The week unpacked: Sri Lanka, second homes and Siri

Representing Olly Mann, The Week and Arion McNicoll go behind the headlines and discuss what’s really important over the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode we discuss:

Riot in Sri Lanka

A long period of unrest came to a head in Sri Lanka this week when violent protests led to a 36-hour curfew and the declaration of a public emergency, which shut down social media and messaging apps and allowed police to arrest people without warrants. The resulting backlash included the resignation of the entire cabinet on Sunday, but unrest and protests continue and the crisis is still having a significant impact on daily life. International experts have suggested that the combination of Covid and rising fuel and food prices behind the unrest could cause similar problems elsewhere.

Digital Assistants

It was reported this week that £860,000 in taxpayer money is being used to fund three projects investigating the gender bias of digital assistants. Some researchers believe gadgets like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri — which have a young woman’s default voice — are reinforcing stereotypes about women being submissive and well-suited to secretarial duties. But why do so many of these devices have female characters – and with the UK grappling with an extraordinary cost of living crisis, should we really be spending close to £1million to see if Siri is sexist?

second homes

Tensions between Cornish locals and second home owners in the county have risen in recent weeks as prohibitive house prices and a shortage of available property mean many locals are forced out of the area. Activists are calling for urgent changes to legislation to address the county’s growing housing shortage. But does more need to be done? The week unpacked: Sri Lanka, second homes and Siri

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