The police were fine in the morning and then they turned nasty. They formed a line and started aggressively shoving people to reopen the road. A group of us formed a chain to try and hold them back so that people sitting would not be trampled on.
In the mele, I lost my cool. The 24 hours I was held in a cell were miserable. After a few hours of sleep I paced back and forth and tried not to get too frantic. I attempted an impression of Nelson Mandela but failed. Just a short taste of losing my freedom was horrendous.
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For half a year the saga dragged on. I would be summoned to court which was 4 hours from where I lived. I would book the time off work and anxiously prepare. Three days before I was due to travel - the date would be changed.
This happened every time there was a court appearance - a tactic widely used in this country to put citizens off protesting. If you miss an appearance, you are in contempt of court and can be jailed.
I was drawn into the place I least wanted to be - a powerless pawn in a kafka-esque legal system determined to dial down descent. My options were minimized and more and more of my time was spent emailing lawyers and filling in dismal forms. I had been trapped by the system I was opposed to and I was more on their radar then ever - literally - they took a DNA swab.
Eventually, the charges against us were dropped. Given my experiences, I have struggled to understand why Extinction Rebellion a movement I massively admire and participate in urges its supporters to get arrested. This strikes me as a massive failure of imagination. I see many more useful things activists can do beyond being banged up.
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If we do get arrested - doing what we believe in - so be it - but why make it an aim in-and-of itself? I was inspired to be a part of something so bold and ground-breaking. At the same time, my heart goes out to the people arrested who will now be being chewed up in the courts like I was. My question is this - did that many people have to get arrested for that incredible and historical moment to have happened? Can we not protest, blockade the big polluters and hold streets without voluntarily offering up our bodies for confinement? Roger Hallam, a founding organizer of Extinction Rebellion is actively recruiting people to be arrested.
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He says -. Hallam and others claim that arrests are required to escalate protests to make them media worthy but this is questionable. Clearly, young people have the most to lose being arrested. Young people are also the least to blame for the harm already done to the planet. I will spend more than two years focusing on my research topic, which is medical image computing. Why did you get into coding? Nowadays, information technology provides many conveniences, and I think it is useful for everyone to have some basic coding abilities to facilitate their daily work and life. In your opinion, how can AI change the world?
In recent years, AI has made considerable changes to our world, especially in the field of computer science. Five years ago, neural networks were rarely mentioned in academic papers; today, it is hard for researchers to get a paper published without covering deep learning methods. I do not think technology can be a force of evil, but people can.
We should encourage the development of AI and create a code of conduct for people using or working on it. From my perspective, AI has ground-breaking capabilities in helping us perceive and recognise the real world. It has already succeeded in helping people carry out easy tasks such as improving image quality and recommending information. If AI develops smoothly over the coming years, I think it can deliver automatic driving and healthcare applications. What would be your advice to tech students who are thinking about getting involved in the challenge? Think twice, code once.
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