SOCIAL MEDIA INSIGHTS FROM ANCIENT PHILOSOPHERS

How would Socrates have used social media if it existed then? Maybe Socrates did, but instead of a virtual social space he took advantage of the town square, and instead of going viral and becoming an influencer, he acquired a reputation through visitors that he would converse with, and fame.

Ancient Greece faced the same challenges of sophists (people that claimed to be philosophers but shared misleading ideas in search of public fame and recognition), as we see in social media today with scammers and irreputable sources.

Socrates’ student Plato believed there should be regulation to allow only “true” philosophers to share their ideas. Social media today does not necessarily reward content that benefits humanity, possibly leading to the criticisms we see of these virtual platforms. However, we must decide whether an influencer has “good or bad” intentions individually, rather than public dismissal that took place in Ancient Greece.

Our modern “town square” is broader and more diverse, connecting people from all sides of the world to share their thoughts. Perhaps the same criteria used by philosophers in the past to distinguish true valuable information, can be used today to fine tune our feeds and our own content that we share.

This spread includes excerpts from an article for BBC Future by Nathan Dufour. To read the full text please visit: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210922-would-plato-tweet-the-ancient-greek-guide-to-social-media.

AFGHANISTAN GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN DANGER

The current crisis in Afghanistan has jeopardized girls’ education and future. Developments of the past month suggest that the Taliban does not intend to retain women’s rights, contrary to what was promised to the people of Afghanistan, as women have been removed from government positions and boys were invited to start school (rather than both girls and boys). There has been no statement saying that girls would be prohibited from receiving education, however, and universities have opened for both men and women.

Though girls living in Afghanistan have written about their fears and uncertainty of the future, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has commented on the situation saying that women will should be able to attend school as it is not Islamic to ban education for women.

The future remains undecided for girls in Afghanistan, and they continue to endure rapid changes to their world.

This spread includes excerpt from the International Rescue Committee and Hindustan Times. To read the full articles please visit: https://www.rescue.org/article/millions-afghan-girls-may-not-go-back-school-september and https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/imran-khan-says-stopping-women-from-accessing-education-unislamic-101632320003.

CENSORSHIP LAWS IN RUSSIA REQUIRE REFORM

Amnesty International has outlined reforms for laws in Russia that jeopardize the human rights of citizens. These laws include criminalizing protest and activism, and decriminalizing domestic abuse and hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.

The censorship of speech and media against the government has been ongoing and increasingly dangerous for activists that risk their lives to spread information. The involvement of an international organization could lead to less harsh regulations, or backfire resulting in stronger efforts to silence the public.

To read the full article that is featured in this spread please visit: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/09/the-newly-elected-russian-parliament-must-amend-repressive-legislation/.

HOW + WHY YOUR BRAIN DOUBLE-CHECKS MEMORY

Scientists discovered both memory and the uncertainty of that memory are stored in the same regions of the brain. The discovery opens the discussion for how truly important the brain’s ability to verify an accurate memory is, and how it impacts future actions and decisions that you make.

Why would some memories be less reliable? How can the brain tell between an accurate or inaccurate memory? Does the fact that both processes are in the same place impact what we know about how memory is stored and recalled? Perhaps these questions can be answered in future studies and discoveries.

This spread features an article by ScienceDaily. To read the full text please visit: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210914111242.htm.

AI vs. HUMAN RIGHTS

Is new technology always good? Does AI facial recognition really violate human rights?

A ban has been proposed to halt the use of facial recognition technology due to the possible violation of human rights. As of right now, this technology has been described as imperfect and biased towards certain genders and ethnicities. This solution is likely a result of the widespread use of real-time facial scanning and surveillance used in China to monitor and possibly convict citizens.

The use of underdeveloped facial recognition AI worldwide for purposes of police surveillance could lead to faulty convictions and accusations. However, a ban on this popular high-end technology would interrupt sales and funding for the companies creating these solutions, and interrupt future development and possibility for improving this technology to be more accurate. Or perhaps, the ban will motivate companies to create better facial recognition AI. As of right now, companies leading the AI market such as Microsoft have chosen to support this ban.

The featured article of this spread is from The Independent. If you would like to read more, the full article can be found here: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/artificial-intelligence-united-nations-face-scan-social-score-b1921311.html

COVID IMPACT ON GENDER INEQUALITY

Something I haven’t thought about was how different genders have been affected by COVID-19, rather I assumed there wasn’t a huge difference.

Prior to the pandemic, we lived in a world where women had battled gender inequality in the workplace for years, though with countless setbacks, it had seemed that a trend of increasing opportunity and accessibility for all that identify as non-male was emerging.

However, the challenges that all people faced around the world during COVID, have had, and are likely to lead to, further disproportionate complications for minorities and women.

The spread above includes text from a recent report done by UN Women (if you would like to read the full text please visit: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1100082).