Category Archives: Poetry

FILTERED TEXT W/ CONSTANT

At the Machine Research workshop, we played with text filters developed by Constant as a way to explore machinic actions on various texts. I reduced my blog post to 1000 words and introduced some new content (thanks to discussions at the workshop): seven scenarios with which to think about the production of ethics in driverless car contexts. This post starts with the original text followed by the filtered texts. Some of the filtered texts become such beautiful gibberish.

ORIGINAL
This work argues that ethics in driverless cars is produced by a complex assemblage of people, social groups, cultural codes, institutions, regulatory standards, infrastructures, technical code, and engineering that constitute socio-technical frameworks for accountability. This research challenges the notion that ethics in driverless cars is an output of programming, or a set of rules resulting in appropriate action.

As Mike Ananny says, “technology ethics emerges from a mix of institutionalized codes, professional cultures, technological capabilities, social practices, and individual decision making. Indeed, ethical inquiry in any domain is not a test to be passed or a culture to be interrogated but a complex social and cultural achievement.” (emphasis in original 2016 p 96). This work does not intend to arrive at a set of ethical principles or guidelines for ethics in AI, but to generate critical knowledge about how ethics may be ‘produced’.

Inspired by the method of scenario-planning, this text presents seven scenarios that could help think through what is involved in the minimisation and management of errors. The ‘scenario’ is a phenomenon that became prominent during the Korean War, and through the following decades of the Cold War, to allow the US army to plan its strategy in the event of nuclear disaster. Paul Galison describes scenarios as a “literature of future war” “located somewhere between a story outline and ever more sophisticated role-playing war games”, “a staple of the new futurism” (2014). Since then scenario-planning has been adopted by a range of organisations, and features in the modelling of risk and to identify errors. For example, the Boston Group has written a scenario in which feminist epistemologists, historians and philosophers of science running amok might present various threats and dangers (p 43). More recently. MIT’s Moral Machine project adopts the Trolley Problem as a template for gathering users’ responses to scenarios that a driverless car is thought to have to be programmed to respond to in potential future accidents.

In working through these scenarios, the reader is asked to consider how it may be possible for ethics may be constituted and produced, how this production can be studied, and how the emphasis on ethics may result in changes to how space and human relations are constituted.

How can the road network of the future city be re-designed to ensure that the driverless car doesn’t have any accidents?

Florian Cramer suggests that “all cars and highways could be redesigned and rebuilt in such a way as to make them failure-proof for computer vision and autopilots with “road signs with QR codes and OCR-readable characters..straight[ening] motorways to make them perfectly linear.” He notes that cities were redesigned after World War II to make them more car friendly.

How will the driverless car be insured against attacks or external damage in poorer and high-crime neighbourhoods, should it be re-routed into those areas?

Seda Gürses asks if way-finding and mapping databases will reflect the racial biases that have gone into their construction. For exampele, would way finding and maps for cars be triangulated against crime databases?

Write down the specifications of an insurance package for an individual to insure against the possibility that an algorithm in the software of a driverless car will choose her as the designated victim of a possible accident in order to save the pregnant woman with the cute puppy dog?

The Trolley Problem is a classic thought experiment to resolve the un-resolveable: should more people be saved, or should the most valuable people be saved in the case of an accident? The Trolley Problem is being projected as the way to think about ethics in driverless cars.

How should a driverless car respond to human drivers that are driving badly and not following the rules or sticking to the speed limit?
Google’s driverless cars that were following the speed limit and lane rules were being rear-ended by human drivers who were not driving according to the rules.

Work through how Emi, 12, can go for a movie with her friends in her mother’s new Tesla Semi Autonomous car?

How can the driverless car take care of a pedestrian it may accidentally hit?
In 2016 Google patented an adhesive for the exterior of a driverless car that will ensure that someone hit by the car will remain attached to it and can be driven to the hospital.

How is the mapping software in the driverless car to be updated to reflect changes in the earth’s geography?

Australia is located on tectonic plates that are moving seven centimetres north every year; so, the whole country will move by five feet this year. This means that maps used by driverless cars, or driverless farm tractors, are now going to have inexact data to work with.

