Stop Comparing Trump and Obama

There is a fundamental difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama that does not receive sufficient attention—probably because thinking about it shows just how disturbing the current reality is. We tend to treat Trump’s decisions as standard decisions from a president. Because in a sense, they are. Any president could pull out of multinational agreements,… Continue reading Stop Comparing Trump and Obama

Philosophical Gaslighting

I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that I call philosophical gaslighting. Simply, it is gaslighting in the context of academic philosophy. It happens in many other fields, but I will speak only about my world. I notice two main examples: When you make an original contribution to a discussion and a person responds as if your idea… Continue reading Philosophical Gaslighting

Some Brief Reflections on the Use of Technology in Education

1. The torrent of Facebook-related scandals has incited deep reflection on the role of technology in our lives. We simply do not know all that our new technologies are doing to us. At this point, understanding ourselves, both individually and as a society, cannot be so easily distinguished from understanding technology. The two reflect and… Continue reading Some Brief Reflections on the Use of Technology in Education

It Won’t Be Different This Time

After the Las Vegas shooting I wrote a will called “If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting.” In it I made two claims: There is no gun debate. Despite the patina of rationality, the NRA slate of arguments is so transparently terrible that it makes a mockery of the whole concept of public discourse. What’s… Continue reading It Won’t Be Different This Time

The Missing Conversation about Machines

An interest in the existential risk posed by artificial intelligence (AI) has taken hold in the public imaginary. Some dismiss it, some fear it, and most struggle to conjure the appropriate emotional response to the magnitude of the changes we face. We are hurtling towards more and more powerful types of technology with ever increasing… Continue reading The Missing Conversation about Machines

Facebook Should Shut Itself Down

The more I read and think about Facebook, the more I am convinced that it is deeply terrible for the world—and, as a corollary that few people accept, the more obvious it is to me that Facebook should no longer exist. So I am calling on Mark Zuckerberg to do the right thing: shut Facebook… Continue reading Facebook Should Shut Itself Down

The Specter of Machine Intelligence

1 Machines are coming to resemble human beings more each day. At a concrete level, this is true because human beings are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to produce machines that increasingly resemble human beings. But more abstractly, this is true in principle: machines exist in the first place because they resemble human beings. Karl Marx,… Continue reading The Specter of Machine Intelligence