Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First

Con­sid­er how PFL inten­tion­al­ly sep­a­rates a per­son from their dis­abil­i­ty. Although this sup­pos­ed­ly acknowl­edges per­son­hood, it also implies that “dis­abil­i­ty” or “dis­abled” are neg­a­tive, deroga­to­ry words. In oth­er words, dis­abil­i­ty is some­thing soci­ety believes a per­son should try to dis­so­ci­ate from if they want to be con­sid­ered a whole per­son. This makes it seem as though being dis­abil­i­ty is some­thing of which you should be ashamed. PFL essen­tial­ly buys into the stig­ma it claims to be fight­ing.

The Believers

With each announce­ment, deep learn­ing has nudged the notion of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence back into the pub­lic sphere, though not always to pro­duc­tive ends. Should we wor­ry about the robot rev­o­lu­tion to come? Spoil­er alert: not right now; maybe in 50 years. Are these pro­gram­mers fool­ish enough to think they’re actu­al­ly mim­ic­k­ing the brain? No. Are we on the way to tru­ly intel­li­gent machines? It depends on how you define intel­li­gence. Can deep learn­ing live up to its hype? Well …

In the kingdom of the bored, the one-armed bandit is king

It’s as though we find our­selves, sud­den­ly, in a vast library, an infi­nite library, a library of Bor­ge­sian pro­por­tions, and we dis­cov­er that what’s of most inter­est to us is not the books on the shelves but the intri­ca­cies of the Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem.