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

Why It's Getting Harder to "Stick It to the Man"

Nothing reflects the complex mood of our era like gaming, says Nato Thompson, where the establishment has worked its way into the anti-establishment ethos.

What’s common to most movements of dissent, is that they don’t stay pure for long. Art curator and cultural critic Nato Thompson uses gaming to show how the anti-establishment ethos within those games has been commandeered by the very thing it sought to stick it to: "the man". The same goes for big corporations like Coca Cola and Apple, who position themselves as the ordinary human. Institutions use dissenting art and culture to ensure profits. "The spirit of anti-establishment gets into the establishment," says Thompson, and he perceives that as a broad phenomenon. America, especially in 2017, is deeply anti-establishment. Thompson wonders whether that once-useful ethos has tipped over from constructive to destructive. Nato Thompson’s most recent book is Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Actually, the Customer Is Not Always Right

This will be music to the ears of anyone who's ever worked in customer service. Is this old managerial adage doing companies more harm than good?

The tired, old adage many businesses run by is that "the customer is always right", but Simon Sinek is here to tell us we’ve got it all wrong. All companies must make and increase profits to survive, but what’s missing is the understanding of it as a linear process. Rather than staring at the end goal, it literally pays to see it as a chain effect. When managers put their employees first, employees are empowered to deliver the ideal customer service a top company would strives for. Through an anecdote about one service industry worker who is employed at two differently run establishments, Sinek illuminates how the best managerial method is to prioritize the wellbeing of employees first. Simon Sinek's most recent book is Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Technology & Innovation

Welcome to Your Echo Chamber. Population: Waning

Despite our romanticized vision of social media as a global town square overflowing with diversity, the reality is that each user’s experience is hyper-filtered.

 

 

Echo... echo... echo. (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)

Are you living a segregated digital life? If you're on major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the answer is probably yes.

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Politics & Current Affairs