My Favorite Bit this week was about the Frankfurt School of philosophy and how it predicted a U.S. President like Donald Trump. Founded by German intellectuals in the 1920s who hoped that Germany would embrace Marxism, their response to the rise of Hitler was called critical theory which proposes the idea of a “culture industry” that reinforces the existing social order through cultural narratives. In their opinion, America’s ideology of consumerism made it ripe for exploitation by the right kind of authoritarian and media savvy politician.
Researchers have developed a form of artificial intelligence that uses brain scans to reconstruct videos that the person had been watching showing the potential of machine learning to transform the human experience. The NSA sees a different opportunity with such Technology and will use the rise of AI-powered assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to search for particular individuals’ voices near one of these devices, greatly increasing their surveillance capabilities. Improvements in global transportation now allow 80 percent of the world’s population to reach an urban center in less than an hour improving the ability for people to benefit from city life.
Large data sets and artificial intelligence can also be used to help Psychologists identify people with depression based on their word choice. One thing that people can do to be happier in general is work to develop an abundance mindset that allows you to focus on “mastery, belonging, and autonomy” without engaging in excessive social comparisons.
The Law is often used as a tool of the powerful to maintain their structural advantages. Companies and powerful individuals use non-disclosure agreements to extract silence from the people they exploit and law enforcement agencies, like U.S. border patrol agents, will use their positions of authority to detain people and demand documentation even when it is not legally required for a person to comply.
Finishing off your week in review is a Hodgepodge of articles that take a look at the American caste system, a new theory that Europe’s rash of witch burnings in the 1500s and 1600s can be explained by the Protestant Reformation, why The Big Five is the most scientific personality test, the long term economic trend of intangible assets replacing tangible assets as the major driver of economic value, and the 1860s when the South was the most progressive region in the United States.
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Have a great rest of your week!