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The other day, I took my daughter to visit a school in France. We sat in on a class and joined the children for recess. On the playground, the teacher chatted with me while, just four feet away, a 6-year-old wearing glasses was getting crushed against the concrete as five other children piled on top of her. The teacher didn't even blink or break the conversation with me. I felt alarmed and thought: in the U.S., a teacher wouldn't let this happen! That child could end up badly hurt! A parent might sue!
This made me wonder: Have we become too sensitive in the U.S.?
The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is foundational to our nation. On the one hand, we have the right to free speech.
On the other, what people say is often magnified and blown out of proportion, primarily through social media, resulting in greater polarization and victimhood.
When is free speech an attack? When is it dangerous, and when are we maybe being too sensitive?
In what other ways are Americans more sensitive than people in other nations, and what has made us this way? Are there countries more hypersensitive than we are? How do they manage?
What role should social media empires have in permitting or censoring free speech?
(The image above is of The Princess and the Pea; remember that fairy tale and its absurdly hypersensitive princess?)
Today, we have many decentralized and distributed networks: from how we bank to how we communicate and run companies. (Think: hierarchies vs. flat systems.)
What are some networks you can think of, and are they centralized, decentralized, or distributed?
What about some networks that were in existence a century ago? A thousand years ago? Which networks existed then and were they more or less centralized than they are today?
Let's discuss some of the different network structures and think through their pros and cons:
How is information spread out, controlled, shared?
When is each structure the most efficient, safe, effective, preferred for a given function?
Who benefits most from these networks?
What are the costs to participate?
Are there other barriers to entry?
Deepfake is software that allows users to swap out one person's face for another using artificial intelligence. The results can be used for comedic or manipulative purposes.
Here are some examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTTG2AcOLrM
What are the dangers of using this technology? What are the benefits? Do the potential costs outweigh the potential benefits?
Ethically, where should we apply AI? Should its application be banned anywhere?