🤖 A.I. here, A.I. there, A.I. in your underwear? + ✨ Psychedelics for racial trauma
Sounds Like Impact: A newsletter for audio and action - Vol. 7
Welcome to Volume 7 of Sounds Like Impact!
This week we are talking about artificial intelligence (A.I.) and some of the ethical concerns (don’t worry, your underwear isn’t actually involved…yet). I also recommend a podcast exploring the use of psychedelics to heal racial trauma, and we have our first “Act of joy” from a #SoundsLikeImpact subscriber. Keep reading!
Announcements: Two days after publishing “Caregiving Is…” I received a timely newsletter from my senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. Her first two updates were about her efforts fighting for paid leave (she’s reintroduced her caregiving bill 6x!) and providing social security credits to caregivers.
Do you know what your senators are up to on #paidleaveforall? Remember, if you aren’t caring for someone today, you could be caring for someone tomorrow.
🙌 Keeping the faith: #TransProm happened on the National Mall this past weekend. This radical act of joy—a youth-led act, by the way— was truly a lovely thing to see on my Insta timeline. Read more about the prom on Them.
🎧 #AudioForAction Theme of the Week
Resist A.I. hysteria, but educate yourself
Just a month ago I began watching the new Peacock limited series Mrs. Davis. The promo intrigued me, but at first watch it wasn’t what I expected. However, I stuck to my “try three episodes” rule and was able to enjoy the payoff at the finale. I don’t want to say too much about the show, but what I can say is that this isn’t the typical big, bad, scary A.I. Hollywood narrative we are typically fed. Mrs. Davis is more complex than that. If you don’t believe me, check out this interview with the creators.
Talk of A.I. is everywhere. I mean, A.I. is even encroaching on the podcast industry. In my LinkedIn notifications two days before the publication of this newsletter I received an invite to subscribe to Fast Company’s AI Decoded newsletter. Also in my LinkedIn feed that day? A post from Vox Media about hiring an AI Reporter for The Verge.
But what does all this talk about A.I. really mean? And what should we realistically be concerned about? Europe is already looking at regulations (they were ahead on data regulations too). In the U.S., there was a recent hearing on A.I. oversight featuring Sam Altman–OpenAI’s CEO–whose product (ChatGPT) is NOT responsible for writing this newsletter (though maybe some cover letters 👀).
In this curation you’ll hear: more on A.I. from Sam and other white, cis-men while ChatGPT chimes in 😱; the straight talk of women and people of color who have been sounding the alarm about A.I. ethics for years (though they don’t seem to be getting invites to Congress?!); and, some more about the bad and good use cases of artificial intelligence.
Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are the OpenAI guys. This podcast is by Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, is an investor in OpenAI. That said, I think it’s important to hear their POVs, one because of Sam’s recent congressional testimony and two, they will come up on another curated episode.
Factually! with Adam Conover, A.I. and Stochastic Parrots with Emily Bender and Timnit Gebru
The name Timnit Gebru may sound familiar because she was publicly dismissed as co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence team in 2020. In 2022, she was one of Time’s Most Influential People of the Year. You can find another interview with just Timnit on the first Spotlight podcast I recommended, I Am America.
IRL: Online Life is Real Life, The Tech We Won’t Build
Boo for not good advances! FYI season 6 of this podcast is all about A.I., so there is definitely more you can listen to. Also, host Bridget Todd is generally bada** tech and internet reporter who has more podcasts to 🦻. Exhibit A, Exhibit B.
Post Reports, How artificial intelligence is saving people’s voices
Yay for good advances!
How To!, How to Face the A.I. Revolution
The discourse on chat bots is really an interesting one, and something to pay attention to, especially as it relates to using bots to address mental health and isolation. Want another 🎧 on this topic? ➡️ “AI in the time of Loneliness”
You can also get the podcast playlist on Podchaser for wherever you may listen.
🚨 Calls to Action
Watch: Coded Bias, a documentary looking at bias in machine learning models. You can currently find the film on Netflix, or rent it (it’s worth it!).
Subscribe / Read: The Markup, an independent publication and accountability journalism outlet focused on technology.
I especially found the pieces about the lack of transparency behind government program algorithms and an investigation into algorithms deciding who gets a liver transplant, fascinating.
If you are even nerdier or have a computer / data science background, you might want to check out research by DAIR - Distributed AI Research Institute.
Follow: The public and policy discourse on A.I. needs to include people from different racial and gender identities. Thought leaders on ethical A.I., such as Timnit Gebru and Dr. Joy Buolamwini are great follows to start.
Join: The Algorithmic Justice League for some actions you—yes, regular non-STEM you and I!—can take to advocate for equitable and responsible A.I.
Subscribe to get more playlists and calls-to-action straight to your inbox.
You know the phrase, “I feel seen”? The words you express when you find someone that just gets you and your experience? That’s how I feel listening to Tonya Mosley, recently announced co-host of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and host of Truth Be Told.
Most of my mental health challenges of the past decade can be attributed to racial trauma, so I was thrilled when I heard that Tonya received a grant to do reporting on psychedelics, and that she chose to focus on what experiencing psychedelic therapy could do for those of us constantly experiencing systemic racism.
The description about this season is below:
If freedom is a birthright, host Tonya Mosley is on a journey to experience the depths of it. Season 5 explores emerging science that shows psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms can help to heal racial trauma, whether it’s diagnosed PTSD or the kind of trauma that comes from the pain of living as a Black person in a racist world.
There are six episodes of the season so far, including a listener-driven Q+A. There is even a resources page. Regardless of your racial identity, this series is worth listening to, as the subject matter grapples with policy issues that affect everyone.
⏭ Coming Up
Next week we are talking mental health 🧠 in the midst of climate change.🌏
🤗 An act of joy: Sounds Like Impact subscriber Lauren Durden caught some vibes at a concert recently. She writes,
I went to a concert at Radio City Music Hall and danced my butt off to Caroline Polachek’s etherial lady bops. I felt feminine and happy in my body, in a sea of others feeling joyful. It reminded me to take more time to do fun things in a city that offers them so readily!
Glad you had a great time, Lauren! Will you share the next “Act of Joy”?
Take care of yourselves! And if you listen or take any actions, be sure to let me know in the comments or via email soundslikeimpact [at] unofficialsocialchair [dot] com.