Protests break out in Charlotte, North Carolina, after fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Imagine a world in which all the babies born each day were randomly redistributed among the biological parents. The infant assigned to any given set of parents could be white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or any combination thereof (and that’s just the US); the baby could be perfectly healthy or grossly deformed. Parents would know only that their child was not their biological child. Let us call this social mixing.

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Politics & Current Affairs

A.I. will serve humans—but only about 1% of them

AI is leaving human needs and democracy behind in its race to accomplish its current profit-generating goals.

It doesn't have to be this way, but for now it is: AI's primary purpose is to maximize profits. For all of the predictions of its benefits to society, right now, that's just window-dressing—a pie-in-the-sky vision of a world we don't actually inhabit. While some like Elon Musk issue dire warnings against finding ourselves beneath the silicon thumbs of robot overlords, the fact is we're already under threat. As long as AI is dedicated to economic goals and not societal concerns, its tunnel vision is a problem. And as so often seems to be the case these days, the benefits will go to the already wealthy and powerful.

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Technology & Innovation

Is Race Genetic or Socially Constructed?

Is race a trivial quality of humans, or of deep social importance? Who gets to decide whether race exists or not?

How many different races are there? Pick a number, any number, says philosophy professor Philip Kitcher. Wherever there is an agenda there is a division to be made; race is a social construct with scientific levers. "If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from biological science and psychological science over the last century, it’s that there’s an enormous amount of variation within the groups that we’ve traditionally thought of as races, far more than there is between the groups we’ve traditionally thought of as races." This makes sense; historically, we've drawn the line wherever it has suited the mainstream agenda. Humanity can be divided into two races, which would see Africans, Europeans and most Asians as one unified race. Or it could be divided into three races, which would separate Africans into their own group. You can keep dividing humanity down into more and more refined biological groups until you have 10 or 20 or 30 different races. But what would be the purpose? Our mistake has always been confusing groups for classes anyhow. Philip Kitcher is the co-author of The Seasons Alter:How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts.

Videos

People Are Aggressively Prejudiced If They Think They Won't Get Caught, Study Finds

A study suggests people act aggressively on their prejudices when they have plausible deniability.

Photo from the Milgram experiment.

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Culture & Religion

This Restaurant Rehabilitates Ex-Cons Better than Prison

Rates of crime and recidivism in America are very high. One Cleveland-based French restaurant, however, leads the way in helping ex-cons to thrive and not reoffend after their sentences.

Chef David Waltuck with a few students at Edwins restaurant in Cleveland. (Image: Edwins Instagram @edwinscle)

Of the 200+ former inmates who have trained as cooks at Edwins over the last few years, none has reoffended. The Cleveland-based French restaurant is reportedly the only American high-end restaurant to employ ex-offenders for a majority of their staff. And the food they serve is top-notch. For example, writer Douglas Trattner wrote in Cleveland Scene:

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Culture & Religion