AI Wants to “Fix” You, Artists Are Boycotting Artists, but There Are Two New Books You Can Dual-Wield Against the Chaos | Black Sheep News
IDK...what if we just, like, stopped passive-aggressively manipulating each other?
Just because you’re a black sheep willing to go your own way doesn’t mean you don’t want to know what’s happening in the world. Uncover the patterns you care about and catch the rays of hope—that’s what our weekly Black Sheep News is for.
Researchers Are Studying How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Your Beliefs…And They’re Excited!
Manmade horrors await us and while artificial intelligence comes with great power for good, the flipside is obvious. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made imagining how AI will be misused much easier. They conducted a study to discover how conversation-having AI like Chat-GPT would influence humans who disagree with the information it presents. The researchers decided to test this by having the AI converse with people who were skeptical of human contribution to climate change and...Black Lives Matter.
It doesn’t paint an optimistic picture of how AI will be used that research is being done where supporting BLM is treated as a fact of nature rather than a political opinion. Researcher Kaiping Chen described the results of their AI study: “I won't say they began to entirely acknowledge human-caused climate change or suddenly they support Black Lives Matter, but when we repeated our survey questions about those topics after their very short conversations, there was a significant change: more positive attitudes toward the majority opinions on climate change or BLM.” I’m trying not to be cynical, but it sure seems like these researchers see no ethical problems with intentionally designing AI to influence political opinions.
If you’re a Black Sheep reader, you’re already hip to the intense degree of propagandizing that happens through the media, so you’ve likely already imagined the ways AI will be misused for similar ends. This research just confirms that cultivating skepticism and being willing to stand by your values (even when AI scoffs at you) will be crucial for the future.
A Book for Black Sheep: The Third Perspective By Africa Brooke
With great conflicts come great opportunities to evolve and no one is a better guide to the next plane of human being than speaker, writer, and mentor Africa Brooke. Her long-anticipated book is finally available to pre-order and it’s my first pre-order ever (which is kind of bougie and fun to do actually). Africa is a master of using communication for authentic connection. She’s built a large and passionate following by insisting that healthy interactions don’t have to come at the expense of genuine self-expression—in fact, the two are inseparable.
Interviewed by Jordan Peterson, the Triggernometry dudes, Steven Bartlett, and me (!), it’s clear to anyone with eyes that Africa practices what she preaches. I’m proud that Africa is a friend of mine—not just because she’s an infectious ball of light—but because I can write this sentence telling you Africa Brooke has something figured out. So when her book arrives at my home, I will drop everything else to start studying her unique perspective.
From the summary, it seems like Africa’s book will answer what anyone who knows her desperately wants to ask: HOW DO YOU DO IT?
In our deeply divided, binary world, honest discussion is stressful for all sides. International thought leader Africa Brooke says there is another way: the Third Perspective.
In this manifesto, Africa teaches us how to return to critical thinking and reduce societal divides by opening our minds and being more self-questioning in difficult discussions. This book will help you figure out what you truly believe—as opposed to parroting or having knee-jerk reactions in conversation. You’ll learn to share your views, hear theirs, make a point you feel must be made, and try to find common ground without self-censorship or self-sabotage.
This personal guide helps readers move away from rigid thinking, allowing them to enter any potentially difficult discussion about politics, work, personal responsibility, race, sex, gender, religion — whatever the subject — while maintaining integrity, authenticity, and openness, and successfully expressing opinions while listening to contrary points of view.
Artists Are Protesting Israel’s Military Action By…Boycotting Israel’s Artists
Yet another example of old-school prejudice and illiberalism coming from the people we once least expected it from: artists. More than 1,000 Swedish musicians (sadly including some I enjoy, like Olof Dreijer from The Knife) have taken the brave stance of judging individuals by their group identity. This time, musicians are demanding the Eurovision Song Contest ban Israeli musicians in protest of the Israeli government’s military actions against Gaza. I, for one, look forward to the first-ever instance of a song contest stopping an international war. The same contest banned Russian artists from participating in 2022 as a protest against the conflict in Ukraine…which accomplished as much as you’d imagine.
These self-righteous displays come at a cost, though. The demands to punish individual Israeli or Russian artists for the actions of their government are examples of destructive collectivist thinking, where the individual is not an independent person deserving of judgment only for their own actions, but a representative of their group identity and deserving judgment as such. This kind of thinking, while attempting to advocate for Palestinians, is what led to the recent shooting of three Palestinian Americans by someone who also believed the collectivist notion that individuals are representatives of their group identity.
In taking the brave stance of judging individuals by their nationality, these musicians have exposed the dangerous flaw in this type of collectivism: not every Israeli thinks the same. Some of the most passionate and effective critics of a country’s government are that country’s artists. Judging all Israeli artists as being interchangeable with the Israeli government only erases the artists who have criticized their government, which, like most of these self-righteous displays, backfires by making it harder for those critics to be heard.
Ride The Turning Tides Toward a Freer Life and Culture With No Apologies by Katherine Brodsky
I remember when “cancel culture” and the trend toward using authoritarian tactics like censorship, intimidation, and outright bullying first started. While it had been bubbling up on Tumblr for years, riots in the name of Black Lives Matter in 2020 gave malicious people the perfect opportunity to pressure other people into adopting their ideas in the name of activism. We’re in a new era where the traditions that called for civil disagreement and avoiding politics if you can’t stay polite aren’t just gone, but actively maligned as displays of “privilege” or “complicity in white supremacy.”
What’s a person who cares about our world and developing their perspective to do in a culture that weaponizes politics to enforce censorship and conformity? Start by learning from those who’ve walked through the fire and come out on the other side. Start by reading Katherine Brodsky’s new book, No Apologies.
Developing the skills to express yourself with integrity, disagree productively, and overcome attempts to silence you is how I built my career. I wish I had discovered a book like Katherine’s when I was tangled up in online leftist sub-cultures that made it seem like self-censorship and self-righteous activism was the only way to have the creative career I wanted. I learned my lesson the hard way, but Katherine’s book offers a better, less painful way to develop and defend your right to self-expression.
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