Don’t Call Me a Millennial — I’m an Old Millennial
the Census Bureau’s definition (born 1982–2000) or Pew’s (about 1981–1997).
In 2015, for example, Juliet Lapidos — born the same year I was — may have put it best in a column for the New York Times headlined “Wait, What, I’m a Millennial?” “I don’t identify with the kids that Time magazine described as technology-addled narcissists, the Justin Bieber fans who ‘boomerang’ back home instead of growing up,” she writes.
Old Millennials, as I’ll call them, who were born around 1988 or earlier (meaning they’re 29 and older today), really have lived substantively different lives than Young Millennials, who were born around 1989 or later, as a result of two epochal events that occurred around the time when members of the older group were mostly young adults and when members of the younger were mostly early adolescents: the financial crisis and smartphones’ profound takeover of society. And according to Jean Twenge, a social psychologist at San Diego State University and the author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before, there’s some early, emerging evidence that, in certain ways, these two groups act like different, self-contained generations.
Millennials, we hear over and over again, are absolutely obsessed with social media, and live their entire social lives through their smartphones. I tweet too much, sure, but I’ve never blasted a ’gram (did I say that right?); even thinking about learning how to Snapchat makes me want to take a long, peaceful nap
“The Job-Hopping Generation,” says Gallup — and are much more likely, relative to previous generations when they were in their 20s, to live at home and to put off family formation for a long time.
last week Pew released some numbers suggesting millennials aren’t any job-hoppier than Generation X was at the same age.
Intelligence: a history
Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots
To say that someone is or is not intelligent has never been merely a comment on their mental faculties. It is always also a judgment on what they are permitted to do. Intelligence, in other words, is political.
The problem has taken an interesting 21st-century twist with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The term ‘intelligence’ itself has never been popular with English-language philosophers. Nor does it have a direct translation into German or ancient Greek, two of the other great languages in the Western philosophical tradition. But that doesn’t mean philosophers weren’t interested in it. Indeed, they were obsessed with it, or more precisely a part of it: reason or rationality. The term ‘intelligence’ managed to eclipse its more old-fashioned relative in popular and political discourse only with the rise of the relatively new-fangled discipline of psychology, which claimed intelligence for itself.
Plato conclude, in The Republic, that the ideal ruler is ‘the philosopher king’, as only a philosopher can work out the proper order of things. This idea was revolutionary at the time. Athens had already experimented with democracy, the rule of the people – but to count as one of those ‘people’ you just had to be a male citizen, not necessarily intelligent. Elsewhere, the governing classes were made up of inherited elites (aristocracy), or by those who believed they had received divine instruction (theocracy), or simply by the strongest (tyranny).
Plato’s novel idea fell on the eager ears of the intellectuals, including those of his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy.
So at the dawn of Western philosophy, we have intelligence identified with the European, educated, male human. It becomes an argument for his right to dominate women, the lower classes, uncivilised peoples and non-human animals. While Plato argued for the supremacy of reason and placed it within a rather ungainly utopia, only one generation later, Aristotle presents the rule of the thinking man as obvious and natural.
The late Australian philosopher and conservationist Val Plumwood has argued that the giants of Greek philosophy set up a series of linked dualisms that continue to inform our thought. Opposing categories such as intelligent/stupid, rational/emotional and mind/body are linked, implicitly or explicitly, to others such as male/female, civilised/primitive, and human/animal. These dualisms aren’t value-neutral, but fall within a broader dualism, as Aristotle makes clear: that of dominant/subordinate or master/slave. Together, they make relationships of domination, such as patriarchy or slavery, appear to be part of the natural order of things.
Descartes rendered nature literally mindless, and so devoid of intrinsic value – which thereby legitimated the guilt-free oppression of other species.
For Kant, only reasoning creatures had moral standing. Rational beings were to be called ‘persons’ and were ‘ends in themselves’. Beings that were not rational, on the other hand, had ‘only a relative value as means, and are therefore called things’. We could do with them what we liked.
This line of thinking was extended to become a core part of the logic of colonialism. The argument ran like this: non-white peoples were less intelligent; they were therefore unqualified to rule over themselves and their lands. It was therefore perfectly legitimate – even a duty, ‘the white man’s burden’ – to destroy their cultures and take their territory.
The same logic was applied to women, who were considered too flighty and sentimental to enjoy the privileges afforded to the ‘rational man’.
Galton believe that intellectual ability was hereditary and could be enhanced through selective breeding. He decided to find a way to scientifically identify the most able members of society and encourage them to breed – prolifically, and with each other. The less intellectually capable should be discouraged from reproducing, or indeed prevented, for the sake of the species. Thus eugenics and the intelligence test were born together.
From David Hume to Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud through to postmodernism, there are plenty of philosophical traditions that challenge the notion that we’re as intelligent as we’d like to believe, and that intelligence is the highest virtue.
From 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Terminator films, writers have fantasised about machines rising up against us. Now we can see why. If we’re used to believing that the top spots in society should go to the brainiest, then of course we should expect to be made redundant by bigger-brained robots and sent to the bottom of the heap.
Natural stupidity, rather than artificial intelligence, remains the greatest risk.
more on intelligence in this IMS blog
Crowdfunded online publication from Jimmy Wales will pair paid journalists with army of volunteer contributors
Monday 24 April 2017 19.01 EDT Alex Hern Technology reporter
Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.
Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign.
The ideas behind Wikitribune are similar to other experiments with sustainable community journalism.
Dutch news website De Correspondent, for instance, was launched in 2013 after a €1m (£850,000) crowdfunding campaign, with a goal of focusing on reporter-led in-depth coverage of a select few topics backed up by strong involvement from a community of financial backers.
In March, the site announced a push into the US market, funded by a $515,000 (£400,000) grant from a number of digital news charities.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
Survey: Augmented and Virtual Reality Yet to Gain Traction in K–12
By Richard Chang 04/21/17
survey by the nonprofit organization Project Tomorrow.
annual Speak Up survey of more than 510,000 K–12 students, parents and educators
Middle school students seem to be the most excited about AR and VR in the school setting. Among students in grades 6 through 8, 33 percent said they would like to see augmented reality apps in their ultimate school, and 47 percent of those kids said they would like to see virtual reality experiences and hardware in their ultimate school.
teachers, principals and parents were more skeptical. Only 12 percent of parents and principals said they want to see AR apps in their ultimate school, while 13 percent of teachers said the same.
more on VR in this IMS blog
more on AR in this IMS blog