WeeklyTech #116

A new national strategy on gender and the public square

The Biden administration released the “first-ever national gender strategy” in our nation’s history Oct. 22. According to the administration, it is intended to bring about greater gender equity and equality for all people, whether in the United States or abroad. This strategy is made up of 10 interconnected priorities and will be led by the newly formed White House Gender Policy Council (GPC). It is designed to develop a roadmap for the entire nation on gender issues.

The White House release explains that this strategy is desperately needed given the “overlapping” pandemics of COVID-19 as well as a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence in the U.S. and around the world. The strategy is described as a pathway toward overcoming the “longstanding gender discrimination and the systemic barriers to full participation that have held back women and girls.” This national plan is primarily based on an intersectional approach to identity and has far-reaching implications for much, if not all, of public and civic life. 

The Rundown

🔒Facebook, Show Us the Mess – Shira Ovide | The New York Times

A pile of internal communications has given us a rare, unvarnished look into Facebook’s self-examinations and deliberations over how people are influenced by the company’s product designs and decisions.

At Facebook Connect, actual AR/VR updates took back seat to ‘Meta’ rebrand – Dan McCarthy | Emerging Tech Brew

Yesterday, at its annual AR/VR conference Connect, Facebook announced its vision for the metaverse, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg defined as “an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it.” Oh, right—it also renamed itself Meta.

This Program Can Give AI a Sense of Ethics—Sometimes – Will Knight | WIRED

A new program called Delphi, developed by researchers at the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Ai2) in Seattle, aims to teach AI about human values—an increasingly important task as AI is used more often and in more ways.

Counterpoint: Keep government out of Big Tech – Brooke Medina | WORLD

In light of Facebook’s recent public relations woes and near-daily accusations of YouTube censorship and Twitter de-platforming, it’s not surprising that cries to regulate tech companies are increasing by the day. But what would breaking up Big Tech mean for Americans?

Public Spaces in the Digital Age – Eli Lehrer | National Affairs

The nature of public space in America has been thoroughly transformed since the beginning of the 21st century. Public squares, parks, movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping centers now compete with social-media sites, video-conferencing software, dating apps, entertainment platforms, and online mega-stores as the “places” where Americans work, shop, and socialize.