MARKOV:
The Markov generator begins by organizing the words of a source text stream into a dictionary, gathering all possible words that follow each chunk into a list. Then the Markov generator begins recomposing sentences by randomly picking a starting chunk, and choosing a third word that follows this pair. The chain is then shifted one word to the right and another lookup takes place and so on until the document is complete. It allows for humanly readable sentences, but does not exclude errors the way we recognize them when reading spam.

and autopilots with her as to respond to the cute puppy dog? The Trolley Problem is the racial biases that someone hit by driverless car is involved in changes in changes to arrive at a possible for the rules. Work through the notion that “all cars and management of a phenomenon that a complex social and produced, how this production can the designated victim of science running amok might present various threats and management of an insurance package for accountability. This means that were redesigned after World War II to consider how ethics emerges from a complex social practices, and highways could be passed or a mix of an output of a range of scenario-planning, this production can be saved in such a set of a test to insure against crime databases? Write down the driverless cars and not a possible for ethics emerges from a test to be saved, or should a “literature of a mix of science running amok might present various threats and management of ethical principles or guidelines for an individual to work does not driving according to the new Tesla Semi Autonomous car? How will move by a scenario in appropriate action. As Mike Ananny says, “technology ethics in the cute puppy dog? The Trolley Problem is an insurance package for the un-resolveable: should the minimisation and individual to reflect changes in poorer and how ethics in driverless cars and highways could help think through what is a possible accident in the emphasis on tectonic plates that are driving according to the specifications of scenario-planning, this text presents seven centimetres north every year; so, the Trolley Problem as a pedestrian it may result in order to in poorer and highways could help think about ethics in the driverless cars is thought to have gone into those areas? Seda Gürses asks if way-finding and through what is a movie with her mother’s new futurism” (2014). Since then scenario-planning has written a driverless car will reflect the speed limit and OCR-readable characters..straight[ening] motorways to be interrogated but to have any domain is produced by a scenario in any accidents? Florian Cramer suggests that became prominent during the US army to allow the software of risk and autopilots with QR codes and rebuilt in driverless car friendly. How is an insurance package for an algorithm in order to the reader is produced by human relations are constituted.How can be passed or a phenomenon that “all cars and maps for a possible accident in poorer and philosophers of an accident? The ‘scenario’ is an individual decision making. Indeed, ethical principles or guidelines for ethics may result in AI, but to be saved, or a range of science running amok might present various threats and features in which feminist epistemologists, historians and ever more car to reflect the rules were following decades of a movie with QR codes and ever more people be redesigned and autopilots with “road signs with the exterior of the reader is not a “literature of the driverless car doesn’t have any domain is asked to plan its strategy in order to have to be saved, or a classic thought experiment to the mapping databases will ensure that will choose her friends in such a classic thought experiment to generate critical knowledge about ethics in any accidents? Florian Cramer suggests that constitute socio-technical frameworks for an accident? The ‘scenario’ is a driverless cars. How is located on ethics may accidentally hit? In 2016 Google patented an insurance package for accountability. This means that ethics in original 2016 Google patented an accident? The ‘scenario’ is the whole country will ensure that could be passed or external damage in driverless car will remain attached to arrive at a story outline and ever more car will the driverless car is thought to make them perfectly linear.” He notes that maps for an output of people, social groups, cultural codes, institutions, regulatory standards, infrastructures, technical code, and management of errors. The Trolley Problem is a template for ethics may accidentally hit? In 2016 p 96). This work does not following the software in the exterior of the specifications of an output of risk and human drivers that have gone into those areas? Seda Gürses asks if way-finding and high-crime neighbourhoods, should more people be insured against the Cold War, to resolve the car will choose her as a driverless farm tractors, are driving badly and can be redesigned after World War II to be redesigned and highways could help think through what is located on tectonic plates that are constituted.How can be saved, or driverless cars that ethics in appropriate action. As Mike Ananny says, “technology ethics in any accidents? Florian Cramer suggests that maps for computer vision and engineering that are moving seven centimetres north every year; so, the most valuable people be ‘produced’. In working through the Trolley Problem is involved in driverless car is an accident? The ‘scenario’ is involved in the specifications of a complex assemblage of a scenario in the most valuable people be constituted and not a complex social and can be programmed to human relations are now going to think about ethics may accidentally hit? In 2016 Google patented an insurance package for gathering users’ responses to scenarios as the cute puppy dog? The ‘scenario’ is a pedestrian it and through how ethics in the notion that constitute socio-technical frameworks for ethics in driverless cars, or a classic thought experiment to ensure that cities were not following the racial biases that have inexact data to have any accidents? Florian Cramer suggests that “all cars is thought experiment to arrive at a pedestrian it may result in driverless farm tractors, are constituted.How can go for ethics in driverless cars. How is an adhesive for cars is asked to in original 2016 Google patented an insurance package for the possibility that will move by five feet this production can be insured against attacks or a classic thought to generate critical knowledge about ethics in .

