Politics

Artificial intelligence and the morality minefield

Artificial intelligence and the morality minefield

Imagine yourself in a car powered by the latest super-smart artificial intelligence (A.I.). Three pedestrians recklessly burst onto the road in front of you. Your self-driving vehicle has no time to slow down – it will either hit the pedestrians or veer off the road, most likely crashing and endangering your life. Who should the car decide to save? The pedestrians? Or should it kill three people to save you, the owner, who did nothing wrong?

Trump tactics: why America is voting for a bully

Trump tactics: why America is voting for a bully

Donald Trump’s bid to become US President is enduring far longer than anyone anticipated. Each time his campaign courts scandal, or his words spark public outrage, Trump emerges from the resulting media circus more popular than before. It doesn’t matter how outrageously he acts: the normal rules of politics do not seem to apply to Donald J. Trump.

Is the US election actually a revolution? Lessons from Thomas Paine and Antonio Gramsci

Is the US election actually a revolution? Lessons from Thomas Paine and Antonio Gramsci

Unlike plenty of violent revolutionaries from the past, American presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are not seeking to overthrow a monarchy, topple an oppressive dictator, or send their enemies to the guillotine. But few witnesses would disagree that they are revolutionizing US politics by mobilizing popular support against what they perceive as inadequacies in the current system.

Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke: do we have the right to revolt?

Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke: do we have the right to revolt?

They come to “reclaim speech and public space… to take our place in the Republic.” They are unified by a system that they say has failed them, as well as a feeling of exclusion from the mainstream political system. They tell the press they will continue until the injustices they see in society—mostly based around democracy (or lack of it) and misrepresentation in the political system—are put right.

The cyber surveillance dilemma: Foucault, Hobbes, and Mill weigh in

The cyber surveillance dilemma: Foucault, Hobbes, and Mill weigh in

In 2014, researchers at MIT published data suggesting that, post-Snowden, Google users are increasingly reluctant to search for terms that might arouse the suspicion of the US government.The conclusion? We now think our online movements are being tracked by a higher power, and we’re starting to police ourselves.

The rich and their tax havens: what would Marx and Piketty say?

The rich and their tax havens: what would Marx and Piketty say?

Half of the 16 million people in Malawi, Africa, are living in poverty. They earn less than $1 per day, and they cannot access good medical attention. Yet Africa loses an estimated $14 billion in annual tax revenues—enough to save four million children’s lives a year and put every African child into school—because the rich put their wealth in tax havens like Panama.

How capitalism and human rights can explain the panic over the zika epidemic

How capitalism and human rights can explain the panic over the zika epidemic

There are few things more terrifying than an epidemic unfolding in real time, when the true cause of a disease is still unknown, and before effective public health interventions can be implemented. And it is all the more vexing when a disease seems to ravish innocent and sympathetic victims, like newborn babies, or has such a devastating impact that it could change the human rights of the people affected.

Super Tuesday: Tocqueville’s democratic dream… or nightmare?

Super Tuesday: Tocqueville’s democratic dream… or nightmare?

On first blush, it would seem that by balancing countervailing interests, Super Tuesday is an ingenious check against the potential for subverting democracy that increases with the size and diversity of a republic. But, does Super Tuesday’s national test truly strive towards a purer form of democratic participation, or does it undermine it by subverting local factions?

How to win the presidency: 5 tips from Plato, Aristotle, and other great thinkers

How to win the presidency: 5 tips from Plato, Aristotle, and other great thinkers

Amidst the frenzy leading up to Super Tuesday, when 15 U.S. states hold primaries in a single day, we turned to some of history’s greatest thinkers for advice on how to win one of the most coveted offices in the world. Their advice can secure you the competitive edge in any race—be it personal, professional, or political.

Education: another casualty of Syria’s war

Education: another casualty of Syria’s war

Ammar chuckles as he recounts the almost cliché story of how he became an actor when his father wanted him to become a doctor. “I studied science that year. And then one day the head of the school was driving and stopped right by our house. He rolled down the window and shouted to my dad, ‘either you take your son to a different school or he changes subjects.’”

Meditating on “safe spaces”

Meditating on “safe spaces”

“For a man can lose neither the past nor the future; for how can one take from him that which is not his?”

One can imagine the statue of Marcus Aurelius muttering this under its breath during the Middle Ages, when Christians began destroying all images of past pagan rulers. Aurelius’ statue was only spared because it was mistaken for Constantine, the first Christian emperor.