the lavin weekly | September 21, 2017

The Lavin Weekly: Instagram’s Hate Filter, Cracks in the Administration, A First for Marvel, & a New Innovator in Residence

In this edition of The Lavin Weekly, Nicholas Thompson explores the ethics of Instagram’s hate speech filter; Matt Taibbi questions the president’s sanity (for real this time); the latest issue of Gabby Rivera’s America is out just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month; and Jer Thorp is the 2017 Library of Congress Innovator in Residence.

1. “Humans are boiling stews of biases and contradictions, and computers don’t have emotions.”

The CEO of Instagram has rolled out a filter that protects users from hate speech and negative comments. Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, questions the ethics of such an algorithm on CBS News and in his Wired feature: “what happens if genuine arguments and thoughtful criticism start to appear less frequently?”  


2. “Can a country be declared unfit?”

Matt Taibbi visited Trump’s campaign rally in Pheonix. “Is this man losing his mind?” he asks in Rolling Stone this week. “Even his followers are starting to look sideways at one another…we’ve never had a chief executive who barked at the moon or saw ghosts—at least, not one who was so public about it.” These cracks in the veneer are disturbing to every American, says Taibbi. Because “now, the mask of respectability is gone…[our] sickness is showing.”


3. “I realized I could build worlds where...I had a right to exist.”

“I get to infuse into [America] my lived experiences of being a brown human in the world; what’s funny to me, what’s exciting to me, what my love relationships are like, I can share that.” Gabby Rivera is the outspoken creative force behind America Chavez: Marvel’s first queer, Latinx superhero that’s catching buzz and praise from the likes of The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NPR and Vogue. Issue #7 is out now.  


4. “As the Library of Congress is a fundamentally public institution, I’m going to make my time there as Innovator in Residence as public as I can.”

Jer Thorp’s work is about making sense of data: giving it meaning, context, narrative; turning it into art so it becomes truly visible to the people who it represents. Starting this week, he will begin his run as the 2017 Library of Congress Innovator-in-Residence. For the next six months he’ll be “exploring the Library’s digital collections and creating an art piece that will be displayed in the Library’s public spaces.” 


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