True Colours


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#metoo from India. Painter & sculptor Jatin Das.

More public testimonies followed. Garusha Katoch, who was 20 years old when she started her internship at the Jatin Das Centre of Art in 2013, posted a detailed account of how Das had hugged and attempted to kiss her on her third day at work. “I can’t describe what I felt like, I really have no words for it even now,” Katoch told me. “The thing that bothers me with the Jatin Das story is that none of this is a secret, it is not even like there was a whisper network attached to him, it was freaking normal talk. Everybody knew,” Shree Paradkar, an Indo-Canadian journalist who had interviewed Das in the mid-1990s, told me when we spoke over the phone. Her account was first published on the digital news website The Wire.

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Nikita Saxena — The Caravan

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The god of China’s big data era


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Are we heading towards a nightmarish world where our every action is going to be rewarded or punished by the Government?

An Orwellian characterisation of social credit is the favoured narrative of English-language media and academia. Countless media stories compare the system with Nineteen Eighty-Four or other more contemporary cultural references such as the Netflix series Black Mirror. The underlying depiction of social credit in these instances is of ‘big data meets big brother’: a corporatist state spying on its population, hoarding vast swathes of personal data to be algorithmically synthesised into a single three-digit score that dictates one’s place in society. Punishments such as bans on individuals purchasing tickets for air travel have hit the headlines.

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Adam Knight — ECFR

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Ethics in the Next War


History is replete with circumstances that have forced decision-makers at every level to balance the conflicting pressures of military necessity on the one hand and military ethics on the other. In this century, however, western powers that have participated in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations have witnessed an alignment of strategic and ethical demands. In fact, the strategic demands in such operations have often been more stringent than the ethical ones. The proportionality requirements in just war theory and in international law do not prohibit foreseeable civilian casualties, but only those foreseeable civilian casualties that “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.”[3] In recent conflicts, however, civilian casualties have carried tremendous strategic significance in addition to their moral significance.

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Joseph O. Chapa — The Strategy Bridge

SUPERBABIES DON’T CRY


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A good longread.

While I was pregnant with Fiona, I watched mothers around me strain equally hard for perfect pregnancies. During a trip to California, I stayed at the apartment of married friends who were out of town. Upon entering their home, I saw a note on the table, written by the husband. Please take your shoes off whenever you enter the door. Heavy metals found outside aren’t good for our developing baby’s brain. Another friend forced herself to huff and puff up and down her employer’s steps immediately after lunch because she’d been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and doctors told her if she exercised for twenty minutes after every meal, she’d stay off insulin. This same woman had lost her father a few months prior, and her mother blamed her gestational diabetes on grief. “You’re killing that baby!” her mom said.

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Heather Kirn Lanier — Vela

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Death might not be the ultimate leveler in future


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They do this with the knowledge that, if somehow they do find an intervention to extend the human lifespan, it will almost certainly be too expensive for the average person to afford, which would create two entirely different classes of humans — one group with money that can see 150, and another that just has to take whatever small insights trickle down from the top.

“The disparity of wealth in the United States will create a “class of immortal overlords,” former Facebook President Sean Parker said at a cancer innovation event last November. “Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better healthcare so… I’m going to be, like, 160 and I’m going to be part of this class of immortal overlords.”

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Jacob Banas — Futurism

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Facebook keeps asking for our trust even as it loses control of our data


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These breaches keep happening. One day in not so distant future, one of the breaches would end up being the final straw.

Over a long enough time span, all data is liable to be breached. It’s why some security researchers call on companies to store as little data about their customers as possible, to minimize the damage when the inevitable happens. As an advertising company, Facebook cannot easily adopt such an approach. But it could modulate the other ways in which it asks us for our trust — perhaps deciding, as Google did, to leave the camera out of its home speaker; or not to put on stage an executive soliciting our most personal information, however well anonymized, while the investigation into a data breach affecting millions is still underway.

Instead, it’s full speed ahead.

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Casey Newton — The Verge

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HOW TO KILL PEOPLE: A PROBLEM OF DESIGN


Disruptive innovation is causing social polarization through the decimation of jobs, mass surveillance, and algorithmic confusion. It facilitates the fragmentation of societies by creating antisocial tech monopolies that spread bubbled resentment, change cities, magnify shade, and maximize poorly paid freelance work. The effects of these social and technological disruptions include nationalist, sometimes
nativist, fascist, or ultra-religious mass movements.[10] Creative disruption, fueled by automation and cybernetic control, runs in parallel with an age of political fragmentation. The forces of extreme capital, turbocharged with tribal and fundamentalist hatred, reorganize within financials and filter bubbles.

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Hito Steyerl — R/D