discourse   3710

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Plain Language
Effort to simply language in government
discourse  languages  writing 
yesterday by carldister
YouTube -- TED: Zeynep Tufekci: We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads
'We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says technosociologist Zeynep Tufecki. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us – and what we can do in response.' -- "As a public, and as citizens, we no longer know if we're seeing the same information – or what anyone else is seeing. And without a common base of information, little by little, public debate is becoming impossible."
internet  algorithms  malgorithms  circumscription  echochamber  discourse 
3 days ago by adamcrowe
AI Could Help Reporters Dig Into Grassroots Issues Once More - MIT Technology Review
AI could help reporters dig into grassroots issues once more And then "develop stories that…
ai  journalism  news  discourse  politics 
8 days ago by Ssivek
Political Twitter Is No Place For Moderates | FiveThirtyEight
Even though we might expect a sample of Twitter users to be more political than the U.S. population overall, we were surprised to see that the use of political words was concentrated among the small group of respondents who term themselves “very conservative” or “very liberal.” Take a look at at the chart below, which illustrates who is using these political terms. The C-shaped pattern makes the core result clear. It’s primarily those people on the ideological extremes who use political terms with any frequency. In other words, if someone tweets about politics, they are likely to label themselves as on the edges of the American ideological distribution. People who deem themselves “very conservative” or “very liberal” seem to be telling us as much about their level of political engagement as about their policy positions.
twitter  social_media  politics  discourse 
20 days ago by kbrobeck
On the PCA’s ‘Tim Keller Problem’ | Jake Meador | Mere Orthodoxy
..If you have read this far, one question you might be asking is what this lengthy reflection on PCA politics has to do with you, particularly if you’re not in the PCA. The answer is, “actually, quite a lot.” During times when progressivism is ascendant, as it certainly is in our day, there is a natural temptation amongst conservatives to want to double down on their most strident rhetoric, add purity tests to protect their institutions, and to begin attacking people not only for holding wrong ideas, but for holding ideas which they suspect could lead to wrong ideas (even if they won’t inevitably lead to them).

The effect of all this is that, within the smaller niches of evangelicalism, the Overton Window is shifted hard to the right. One unfortunate consequence of this is that people who are centrists or even just a different kind of conservative and should understand themselves as such suddenly feel themselves to be leftists because that is what some of the conservatives are trying to make them believe. The less careful amongst them will think, “OK, fine I’m a leftist,” and suddenly begin aligning themselves with the people who genuinely are progressive. But we should be clear on this point: Conservatives pushed them there with their own irresponsible rhetoric.
The centrists must resist that move.

When the Overton Window is shifted further to the right then it needs to be, the inevitable result is that valuable allies are alienated and issues which need not be causes for schism suddenly become watersheds in the movement. This is what could happen in the PCA if we are not careful. There is already a great deal of mistrust between the right and left fringes of the denomination, both of which are real and account for some significant portion of the body. My fear is that Erickson’s post is going to embolden the right, causing them to escalate their rhetoric and alienate not only the genuinely progressive people in the denomination, but also the many of us that reside somewhere in the center, resolutely opposed to progressivism but also reluctant to embrace TRism or an odd contemporary version of Carl McIntire’s fundamentalist instincts in order to preserve a faithful Presbyterianism.
The center needs to hold in the denomination.

When irresponsible conservatives run rampant, the truth is lost as quickly as it is when progressives are ascendant. Questions that are rightly the domain of prudence and wisdom become theological litmus tests. Complicated discussions requiring precision and nuance instead become ideological battlegrounds. People who should be ministered to with pastoral compassion are instead treated as enemies. And organizations that rely on trust and affection to function well, as Presbyterianism does, collapse down into bickering and in-fighting, leading to a procedural morass in which the only way anything can ever be accomplished institutionally is through the methods outlined in the Book of Church Order. (The BCO is the procedural rule book for the PCA, basically.)

The PCA is not the only Evangelical institution facing such a reckoning right now. But the center must hold, not because of some misguided attempt to win over long-gone progressives or out of some bland commitment to niceness, but because the excesses of the right can be as dangerous as the excesses of the left. Indeed, anyone with eyes to see should be able to recognize that we are living in a religious landscape that is, in part, the fruit of the right’s excesses of the past 35 years. Because Gospel fidelity matters, because the peace and purity of the church matter, the center must hold.
Evangelicalism  Discourse 
22 days ago by AfroMaestro
Q&A With Alan Jacobs, Author of 'How to Think' - The Atlantic
Green: Some people look at our fractured media environment—where groups don’t even share facts to argue over—and see nefarious forces at work, like the Russians manipulating Facebook or consistent left-wing media bias.

