Soft, soft droning

There is a sound in this city, a soft, constant tattoo of hundreds of thousands of fingertips on keyboards. Ragged bitten grimy short Vietnamese precision manicured false brittle not enough calcium in the diet not enough vitamin D pitted nicotine marked. A global army beating its retreat from some unbearable now. Also, wires, fans, battery […]

The algorithms of ethics. (And puppycats)

I’m trying to remember when I first heard the phrase ‘the ethics of algorithms’ (TEoA) and why it bothers me. It sounded like something from a branding exercise triumph.TEoA has dogged me; it has been the intellectual equivalent of an adorable little puppy that snaps at your ankles in encouragement to play, and then opens […]

A crisis of ethics in quantified environments

On Friday, October 30th, I presented my new doctoral work to a small group of scholars and engaged political people who came together for an evening event around CIHR’s Fellows’ Day. This post is a summary of some of the ideas discussed there. * Every time someone says “but what about the ethics of…” they’re […]

Verdict by Tenzin Dickyi

Poem #3 in my selection for Berlin liest, this one representing Tibet. Verdict by Tenzin Dickyi Ladies and gentlemen, These trace fossils belong to our dearly departed Tyrannosaurus Rex. I say this with surety because his foot prints lead to his open coffin. These Oviraptors, maligned raiders of Protoceratopsian nests, are cleared on all counts […]

Birangona by Tarfia Faizullah

In 1971 Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan; independence came with the price that most armed conflicts extract: the rape of women as a ‘tactic’. Over the course of the almost-year long conflict, the Pakistani military raped or made sex slaves of between 200,000 and 400,000 Bangladeshi women. More contextual reading and links at the end […]

Poems for South Asian refugees and asylum seekers

Every year Berlin’s International Literature Festival has a public reading event. This year’s focus is the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers from Europe and around the world. I’m going to focus on South Asia. I’m creating a list of poems on themes of loss, journeying, return, home, by poets from Kashmir, Bangladesh/Bengal, Sri Lanka/Tamil […]

IA: Intelligent Assistants

There is a conference on ‘intelligent assistants’ that will take place in New York in October. Here are some others: “almost human-like” “Hi, I’m Nina, your virtual assistant. Please ask me your questions about our product, Nuance” “Amy” “Smarter than Siri” Of course all personal assistants are women, always eager to help you.

Berlin 1

I’m standing at the Eberswalderstrasse U-bahn intersection and looking up at the early evening light gliding over the cornices of buildings and spy two young women on a balcony looking down at us, smoking, laughing and drinking- someone is always drinking something in Berlin, it’s a city for a beverage-lovers – when I begin to […]