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Todd Suomela
  • Paul Bloom

     

    I think our intuitions are wrong in just about every way they can be. First, there’s this myth that people who do evil are psychopaths or sadists or monsters who are driven by the sheer pleasure of watching other people suffer. The truth is far more complicated than that.

     

    Then there’s the myth of dehumanization, which is that everybody who does evil is making a mistake. They’re just failing to appreciate the humanity of other people, and if only we could clear up that mistake, if only we could sit them down and say, “Hey guys, those Jews, the blacks, the gays, the Muslims, they're people just like you,” then evil would disappear. I think that’s bogus.

     

    Sean Illing

     

    Why is that bogus?

     

    Paul Bloom

     

    Consider the rhetoric of white supremacy. White supremacists know about the humanity of Jews and black people and whoever else they’re discriminating against — and it terrifies them. One of their slogans is, “You will not replace us.” Think of what that means. That’s not what you chant if you thought they were roaches or subhuman. That’s what you chant at people you’re really worried about, people who you think are a threat to your status and way of life.

  • It’s many things, and I don’t think there’s ever going to be a magic bullet theory of cruelty. I think some cruelty is born of dehumanization. I think some cruelty is born out of a loss of control. I think some cruelty is born out of an instrumental desire to get something you want — sex, money, power, whatever.
Todd Suomela
  • But here’s the thing: even if I don’t agree with the treatment for the illness I can’t ignore the underlying diagnosis.  Massive policy projects—whether the European Union or reforming the American health care system—are Le Corbusian in their ambition and intelligence as well as their capacity for mass alienation.  And that policy alienation has produced a real and consequential backlash that we should not ignore
Todd Suomela

Nathan Ensmenger - Chair, Informatics

"Nathan Ensmenger is an associate professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of software and software workers, the history of artificial intelligence, and questions of gender and identity in computer programming. His 2010 book The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise, explored to the rise to power of the "computer expert" in American corporate, economic, and political life. He is one of the co-authors of the most recent edition of the popular Computer: A history of the Information Machine. He is currently working on a book exploring the global environmental history of the electronic digital computer."

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