Woman involved in Caitlyn Jenner’s car crash decries ESPY award

17 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bob Costas’ Criticism of Caitlyn Jenner Is Wrongheaded, Offensive—and Understandable.

Caitlyn Jenner made news Wednesday night when she took the stage at the ESPYs to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Filmmaker Peter Berg is catching heat for his social media commentary in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s emotional appearance on the ESPY awards Wednesday. This week it was discovered that Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, certainly doesn’t mess about if anyone dares to ask how tall former American Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner is. “Caitlyn Jenner is 6ft 2in tall,” it replies, with no reference to the recent transitioning of arguably the world’s most famous transgender woman.

Siri has since been widely applauded for having no truck with people who insist on using Jenner’s old name, but others have railed against the “left-leaning tech elites” who dared to program Siri to respond in such a way. Guess which man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?” Gadson, who played a supporting role in “Battleship,” lost both legs in a roadside bombing in 2007. There was similar disagreement when the Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul tweeted his delight at the answer Siri gave to the mathematical problem of dividing zero by zero. In the broad world of sports, I’m pretty sure they could’ve found someone—and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner—who was much [more] actively involved in sports, who would’ve been deserving of what that award represents. Steindorff had this to say to Entertainment Tonight about the former Olympic gold medalist and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star receiving the award: “I find it difficult to understand how the culture we live in can honor a person who is responsible for taking a life and injuring several others with both an award and a reality show,” Steindorff told ET. “For an individual who is such a positive role model in many aspects of her life, Caitlyn has failed to do the right thing and take responsibility for her actions.” “I would hope that someone who seems to greatly value the importance of human existence would be more sensitive to the fact that she ended another person’s life.

Ignoring the centuries of wrangling that led to a general agreement among mathematicians that 0/0 is an “indeterminate form”, Siri instead chose to outline a fictitious scenario. “Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends,” it replied. “How many cookies does each person get? Despite the widespread praise Jenner has received for her ESPYS speech and other recent media appearances, a small but vocal chorus of famous figures has taken some overt and thinly veiled shots at her in public forums. Authorities are still investigating the February incident, but according to TMZ, Jenner is not expected to be charged with a felony, and perhaps may not face any charges at all.

Oscar-winning Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood made a joke at Jenner’s expense during an appearance on Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards last month, which was cut for its insensitivity. Video emerged which appears to show an Escalade, driven by Jenner, making contact with a Lexus, driven by Howe, that veers into oncoming traffic, after which the Escalade hits the back of Steindorff’s Prius. “My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident. This view seems to be pretty common among a certain kind of sports commenter: straight men who have never before discussed trans issues but suddenly feel qualified to hold forth on the merits of Jenner’s bravery. This former editor and part-time writer at The Post is now happy to prove that if you combine ‘blowhard’ and ‘blaggard,’ you get ‘blogger.’ He previously had used ‘Desmond Bieler’ as his byline, but feels that shortening the first name to ‘Des’ nicely conveys his ever-decreasing gravitas. Voice recognition (to work out what we’re saying), natural language processing (to work out what we want), and natural language generation (to formulate a reply).

Enabling Siri to politely summarise dull statistical information (e.g. the weather) involves great technological skill, but it’s almost impossible to make computers likeable or witty. In 2013, Apple advertised for someone to “develop and write dialogue to support new Siri capabilities”, and that’s a clue to how it works: teams of people writing upbeat replies to store in a database in anticipation of certain questions being asked. But by using these negative terms, Costas implies that Jenner brought this negative attention on herself—and that praising her necessarily involves feeding into “tabloid” “exploitation.” This notion is profoundly offensive.

As readers of Jenner’s Vanity Fair profile know, Jenner struggled with her gender identity for decades, even attempting to quietly transition in the 1980s. This time around, Jenner elected to take control of the inevitable publicity surrounding her transition, telling the true story before the tabloids made up their own.

Her fears were validated when InTouch ran a repulsively transphobic cover story imagining Jenner as a woman—before she publicly confirmed that she was transitioning. Some psychologists believe that the “rule of reciprocation”, which compels us to mirror the kind of behaviour people dish out to us, also applies to machines. Apple clearly shares that vision; while an intelligent concierge service such as Google Now prides itself on efficiency and usefulness, it has no inherent charm. Apple, ever keen on establishing some kind of emotional bond with its customers, wanted Siri to have, as one of the service’s co-founders put it, “a light attitude… friendly and humble, with an edge.” In other words, there’s a belief that the device’s pseudo-personality is crucial to us liking it – even if we know, deep down, that the responses have been written months or even years beforehand by copywriters in Cupertino. If you persist in asking Siri for a bedtime story, it’ll eventually read one to you about a personal assistant called Siri; some people adore this, but others find it to be a loathsome extension of something they already hate about Apple – a manifestation of style over substance.

Apple is looking to increase that “substance” with the release of iOS9, upgrading Siri to become a “proactive assistant” that not only improves speech recognition but handles the information we give it far more intelligently. But it will always retain that “edge” that causes the occasional viral sensation, coupled with a humble recognition of its own inherent limitations. “It’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma,” says Siri when asked what “Siri” stands for, “tied with a pretty ribbon of obfuscation”.

But that doesn’t mean Jenner somehow asked for endless tabloid speculation over her gender identity—or that she somehow deserved to receive constant tabloid scrutiny during her transition. The earliest openly gay stars—Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres—had to contend with fascination (and disgust) with their sexuality overshadowing their actual careers. Here is a woman who was once a famous man, who insists on drawing attention to her transition, and has elevated herself as a role model for other trans people.

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