Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #374.
I worked on the following this week:
- Examining White Privilege and Racism – A Review of White Fragilty – The work behind this book was recommended to me by good friend Paul Garbarini. Published in 2018, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo examines the reasons why white people tend to get defensive when talking about racism.
- Unpacking Economic Inequality, Market-Driven Education, and Privatization: Implications for Ethical Media Consumption – More thoughts about the topic of capitalism and educational technologies.
- Aligning AI With Human Values and Interests: An Ethical Imperative – Alignment refers to developing AI that behaves in accordance with the preferences, ethics, and values of humans. Misaligned AI could potentially cause harm, increase inequality, or reinforce biases. To build trust and realize the benefits of AI, alignment must be a priority.
The video covers the best piece of advice Campbell Walker of Struthless ever received about drawing, which was to draw the same thing every day. He shares how this advice helped him focus and find his passion, and he explains the four reasons why it was such good advice. He also includes a humorous animation he created about an Ibis.
It’s Not An Accident
Yoel Roth served as the head of Twitter’s trust and safety department, a position he stepped down from in November 2022, following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.
When Roth worked at Twitter, they led the team that fact-checked one of Donald Trump’s tweets and eventually banned his account after the violence on January 6, 2021. As a result, Trump publicly attacked the author. Two years later, after the author resigned from their role, Elon Musk added to the backlash. This led to the author living with armed guards, going into hiding, and frequently moving.
Why this matters. The main issue we face with online trust and safety measures is the human aspect. It’s not just about algorithms and technology, but about the people behind the scenes making important content moderation decisions. These individuals can be influenced, frightened, and manipulated. To combat injustices, authoritarianism, and online harm, we need employees who are brave enough to stand up against them.
Don’t You Want to Be a Luddite?
Brian Merchant, explains that he considers himself a Luddite in the age of tech monopolies and generative artificial intelligence. He clarifies that the original Luddites did not hate technology but rather objected to the ways it was used to undermine their status and destroy their livelihoods. He highlights the parallels between the Luddites’ struggle against tech titans in the past and the challenges posed by modern-day tech companies. Merchant calls for government intervention, robust protections, and regulations to ensure that the benefits of technology are shared more equitably.
Why this matters. In the current era, there is a need for visionaries who can recognize the harm caused by certain technologies and resist them when necessary.
Nurturing the Network
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter uprisings, Black researchers faced increased attention to their work. However, they continue to face racism and impossible standards, along with the emotional toll of studying Black traumas. To address the burnout and need for community, a virtual session called “Nurturing the Network: Blackness, Trust, and Health Tech” was organized. The session prioritized meditation, rest, and reflection, providing a space for Black researchers to connect and heal. By decentering production and focusing on community, the session aimed to provide much-needed rest and support.
Why this matters. Often in academia, people are required to constantly create content like papers, presentations, and reports in order to participate. Instead, we aimed to create a space for community, reflection, and dialogue without demanding additional labor in the form of academic deliverables to remove the pressure of knowledge production and focus on meaningful connection.
Can Lego ever be sustainable?
Lego, a company known for its plastic bricks, is facing challenges in its quest for sustainability. Despite efforts to find alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic, including a project to use recycled plastic bottles, Lego has been unable to develop a suitable replacement material. The company has invested in sustainability initiatives, but finding a practical alternative to its current plastic material has proven difficult.
Why this matters. Awareness is growing of how plastic can persist in the natural environment.
People lack insight into their own minds and what is common among everyone or unusually specific to a few. People’s finite “conceptual horizons” (for lack of a better term) constrain how they make sense of the world. It’s like wearing blinders that prevent us from seeing beyond our own beliefs and experiences. The diversity of ideas and perspectives allows us to grow and evolve as individuals and as a society.
Why this matters. 1: Be skeptical of explanations in terms of character. 2: Realize your intuitions are probably fooling you
Transcend in a world dominated by short-term thinking
Motivation can help you feel inspired to make changes in your life. But it is self-discipline that allows you to actually achieve your dreams.
Motivation is what gets you started. Discipline is what keeps you going.
In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves.
Interested in testing out this tool for leaving anonymous admonitions and admirations from friends and coworkers. You can leave me feedback here.
Cover Photo CC BY using Playground AI