The Cyberflâneur #8: Shehla Rashid

This week our resident cyberflâneur (or, rather, cyberflâneuse) is Shehla Rashid Shora, known for her brave activism in India. Shehla, however, is also pursuing her PhD at the moment (you can find her full bio at the bottom of the page; here is also her Wikipedia page and her Twitter). Shehla seemed like an ideal person to serve our cyberflâneur duty – and we are thrilled she has found the time to do it. Her selections, with some comments, are below.



Is Unconditional Basic Income Feasible in Capitalism?

Critique [article]

Who will make way for a UBI? Annamaria Artner argues that UBI is incompatible not with the economic constraints of capitalism but with the very logic of capital accumulation. As UBI becomes a buzzword, often featuring prominently in discussions on the impact of AI on labour, this paper takes us through the challenges and pre-requisites of implementing UBI for real.


Can Fiction Introduce Empathy into AI? Do We Want It To?

Literary Hub [journalism]

Can ‘reading’ literary fiction make AI more humane? Can it remind us of our humanity if we were to lose it along the way, just as it currently reminds us of our tasks? Provocative and beautifully written.


Cryptocurrency and National Insecurity

The Harvard Gazette [journalism]

New digital technologies are likely to alter the balance of power in some way or the other. Will the solutions of the future be diplomatic or financial?


Do Deepfakes Pose a Golden Opportunity? Considering Whether English Law Should Adopt California’s Publicity Right in the Age of the Deepfake

Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice [article]

When mobile cameras and Photoshop first became ubiquitous, there were anxieties about the misuse of ‘image.’ Since then, image has been misused so much that the misuse has become normalised, normalising fake nudes and making the public skeptical about the truth value of images. Similarly – my psychic and predictive powers tell me – tech policy and deepfakes are likely to play catch-up for a while, before the law is adequate for dealing with deepfakes, by which time deepfakes (and audio deepfakes too) will have become normalised and lost their shock value, also making the public cynical about their truth value.


Is Technology Making Police Better – Or Worse?

Recode Decode [podcast]

When a new policing technology is acquired, who is the “customer”? It’s not the police department, but the community which is going to be affected (positively or negatively) by it. Solid takeaway.


Copyright Law and Artificial Intelligence

International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law [article]

This article posits the intellectual property rights of AI as a general problem involving the question of whether AI is really intelligent. In my opinion, this is only a special case of the more general problem of intellectual property rights of non-humans (ref: monkey selfie problem). I think that the question here is not simply whether AI is “intelligent” or not. Monkeys are intelligent, however, they cannot hold copyright as per the current ruling because they are non-human. I feel that if monkeys or crows or other animals could – at some point in the future – hold IP rights, that would open up the Pandora’s box of and pave the way for intellectual property of non-humans.


AI Could Be a Force for Good – But We’re Currently Heading for a Darker Future

The Conversation [journalism]

This article should be made part of syllabi in high schools.


Can Artificial Intelligence Develop Mental Illness?

The Kuwait Psychiatry Residents Club [podcast]



Can You Engage in Political Activity Without Internet Access? The Social Effects of Internet Deprivation

Political Studies Review [article]

The conclusions may be obvious, but the methodology developed is interesting and useful for future research concerning the impact of the Internet on political participation and citizenship.


Building the People’s Internet

Urban Omnibus [journalism]

How appropriate to end with this! This is how it was supposed to be. More engagement and thinking on these lines is the need of the hour.

More about Shehla Rashid: Shehla Rashid Shora is a Ph.D. candidate at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi which has become synonymous with progressive politics and student activism. Shora, herself, was the elected Vice-President of the JNU students’ union, leading a very powerful movement in that capacity to get students of her university released, when they were arrested for anti-government activism. She is an engineer who switched to social science because she felt alienated from her work as a coder. Since 2012, Shora has been working in the field of Internet policy, and is currently working toward her Ph.D., studying the impact of technology on citizenship.

More about our Cyberflâneur series. You can also take a look at the previous versions of the Cyberflâneur: Brian Eno, Hito Steyerl, Adam Tooze, Rana Foroohar, Samuel Moyn, Rem Koolhaas, Paul Mason.


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