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There is an important overlap between the history of colonialism and the development of generative autonomous software. Whenever we talk about authenticity, agency, equality and the very elusive notion of personhood, we're talking about the power to define other entities and their rights on this planet. Well, it's obviously a little more complicated than that - and DeepMind's research paper on AI this week goes a long way in contributing to this debate, even if from a different angle. Still: what other entities are we willing to recognize as legitimate actors in our evolving mesh network society? What kind of rights and claims are we willing to accept from these new electronic creatures? How is their undeniable influence in global affairs rewriting the rules of engagement between human beings?

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Exclusive: Inside Uber’s billion-dollar bet to deliver food, people, and everything else

on Jul 13, 2020 12:39 am

Earlier this week, Uber acquired Postmates, the number-four player in the food delivery space, for $2.65 billion. It was a clear statement that Uber is no longer just a rides company, but a home delivery company.

The chip-making machine at the center of Chinese dual-use concerns

on Jul 12, 2020 07:39 pm

An extreme ultraviolet lithography machine is a technological marvel. A generator ejects 50,000 tiny droplets of molten tin per second. A high-powered laser blasts each droplet twice. The first shapes the tiny tin, so the second can vaporize it into plasma.

Decolonial AI: Decolonial Theory as Sociotechnical Foresight in Artificial Intelligence

on Jul 12, 2020 04:39 pm


This paper explores the important role of critical science, and in particular of post-colonial and decolonial theories, in understanding and shaping the ongoing advances in artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is viewed as amongst the technological advances that will reshape modern societies and their relations. Whilst the design and deployment of systems that continually adapt holds the promise of far-reaching positive change, they simultaneously pose significant risks, especially to already vulnerable peoples. Values and power are central to this discussion. Decolonial theories use historical hindsight to explain patterns of power that shape our intellectual, political, economic, and social world.

DeepMind researchers propose rebuilding the AI industry on a base of anticolonialism

on Jul 12, 2020 04:39 pm

Researchers from Google’s DeepMind and the University of Oxford recommend that AI practitioners draw on decolonial theory to reform the industry, put ethical principles into practice, and avoid further algorithmic exploitation or oppression.

Identities of the World

on Jul 11, 2020 05:39 pm


Globally, billions of adults have no bank account. No bank account means no ability to save money for a family, to borrow to support a business, to send and receive money over long distances, or to build up a safety net against emergencies.

That’s why governments and other organisations around the world pursue financial inclusion - the ability to access financial services, no matter your wealth, gender or social status. Financial inclusion is key to lifting people out of poverty and hardship.

But there are always people who fall through the cracks. Identities of the World, a new journalistic series from Experian, is a series of portraits of the financially excluded, looking at the structural and social barriers that prevent society’s most vulnerable people from gaining financial independence.

The confusions

on Jul 10, 2020 01:39 am

Seth Godin talks about the difficulties and common mistakes in predicting the future.

Alphabet’s Loon starts beaming internet from balloons in Kenya

on Jul 09, 2020 04:39 pm


Alphabet’s Loon project has finally launched its internet-delivery balloons in Africa following a deal with the Kenyan government. It marks a significant milestone for Loon, once one of Google’s “moonshot” projects, and follows years of publicity about the venture.

UK government and UN commit to protect seafarers and help stabilise global shipping market

on Jul 09, 2020 08:39 am

Marking the International Day of the Seafarer, the UK government has today (25 June 2020) announced it will host the first international summit on the impact of COVID-19 on crew changes next month, bringing together UN, political and business leaders from across the globe.

How the Uffizi Gallery Is Highlighting Black Figures in Renaissance Art

on Jul 08, 2020 07:39 am

Many of the images widely associated with the Italian Renaissance—think Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam—are dominated by white figures.


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This is a weekly publication about Pop Culture, Software Studies, Business Strategy, Media Platforms, Algorithmic Management, Game Design, and everything in between.
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