Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at Facebook, told members of a Senate subcommittee that her former employer bears some of the blame for the growing conflict in Ethiopia. More than once, Haugen accused Facebook's algorithms of “literally fanning ethnic violence” in Ethiopia.
“My fear is that without action, divisive and extremist behaviors we see today are only the beginning,” Haugen said. “What we saw in Myanmar and are now seeing in Ethiopia are only the beginning chapters of a story so terrifying no one wants to read the end of it.”
Freelance journalist Zecharias Zelalem is one of the people attempting to document that story in real time. He reports extensively on Ethiopia and agrees with Haugen's assessment.
“Just looking at the instances of documented evidence over the course of the past three years in which prominent Facebook posters would post unverified, often inflammatory posts or rhetoric that would then go on to incite mob violence, ethnic clashes, crackdowns on independent press or outspoken voices,” Zelalem said.
In one recent instance, Zelalem saw an inflammatory Facebook post from a media outlet that falsely blamed members of an ethnic minority group for carrying out murders and kidnappings that took place on Sept. 27.
The post quickly got hundreds of shares and likes. A day later, on Sept. 28, Zelalem said the village cited in the post was ransacked, burnt to the ground and the inhabitants were murdered.
“Despite multiple efforts to report the post, it remains up and live as of this moment,” he said.
There are two key reasons that the distinction between maker and manager schedules matters for each of us and the people we work with.
First, defining the type of schedule we need is more important than worrying about task management systems or daily habits. If we try to do maker work on a manager schedule or managerial work on a maker schedule, we will run into problems.
Second, we need to be aware of which schedule the people around us are on so we can be considerate and let them get their best work done.
I was thinking about what it means to honor the word habit, and I realized: I honor the word habit not on the days when it’s easy, when I feel energetic, or inspired, or whatever. I honor the word habit on the days that it is hard, but I show up anyway.
We think of the “homeless person” and the “moved to North Carolina to be closer to family and also to afford more space for the kids” as two entirely different types of people. But it’s a single underlying phenomenon. And who ends up in which category will come down to a mix of luck, whether or not you do in fact have family in North Carolina, and whether or not the forces pushing you out of the high-cost area come up on you slowly so you have time to plan.
The fact that the new buildings are not “affordable housing” in the regulatory sense doesn’t mean that they have no impact on affordability. Nor does the fact that a person existing on the margins of homelessness would be unable to live in such a building change the fact that allowing their construction reduces homelessness by increasing the affordability of other units.
The five-star scale doesn’t really exist for humans; it exists for data aggregation systems, which is why it did not become standard until the internet era. Making conclusions about a book’s quality from a 175-word review is hard work for artificial intelligences, whereas star ratings are ideal for them.
Image: Woman, who is my wife, walking with small dog, on a red rock Utah trail. She is wearing hiking shoes, a brimmed hat, and holding the dog on a short leash. The dog is white, with red ticking scruffy. And, despite his looks, has no terrier in him at all.
That’s one reason why it’s so important to identify your smallest viable audience. The smallest group of customers that will enable you to thrive. By seeing them, obsessing about them and serving them, you can refine your product at the very same time that you establish the conditions for growth.
...it could be that your success at serving this small but viable audience gives you the team, the cash flow and most of all, the social proof to begin to find a different set of customers. Customers that might want a different set of benefits, a different story, a different way to change.