Beyond Bluewashing

Content Note: The following piece contains reference to mental illness and suicide

A fortnight ago, the Weekend Australian published a profile of Jeff Kennett so glowing you’d be forgiven for thinking he wrote it himself. The obsequious puff-piece gushed about the resigning chair of Beyondblue, citing the “indefatigable can-do spirit hard-wired in his soul” and painting him as a maverick saviour of the anguished and bereft.

The anguished and bereft might beg to differ. While there’s no doubt Beyondblue has done internationally groundbreaking work to destigmatise and alleviate mental illness in Australia, this is largely in spite, not because, of the organisation’s public face. As Kennett steps down after sixteen years with the charity, it’s only fair that we acknowledge his generous advocacy. But let’s also not forget the tireless work he’s done throughout his career to champion forces that contribute to and exacerbate mental illness on a mass scale.

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Close the Pod Bay Doors, Siri

A few weeks ago a bunch of reports claimed that for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test. What followed was a half-hearted flash flood of apocalyptic histrionics about Skynet and cybercrime. (By the way, since when does stapling “cyber” to the start of any old noun suddenly make it a real word that adult humans are supposed to say? I must have missed that extremely unimaginative meeting.) But I’m afraid all you prospective Blade Runners have to go back to your singularity subreddits empty handed.  Most of those articles are wrong for at least two reasons. Firstly, the computer program didn’t actually pass the original criteria of the test, or even the watered down version of the test that everybody is saying it passed, and kind of cheated by only imitating a 13 year old child speaking a second language. Secondly, the articles neglect to mention that the Turing Test is monumentally stupid.

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