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Weekly Review
June 17, 2022
At AKA, we closely follow trends and latest developments
in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Here are some recent articles and reports that we found particularly informative.
From Diverse Issues in Higher Education:
What Could the Metaverse Mean for Higher Education?
By Rebecca Kelliher
Meta’s $150 million investment in building Metaversities is drawing mixed reactions. Proponents of this new technology say as digital learning becomes the norm, attending classes in the metaverse can be more immersive, hands on, and supportive of peer-to-peer interaction. Others are concerned that it is blurring the line between corporations and academic institutions, raising questions of intellectual property ownership and how built-in surveillance capacities may create conflicts around academic freedom. Read this article
From Bloomberg:
Schwarzman College’s Culture Wars Reflect a New Reality in China
By Blake Schmidt
Schwartzman College, a graduate institution founded by American billionaire Stephen Schwarzman within China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, treads a fine line between the hyper-capitalist U.S. and Communist China. While in theory, no subject is off limits in these classrooms, it is difficult to ignore Washington's and Beijing’s struggle over trade, technology, and human rights.  Read this article
From The Atlantic:
The Real Chill on Campus
By Yascha Mounk
In comparing many surveys of thousands of students nation-wide, the author concludes that the vast majority of students, both liberal and conservative, do in fact, self-censor on their college campus. Students that hold liberal views worry that some of their ideologies may be seen as conservative leaning causing a fear of "being labeled something [they are] clearly not." Universities owe it to their students and society to teach future generations how to stand up for their convictions, rather than becoming habituated to "reading the room." Read this article

LaMDA and the Sentient AI Trap
By Khari Johnson
Recent claims by a Google AI researcher that the company’s large-language model had developed personhood ("telling him it had a soul") are part of a sentient AI storyline going back to the 1960s. But focusing on sentience misses the point, says Timnit Gebru, former Google Ethical AI team leader, preventing us from questioning real, existing harms like AI colonialism, false arrests, and generation of toxic text. Read this article
From Big Think:
How to be a techno-optimist
By Jonny Thomas
In a new paper, philosopher John Danaher takes on the paradox that we get excited about individual technologies (the latest iPhone) but focus on the harm it causes when we speak about "technology" as a category. He argues that it is time we appreciate just how much we need technology and how much it has helped us. Read this article
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