Peering into 2017

One of the more interesting cultural research groups is Sparks & Honey. They recently released their A-Z Cultural Glossary 2017, subtitled "The trends you need to know to be relevant."

The glossary contains 100 "must-know terms and concepts" to serve as "cultural crib sheet" to carry students of culture into the coming year. Arranged in five categories – aesthetics, media, tech and science, humanity, and ideology – there were nine words/terms that stood out to me to prepare for the cultural zeitgeist to come:

"Agendered Iconography"
The shift away from using the shape of a physical body as signage and symbols. To remove any gender stereotyping, restrooms may begin to shift away from the familiar symbols of a man and a woman figure on doors to designate which restroom is which.

"AI Morality"
Reflects the moral and ethical compass that stems from programming AI to make our decisions. When self-driving cars recognize a life-and-death situation, who lives and who dies? A recent article by NPR, which I posted to the "Daily Headline News" on ChurchAndCulture.org, was titled "Scholars Delve Deeper into the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence." A law firm recently allocated $10 million to Carnegie Mellon University to explore the ethics of artificial intelligence. One of the biggest questions they raised was, "What happens when you make robots that are smart, independent thinkers – and then try to limit their autonomy?" Good question.

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Daily Headline News

Buzzfeed article attacks Fixer Upper stars for attending church that opposes gay marriage

In response to the extensive backlash to the story, Buzzfeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith posted a short statement on Twitter defending the publication of the story. (Gryboski, The Christian Post)

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Married Couples Who Attend Church Services Together Are Less Likely to Divorce: Study

Such couples are also nearly 30 percent less likely to be depressed and, over a 16-year follow-up period, were shown to have significantly lower risk of dying. (Showalter, The Christian Post)

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HBO's 'Westworld': Robot sex and the nature of the soul

HBO's "Westworld" is a rich stew of a television show that, depending on your point of view, is about the struggle between good and evil, the nature of the soul or sex with robots. (Winston, Religion News Service)

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Debunking the myth that Millennials are ushering in the end of the Western world

Younger generations are more apathetic about politics in general, so it's not surprising that they might feel a little less attached to the idea of democracy. (Guo, The Washington Post)

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Keeping Christ in Your Celebrating

If there is one thing about Christmas that is universally detested, it would be its commercialism. We want to keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in our life, not to mention our family life. But how do we do that in the most practical and "real-world" ways?

In this series, James Emery White explores how to keep Christ in our Christmas - including everything from decorating to celebrating to mixing with family.

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