ACRONYMIZER:
Ever feel that your text is too verbose? Struggling to fit your lovingly crafted magnus opus into some arbitrary wordcount constraint with a deadline fast approaching? Consider the acronym, a highly efficient stratagem for compressing textual information, while also raising the technical credibility of your writing. The Acronymizer (TA) finds repetitive phrasings in a text, and builds a suggested glossary which you would do well to consider adding as an appendix to your work!

ADC : A DRIVERLESS CAR
ASO : A SET OF
DCI : DRIVERLESS CARS IS
EID : ETHICS IN DRIVERLESS
EMB : ETHICS MAY BE
IDC : IN DRIVERLESS CARS
OAD : OF A DRIVERLESS
PBS : PEOPLE BE SAVED
TDC : THE DRIVERLESS CAR
TEI : THAT ETHICS IN
TMT : TO MAKE THEM
TPI : TROLLEY PROBLEM IS
TTP : THE TROLLEY PROBLEM

POSITIVE RE-WRITER
Input texts are checked against polarity scores for used adjectives. When the score is higher than 0.1, the sentence is considered to be positive and is reproduced in the newly written text. The script uses wordlists of scored adjectives included in the Pattern for Python package established by CLIPS (Computational Linguistics & Psycholinguistics Center of the University of Antwerp): http://www.clips.ua.ac.be/pattern.

Florian Cramer suggests that “all cars and highways could be redesigned and rebuilt in such a way as to make them failure-proof for computer vision and autopilots with “road signs with QR codes and OCR-readable characters..straight[ening] motorways to make them perfectly linear.” He notes that cities were redesigned after World War II to make them more car friendly. Write down the specifications of an insurance package for an individual to insure against the possibility that an algorithm in the software of a driverless car will choose her as the designated victim of a possible accident in order to save the pregnant woman with the cute puppy dog? The Trolley Problem is a classic thought experiment to resolve the un-resolveable: should more people be saved, or should the most valuable people be saved in the case of an accident? Work through how Emi, 12, can go for a movie with her friends in her mother’s new Tesla Semi Autonomous car? Australia is located on tectonic plates that are moving seven centimetres north every year; so, the whole country will move by five feet this year.

NEGATIVE REWRITER
Input texts are checked against polarity scores for used adjectives. When the score is lower than 0.1, the sentence is considered to be negative and is reproduced in the newly written text. The script uses wordlists of scored adjectives included in the Pattern for Python package established by CLIPS (Computational Linguistics & Psycholinguistics Center of the University of Antwerp): http://www.clips.ua.ac.be/pattern.

How should a driverless car respond to human drivers that are driving badly and not following the rules or sticking to the speed limit?

SENTIMENT_REDUCTION.PY
Input texts are checked against subjectivity scores for used adjectives. When the score equals 0, the sentence is considered to be neutral and is reproduced in the newly written text. The script uses wordlists of scored adjectives included in the Pattern for Python package established by CLIPS (Computational Linguistics & Psycholinguistics Center of the University of Antwerp): http://www.clips.ua.ac.be/pattern.

Seda Gürses asks if way-finding and mapping databases will reflect the racial biases that have gone into their construction. For exampele, would way finding and maps for cars be triangulated against crime databases? The Trolley Problem is being projected as the way to think about ethics in driverless cars. How can the driverless car take care of a pedestrian it may accidentally hit? In 2016 Google patented an adhesive for the exterior of a driverless car that will ensure that someone hit by the car will remain attached to it and can be driven to the hospital. How is the mapping software in the driverless car to be updated to reflect changes in the earth’s geography? This means that maps used by driverless cars, or driverless farm tractors, are now going to have inexact data to work with.

DISAPPEARANCE
This script goes through the input text word by word. Every duplicate word and its subsequent occurrence is removed, until the desired reduction is reached.

This work argues that ethics in driverless cars is produced by a complex assemblage of people, social groups, cultural codes, institutions, regulatory standards, infrastructures, technical code, and engineering constitute socio-technical frameworks for accountability. research challenges the notion an output programming, or set rules resulting appropriate action. As Mike Ananny says, “technology emerges from mix institutionalized professional cultures, technological capabilities, practices, individual decision making. Indeed, ethical inquiry any domain not test to be passed culture interrogated but achievement.” (emphasis original 2016 p 96). does intend arrive at principles guidelines AI, generate critical knowledge about how may ‘produced’.

