Can We Trust The Media For The COVID Truth?

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This article from the Pew Research Center of Journalism & Media discusses how the general public believes the media is covering COVID-19. About 89% of the public is following COVID-19 news very to fairly closely, and about 70% of people think the media is doing a good job. Despite this, 62% of the public believes that the media is exaggerating certain aspects of COVID-19. This data illustrates an obvious disconnect that the public has with news media. While they believe the news is doing a good job covering the pandemic, they also believe that they are exaggerating. I feel like this shows that while we want to believe the news, we dually expect and are okay with it being exaggerated, as we are accustomed to it.


Major Films Bringing The Theater To YOU

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Since movie theaters have been closed due to COVID-19 quarantine, some NBC Universal films that were supposed to premiere in theaters in the coming weeks such as Emma, The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Trolls World Tour have been announced to be available on-demand as early as Friday and throughout the next two months. Therefore, the films will be able to be watched in-home for the price of $19.99. This was really interesting to me because of the box-office crash last week many films were hurting. This also made me think if we do have the availability to do this if it is successful will we go in this direction in the future?

Artificial Human AI Wants To Be Your New BFF

Remember those days where holographic tech assistants seemed like something straight out of a sci-fi movie? Well, would ya look at the time because those freaky Black Mirror days might be among us after-all. AI might soon hit its next level with Neon’s ‘Artificial Humans’.

A company backed by Samsung has recently revealed plans for a project of artificial humans and that are geared up to become our professors, yoga instructors, and even BFFs. I don’t know about you guys, but while these techy advancements totally make me twitch, I’ll admit the idea is just trippy enough to keep me curious about how far a project like this could go.

Additionally it makes me question how well communication could be translated between a human-to-machine relationship. We’ve all seen HER right? It didn’t work out too well there. But, if we’re gonna dive into the future of cyber beings.. I wonder if Scarlett Johannson would be down to voice our real-life AI friends, too.. Hm..

SO, is this weird?
Is this rad?
Is this… happening? Survey says: maybe, maybe not.
The producers admit that the tech still needs work before it takes over the world— I MEAN, innocently joins our homes and social circles.

I dunno, the whole thing is kinda #yikes but, I won’t totally diss anything that’ll bring me closer to fulfilling my Phil of The Future fantasies. #MoveOverSiri #AlexaWHO

Publishing House Implements Lazy Black-Washing for Black History Month?

There’s no better way to celebrate another #BlackHistoryMonth than with a full dose of… superficial black washing of classic novels? This past week, publisher Penguin Random House announced its new editions of “literary classics”, but with a twist: they feature black characters on the covers of the novels. You might be quick to say, “oh, woah! We love #Inclusion“, unfortunately, in this case it would be more of a #Illusion with another lazy attempt to market to an underserved demographic.

This collection of “Diverse Editions” of classic novels, was AI curated. Yeah, meaning some computer scanned through a big database of 100s of texts and tried to pick the ones that featured less obvious mentions of race.

From this obviously thorough & carefully thoughtful process of curation, 12 books were chosen to represent this next generation of classic editions:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Emma
  • Frankenstein
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  • Moby Dick
  • Peter Pan
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Treasure Island
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Each of these great titles were then commissioned to artist to provide covers featuring non-white illustrations, and there we go! Diverse Editions complete!

…Weak, dude. It’s so weak. There’s so many problems with this fundamentally lazy approach that my little brown fingers don’t even know where to begin with unpacking this. Actually, let’s start there: brown fingers!

@PenguinRandomHouse, how about instead of superficially black-washing canon stories that are written by white authors about white experiences for white audiences, you actually take the opportunity to simply highlight black authors and black stories!

This list is filled with British and American authors whose stories (while total classics and absolutely sick in their own right) cannot be simply converted to colored narratives with the simple change of cover art. When actually reading these books, there are some very clear contextual clues that these characters are white and can only be white and are no less so for a lacking mention of race.

For instance, The Secret Garden. Gr8 book, but is very, very obviously about a little white girl born to British colonialists in India. Although the book never directly describes the color of the protagonist’s skin. It is hard to read the character say things like: “You thought I was a native! You dared! You don’t know anything about natives! They are not people—they’re servants who must salaam to you. You know nothing about India. You know nothing about anything!” and think that little Mary Lennox was down with the brown. #SorryNotSorry #ThatsTheTea

The unfortunate tea is that characters in “classics” are assumed to be white because we live in a culture where white is the default, and these books are filled with problematic depictions of race that don’t suddenly disappear if you change the race of the protagonist on the cover.

It’s insanely naive to believe that an algorithm can smooth over the racial bias that’s baked into reality, especially when these algorithms are like, dripping in racial bias themselves. Industries are staring to get a bit too optimistic with tech. Often it ignores or reinforces the existing inequalities regarding things from housing loans to police surveillance, and now I guess it’s representation

This approach does nothing about the real material and ideological reasons why every character is read as white and presents a superficial fix, meanwhile there are classic stories that totally center non-white characters, explore non-white experiences, and are written by non-white authors. So lets get their voices heard! Meanwhile, this lazy attempt at representation can literally lose my number… the art is dope though.