Summary of “Yacob and Amo: Africa’s precursors to Locke, Hume and Kant”

Yacob argued with her master, who did not think a servant woman was equal to an educated man, but Yacob prevailed.
Yacob cherished his wife’s intelligence, and he stressed their mutual and individualistic love for one another: ‘Since she loved me so, I took the decision in my heart to please her as much as I could, and I do not think there is another marriage which is so full of love and blessed as ours.
Some months after reading the work of Yacob, I finally got hold of another rare book this summer: a translation of the collected writings of the philosopher Anton Amo, who was born and died in Guinea, today’s Ghana.
Did Amo hold Europe’s first legal disputation against slavery? We can at least see an enlightened argument for universal suffrage, like the one Yacob had advanced 100 years earlier.
The examples of Yacob and Amo make it necessary to rethink the Age of Reason.
In Amo’s most thorough work, The Art of Philosophising Soberly and Accurately, he seems to anticipate the later Enlightenment thinker Kant.
The examples of these two Enlightenment philosophers, Yacob and Amo, might make it necessary to rethink the Age of Reason in the disciplines of philosophy and history of ideas.
In a similar vein, one might wonder: will Yacob and Amo also one day be elevated to the position they deserve among the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment?

The orginal article.

Summary of “Will Robots Take Our Children’s Jobs?”

Any legal job that involves lots of mundane document review is vulnerable.
Then there is Wall Street, where robots are already doing their best to shove Gordon Gekko out of his corner office.
Who knows what the jobs marketplace might look like by then.
Artificial intelligence is different, said Martin Ford, the author of “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.” Machine learning does not just give us new machines to replace old machines, pushing human workers from one industry to another.
Since Mr. Ford’s book sent me down this rabbit hole in the first place, I reached out to him to see if he was concerned about all this for his own children: Tristan, 22, Colin, 17, and Elaine, 10.He said the most vulnerable jobs in the robot economy are those involving predictable, repetitive tasks, however much training they require.
“A lot of knowledge-based jobs are really routine – sitting in front of a computer and cranking out the same application over and over, whether it is a report or some kind of quantitative analysis,” he said.
So do jobs emphasizing empathy and interpersonal communication.
In their vision of a post-A.I. world without traditional jobs, everyone will receive a minimum weekly or monthly stipend.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty in America, the world’s richest nation”

The United Nations monitor on extreme poverty and human rights has embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the US to hold the world’s richest nation – and its president – to account for the hardships endured by America’s most vulnerable citizens.
The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is a feisty Australian and New York University law professor who has a fearsome track record of holding power to account.
Now Alston has set off on his sixth, and arguably most sensitive, visit as UN monitor on extreme poverty since he took up the position in June 2014.
The rapporteur said he intended to focus on the detrimental effects of poverty on the civil and political rights of Americans, “Given the United States’ consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy, and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
“The US has an extraordinary ability to naturalize and accept the extreme poverty that exists even in the context of such extreme wealth,” he said.
The UN poverty tour falls at a singularly tense moment for the US. In its 2016 state of the nation review, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality placed the US rank at the bottom of the league table of 10 well-off countries, in terms of the extent of its income and wealth inequality.
To some extent, Trump’s focus on “Making America great again” – a political jingo that in itself contains an element of criticism of the state of the nation – chimes with the UN’s concern about extreme poverty.
The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why a leading political theorist thinks civilization is overrated”

