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The South According to Coetzee

Readers waiting expectantly for the third novel in J. M. Coetzee’s late trilogy, following The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus, were in for a ...

The post The South According to Coetzee appeared first on Public Books.

Membership, Citizenship, and Democracy

President Trump’s pernicious attacks on nonwhite immigrants have thrust a particular theory of political membership—white nationalism—to the forefront ...

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Autism Aesthetics

About 10 years ago, I began to get impatient with disability studies. The field was still relatively young, but it seemed devoted almost entirely to analyzing how disability was represented—in art, in culture, in politics, et cetera—especially in the case of physical disability. This, I thought, fell short of the field’s promise for literary studies. Where, I wondered, was the field’s equivalent...

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Bleached Atmospheres of Dread

Myles McRae MLA was a monster of male entitlement. Any person who read the Australian newspapers in the year 1891 would have thought so. Six feet tall ...

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Whose Life?

This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, by the philosopher Martin Hägglund, who teaches at Yale, is a book anyone committed to public-facing scholarship ought to take note of. This is all the ...

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Impossible Belonging

If the sharp end of critique’s job is to name injury, then it also has a soft lining that is oriented around recovery and repair. Even if a particular critical project stays with injury rather than whatever might come after, what else is there to want, in the wake of naming injury, but to fix it? Both writers and readers of such critiques are thrust into a morality tale, the drama of selves...

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AI: Machines or Magic?

AI has always only partially been about the actual future of probable developments and base-rate outcomes; it has also been singularly productive of philosophical speculation, fantasy, and arguments about ourselves and the future ...

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Machine Learning Is a Co-opting Machine

We are using human activity as an example from which to learn, and that becomes the basis upon which we then develop automated solutions to all sorts of ...

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Letting Go of Technochauvinism

In my talk for the Co-Opting AI series, I spoke about my book, Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, which looks ...

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Co-Opting AI

Today, almost 70 years after Alan Turing famously asked, “Can machines think?,” what we call “artificial intelligence,” or AI, has seemingly come to penetrate our everyday life. It is in our phones, our homes, our workplaces, our modes of transportation, our schools, our welfare system. And while it remains unclear what AI really is, or can be, it is undeniably capturing the imagination of...

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QUIZZICAL: Famous Writers, and Their Pets!

Behind many celebrated writers is a canine, feline, reptilian, or avian pal. Do you know the domestic creatures that have kept these novelists, playwrights, poets ...

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The Rubble of Creation

This spring, I was enchanted by the story of mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck, awarded the Norwegian Abel Prize in 2019 for her work on bubbles, who at 76 still relishes the “technical obstacle,” “secrets,” and “mystery” of ...

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Stalling: How to Save the Global City

The image above is both a place and a placeholder. Flattened into the increasingly global language of digitally rendered landscapes—what South ...

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When Dogs Bite

“I could tell you that I was beating the dog because I was beaten, that I was six and stupid and knew no better,” Marwand recounts to his cousin Zia in eastern Afghanistan. “But here is the other thing I have to admit: the more I hurt him and the more he took it, as quiet as he did, without even a growl, the more I became attached to the dog.” Six years later, Marwand, now 12, returns from...

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The Big Picture: Trump’s Attack on Knowledge

On any particular policy, we can always hope President Trump will flip-flop. Expel the Dreamers; save the Dreamers. Maybe he’ll keep the US in the Paris climate ...

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Kafka Transformed

Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa has undergone numerous metamorphoses in English: into “a gigantic insect,” “a monstrous vermin,” “a monstrous cockroach,” “some sort of monstrous insect,” and “a monstrous bug” ...

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The Big Picture: Defending Society

Why, today, are many of the most antidemocratic voices in the United States not merely protected by Constitutional freedoms but draping themselves in them?

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