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Category Archives: Education

How the Media Industry Keeps Losing the Future

The New York Times [unpaywalled]- “Roger Fidler tried his best, but the excellent business of journalism is gone for good. Can the idea of “news” survive in a digital world?…Cutbacks were just announced at Law360, The Intercept and the youth-oriented video site NowThis, which laid off half its staff. The tech news site Engadget, which comprehensively tracks tech layoffs, laid off its top editors and other staff members. Condé Nast and Time are shedding employees. The continued existence of Vice Media, once valued at $5.7 billion, and Sports Illustrated, in another era the most influential sports publication, is uncertain. The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post eliminated hundreds of journalists between them. One out of four newspapers that existed in 2005 no longer does. The slow crash of newspapers and magazines would be of limited interest save for one thing: Traditional media had at its core the exalted and difficult mission of communicating information about the world. From investigative reports on government to coverage of local politicians, the news served to make all the institutions and individuals covered a bit more transparent and, possibly, more honest. The advice columns, movie reviews, recipes, stock data, weather report and just about everything else in newspapers moved easily online — except the news itself. Local and regional coverage had a hard time establishing itself as a paying proposition. Now there are signs that the whole concept of “news” is fading. Asked where they get their local news, nearly as many respondents to a Gallup poll said social media as mentioned newspapers and magazines. A recent attempt to give people free subscriptions to their local papers in Pennsylvania as part of an academic study drew almost no takers…”

Libraries are on the front lines of America’s problems

Axios: “…Zoom out: At the same time, libraries are grappling with everything from the high cost of e-books to the need to provide free outdoor Wi-Fi so people without broadband can have off-hours access. Many libraries are trying to ease food insecurity by adding gardens, nutrition classes, food pantries and cooking lessons. “During the pandemic,… Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence for Academic Support in Law Schools and Universities

Murray, Michael D., Artificial Intelligence for Academic Support in Law Schools and Universities (September 6, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4564227 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4564227 “The current models of verbal generative artificial intelligence (AI)—Bing Chat, GPT-4 and Chat GPT, Bard, Claude, and others, and the current models of visual generative AI—DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and others—can play… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court is about to decide the future of online speech

The Verge: “Social media companies have long made their own rules about the content they allow on their sites. But a pair of cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday will test the limits of that freedom, examining whether they can be legally required to host users’ speech. The cases, Moody… Continue Reading

Émigrés Are Creating an Alternative China, One Bookstore at a Time

The New York Times [no paywall]: “From Tokyo and Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Amsterdam and New York, members of the Chinese diaspora are building public lives that are forbidden in China and training themselves to be civic-minded citizens — the type of Chinese the Communist Party doesn’t want them to be. They are opening Chinese… Continue Reading

Tools for Thinking About Censorship

ReactorMag – “One price of free speech is eternal humility, recognizing that none of us is immune to becoming a tool of censorship if we fail to recognize its manipulative tactics. Was it a government action, or did they do it themselves because of pressure?” This is inevitably among our first questions when news breaks… Continue Reading

Silicon Valley has its own ascendant political ideology. It’s past time we call it what it is.

The Rise of Techno-Authoritarianism by Adrienne LaFrance [The Atlantic; read free] “Silicon Valley still attracts many immensely talented people who strive to do good, and who are working to realize the best possible version of a more connected, data-rich global society. Even the most deleterious companies have built some wonderful tools. But these tools, at scale,… Continue Reading

Politics makes bastards of us all: Why moral judgment is politically situational

Kyle Hull, Clarisse Warren, Kevin Smith. Politics makes bastards of us all: Why moral judgment is politically situational [full text free to read]. Political Psychology, 2024; DOI: 10.1111/pops.12954 – “Moral judgment is politically situational—people are more forgiving of transgressive copartisans and more likely to behave punitively and unethically toward political opponents. Such differences are widely observed,… Continue Reading

Misleading Food Labels

Consumer Reports – “When it comes to filling your grocery cart with the healthiest foods, careful label reading is critical. Yet even the savviest shoppers can be fooled by some of the claims found on the front of food packages. And that is intentional. “If the marketing is done well, it slips through the radar… Continue Reading