You argue something different: that individual behavior makes it impossible to have a conversation across ideological divides. How do you reconcile your view with these kinds of structural analyses of the vast forces that pull America apart?

Jacobs: Conspiracy theories tend to arise when you can’t think of any rational explanation for people believing or acting in a certain way. The more absurd you think your political or moral or spiritual opponents’ views are, the more likely you are to look for some explanation other than the simplest one, which is that they believe it’s true.

One category that’s gone away in America is “wrong.” Nobody is just “wrong.” They’re wicked, they’re evil, they’re malicious, they’re the victims of these vast subterranean forces.
Logic  Discourse  Politics  Polarization 
29 days ago by lukemperez
George W. Bush’s anti-Trump manifesto, annotated - The Washington Post
"Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other."

Deep truth bombs from George Dubya
Speeches  President  Leadership  Judgement  Sense  Arguments  Discourse  Disagreement 
4 weeks ago by JB4GDI
Quillette -- Sarah Haider on Normalizing Dissent: A Conversation by Spencer Case
'After a couple of false starts, Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) finally kicked off its Normalizing Dissent Tour at the University of Colorado Boulder. On the evening of Thursday, October 5, more than 90 people assembled to hear a panel of three Ex-Muslim women – EXMNA co-founder Sarah Haider, Saudi activist Ghada, and writer and editor Hiba Krisht – discuss “Islam, Modesty, and Feminism.” At the request of Secular Students and Skeptics Society (SSaSS), the student organization that invited EXMNA, campus security took the unusual precaution of searching all bags for weapons as the audience filed into the lecture hall where the event took place. -- ... #SC: Alright, I wanted to ask you about this. So EXMNA often uses this sort of “middle path” kind of rhetoric, like there’s anti-Muslim bigotry on the Right and cultural relativism on the Left. There’s something from one of your pamphlets that says something like that. I heard you say this. I think all of the panelists said something like this. And so I was curious because when you put it in a parity like that it suggests that these are equal problems, that demonization of Islam and glorification of Islam are equally problems. And I’m wondering whether that’s actually your view or whether you think one of these is more false or more harmful than the other. -- #SH: That’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say that they are both harmful in the same ways. As far as judging on a broader level whether they are equal harms, that would be a difficult task. I can say that I think the Left’s position is more deeply troubling in the way they just seem to ignore the problems within Islam or glorify certain aspects of it like the hijab. The effects of that particular stance – it’s not so visible how harmful it can be. But you’re lying about the reality of hundreds of millions of people across the world. It’s so easy to just focus only on Muslims in the West and say “Oh, well they are facing bigotry here.” But this is just the West, this is a tiny minority. When we’re looking at Islam, it’s a global phenomenon. And when you say that the most pressing concern is the bigotry [against the] actually very privileged people who are already in the West, then you’re implying that the people who most need our help, who most need things to improve, should be discounted at the moment, that their problems are not the most pressing problems. -- #SC: I guess what I wanted to do then is ask you about what the Left and what the Right is doing wrong independently. So about the Left… I’m sort of amazed at the extent to which people on the Left want to project things onto Islam. They want to be open-minded and tolerant and yet they don’t really want to see that anything is actually different than what they believe and accept. I think nothing highlights this quite so much as the hijab and the pussy hat – like a traditional symbol of submission and modesty and this thing that was invented for the Women’s March, I guess – that’s symbolically putting your vagina on your head. It just seems like: how could anyone think these two things are compatible? This is like an achievement in cognitive dissonance. -- #SH: Well, it’s interesting to think about the way in which tolerance is justified. For I think too much of the Left, tolerance seems to be something that we give to people who already hold views we find acceptable, right? That’s why there’s this effort to sanitize Islamic traditions and to sanitize Islamic practices, because those are the grounds on which we can grant other people tolerance. But I think of tolerance as a civil liberties principle, particularly as it pertains to things like freedom of speech, it has to be granted to people we that disagree with as well, right? It has to be granted to people whose ideas we find repulsive. But broadly among the Left, I’ve noticed this trend of – and it’s all over the news, the punching Nazis thing – but broadly there’s this trend of not accepting civil liberties, and not accepting the idea that anyone can practice the way that they [want], or hold the ideologies that they feel most reflect reality, because they might be bigoted. Or they might be perceived as being harmful. -- So it’s interesting to see how civil liberties are being eroded, because it puts us in this position where tolerance is held hostage to our judgments of someone else. And so in order for me to be tolerant of your practice, I have to find it morally good as well. Which is just a nonsense way, I think, of approaching civil liberties…. I wonder if I’m phrasing this right, because what I mean to say is that tolerance from a civil liberties perspective is incredibly important and I think that aspect is just being washed away… -- #SC: So the thought would be, to sort of crystalize what you are saying: tolerance has been equated with endorsement and if it were to be the case that there are some things that Muslims believe that we don’t endorse, it would follow on that understanding of tolerance that we can’t tolerate them. And so the solution is just to say, “No, it can’t be the case that we disagree on these fundamental questions.” -- #SH: Right. The solution is to lie. If that understanding of tolerance is the one we’re going along with, then the solution is to pretend like minority communities, or any kind of communities that we want to protect, don’t have any problematic ideas. Thank you for crystalizing it in that way that was a really good way of putting it….'
discourse  conquest  illiberalism  denial  politicalcorrectness  blackwhite 
5 weeks ago by adamcrowe
The Art of Thinking Well | David Brooks | The New York Times
Richard Thaler has just won an extremely well deserved Nobel Prize in economics. Thaler took an obvious point, that people don’t always behave rationally, and showed the ways we are systematically irrational. Thanks to his work and others’, we know a lot more about the biases and anomalies that distort our perception and thinking, like the endowment effect (once you own something you value it more than before you owned it), mental accounting (you think about a dollar in your pocket differently than you think about a dollar in the bank) and all the rest.

