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A new "trigger warning" detector called Themis is being tested in classrooms and universities, according to a recent report from the Daily Mail.
What are the details?
Zinah Issa, the innovator behind Themis, recently debuted the device at Dubai Design Week and explained that she named the system after Themis — the Greek goddess of social order and justice.
The Daily Mail reported that some people are testing the device in classrooms and universities, as well as in more intimate, home-based situations.
According to the report, the device is fairly small — lamp-sized — and is intended to "moderate" unsavory or possibly offending discussion in classrooms and universities in order to "manifest political correctness" around conversation.
Issa told the Telegraph that such things as racial terms, offensive jokes, and remarks about body image trigger the device, which emits "extremely bothersome alarms" that last approximately two minutes.
"Through the use of speech recognition and sound sensors, we were able to program Themis to detect offensive terms and sentences — racial slurs, offensive jokes — through the microphone," Issa explained.
Issa explained that the alarms are intended to prompt deep discussion.
"Extremely bothersome alarms last approximately two minutes, after which Themis turns off, allowing an open, understanding discussion among people on the possible trigger matter and the potential reasons behind Themis's activation," Issa explained.
According to the Telegraph, Issa hopes to roll out the device to classrooms, universities, and more following testing.
"Themis was designed to be placed in intimate social settings, such as dinner parties or family gatherings, because based on our research, people are less likely to speak up when they get offended, unlike settings where people could be held accountable," Issa explained. "However, after exhibiting in GGS [Global Grad Show at Dubai Design Week], a lot of people were interested in having it in workspaces or even classrooms, so this is something that we want to develop Themis around. We'll plan on sending out more surveys to further understand Themis's target market and the audience it could reach and potentially testing it out within educational and work settings such as universities, schools, and offices."
Issa added that she hopes the device will encourage those violating Themis' parameters to embark on a journey of "self-critique."
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