Louis C.K., #MeToo, and accountability: Why binary thinking doesn't help

We may not learn and grow beyond the #MeToo era if we keep thinking in black and white, says comedian Pete Holmes.

  • The collective suffering society is going through with the #MeToo movement is the earmark that real change is happening, says comedian Pete Holmes. Abusers need to acknowledge their wrongdoing and, where possible, be open about their evolution and growth.
  • Comedian Louis C.K.'s abuses and return to the stage have divided the comedy community and society on a broader scale. The debate predominately has two narratives: Either C.K. is a monster, or he is a symbol of artistic freedom.
  • The truth, says Holmes, is likely in the middle, and our need to take a binary stance won't help us confront and grow from these complicated issues.
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What’s wrong with the internet? We’d rather “display” than communicate.

Jonathan Rauch explains why the internet is so hostile to the truth, and what we can do to change that.

  • Disruptive technologies tend to regress humanity back to our default mode: deeply ingrained tribalism.
  • Rather than using the internet to communicate, many people use it to display their colors or group affinity, like tribespeople wearing face paint. Fake news spreads faster than truth in these tribal environments.
  • How can we solve this problem without censorship? Platforms like Facebook and Google are tilting the playing field to be more pro-truth by asking people to stop, think, and take responsibility.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

The key to ending online hate? Treat it like a virus.

It will take a crack team of scientists, programmers and philosophers to cure on the online hate pandemic.

  • If online hate is a contagion, as suggested by neuroscientist Joel Finkelstein, then perhaps the most effective course of action will come from treating it as a virus: Gather an interdisciplinary team of minds to study the mechanics of the virus and treat it.
  • The internet is as big a disruption to society as the printing press was. Sarah Ruger sees the road toward social peace as one where neuroscientists, technologists, conflict resolution theorists and philosophers all work together to create a digital culture that brings out the best in humanity, not the worst.


Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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Researchers successfully sent a simulated elementary particle back in time

Don't start investing in flux capacitors just yet, though.

  • The second law of thermodynamics states that order always moves to disorder, which we experience as an arrow of time.
  • Scientists used a quantum computer to show that time travel is theoretically possible by reverting a simulated particle from an entropic to a more orderly state.
  • While Einstein's general theory of relativity permits time travel, the means to achieve it remain improbable in nature.
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