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light in the forest
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego,Ushuaia

Amazon’s Rings of Power and Where the Conflict Really Lies

If Peter Jackson gave the LOTR cast unnecessary internal conflicts, then the Rings of Power writers have done it on steroids.

The third and fourth episodes of Rings of Power have aired as of September 16th. Thousands of reviews have fountained across the internet over the last couple of weeks, some from rankled fans, others from satisfied enthusiasts, and others with both good and bad things to report. The show, as we all anticipated, has not gone without its fair share of controversy and pushback, but for this review, I want to lay those conversations aside and instead focus on some pros and cons of the recent episodes from my own perspective. To begin on a positive note, I enjoyed these last couple of episodes much more than the first two. The storyline seems to be getting somewhere. Galadriel is being…

Boy running through flying books
boy standing on the opened book and looking at other books floating in the air, digital art style, illustration painting

Art, Propaganda, and the Role of the Novelist

Bestselling author Dean Koontz talks fiction, human exceptionalism, and transhumanism with Wesley J. Smith in new podcast episode (Part I)

Dean Koontz is a renowned novelist, known for books such as Devoted, The Big Dark Sky, and Odd Thomas. His books have topped the charts as New York Times bestsellers, and at age 77, he doesn’t plan on quitting the craft of fiction any time soon. He is also a longtime proponent of intelligent design and human exceptionalism, both of which find their footing in his many writings. On September 12th, Koontz was featured on the Humanize Podcast, where he and Wesley J. Smith, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Human Exceptionalism, discussed Koontz’s career as a writer as well as some of the central themes that pervade Koontz’s work. For Part I of this two-part discussion on the…

eye scan
Patient in ophthalmology clinic

How Does Worldview Differ From Cultural Environment?

Confusion about the difference between worldview and cultural environment has been a stumbling block for Christian apologetics

5 Worldview vs. Cultural Environment By now it will be apparent that a cultural environment differs from a worldview. Let’s say a bit more about that difference, because it is important. A cultural environment applies corporately to the group or community in which one resides. On the other hand, a worldview is, in the first instance, held individually, though it can be shared and therefore held corporately. Thus we may speak of “the Christian worldview.” One’s worldview is the set of beliefs that one holds about what the world is like. As such, it doesn’t distinguish between beliefs that are held intensely and those that are held more lightly. It doesn’t distinguish between beliefs that are non-negotiable and those to…

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Bangkok, Thailand 25 AUG 2020. Men hand using digital tablet for search information on Google.  Wireless Smartphone technology with intelligence search engine.

Google’s Leading AI Ethics Researcher Fired, Amid Controversy

Her research team targeted Google’s “cash cow”: advertising

Timnit Gebru, a leading AI ethics researcher, was fired from Google early this month under circumstances that have raised suspicions across the industry: On December 2, the AI research community was shocked to learn that Timnit Gebru had been fired from her post at Google. Gebru, one of the leading voices in responsible AI research, is known among other things for coauthoring groundbreaking work that revealed the discriminatory nature of facial recognition, cofounding the Black in AI affinity group, and relentlessly advocating for diversity in the tech industry. But on Wednesday evening, she announced on Twitter that she had been terminated from her position as Google’s ethical AI co-lead. “Apparently my manager’s manager sent an email [to] my direct reports…

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sunset on a yurt , in the grassland of Mongolia

High-Tech Suppression of China’s Mongol Region Provokes Protests

But Mongolian protesters against Chinese-dominated schools are threatened with loss of social credit, which means no jobs or loans

China is removing the Mongolian language and culture from the curriculum and textbooks in Inner Mongolia (see outline map), an autonomous region in China. In August, leaked government documents showed that language and literature, civics, and history will be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian in schools where Mongolian is the primary language. Additionally, the new textbooks replace stories about historic Mongolian heroes with Chinese ballads and expunge a popular folk verse that expresses pride in the Mongolian culture and language. In response, many parents in Inner Mongolia (called Southern Mongolia locally) have been keeping their children from attending school on September 1. In retaliation, state authorities threaten their jobs and social credit status: Southern Mongolia has quickly become a…

Social media Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash 6lcT2kRPvnI

So Many Selfies, So Little Self

The collage of images on social media so often doesn’t add up to a single self

Consider the way in which the phrase: “That’s your truth— my truth is different,” has expanded in scope. It’s now: “That’s your truth—my truth, right now, and on this social media platform, is different!”

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Crosswalk with fake car and pedestrians

Does a Western Bias Affect Self-Driving Cars?

How a driver is expected to act varies by culture
Self-driving cars (autonomous vehicles) will need to adapt to different rules and we will, very likely, need to change those rules to make the vehicles work. Read More ›
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Stripes on two lane highway

Can We Program Morality into a Self-Driving Car?

A software engineering professor tells us why that’s not a realistic goal

Any discussion of the morality of the self-driving car should touch on the fact that the industry as a whole thrives on hype that skirts honesty.

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Appropriate Technology for the Developing World: Part III

Responding to Satya Nadella and Internet Access for All

How do we prevent technology from destroying us? In the case of developing countries the answer is not what most think. We give the answer today on Mind Matters.

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Is Technology Neutral?

Or does it change our world whether we like it or not?
People tend to be one of two minds when it comes to technology. One group views technology as directional—altering those cultures it reaches. They construct plausible narratives about how this or that technology has changed our culture. The second group views technology as neutral. They dismiss the narrative put forward by the first group, explaining that such changes are due to forces within the culture, not to technology. Read More ›