Before Rational Thinking Occurs

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #377.

I worked on the following this week:

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Spectacle and Society

The internet has become a platform for spectacle and entertainment, but it is not too late to build a platform that improves society. The current social platforms encourage cruelty, disinformation, and a lack of accountability.

Automation should not replace human agency, but instead, AI should be used as assistive tools for organizing, facilitating, analyzing, mediating, deliberating, and deciding. By creating new communication practices and platforms, we can strengthen our public sphere and build healthy, pluralistic democracies.

Why this matters. We need to see and hear the humanity in others for democracy to function. We can and should create social networks designed for public discourse that prioritize inclusion, where underheard voices and perspectives can flourish, and where people take and offer disagreement in good faith.

Racial Equity Through Tech Policy

The rules we make for tech companies have a big impact on society, especially for poor and non-white communities. When we make policy choices, we need to ask: Will these new tech policies help reduce racial inequalities and create equal opportunities for everyone? Or will they make things even worse for those who are already disadvantaged?

A new report from AI Now by Julia Rhodes Davis, Eliza McCullough, Sarah Treuhaft, and Rachel Gichinga shows why racial equity must be at the center of tech policy, and how we can build a future where all communities benefit from tech advancements.

Why this matters. A regulatory agenda that centers racial equity will build not only a more equitable tech sector but also a more equitable economy in which everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive.

The Oppenheimer of Our Age

In a profile for New York Magazine, Elizabeth Weil attempts to understand the essence of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Altman is confident that the AI revolution is bound to happen, but he is uncertain if history will consider it a technological or societal revolution. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic about the outcome.

Why this matters. It is interesting and important to see how Altman’s personal background and upbringing shape his approach to technology and its impact on society.

Improve your relationships with the science of perspective-taking

Social psychologist Hunter Gehlbach explains how social perspective-taking can help improve relationships. Perspective-taking is the process by which we infer what others are experiencing, and it involves four phases: perception, motivation, strategy-selection, and evaluation. By understanding the structural weak spots in the social perspective-taking process and addressing them, we can uncover new strategies for improving our relationships.

Why this matters. When was the last time any of us paused to consider the thoughts and feelings of the cashier, the telemarketer or the referee?

Meet Oneself with Kindness and Compassion Instead of Self-directed Anger

When the amygdala hijacks the brain’s response, it creates an intense emotional reaction before rational thinking can occur. The amygdala is the part of the brain that stores emotions and compares present experiences with past ones. To prevent an amygdala hijack, it is essential to pause, breathe, and identify the source of emotional anxiety.

Why this matters. By getting curious and understanding the underlying emotions, one can meet oneself with kindness and compassion instead of self-directed anger.

These Are The 8 Friends You Need To Be Happy In Life

These are the 8 friends you need to be happy in life:

  • The Builder: If you were a sports team, they’d be the “Coach.”
  • The Champion: Pom-poms not included.
  • The Collaborator: The unindicted co-conspirator.
  • The Companion: They’ll be at the police station at 3AM with bail money. Again.
  • The Connector: This is the friend you and I probably have in common.
  • The Energizer: (I’m currently taking applications.)
  • The Mind Opener: If they sent you this blog post, I’m flattered.
  • The Navigator: Like a high school guidance counselor, except useful.

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Howard Zinn

Cover Photo CC BY using Playground AI

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