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Until we treat rapists as ordinary criminals we won’t stop them 

There is a simple and surprisingly durable myth about what causes men to rape women. It goes like this: if a man is too horny, from sexual deprivation or from being constitutionally oversexed, he will lose control in the presence of an unguarded woman. Through the early days of psychology as a science, this basic assumption remained the same. When Richard von Krafft-Ebing wrote Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), he assumed that rapists suffered from either ‘priapism and conditions approaching satyriasis’ or a ‘mental weakness’ that allowed lustful urges to escape their control. It was a simple matter of hydraulics. If the pressure was too great, or the vessel too weak, a horrifying crime would burst forth.
https://aeon.co/essays/until-we-treat-rapists-as-ordinary-criminals-we-wont-stop-them

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Mozart in the Machine

Sometime in the coming decades, an external system that collects and analyzes endless streams of biometric data will probably be able to understand what’s going on in my body and in my brain much better than me. Such a system will transform politics and economics by allowing governments and corporations to predict and manipulate human desires. What will it do to art? Will art remain humanity’s last line of defense against the rise of the all-knowing algorithms?In the modern world art is usually associated with human emotions. We tend to think that artists are channeling internal psychological forces, and that the whole purpose of art is to connect us with our emotions or to inspire in us some new feeling. Consequently, when we come to evaluate art, we tend to judge it by its emotional impact and to believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Source: The Mozart in the Machine – Bloomberg

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their seven-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

Source: Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Like start-ups, most intentional communities fail – why?

At 16, Martin Winiecki dropped out of school and left his home in the German city of Dresden to live full-time at Tamera, a 300-acre intentional community in the rolling hills of southwestern Portugal. His mother and father – a doctor and a professor of mathematics – were reluctant to let him go. ‘It was quite a shock for them,’ Winiecki remembers. Born in 1990, just a few months after the collapse of the Berlin wall, Winiecki came of age in a society in limbo. The atmosphere of the former GDR still clung to people. ‘It was a culture that was so formal. So obligation-oriented. That had no heart. No love,’ Winiecki explained. At the same time, in Winiecki’s eyes, the capitalist alternative was creating a ‘system of deep economic injustice – of winners and losers’. Neither story encompassed a humanity he wanted part of. Tamera offered an alternative.Founded by the psychoanalyst and sociologist Dieter Duhm in Germany in 1978 and re-founded in Portugal in 1995, Tamera aspired to dissolve the trauma of human relationships. Duhm, heavily influenced by Marxism and psychoanalysis, came to see material emancipation and interpersonal transformation as part of the same project. Duhm had been deeply disillusioned by communes where he’d spent time in the 1960s and ’70s, and which seemed to reproduce many of the same tyrannies that people were trying to escape: egoism, power struggles, envy, mistrust and fear, while practices of sexual freedom often engendered jealousy and pain. In Duhm’s eyes, communes had failed to create a viable model for a new society. In Tamera, he hoped to begin a social experiment that allowed for deep interpersonal healing.

Source: Like start-ups, most intentional communities fail – why? | Aeon Essays

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Case for Making Artificial Intelligence Conscious

People often ask me whether human-level artificial intelligence will eventually become conscious. My response is: Do you want it to be conscious? I think it is largely up to us whether our machines will wake up.

Source: The Case for Making Artificial Intelligence Conscious

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Come difendersi dagli attacchi alla solidarietà

Nel fine settimana ho partecipato al festival Sabir a Siracusa, il festival diffuso delle culture mediterranee, come lo definiscono i suoi organizzatori (Arci, Acli e Caritas italiana e altre piccole associazioni). Il festival s’ispira a Sabir, la lingua franca parlata dai pescatori siciliani, tunisini, egiziani per i loro commerci nel mar Mediterraneo, una lingua che si serviva di parole italiane, spagnole e arabe. Proprio al mar Mediterraneo e a chi lo attraversa è stata dedicata questa terza edizione, con un’attenzione particolare alle organizzazioni che in questi ultimi anni si sono occupate di soccorrere i migranti in mare, in un momento in cui queste associazioni subiscono un attacco senza precedenti.“Siamo stanchi di dover spiegare sempre le stesse cose”, dice Riccardo Gatti, il coordinatore della ong spagnola Proactiva Open Arms, “quello che facciamo è salvare vite umane e lo facciamo seguendo il protocollo della guardia costiera italiana e delle autorità internazionali”. Ma negli ultimi tempi accuse e sospetti sono stati amplificati da politici e mezzi d’informazione e si sono estesi a tutte le organizzazioni che si occupano di solidarietà.

Source: Come difendersi dagli attacchi alla solidarietà – Annalisa Camilli – Internazionale

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The meaning of life in a world without work

Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge – the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable.The same technology that renders humans useless might also make it feasible to feed and support the unemployable masses through some scheme of universal basic income. The real problem will then be to keep the masses occupied and content. People must engage in purposeful activities, or they go crazy. So what will the useless class do all day?

Source: The meaning of life in a world without work | Technology | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Stop Insuring Climate Disaster

Last month, the United Kingdom enjoyed its first full day without the need for coal power since the Industrial Revolution began. That’s remarkable news – and a sign of the future to come as the country that began humanity’s centuries-long romance with burning black rocks is now moving on.

Just as the fax gave way to email and whale oil gave way to kerosene, so is coal giving way to cleaner forms of energy. And that handover will happen faster – perhaps fast enough to let us at least slow down the pace of climate change – if the massive and mighty insurance industry would play its part.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/insurance-industry-fossil-fuel-projects-by-bill-mckibben-2017-05

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The End of the Left/Right Divide?

After the French Revolution of 1789, deputies in the National Assembly who supported the revolutionary gains sat on the left, while those who opposed them and hankered after the old order of monarchy and church congregated on the right. Hence the political terms “left” and “right.” Many commentators on the French presidential election have pointed out that these categories no longer fit contemporary politics in France – or, indeed, anywhere else. Emmanuel Macron prides himself on being neither right nor left.Marine Le Pen, whose National Front is associated with the far right, disagrees: to her, Macron, who was a minister in a Socialist government, is a leftist. But, like Donald Trump, it was Le Pen who ran as the “voice of the people,” whereas Macron, like Hillary Clinton, was depicted as a puppet of bankers, cultural elites, and international plutocrats.

Source: The End of the Left/Right Divide? by Ian Buruma – Project Syndicate

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Do bigots just lack imagination?

It is usually seen as a depressing paradox about human beings that we find it easier to sympathise with one person’s suffering than with that of thousands: Stalin probably never really said “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic” – but he was right all the same. It’s not much of a paradox, though. It makes sense: each of us has access to only one set of thoughts and emotions – our own – so we’re obliged to relate to others by analogy, working on the assumption that they feel pain and joy like we do. (As philosophers enjoy pointing out, you can’t truly know that your family and friends aren’t just meaty robots, with no inner life at all.) And it’s obviously easier to draw an analogy between yourself and one other person, as opposed to “the population of Somalia” or “all victims of domestic violence”, let alone those killed in the future by global warming, who aren’t necessarily even born yet. Empathy requires mental gymnastics at the best of times. Empathy for whole categories of people requires Olympic-level skills, and most of us aren’t up to it.

Source: Do bigots just lack imagination? | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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