Stop Saying that Democrats Don’t Have a Message

One of the undying dogmas of political punditry is that it’s difficult or impossible to identify what the Democratic party is about. The claim refashions standard Hillary Clinton criticism into a more forward looking assessment. It is wheeled out constantly as a display of liberal self-criticism that also functions as a plea for Democrats to… Continue reading Stop Saying that Democrats Don’t Have a Message

Why We Like the National Spelling Bee

Each year news that the National Spelling Bee is underway forces us to realize that we hadn’t given the event a single thought since we heard the same news a year earlier. We didn’t follow the stories of the competition’s top contestants. We didn't look forward with anticipation, discussing predictions with friends and colleagues. If… Continue reading Why We Like the National Spelling Bee

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 Brief Reflections on the Use of Technology in Education

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

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

The Coming Oppression

What makes racism wrong? Sexism? Speciesism? Each have their own complexities, but at the most general level, all three share a common error. They involve attributing moral significance to something that isn’t morally significant. A racist assumes that the division of people into various races allows you ascribe different moral worth to people. A sexist… Continue reading The Coming Oppression