles-they-have-not-read

If AI is going to help us in a crisis, we need a new kind of ethics

AI has the potential to save lives but this could come at the cost of civil liberties like privacy. How do we address those trade-offs in ways that are acceptable to lots of different people? We haven’t figured out how to deal with the inevitable disagreements.

AI ethics also tends to respond to existing problems rather than anticipate new ones. Most of the issues that people are discussing today around algorithmic bias came up only when high-profile things went wrong, such as with policing and parole decisions.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/24/1004432/ai-help-crisis-new-kind-ethics-machine-learning-pandemic/?truid=e0dd2cbe984961ceccec29c613c6f06f&utm_source=the_download&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_download.unpaid.engagement&utm_term=non-subs&utm_content=07-17-2020

Predictive policing algorithms are racist. They need to be dismantled.

The kids Milner watched being arrested were being set up for a lifetime of biased assessment because of that arrest record. But it wasn’t just their own lives that were affected that day. The data generated by their arrests would have been fed into algorithms that would disproportionately target all young Black people the algorithms assessed. Though by law the algorithms do not use race as a predictor, other variables, such as socioeconomic background, education, and zip code, act as proxies. Even without explicitly considering race, these tools are racist.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/07/17/1005396/predictive-policing-algorithms-racist-dismantled-machine-learning-bias-criminal-justice/

A second, related article:

 

How America Lost Faith in Expertise And Why That’s a Giant Problem

It’s not just that people don’t know a lot about science or politics or geography. They don’t, but that’s an old problem. The bigger concern today is that Americans have reached a point where ignorance—at least regarding what is generally considered established knowledge in public policy—is seen as an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to demonstrate their independence from nefarious elites—and insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong…

I fear we are moving beyond a natural skepticism regarding expert claims to the death of the ideal of expertise itself: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laypeople, teachers and students, knowers and wonderers—in other words, between those with achievement in an area and those with none. By the death of expertise, I do not mean the death of actual expert abilities, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors and lawyers and engineers and other specialists. And most sane people go straight to them if they break a bone or get arrested or need to build a bridge. But that represents a kind of reliance on experts as technicians, the use of established knowledge as an off-the-shelf convenience as desired. “Stitch this cut in my leg, but don’t lecture me about my diet.”

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-02-13/how-america-lost-faith-expertise

Of course technology perpetuates racism. It was designed that way.

We often call on technology to help solve problems. But when society defines, frames, and represents people of color as “the problem,” those solutions often do more harm than good. We’ve designed facial recognition technologies that target criminal suspects on the basis of skin color. We’ve trained automated risk profiling systems that disproportionately identify Latinx people as illegal immigrants. We’ve devised credit scoring algorithms that disproportionately identify black people as risks and prevent them from buying homes, getting loans, or finding jobs.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002589/technology-perpetuates-racism-by-design-simulmatics-charlton-mcilwain/

It Takes a World to End a Pandemic

Great article for discussing the production of scientific knowledge, shared knowledge, and also the new knowledge and technology theme.

Scientific Cooperation Knows No Boundaries—Fortunately

Infectious diseases, it is commonly said, know no borders, and neither does the knowledge needed to fight them. Scientists around the world routinely share information and collaborate across borders.  The current pandemic has scientists working together on platforms such as Slack, and using new tools, such as machine learning, to rapidly detect the novel coronavirus in tests that use large amounts data from multiple sources. This outbreak has demonstrated in real time how scientific understanding can indeed be a global public good.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-03-21/it-takes-world-end-pandemic

How technology is designed to bring out the worst in us

“Technology feels disempowering because we haven’t built it around an honest view of human nature,” says tech critic Tristan Harris.

https://www.vox.com/technology/2018/2/19/17020310/tristan-harris-facebook-twitter-humane-tech-time

What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care

Anderson Cooper: Is Silicon Valley programming apps or are they programming people?

Tristan Harris: Inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people. There’s always this narrative that technology’s neutral. And it’s up to us to choose how we use it. This is just not true.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-hacking-tech-insiders-60-minutes/