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Media Bits and Bytes – February 20, 2024

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of AI?

Protesters hold a banner in front of Google’s UK headquarters in London, February 2024. Credit, Rivkah Brown
  1. Training AI to Be Evil
  2. Zuckerberg Land
  3. Musk Land
  4. How Social Media Can Empower Disabled Women
  5. Google Rebellion Over Israel
  6. Media Layoffs
  7. Chicago Trib’s Epic Fail
  8. De-Monopolizing News Media
  9. Wisconsin Legislation Would Bolster Local News
  10. The Plague of Plagiarism


Training AI to Be Evil

By Maggie Harrison Dupré

How hard would it be to train an AI model to be secretly evil? As it turns out, according to AI researchers, not very — and attempting to reroute a bad apple AI's more sinister proclivities might backfire in the long run.

Zuckerberg Land

  • 20 Years   By A.W. Ohlheiser, Vox
  • Using Threads   By Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Musk Land

How Social Media Can Empower Disabled Women

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By Alejandra Ospina
Women’s eNews

For disabled people (especially women), social media has emerged as a fertile ground for their stories. And social media platforms swiftly amplify their voices – allowing them to champion their rights and share their experiences on their own terms, by dismantling walls of isolation and forging new bonds. 

Google Rebellion Over Israel

By Rivkah Brown
Novara Media

Google workers and members of the public protested at the company’s UK headquarters, as dissent against the company’s work for the Israeli government grows. For several years, momentum has been building among Google workers across the US who oppose the militarisation of their work, including the company’s collaboration with Israel. That rebellion is now beginning to spread to the UK.

Media Layoffs

By Edward Helmore
The Guardian

The 2024 evisceration of journalism and media jobs continued with staff cuts at NowThis, and at the Intercept, an investigation-focused publication launched 10 years ago with funding from the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Shortly after the news broke, the NowThis Union shared a statement revealing that a whopping 50% of the staff had been laid off.

Chicago Trib’s Epic Fail

By Eric Zorn
The Picayune Sentinel

I find it beyond curious that the Tribune didn’t make any mention of the Guild walkout last Thursday. It was the first such strike in Chicago history and a story that every other major media outlet in town covered... What went into the decision to ignore this story? How do you square the decision with the ostensible mission of a newspaper to report the news without fear or favor? 

De-Monopolizing News Media

By Rodney Benson and Victor Pickard
The Conversation

Relying on the benevolence of billionaire owners isn’t a viable long-term solution to journalism’s crises. In what we call the “oligarchy media model,” it often creates distinct hazards for democracy. The recent layoffs at the Los Angeles Times simply reinforce these concerns.

Wisconsin Legislation Would Bolster Local News

By Alex Frandsen
Free Press

A new package of bills is before the Wisconsin state legislature. These three pieces of legislation take a holistic approach to strengthening local news and fostering more informed communities by supporting existing outlets, sustaining jobs and investing in the future of media across the state.

The Plague of Plagiarism

By Yasmin Nair

Plagiarism is a symptom of an exploitative, extractive economy: to end it means to rectify the an imbalance of power. A publishing world that devalues writing and writers is one that encourages plagiarism.  A publishing world dominated, as it is today, by plagiarists, is also one where standards for accuracy have fallen far.