Is civilization good for us? Has it made us any happier?
For Scott, the price of civilization – for the individual and the environment – has been higher than we think.
Sean Illing Has civilization been good for humanity?
The truth is that staying in one place, which is what civilization more or less forced us to do, wasn’t all that healthy for us, and our human ancestors resisted [it] strongly for a very long time.
Sean Illing So the birth of agriculture, which effectively laid the foundation for modern civilization, was not welcomed by most humans at the time.
James Scott Even today, there is this idea that life with civilization is easier and affords more leisure, but hunters and gatherers spend only about 50 percent of their time producing or searching for what they needed to survive.
Sean Illing What have the demands of modern civilization done to the individual? We enjoy more abundance and greater comfort, but at the same time many of us are less happy, less free, and more cut off from our natural environment.
Sean Illing You’re not as critical of modern civilization as I seem to be, though we’re both in agreement that it’s better to be alive now than 1,000 years ago, but I wonder if you think the world we’ve built is sustainable.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Transhumanism And The Future Of Humanity: 7 Ways The World Will Change By 2030”

Companies today are strategizing about future investments and technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, or growth around new business models.
The coming years will usher in a number of body augmentation capabilities that will enable humans to be smarter, stronger, and more capable than we are today.
In the future, we can expect the arrival of contact lenses that can take pictures or video, universal language translator earbuds that allow us to communicate anywhere in the world, and exosuits that increase physical strength.
These body augmentation capabilities will give rise to humans that are more resilient, optimized and continually monitored.
At the same time, augmented bodies will usher in risks such as espionage potential via contact lens camera hacks, or even more worryingly, risk of a stratified human race based on those who can afford augmentations and those who cannot.
In addition to applying these techniques to employees and citizens, it is easy to see how they will be increasingly be applied to consumers to drive more frequent and volume-driven purchases.
We already see an advanced degree of personalization in marketing practices, but this will be extended in the future to touch virtually all aspects of our lives.
Are you ready to be augmented into a super human? Frost & Sullivan explores these themes and many others in detail in a recently published study, “Transhumanism: How humans will think, behave, experience, and perform in the future, and the implications to businesses.” If you would like to explore this topic in more detail, you can access the study here.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Transhumanism And The Future Of Humanity: 7 Ways The World Will Change By 2030”

Companies today are strategizing about future investments and technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, or growth around new business models.
The coming years will usher in a number of body augmentation capabilities that will enable humans to be smarter, stronger, and more capable than we are today.
In the future, we can expect the arrival of contact lenses that can take pictures or video, universal language translator earbuds that allow us to communicate anywhere in the world, and exosuits that increase physical strength.
These body augmentation capabilities will give rise to humans that are more resilient, optimized and continually monitored.
At the same time, augmented bodies will usher in risks such as espionage potential via contact lens camera hacks, or even more worryingly, risk of a stratified human race based on those who can afford augmentations and those who cannot.
In addition to applying these techniques to employees and citizens, it is easy to see how they will be increasingly be applied to consumers to drive more frequent and volume-driven purchases.
We already see an advanced degree of personalization in marketing practices, but this will be extended in the future to touch virtually all aspects of our lives.
Are you ready to be augmented into a super human? Frost & Sullivan explores these themes and many others in detail in a recently published study, “Transhumanism: How humans will think, behave, experience, and perform in the future, and the implications to businesses.” If you would like to explore this topic in more detail, you can access the study here.

The orginal article.

Summary of “These may be the world’s first images of dogs-and they’re wearing leashes”

The engravings likely date back more than 8000 years, making them the earliest depictions of dogs, a new study reveals.
Those lines are probably leashes, suggesting that humans mastered the art of training and controlling dogs thousands of years earlier than previously thought.
“It’s truly astounding stuff,” says Melinda Zeder, an archaeozoologist at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. “It’s the only real demonstration we have of humans using early dogs to hunt.” But she cautions that more work will be needed to confirm both the age and meaning of the depictions.
The researchers couldn’t directly date the images, but based on the sequence of carving, the weathering of the rock, and the timing of the switch to pastoralism, “The dog art is at least 8000 to 9000 years old,” Guagnin says.
Perri has studied the bones of ancient dogs around the world, and has argued that early dogs were critical in human hunting.
The dogs look a lot like today’s Canaan dog, says Perri, a largely feral breed that roams the deserts of the Middle East.
The Arabian hunters may have used the leashes to keep valuable scent dogs close and protected, she says, or to train new dogs.
At Jubbah, the images show smaller groups of dogs that may have ambushed prey at watering holes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why we should bury the idea that human rituals are unique”

