Best Of The Web
“This week, tech developers introduced Q, the world’s first “genderless” virtual assistant. Whereas Siri, Alexa and most other electronic helpers speak in conspicuously feminine tones, Q has been engineered to create a gender-neutral effect. As a result, users can benefit from all the useful information and guidance available to us today, without reinforcing the old-fashioned idea that the role of eager helpmate is necessarily played by a woman.
But degendering is not just good for robots. It’s time we humans get serious about it too.
There are signs we’re moving in that direction already. Some people—and even companies—are pushing back against everyday practices that automatically place us into binary gender categories. Just this week, for example United Airlines announced that it would create a new booking option for people who do not identify as Mr. or Ms.; they can now choose the gender-neutral honorific Mx.
Among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus (LGBTQ+) advocates and other progressives, using people’s preferred or “affirming” pronouns—including the gender-neutral singular they—is already an important and widespread way to show respect and promote inclusion. Across college campuses and in a growing number of professional workplaces, it is now common to begin meetings by having people introduce themselves and state their pronouns. Pronoun preferences are showing up on e-mail signatures too.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."
"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."
"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."
"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."
"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."
"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."
"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."
"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."