Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Artificial intelligence (AI)--what the heck is it?

June 30, 2018

Tags: Words or phrases to categorize this post for the tags section

Admitting to myself that I had no idea what AI is was the first step. This is what I learned (from humans and AI):
What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence (Nick Heaht, ZDNet, 2-2-18) An executive guide to artificial intelligence, from machine learning and general AI to neural networks.
Amazon Is Latest Tech Giant to Face Staff Backlash Over Government Work (Jamie Condliffe, NY times, 6-22-18) Tech "firms have built artificial intelligence and cloud computing systems that governments find attractive. But as these companies take on lucrative contracts to furnish state and federal agencies with these technologies, they’re facing increasing pushback from their staffs. Amazon employees have joined civil rights groups and investors in protesting the company’s sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies."
Artificial Intelligence and the Infrastructure of Surveillance Authoritarianism (David Crotty, The Scholarly Kitchen, 3-16-18) Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci provides a stark view of the potential future of artificial intelligence (AI) and the possible dystopia toward which we are heading. "We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads."
How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Writing (Ali Hale, Daily Writing Tips, 6-29-18) Six key ways AI is changing reading and writing: Translations, automatic editing and writing, checking for plagiarism, searching through audio files (think Siri and Alexa), crafting breaking news (more…)

Code of Ethics of the Association of Personal Historians

May 10, 2018

The Association of Personal Historians declared bankruptcy in 2017, but its code of ethics is still useful. Personal historians still need to uphold professional standards that protect the integrity of the profession and safeguard the interests of individual clients and narrators. The Code of Ethics states the core values of those of us helping others tell their personal stories (whether as memoirs, autobiographies, family histories, video tributes, and so on). Those values are to
• Conduct business according to impeccable standards of fairness and integrity.
• Represent honestly their qualifications, background, (more…)

The Risk of Telling the Truth

May 1, 2018

Tags: Washington Biography Group, truth vs. accuracy, oral history as documentation, invasion of privacy, defamation

by Pat McNees
Ken Ackerman (www.KennethAckerman.com) led a discussion of the Washington Biography Group (4-30-12) that was interesting enough for me to resurrect, update, and rearrange items in my original e-letter. Ken began by identifying several elements of risk in writing biographies:
• The risk of lawsuits, especially if what you write is not true (more…)

After 17 years: Payment in the freelance writers' class action suit

May 1, 2018

Tags: Authors Guild

$9 Million Is Paid to Freelance Writers in 17-Year-Old Copyright Suit (Authors Guild, 4-30-18) The class-action suit grew out of an earlier action brought by Jonathan Tasini and several other writers, which led to the Supreme Court ruling in the freelancers’ favor.
• If you have moved since filing your claim, there is a link to provide the administrator with your current address, but you will need your claim number:
https://cert.gardencitygroup.com/ed2/fs/home

It Took 17 Years: Freelancers Receive $9 Million in Copyright Suit (Jacklyn Peiser, NY Times, 4-30-18) "Seventeen years after nearly 3,000 freelance journalists filed a class-action lawsuit claiming copyright infringement by some of the country’s biggest publishers, the checks are finally in the mail....The Authors Guild filed the suit — along with the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Writers Union and 21 freelance writers named as class representatives — in 2001 after publishers licensed articles by freelancers to the electronic database Lexis/Nexis and other digital indexers without getting the writers’ approval. The publishers include (more…)

The Daphne Project: 45 journalists will continue the slain Maltese journalist's work

April 23, 2018

Tags: free speech

The Silencing of Daphne (Stephen Grey, Reuters Investigates, 4-17-18. Valletta, Malta) Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated by a car bomb. This is the inside story of a murder that tarnishes Europe. That bombing last October did more than kill Daphne, as she was universally known on the island. It ripped open the dark side of Malta. The brazen assassination and the lawlessness it implies appalled not only Daphne’s friends and family, but also political leaders across Western Europe.
The Daphne Project: 'Her voice will not be silenced' (Will Fitzgibbon, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 4-17-18) A team of 45 journalists from 15 countries will continue the work of Malta reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia. Forbidden Stories plans (more…)

A short history of the Association of Personal Historians

March 27, 2018

Tags: personal history, APH history

by Pat McNees (revised)
For twenty years, members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH, which folded in May of 2017) met at a popular annual conference, where people originally from many other fields met to talk about a new type of business: helping others tell their life stories. Here below is a brief history of the organization for those who may be curious about it; former members of the organization are invited to join the conversation through the Comments section. The term “personal historians” never became a household word, but personal histories (usually by other names) are still being produced and local groups of personal historians still meet (more…)

What's not to like about The Republican Tax Bill

December 10, 2017

Tags: income inequality, labor unions, competition, automation

I asked Wise Elder what he thought of Your financial shock wealth: Understanding money, inequality, and why the tax bill is important by Yonatan Zunger. He replied:

Overall it makes sense.* The tax bill is indeed a naked power grab by the wealthy and powerful to become even more wealthy and powerful, even though they tell us (and themselves) they are doing it for our own good. I was surprised that he didn't say anything thing about the role of unions in the reduction of inequality between 1945 and 1970; the unchallenged economic power of the US at a time when Europe and Japan were prostrate (more…)

Where to Celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30) 2017!

September 23, 2017

Happy Banned Books Week! The annual celebration of the freedom to read is running all this week, and the Banned Books Week Coalition invites you to participate by getting involved in the incredible activities (see below) brought to you by our sponsor organizations! From theatrical performances, bookstore parties, and online advocacy, there’s lots of ways you can help (more…)

Books about wrongful conviction and related issues

August 30, 2017

Tags: The Innocence Project

I've posted this list of books about wrongful convictions and related issues as a resource for book groups and those studying the criminal justice system. These books have all been recommended by the deeply worthwhile Innocence Project, which works nationwide to free the innocent and reform our criminal justice system. "DNA testing has exonerated more than 345 innocent people in the United States – and others are still waiting for justice." Do let me know of any other worthwhile books in the comments section. Donations to The Innocence Project are 100% tax-deductible.*

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer (2000)
Adams vs. Texas: The True Story Made Famous by the Highly Acclaimed Film The Thin Blue Line by Randall Adams, with William Hoffer and . (more…)