MORAL TECHNOLOGY

“Self-driving cars don’t drink and medical AIs are never overtired. Given our obvious flaws, what can humans still do best?”

AEON, through examples of medicine, autonomous vehicles and law, explore the conflicting roles that could arise between AI and humans. Can all of our problems be solved by a purely data-led approach, or is there still room for artistic, judgmental and emotional input?

P. Boddington · 9 min read

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TOKYO BECAME A MEGACITY BY REINVENTING ITSELF

“I asked how she thought the city had changed over her lifetime. It was a standard journalist’s question, one she herself had probably asked many times during her earlier career. The governor laughed. ‘I know it has changed, but sometimes it feels as if it hasn’t,’ she said. ‘When you are part of the story, sometimes it’s hard to see.’”

National Geographic’s April 2019 edition focuses on cities: past, present and future. Tokyo, one of the world’s great cities, has been rebuilt twice during the past century - first, after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and again after the city was bombed in World War II. Since then the city has grown into a model of efficiency and organization. Neil Shea’s brilliant long read, walks readers through Japan’s energetic urban heart, describing its vibrant and creative culture that has bounced back from war and natural disaster.

Neil Shea · The long read

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TERRORISM: A BRIEF HISTORY

“‘Terrorism’ is reserved purely for anti-Western or Islamist political violence. That is a wrong and dangerous conception.“

What is it that allows someone to be labelled as a terrorist? Scholar, Mats Fridlund, attempts to provide a very brief answer to this question, by looking at certain individuals and aspects of recent, European history.

M. Fridlund · 2 min read

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HOW TO ENCRYPT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR

“As long as your phone, computers, and accounts are sufficiently protected, their contents will remain an ‘encrypted lump’ and there’s not much anyone — regardless of how powerful they are — can do about it.”

Protecting your phones, tablets and computers is so straightforward and yet too many people are lax about it. Quincy Larson has put together an article that everyone - a straightforward explanation, in 8 simple steps, on how you get make great strides to improving your privacy in a single sitting. 

Q. Larson · 6 min read

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WHEN VERY BAD WORDS ARE THE SH*T (LINGUISTICALLY SPEAKING)

“The fact that people can use “literally” not to mean anything in actual fact at all may literally make your blood boil.“

JSTOR explore how certain elements of language has evolved over time, explaining concepts such as ‘intensifiers’ and ‘grammaticalization’, and how certain words have turned themselves inside out and ‘become their own opposite’

C. Luu · 4 min read

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THE DECOY EFFECT: HOW YOU ARE INFLUENCED TO CHOOSE WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING IT

"Imagine you are shopping for a Nutribullet blender. You see two options. The cheaper one, at $89, promotes 900 watts of power and a five-piece accessory kit. The more expensive one, at $149, is 1,200 watts and has 12 accessories. Which one do you choose?"

The "decoy effect": consumers change their preference between two options when presented with a third option - the "decoy". Now a staple in business tactics, particularly e-commerce, how does the psychology behind decoys work and is it always manipulative?

G. Mortimer · 5 min read

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HOW SHOULD SELF-DRIVING CARS CHOOSE WHO NOT TO KILL?

"If an automated car had to choose between crashing into a barrier, killing its three female passengers, or running over one child in the street — which call should it make?

Not the most jovial of questions to think about on a Friday, but an important one nonetheless! A popular MIT quiz asked ordinary people to make their ethical judgement. Where does yours lie?

M. Meaker · 5 min read

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R.I.P., OPPORTUNITY ROVER: THE HARDEST-WORKING ROBOT IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM

"Opportunity's and Spirit’s meanderings will inform how the next Mars rovers are designed and how any number of other robots might one day walk, roll and fly alongside humans on Mars."

NASA's rover, Opportunity, was only supposed to last 3 months exploring Mars' geology. 15 years and 5,000 charge cycles later, Opportunity has finally gone up to robot heaven. WIRED give a couple of insights into how it lasted so long.

