Facebook algorithm finds the Declaration of Independence racist
A phrase buried deep in the Declaration of Independence set off alarms in Silicon Valley, and outrage in Texas.
Facebook! Previously a global communication tool for its 2 billion users, it's now what your distant uncle uses to stay in your life. While it has (many) faults, it's also a marvel of technology. It's powered by an algorithm that, allegedly, is supposed to give you the most relevant content and for much of its users, it does just that. From minion memes to Russian troll farms, Facebook's greatest feat—and biggest flaw—has been its equalizing of content. For the most part, this works. Although over the July 4th holiday this very algorithm found the U.S. Declaration of Independence to be racist.
The Liberty County Vindicator, a small community newspaper for the town of Liberty, outside of Houston, TX, had been posting the Declaration of Independence in serialized posts on their Facebook page and part 10 was subsequentially taken down by the Facebook algorithm due to the phrase "merciless Indian savages." This is, admittedly, quite a harsh and terrible phrase to see in 2018, but is in the original document and the rough draft. Jefferson's original draft actually had a whole section which railed against slavery.
The Facebook post was subsequentially put back up after what appeared to be a human review of the situation. The paper's Editor, Casey Stinnett, wrote in a lengthy op-ed published on the paper's standalone website: "Perhaps had Thomas Jefferson written it as 'Native Americans at a challenging stage of cultural development' that would have been better... Unfortunately, Jefferson, like most British colonists of his day, did not hold an entirely friendly view of Native Americans."
Facebook's algorithm has also deleted famous war photography, mentions of police brutality against people of color, and, perhaps tellingly, articles about how to thwart the Facebook algorithm itself.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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