AllSides: A New Online Dictionary

In the face of proclaimed ‘post-truth era‘ and ‘era of fake news’, there is an urgent need of investigation of language and exploration of its political bias. People use the same words in totally different contexts depending on their political and ideological views. Thus, the challenge is to disclose an author’s perspective and critically read information. From now we can also look to a new online dictionary, AllSides Dictionary, that provides a “balanced definition of 400 controversial terms, revealing how they are perceived differently by people with different political perspectives.”

AllSides is a news hub that offers guidance to readers on the potential political bias of articles and news providers. The Dictionary is a project work-in-process, created by contributions from various academic fields. The Dictionary may become the obligatory source of knowledge for students to develop their critical thinking and understanding of controversial topics.

One of the terms included in AllSides Dictionary is ‘Feminism‘ which definition begins with the following words: “It’s hard to imagine another word that invokes such strikingly different connotations than the word feminism”. Further, the definition provides the explanation of the word from two different perspectives:

“For many (most) on the left, the word feminism is a categorically positive reference to the larger fight for women’s rights and the overall push for equal rights and opportunity for women alongside men. For many on the right (not all), feminism has become a categorically negative reference to a vocal and aggressive minority of women pushing everyone else to allow them to ‘act the same as men.’ For some conservatives, the feminist movement disregards unique and special aspects of womanhood in favor for a universalized and androgenous view of gender. In addition to overlooking the distinctive female elements, feminism is seen as eradicating and even trying to destroy the distinctive and unique complementarity between men and women – as well as the traditional family”.

Beside ‘Feminism’, you can read about the words ‘Diversity‘, ‘Equality‘, ‘Refugee‘, ‘Terrorism‘, ‘Discrimination‘, and much more. The last word includes not only interesting explanation but also ‘Questions To Play With’, such as “Do you think discrimination is being over-applied and over-used, or under-recognized and under-seen?”, “Have you ever seen something labeled as ‘discriminatory’ or ‘discrimination’ in a way that you think was unfair or inaccurate?”, “Have you ever felt discriminated against? Did anyone question your feeling?”, “Have you ever heard someone say they were discriminated against and didn’t agree with their characterization of what happened?”.

Read more about AllSides Dictionary: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academics-use-new-dictionary-aid-students-era-fake-news 

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

George Walton Lucas Jr., an American filmmaker and the creator of the Star Wars, is about to open the museum called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. The concept design of the futuristic-looking museum in Exposition Park is astounding. It assumes that the house will collect his some 10,000 paintings and book, and magazine illustrations assembled over decades. Without a doubt, the museum will attract tourists, fans of Star Wars, artists, humanists, researchers, futurists, and many other!

More: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/arts/design/george-lucas-will-open-museum-of-narrative-art-in-los-angeles.html?smid=fb-share

To kill, or not to kill?

Driveless car faces moral dilemmas which should be solved by ethics or data? The research about the ethic of driveless car is undertaken by Media Lab at MIT and  Culture and Morality Lab at the University of California Irvine where researchers try to address the following issues: “Should the car risk its passengers’ lives by swerving to the side—where the edge of the road meets a steep cliff? Or should the car continue on its path, ensuring its passengers’ safety at the child’s expense?”

Shariff and his colleagues from Media Lab MIT launched a Website called “Moral Machine” to help gather more information about how people would prefer autonomous cars to react in different scenarios where passenger and pedestrian safety are at odds. At this website, you can take a test “start judging”, that is to say, you need to decide where the car should hit and consequently, whom it should kill to save the others. Do you prefer to save young people or seniors? Women or men? Doctors or robbers? Should the car kill two passengers or five pedestrians? Take a test and help to gather the information about a human perspective on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars. And also be sure that it is an interesting experience to get to know your preferences and ethics!

3D-printed Rembrandt

The Next Rembrandt” is astounding 3D-printed Rembrandt painting designed by a team of developers with the technical support of Microsoft and backing from Dutch bank ING. The aim of project was to create new work “made by Rembrandt” by using data from his existing paintings. Designed software system recognizes Rembrandt based on his use of geometry, composition, and painting materials. Then software replicates his style and also generates new facial features what was probably the biggest challenge. Distilling the artistic DNA from piece to create new work shows again incredible capabilities of new technology, software system, digital tools and “big data” in the art and humanities.

AI novel

Can a computer write poetry? Oscar Schwartz in his fascinating presentation during TedxYouth in Sydney left no doubts that computer can create poetry sounding like William Blake’s or Frank O’Hara’s poems. Further, algorithm can produce poem sounding so much better than poem of not one outstanding poet. What is more, it turns out that artificial intelligence (AI) can compete with human for a literary award.

The Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award is only prize involving human and applicants who are not human beings (AI programs and others). However, this year was the first time when submitted literary texts were created by coauthorship between human and ‘nonhuman beings’: AI programs. Among 1,450 novels received in the competition, 11 works involved AI programs.

AI novel called “The Day A Computer Writes A Novel” was produced by Hitoshi Matsubara and his team at Future University Hakodate in Japan. Although AI novel did not win the final prize, it passed the first screening process for a domestic literary prize. According to jury, the meta-narrative was not enough good to get the prize. It turns out that while structure and mechanism of novel were programmed very well, character descriptions were poor created. It is only a matter of time, when machine improves a programming of more ‘human’ part of text. Nevertheless, this is just the beginning of literary competition between human and nonhuman being.