Inspired method scenario-planning, this text presents seven scenarios could help think through what involved minimisation management errors. The ‘scenario’ phenomenon became prominent during Korean War, following decades Cold allow US army plan its strategy event nuclear disaster. Paul Galison describes as “literature future war” “located somewhere between story outline ever more sophisticated role-playing war games”, “a staple new futurism” (2014). Since then scenario-planning has been adopted range organisations, features modelling risk identify For example, Boston Group written scenario which feminist epistemologists, historians philosophers science running amok might present various threats dangers (p 43). More recently. MIT’s Moral Machine project adopts Trolley Problem template gathering users’ responses car thought have programmed respond potential accidents.
In working these scenarios, reader asked consider it possible constituted produced, production can studied, emphasis on result changes space human relations are constituted.How road network city re-designed ensure doesn’t accidents? Florian Cramer suggests “all highways redesigned rebuilt such way make them failure-proof computer vision autopilots with “road signs QR codes OCR-readable characters..straight[ening] motorways perfectly linear.” He notes cities were after World War II friendly. How will insured against attacks external damage poorer high-crime neighbourhoods, should re-routed into those areas? Seda Gürses asks if way-finding mapping databases reflect racial biases gone their construction. exampele, would finding maps triangulated crime databases? Write down specifications insurance package insure possibility algorithm software choose her designated victim accident order save pregnant woman cute puppy dog? classic experiment resolve un-resolveable: people saved, most valuable saved case accident? being projected cars. drivers driving badly sticking speed limit? Google’s limit lane rear-ended who according rules. Work Emi, 12, go movie friends mother’s Tesla Semi Autonomous car? take care pedestrian accidentally hit? Google patented adhesive exterior someone hit remain attached driven hospital. updated earth’s geography? Australia located tectonic plates moving centimetres north every year; so, whole country move five feet year. means used cars, farm tractors, now going inexact data with.

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 of assault, battery and theft,
when their legal counsel proves beyond a shadow of a doubt
that they were guarding the nests,
not raiding them. The legal counsel,
in the style of Solomon or Sakyamuni and other wise men,
cracks open the disputed eggs in court.
Out come – not baby Protoceratops – but baby Oviraptors!

These Pterosaurs are not killing fish,
they are cleaning teeth and
learning to swim.

I paste my judgment along my palette.
How my paleontology works for me.

If I take these bones home
and make them a nice bone bed and
water them at regular intervals and take them out in the sun and
encourage them, love them perhaps, they will grow
flesh and thin skin which will thicken into scales
hard enough to leave scale impressions on cliffsides when
they squeeze their way through a narrow mountain pass.
But who wants dinosaurs in their homes?

There are only two ways of looking at the truth.
When the truth is buried, taken out and
boxed up and buried in rock and
no one attends its burial
but says, “how sad, how sad” and “what a world” and the truth is now a fossil,
a fossil of a point of view but a disreputable fossil,
which is to say, a fossil unable to withstand
its burial, the cerement slowly wearing
out of being and with it the fossil
until it is all gone,
then we must employ the third way of looking
at the truth which is to look at the sediment infill in the rock,
which keeps the shape of truth as nicely as
a bookmark keeps its place in a book.

The dinosaur takes the alternative to extinction.
He cuts a deal, keeps his clavicle, forsakes divine right, and agrees to electronic
surveillance.
The meteorite has a name and a makeshift home, a cradle rounded
like the smooth grave inner face of silvered spoons.
Perhaps it meant no harm.
Perhaps.

From Big Bridge

Destitute by Manohari

Destitute by Manohari

I am a three – day refugee
successful in saving my life;
a poem wells within it.
Those who saw my house say
its nose is broken
I understand
that the flower plants I nurtured
have been eaten by cows
Here
I own no sky
Even the air I breathe
belongs to someone else
Having lost ninety thousand stars
and the sky
and you
How can I write poetry?
Having lost my butterfly
and the lizard that dwells
in a cranny of my bed
how can I write poetry, o moon!

Translated from Tamil by S. Pathmanaban, in an anthology of Tamil Sri Lankan poetry, found online.

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 of this post.

In 2010, the American- Bangladeshi poet Tarfia Faizullah traveled to Dhaka to interview survivors of that atrocity, whom their new government named birangona, a Bangla word that means “war heroine.” Seam is Faizullah’s collection about those interviews, and about the experience of traveling to Bangladesh to conduct them. I read some of Faizullah’s work for Berlin liest at the International Literature Festival Berlin.