M. Simon ·  3 min read

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HOW FANCY WATER BOTTLES BECAME A 21ST-CENTURY STATUS SYMBOL

"On the surface, water bottles as totems of consumer aspiration sound absurd: If you have access to water, you can drink it out of so many things that already exist in your home. But...if you can understand why so many people would spend 50 bucks on a water bottle, you can understand a lot about America in 2019".

No-one can argue with staying hydrated, but the success of S'well's water bottles have taken it to another level. Amanda Mull debates consumer choices - do they offer an effective solution to structural problems such as pollution, or is it just a nice way of making you feel like you're making ethical choices?
 

A. Mull · 5 min read 

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THE MANY METAPHORS OF BREXIT

"If you leave the bag in, then over time the cup of tea itself as a whole gets stronger. And it might appear like the bag is getting weaker but it’s now part of a stronger cup of tea. Whereas, if you take the bag out, the tea’s now quite weak and the bag itself goes directly in the bin."

This quote, by comedian James Acaster, is one of the more popular Brexit metaphors. However, it now seems we're at a stage of more metaphors than solutions. Metaphors are figures of speech, designed to make a comparison between two things that aren't alike but have something in common. Often, they are used to distil concepts and make them easier to understand. Are they working?

J. Tapper · 6 min read

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YUVAL NOAH HARARI ON WHAT THE YEAR 2050 HAS IN STORE FOR HUMANKIND

It seems that everyone has either read, or is currently reading a book by Y. Noah Harari - most likely his history of the world, Sapiens. A brilliant and engaging author with a remarkable story, Harari has now turned his attention to the present, with his new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, covering everything from war to meditation. If for whatever reason you can't be bothered to read it, most likely due to your awful millennial attention span, here's a very good extract from the book.

Y. Noah Harari · 12 min read

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HORSE POWER: GIVING KIDS THE RIDE OF THEIR LIFE

In the unlikely setting of a Brixton housing estate, under the arches of rumbling Thameslink trains, lies Ebony Pony Club - a fantastic initiative set up to give struggling children the chance to experience the thrills of horse-riding, an past-time traditionally limited to the wealthy.
 

J. Moorhead · 5 min read

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JEREMY CORBYN'S ANTI-SEMITISM CRISIS

Corbyn just can't seem to stay out of the headlines at the moment. For a while now, Corbyn has been involved in an unprecedented confrontation with Britain's Jewish community thanks to his stance on the Middle East, views on Israel and associations with various dangerous individuals. 

S. Knight · 6 min read

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ARETHA

Oh Aretha, may you rest in peace.Quartz does a mini-deep dive into the Queen of Soul, with quotes, stories and sounds from arguably the greatest pop voice of all time. Spend your Friday afternoon on her Spotify page reliving the glory days, with an open jaw at just how remarkable her music was.

Quartz · 4 min read

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HOW MILENNIALS CAN SAVE THE POSTAL SERVICE

Fresh off the back of some thank-you letters and postcards, the process still fills me with warmth and satisfaction. It's hard to deny that the internet hasn't been great for post, but does that mean we aren't interested at all? Will there be any future for hand-written communication?

S. Holder · 9 min read

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THE HAMBURGER OF THE FUTURE IS HERE - WILL YOU EAT IT?

Plant-based burgers that taste 'just like meat' are the new fad and they've done fairly well, but will they ever truly satisfy consumers looking for that authentic, 'meaty' taste? What if you could eat a beefburger without the worry of sustainability...?
 

D. Shanker · 6 min read

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YOU ARE NOT ORIGINAL OR CREATIVE ON INSTAGRAM

Need some inspiration for your next totally edgy pic #fortheGram ? Look no further than @insta_repeat. A collection of totally non-unique photos across the world, showing us just how much we want to conform. 

M. Murphy · 3 min read

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