It’s when we get to the social world that things really get gnarly. A lot of our thinking is for bonding, not truth-seeking, so most of us are quite willing to think or say anything that will help us be liked by our group. We’re quite willing to disparage anyone when, as Marilynne Robinson once put it, “the reward is the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved.” And when we don’t really know a subject well enough, in T. S. Eliot’s words, “we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts,” and go with whatever idea makes us feel popular.

This is where Alan Jacobs’s absolutely splendid forthcoming book “How to Think” comes in. If Thaler’s work is essential for understanding how the market can go astray, Jacobs’s emphasis on the relational nature of thinking is essential for understanding why there is so much bad thinking in political life right now. Jacobs makes good use of C. S. Lewis’s concept of the Inner Ring. In every setting — a school, a company or a society — there is an official hierarchy. But there may also be a separate prestige hierarchy, where the cool kids are. They are the Inner Ring.

There are always going to be people who desperately want to get into the Inner Ring and will cut all sorts of intellectual corners to be accepted. As Lewis put it, “The passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.” People will, for example, identify and attack what Jacobs calls the Repugnant Cultural Other — the group that is opposed to the Inner Ring, which must be assaulted to establish membership in it. Other people will resent the Inner Ring, and they will cut all sorts of intellectual corners in order to show their resentment. These people are quick to use combat metaphors when they talk about thinking (he shot down my argument, your claims are indefensible). These people will adopt shared vague slurs like “cuckservative” or “whitesplaining” that signal to the others in the outsider groups that they are attacking the ring, even though these slurs are usually impediments to thought.
..Jacobs nicely shows how our thinking processes emerge from emotional life and moral character. If your heart and soul are twisted, your response to the world will be, too. He argues that by diagnosing our own ills, we can begin to combat them. And certainly I can think of individual beacons of intellectual honesty today: George Packer, Tyler Cowen, Scott Alexander and Caitlin Flanagan, among many.
But I’d say that if social life can get us into trouble, social life can get us out. After all, think of how you really persuade people. Do you do it by writing thoughtful essays that carefully marshal facts? That works some of the time. But the real way to persuade people is to create an attractive community that people want to join. If you do that, they’ll bend their opinions to yours. If you want people to be reasonable, create groups where it’s cool to be reasonable.
Discourse 
5 weeks ago by AfroMaestro

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