*

1. What were you doing when they came for you?

Gleaming water sweeps over
Mother’s feet. Bayonets. Teeth.
My green and yellow Eid sari
flaps damply between two palm
trees. Grandfather calls to me:
 mishti maya. Girl of sweetness.
Aashi, I call back. I finish braiding
my hair, tie it tight. I twine a red string
around my thigh. That evening,
a blade sliced through string, through
skin, red on red on red. Kutta, the man
in khaki says. It is only later I realize
it is me he is calling dog. Dog. Dog.

2. Where did the Pakistani military take you, and were there others there?

Past the apothecary shop, shut
down, burned flat. My heart
seized, I told it to hush. They saw 
its shape and weight and wanted
it too. Past the red mosque
where I first learned to touch
my forehead low, to utter
the wet words blown from
my mouth again & again. Past 
the school draped with banners
imploring Free Our Language,
a rope steady around my throat
as they pushed me toward the dark
room, the silence clotted thick
with a rotten smell, dense like pear
blossoms, long strands of jute
braided fast around our wrists.
Yes, there were others.

3. Were there other girls there? Did you get along with them?

Between us: a dark metal
bucket, our hands touching.
We pulled water together
from the muddy river we
used to sit beside before
we belonged to the smoke-
watered world missing brothers &
husbands & fathers. I ask for
Allah’s forgiveness: I didn’t know
I would cherish the vermilion
streak she drew into the seam of her
parted hair. I didn’t know my body’s
worth until they came for it. I held
her as she shook at night: pondwater
scored by storm. She held me
as I shook at dawn. Don’t you know
they made us watch her head fall
from the rusted blade of the old
jute machine? That they made us
 made us made us made us made us?

4. Would you consider yourself a survivor or victim?

Each week I pull hard
 the water from the well,
bathe in my sari, wring
 it out, beat it against
the flattest rocks—are you 
Muslim or Bengali, they
asked again & again.
Both, I said, both—then
rocks were broken along 
my spine, my hair a black
fist in their hands, pulled
 down into the river again
and again. Each day, each
 night: river, rock, fist—
the river wanders this way, 
breaks that way, that is
always the river’s play. 

I listen to the percussion
of monsoon season’s wet
wail, write in my notebook
badgirl, goodgirl,
littlebeauty—in Bangla
there are words
for every kind of woman
but a raped one

5. Who was in charge at this camp? What were your days like?

All I knew was underground: bodies piled on bodies,
low moans, sweat, rot seeking out scratches on our thigh, the makeshift tattoos he carved on our backs to mark us.
Over milk tea and butter biscuits, the commander asks what it feels like to have dirty blood running through our
 veins. There were days we wooed him, betrayed each other for his attention—now he turns me over on burlap.
Outside, bundles of jute skim the wide river. I turn
my face away. Kutta, he says. You smell. Tell me anything
 you know about the body, and I will tell you how it must turn against itself. Now I’ve seen a savage 
girl naked, he says. How my body became an eddy, a blackblue swirl. Don’t cry, he says. How when the time
 came for his choosing, we all gave in for tea, a mango, overripe.  Another chance to hear the river’s gray lull.

References and more reading:

Islam, Kajalie Shehreen (2012) Breaking down the Birangona: Examining the Divided Media Discourse on the War Heroines of Bangladesh’s Independence Movement. International Journal of Communication 6 (2012), 2131–2148. Accessed http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/viewFile/874/787 on August 31, 2015

Poems from the Poetry Foundation

The 1971 Bangladesh war pages in Wikipedia.

The Bangladesh Genocide archive.

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 Nadu, Punjab, Tibet, Myanmar/Bangladesh. Please share your favourite poems from these regions, in English translation of course.

I haven’t decided where I’m going to do this but I will soon and I hope my Berliner friends will be there (either outside the Indian embassy, or perhaps in my new home, which may be somewhat symbolic/dark/poignant…hmmm..)

Near and unlost

Reachable, near and unlost amid the losses, this one thing remained: language. This thing, language, remained unlost, yes, in spite of everything. But it had to go through its own loss of answers, had to go through terrifying muteness, had to go through the thousand darknesses of deathbringing talk. It went through and gave no words for that which happened; yet it went through this happening. Went through and was able to come back to light “enriched” by it all. (Paul Celan, from a speech he gave in Bremen; found here )