Technology's elite sees the world in different light to other ultra-wealthy business leaders outside the tech industry, according to a new study. German and US researchers investigated the worldviews of the 100 richest people in the tech world, as listed by Forbes. Included were leaders of'the big nine' – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple – whose founders are some of the richest people on the planet. The research, which involved analysing the language used in the tweets of prominent figures in tech, revealed that they tend to deny any links between democracy and money. Tech's elite also has a more'meritocratic' worldview – whereby people's success or power is related to their abilities – compared with the general US Twitter-using population.
To the editor: Charlotte Allen opines that the religious right will not steer our nation toward a "near-future militant fundamentalist Christian elite dystopia" like the one in "The Handmaid's Tale" because liberals have fostered a "mostly secularist elite dystopia" that has too much sway. Allen writes that liberals comprise most of the "upper 1%" and therefore dominate our culture and politics. More accurate is that the real power is wielded by the uber-wealthy -- say, the upper tenth of the 1% -- such as the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and other hard-core conservatives. These people manipulate religious adherents to support their politicians. The religious right's push toward a theocracy poses an utterly diabolical threat to democracy.
Elite institutions, the self-appointed arbiters of ethics are guilty of racism and unethical behavior but have zero accountability. In July 2020, MIT took a frequently cited and widely used dataset offline when two researchers found that the '80 Million Tiny Images' dataset used racist, misogynistic terms to describe images of Black and Asian people. According to The Register, Vinay Prabhu, a data scientist of Indian origin working at a startup in California, and Abeba Birhane, an Ethiopian PhD candidate at University College Dublin, who made the discovery that thousands of images in the MIT database were "labeled with racist slurs for Black and Asian people, and derogatory terms used to describe women." This problematic dataset was created back in 2008 and if left unchecked, it would have continued to spawn biased algorithms and introduce prejudice into AI models that used it as training dataset. This incident also highlights a pervasive tendency in this space to put the onus of solving ethical problems created by questionable technologies back on the marginalized groups negatively impacted by them. IBM's recent decision to exit the Facial Recognition industry, followed by similar measures by other tech giants, was in no small part due to the foundational work of Timnit Gebru, Joy Buolamwini, and other Black women scholars.
British Prime Minister David Cameron's office has issued four statements in 24 hours all part of an effort to explain his family connections to an investment fund that was revealed as part of the Panama Papers leak. The revelations come at a bad moment for Cameron, who is the public face of the campaign urging Britain to remain in the European Union as voters prepare to head to the polls in a June 23 referendum. Growing anti-EU sentiment and discontent over entrenched political elites and money connections have helped fuel the Brexit campaign and the Panama Papers are just the latest ammunition. A Dutch referendum Wednesday on Ukraine has also has been framed as a vote over EU discontent, as Brexit campaigners look to gain support with less than three months before the vote. "The suggestion that David Cameron is part of a wealthy elite or is someone who may have connections to large sums of money is already priced into British politics," said Matthew Goodwin, a visiting senior fellow at Chatham House's Europe program based in London.
When President Trump campaigned this spring at the Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson, one part of his predecessor's approach got a special endorsement. "It was during the Revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite. Trump asked to laughs from his audience. President Wayne LaPierre teed off six weeks later on America's greatest domestic threats, he cited not homegrown terrorists but what he termed "the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites." The rhetoric against elites came from two men who would seem to be card-carrying members of the club: LaPierre made more than $5 million in 2015, the most recent year for which his compensation was publicly released.