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 Daily Picks
"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."
"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."
"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."
"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."
"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."
"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."
"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."
"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."
"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."
"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."
"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."
"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."