On The Possible Advantages Of Robot Graders

Some very interesting news from the trenches about robot graders, which notes the ‘strong case against using robo-graders for assigning grades and test scores’ and then goes on to note: But there’s another use for robo-graders — a role for them to play in which…they may not only be as good as humans, but better.Continue reading “On The Possible Advantages Of Robot Graders”

Calling Bullshit On ‘Outside Agitators’ in Ferguson

A few days ago, a friend on Facebook posted the following as his status: Would any of you be down to help me organize a march on Ferguson, MO? Dead serious. It’s something I hope would send a powerful message to the powers that be, but I’d need help getting it all together. I mean,Continue reading “Calling Bullshit On ‘Outside Agitators’ in Ferguson”

Cutting Some Umbilical Cords (The Virtual Kind)

The day after the World Cup ended, I called my cable company and cancelled my cable and land-line subscriptions. (My phone call with my internet service provider’s customer service representative was long-winded, perhaps inevitably so given the number of inducements sent my way suggesting I only change the offerings in my subscription packages, but itContinue reading “Cutting Some Umbilical Cords (The Virtual Kind)”

Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars

A nation at war–an indefinite, borderless one, conducted against a faceless enemy, with little legal or moral restraint, with an endless wallet to be dipped into–will find, sooner or later, that the same inchoateness, the same vagueness, the same productive lack of definition of that conflict, which permitted its waging to be conducted secretly withoutContinue reading “Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars”

Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance

A revealing–no pun intended–reaction to news of Steven Salaita’s troubles at the University of Illinois was that he was only paying the price for having his social media speech monitored (or surveilled) by his employer. As the argument goes, all employers monitor social media; we should all accept the consequences–in our places and zones ofContinue reading “Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance”

Camping As Urban Escape

On Thursday and Friday I went for a short hiking and camping trip with a pair of old friends. We drove up to the Catskills–two hours north of New York City, parked at a trailhead, hoisted our backpacks on to our backs, and went for a walk. Our planning had been minimal; our destination–Table andContinue reading “Camping As Urban Escape”

Machine Gun Men: Not Your Grandfather’s Police

It was a common sight in New York City: soldiers, paramilitary or regular in origin, wearing battle fatigues and carrying assault rifles and machine guns, standing guard in various bustling points of urban interaction–train stations and bus terminals most commonly. Typically, these were deployed after some mysterious, unspecified warning would be made public by theContinue reading “Machine Gun Men: Not Your Grandfather’s Police”

Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization

The killing–execution style–of Michael Brown, the protests in Ferguson that followed, and their policing, both rhetorically and literally, demonstrate some chilling facts about modern American life. Most obviously,  police continue to over-police, with overbearing aggressiveness and force, communities of color.  They have poor relationships with their subjects–an apt description given the asymmetry of power thatContinue reading “Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization”

Artificial Intelligence And ‘Real Understanding’

Speculation about–and vigorous contestations of–the possibility of ever realizing artificial intelligence have been stuck in a dreary groove ever since the Dartmouth conference: wildly optimistic predictions about the temporal proximity of the day machines (and the programs they run) will attain human levels of intelligence; followed by skeptical critique and taunting reminders of landmarks andContinue reading “Artificial Intelligence And ‘Real Understanding’”

The Only Apparent Easiness Of Meta-Protest

Finding fault with the form and content of political critique or protest comes easily to some: You chose a mode of protest that was inappropriate–it was too loud, it was violent, it was not inclusive enough; your protest is hypocritical–you do not protest injustices relevantly similar to the ones you protest currently; and lastly, andContinue reading “The Only Apparent Easiness Of Meta-Protest”