For anthropologists, mortuary rituals carry an outsize importance in tracing the emergence of human uniqueness – especially the capacity to think symbolically.
The discoveries soon prompted tough questions about the conventional viewpoint, suggesting that mortuary rituals might not have been uniquely human after all.
The collapse of the flower-burial hypothesis made scientists cautious to assert human beliefs based on fossil evidence.
The collapse of the flower-burial hypothesis caused scientists to be more cautious when asserting human beliefs based on limited fossil evidence – and perhaps on wish-fulfilment.
If Neanderthals and naledi are accepted into the club of hominins who practise mortuary rituals, it would not be the first time that a supposedly uniquely human behaviour turned out to be shared with other species.
This idea dovetails with a recognition of the permeable boundary between human mortuary behaviour and the behaviours of other hominins or even more distantly related species.
If Homo naledi truly did engage in symbolic behaviour, that would raise an even more sweeping question: should scientists disregard the idea of human uniqueness altogether? Some scholars have been making that argument for decades, suggesting that searching for unique traits detracts from the more useful endeavour of pinpointing smaller transitions and recognising differences of degree rather than kind.
Recognising a mosaic aspect to human behaviour has the potential to alter that perspective.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land”

A group of prominent anthropologists have done an overview of the scientific literature and declare in Science magazine that the “Clovis first” hypothesis of the peopling of the Americas is dead. For decades, students were taught that the first people in the Americas were a group called the Clovis who walked over the Bering land bridge about 13,500 years ago.
Evidence has been piling up since the 1980s of human campsites in North and South America that date back much earlier than 13,500 years.
In the 2000s, overwhelming evidence suggested that a pre-Clovis group had come to the Americans before there was an ice-free passage connecting Beringia to the Americas.
As Smithsonian anthropologist Torben C. Rick and his colleagues put it, “In a dramatic intellectual turnabout, most archaeologists and other scholars now believe that the earliest Americans followed Pacific Rim shorelines from northeast Asia to Beringia and the Americas.”
Now scholars are supporting the “Kelp highway hypothesis,” which holds that people reached the Americas when glaciers withdrew from the coasts of the Pacific Northwest 17,000 years ago, creating “a possible dispersal corridor rich in aquatic and terrestrial resources.” Humans were able to boat and hike into the Americas along the coast due to the food-rich ecosystem provided by coastal kelp forests, which attracted fish, crustaceans, and more.
No one disputes that the Clovis peoples came through Beringia and the ice free corridor.
Despite all the evidence for human habitation, ranging from tools and butchered animal bones to the remains of campfires, scientists are still uncertain who the pre-Clovis peoples were.
To the best of our knowledge, the kelp highway brought humans to the Americas.

The orginal article.

Summary of “You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot-and Sooner Than You Think – Mother Jones”

Erasers have to do with the fact that we’re all going to be out of a job in a few decades? Consider: Last October, an Uber trucking subsidiary named Otto delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs-without a driver at the wheel.
No matter what job you name, robots will be able to do it.
Surowiecki also points out that job churn is low, average job tenure hasn’t changed much in decades, and wages are rising-though he admits that wage increases are “Meager by historical standards.”
In the even nearer term, the World Economic Forum predicts that the rich world will lose 5 million jobs to robots by 2020, while a group of AI experts, writing in Scientific American, figures that 40 percent of the 500 biggest companies will vanish within a decade.
The time will probably come when we actively want to do just the opposite: provide an income large enough to motivate people to leave the workforce and let robots do the job better.
As large-scale job losses from automation start to become real, we should expect the idea to spread rapidly.
A robot tax could still have value as a way of modestly slowing down job losses.
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company, believes that AI is coming faster than we think, and that we should provide jobs to everyone during the transition.

The orginal article.