Where should I start? One Direction, also called 1D by its committed fans, is an English-Irish pop boy band formed on 23 July 2010 on the television music competition franchise The X Factor. Due to the band’s incredible success, I can be sure you already knew these details. Today, the band, which was composed of Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and former member Zayn Malik who departed from the group in 2015, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.
As #10YearsOfOneDirection continues to trend on Twitter, here’s how you can celebrate 1D’s impact on pop culture on its tenth anniversary:
I mean, come on, the covers that One Direction did in the beginning of their career were pretty major. From Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ to the 80s classic tune ‘Kids in America’ as well as ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, the 1D boys, in all their baby-faced glory, managed to charm the whole world. Why not relive this period?
Quite an obvious one, but there’s always a good excuse to be extra nostalgic and play ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ yet another time. Part of One Direction’s 2011 debut Up All Night which was a chart-topper in 16 countries, the hit song ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ sold two million copies in the US.
The follow-up album titled Take Me Home sold over 540,000 copies in the US just in its first week. As you can expect, the three albums that followed after received the same kind of applause.
One Direction fans always have a favourite, and I’m not usually one to pick sides, but for Harry Styles, I will. The singer (and one-time actor) was apparently a standout from the get-go. After the band split up, Styles decided to start a solo career in music and boy, oh boy, did he nail it. His two critically-acclaimed albums Harry Styles and Fine Line have yielded several hit singles, yes. But it is his style and open-mindedness that truly separated him from the other members.
As an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and professional of breaking gender norms, Styles is the one you should obsess over—trust me, he’s the ultimate soft boy.
Although I can’t fully recommend doing so as I’ve never been a ‘directioner’, if you feel like your life is missing some extra spice, the 1D community might be the perfect fit for you. To highlight how involved the band’s fanbase still is, they apparently crashed the 10-year anniversary website before it had even launched. If that’s not commitment, then I don’t know what is.
It didn’t take long for a single tweet to ignite a globe-trotting rumour suggesting that a One Direction reunion was imminent. Although nothing has been announced for now, one can dream. The real question is: would Zayn Malik be part of it? I doubt it.
Just like any other industry, the world of journalism has been disrupted by technology, and with that came the introduction of AI journalism. Implementing an automated software that would keep up with the speed of information and bash out news articles has many positives for companies like Microsoft, who, just last month, decided to lay off dozens of its human journalists at MSN.
But the company’s plan seems to have backfired when its AI editor illustrated a recent story about racism with a photo of the wrong mixed-race member of the British girl band Little Mix. We’ve said it before, AI journalism is here to stay but does that also mean AI journalism will unknowingly further systemic racism?
Shortly after the Guardian revealed Microsoft’s plans to fire the human editors who run MSN’s news website and replace them with the company’s artificial intelligence code, the early rollout of the software proved itself to be a failure. MSN’s story about one of Little Mix’s singer Jade Thirlwall and her personal reflections on racism ended up being illustrated with a picture of her fellow band member Leigh-Anne Pinnock.
Thirlwall responded to the mistake by criticising MSN on Friday and saying she was sick of “ignorant” media making such mistakes. She also posted on her Instagram Story: “@MSN If you’re going to copy and paste articles from other accurate media outlets, you might want to make sure you’re using an image of the correct mixed race member of the group.”
“This shit happens to @leighannepinnock and I ALL THE TIME that it’s become a running joke. It offends me that you couldn’t differentiate the two women of colour out of four members of a group […] It’s lazy journalism […] DO BETTER!” Thirlwall added, not knowing that the image was in fact selected by Microsoft’s artificial intelligence software.
It should be noted that Microsoft’s AI editor does not write original content but instead picks pieces from trusted news sources and republishes them along selected images, which is how the AI ended up confusing the two singers. But how come Microsoft’s software cannot tell mixed-race individuals apart? Is the AI built to be racist?
Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesman for the company said: “As soon as we became aware of this issue, we immediately took action to resolve it and have replaced the incorrect image,” clearly avoiding addressing the possibility of having implemented a racist automated editor. Although it still isn’t clear exactly what caused this error, Microsoft denied it to be a result of algorithmic bias.
With the current protests against systemic racism taking place all around the world, now is not the time for Microsoft to make a mistake during the test run of its new software—not now, not ever. MSN’s AI editor still has to be overlooked by some human editors. This type of mistake is exactly what editors should have spotted.
This ‘mistake’ made by MSN speaks volumes of the media’s problem with systemic racism. Let us not forget when the BBC used some footage of basketball player LeBron James to illustrate news of the death of Kobe Bryant. Before we start pointing the finger at artificial intelligence, it is time for us to look at the bigger picture and admit that the media plays an important part in systemic racism.