The MIT Media Lab is in crisis after the extent of child-abusing billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's donations became clear. Its director resigned in disgrace after an article at The New Yorker exposed the extent of those ties and apparent efforts to cover them up. Alumni participated in a public support campaign that came to exemplify the geek social fallacies. The lab is long-accused of being more a corporate advocacy playground than an incubator of research and the arts.
Destroy it, writes Noah Kulwin:
What, then, is the point of something like the MIT Media Lab? What is the justification for its continued existence? After all, elite academia is rotted through with corporate sponsorship these days, particularly from Silicon Valley; a 2017 Wall Street Journal report revealed that Google had funded “hundreds” of research papers written by professors from Harvard, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois and elsewhere, which reached conclusions favorable to the company’s anti-regulation position. As the critic Evgeny Morozov notes in The Guardian, the purpose of the MIT Media Lab is something a little more grand, a little less visibly craven: to create a “third culture” of the elite, replacing “technophobic literary intellectuals with those coming from the world of science and technology.”
Put into action, the “third culture” is a safe haven for breathless bullshit, a place where the ultra-rich might fantasize about, say, administering a eugenics scheme in New Mexico with the semen of a convicted serial sexual predator. Whether or not “third culture” progenitors like the Media Lab actually go forward with such an insane idea is beside the point, as they’re just happy to help cash a check
In looking for a counterpoint, someone outlining how the lab might be saved, I came up blank today, but for an old tweet. Good advice here from some bloke on the internet:
The Fashion Institute of Technology has apologized for a “clearly racist” show where a black model was asked to wear giant red lips and black plastic ears. The model refused, but white colleages were photographed on the catwalk wearing the bizarre prostheses. The college’s president is not sure if there was an explicitly racial comment […]
Burger King’s switching to preservative-free ingredients, and chose to market this fact by showing what will now happen to its sandwiches if they are left out uneaten. Welcome to the intersection of advertising and earned media, puke bags are under the seats.
Michael Avenatti, the pugnacious lawyer who rose to fame representing porn star and Trump mistress Stormy Daniels, is now a convicted criminal. A jury found him guilty today of trying to extort millions of dollars from fashion brand Nike by threatening to publicly accuse them of making illegal payments to amateur athletes. He’ll be sentenced […]
It may not rank up there with climate change or personal debt, but confess…isn’t it the worst when you’re trying to put a food container in the fridge, but can’t find the right lid to fit? Hey, not everything has to be a global crisis to be irritating to the core. But still…it’s even more […]
Assembling a truly autonomous smart home is getting closer and closer to reality every day. But for every new smart bulb, thermostat, home security system and appliance we set loose within our walls, there are still probably a half dozen “dumb” items we’d still love to replace. But whether they’re too costly or too big […]
With so many manufacturers out there these days, it’s tough to know who to trust in the ultra-competitive wireless earbuds market. If you’ve never heard of LinearFlux, you may soon. That’s because it’s a company with a stellar pedigree whose co-founders were two of the engineers behind the original success of two audio houses you […]