The Conversation #55 — Ed Finn

presented by Aengus Anderson, Ed Finn, Micah Saul

The Center, one of our core goals, our mis­sion state­ment, is to get peo­ple think­ing more cre­ative­ly and ambi­tious­ly about the future. What I mean when I talk about that is that we need to come up with bet­ter sto­ries about the future. If you want to build a bet­ter world you have to imag­ine that world first.

Interventions for Individuals to Fight Spin

presented by Panagiotis Takis Metaxas

I will tell to you a few things about the first Twitter bomb that with my col­league we found a cou­ple years ago. And there it was a case in which some­body was attack­ing the can­di­date Martha Coakley in the last Massachusetts elec­tions. We found out that actu­al­ly it was easy to detect this kind of attack.

Invisible Images of Surveillance

presented by Trevor Paglen

One of the things I real­ly want out of art, what I see the job of the artist to be is to try to learn how to see the his­tor­i­cal moment that you find your­self liv­ing in. I mean that very sim­ply and I mean it very lit­er­al­ly. How do you see the world around you?

Christian Sandvig and Eszter Hargittai on Tools for Truth Empowerment

presented by Christian Sandvig, Eszter Hargittai

[Stefik’s] four ideas about the Internet is that we think about Internet, num­ber one as a library. And this was the 90s and we had this elec­tron­ic library, the dig­i­tal library. That doesn’t mean that we dig­i­tized libraries, it means that that’s the metaphor we used to think about the Internet, as a place that has infor­ma­tion that we can look up. His sec­ond was we think of it as the mail. Or you could say the tele­phone. And so that’s more about indi­vid­u­als and inter­per­son­al­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing in some way. The third is that we think of it as a vir­tu­al world. And the fourth is that we think of it as a mar­ket­place.

Political Thought on the Just Rebellion, parts 9 & 10

presented by Stephen Chan

We’ve talked about just war, and we’ve used just war the­o­ry as a tem­plate for dis­cussing just rebel­lion. And we’ve talked about the jus­tice that enables a rebel­lion to take place. And we’ve also talked about what is just con­duct with­in that rebel­lion, in both cas­es bor­row­ing from just war the­o­ry. What hap­pens, how­ev­er, if rebel­lion uses war as one of its instru­ments to achieve its aims?

Political Thought on the Just Rebellion, part 8

presented by Stephen Chan

Today we’re going to have a dis­cus­sion about what I call lib­er­a­tion ped­a­gogy. And by this I mean a sec­u­lar ver­sion of lib­er­a­tion the­ol­o­gy which takes for­ward the same val­ues. The same val­ues of inde­pen­dence, the same val­ues of cre­ativ­i­ty, the same val­ues of the integri­ty of the indi­vid­ual per­son, even if that per­son is a peas­ant, even if that per­son is illit­er­ate, even if that per­son is not ful­ly formed in the mod­ern sense.

Political Thought on the Just Rebellion, part 7

presented by Stephen Chan

Hegel was a young lec­tur­er at a German uni­ver­si­ty at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. And the French armies were lay­ing siege to his city and he had to evac­u­ate. And he wrote to his friends after­wards, say­ing, I have seen the future. The future comes on horse­back.”

Political thought on the Just Rebellion, part 6

presented by Stephen Chan

Last week we looked at the Māori rebel­lion in New Zealand, and we began look­ing at the nature of syn­cret­ic thought, thought from dif­fer­ent cul­tures put togeth­er to estab­lish a frame­work from which rebel­lion might be pos­si­ble. I want to con­tin­ue that par­tic­u­lar theme this week by look­ing at a num­ber of rebel­lions that you might loose­ly call mag­ic rebel­lions,” mythologically-based rebel­lions, but all the same look­ing at patholo­gies that are either gen­uine­ly very old, or which have been espe­cial­ly cre­at­ed for the pur­pose of rebel­lion.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

presented by Safiya Noble

One of the things that I think is real­ly impor­tant is that we’re pay­ing atten­tion to how we might be able to recu­per­ate and recov­er from these kinds of prac­tices. So rather than think­ing of this as just a tem­po­rary kind of glitch, in fact I’m going to show you sev­er­al of these glitch­es and maybe we might see a pat­tern.

The Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?

presented by Christopher Bavitz, John Kerr, Jonathan Lovvorn, Kendra Albert, Tiffany Li

Naruto, then 3 years old, came up and picked up one of his cam­eras and start­ed look­ing at it. And he made the con­nec­tion… By Mr. Slater’s own admis­sion he made the con­nec­tion between push­ing the shut­ter release but­ton and the change to his reflec­tion in the lens when the aper­ture opened and closed.

Hacking the Internet of Dongs
Hacking Sex Toys for Fun and Absolutely No Profit

presented by RenderMan

A large num­ber of IoT research firms…yeah, they don’t want to look at this. Because there are stig­mas around sex. We have a very weird thing in North America about sex. We’ll watch all the vio­lence we want on tele­vi­sion but you can’t see two peo­ple have sex.

Gay Science

presented by Frank Lantz, Robert Yang

How do we make gay worlds in video games? Well, I can tell you how not to make a gay world. You should not rely on the AAA game indus­try to pity you and leave you some table scraps. I’m tired of being 0.1% of a world, right. Why isn’t Dragon Age 100% gay sex, right?

The Conversation #54 — Charles Bowden

presented by Aengus Anderson, Charles Bowden, Micah Saul

I don’t under­stand the fear. And that’s the biggest threat. And the rea­son it’s a threat is it makes your judg­ment bad. You nev­er make good deci­sions when you’re afraid. And it destroys your abil­i­ty to clear­ly look at the facts and do some­thing. You choke, in oth­er words.

Biohackers Die

presented by Jeffrey Tibbetts

So grinders are a com­mu­ni­ty com­mit­ted to rad­i­cal­ly alter­ing the body. And so some­times it’s treat­ments like tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic, or direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion. It could be through the use of pre­vi­ous­ly untest­ed chem­i­cals like VIP. Often it takes the form of implant­ed devices. All these approach­es come with risks. What I’m going to focus on today is why despite all the risks being tak­en, a grinder hasn’t died yet.

Artificial Intelligence is Hard to See: Social & Ethical Impacts of AI

presented by Kate Crawford, Trevor Paglen

The big con­cerns that I have about arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are real­ly not about the Singularity, which frankly com­put­er sci­en­tists say is…if it’s pos­si­ble at all it’s hun­dreds of years away. I’m actu­al­ly much more inter­est­ed in the effects that we are see­ing of AI now.

The Tyranny of Algorithms and the Use of Predictive Policing by Israel

presented by Marwa Fatafta

We have been doc­u­ment­ing and research­ing into human rights or dig­i­tal rights vio­la­tions that are tak­ing place in Palestine and Israel. And one of the most recent case stud­ies or work that we’re look­ing into is the use of pre­dic­tive polic­ing by Israel, which is rather a sen­si­tive issue giv­en that there isn’t a lot that we know about the sub­ject.

Big Data Bodies: Machines and Algorithms in the World

presented by Maya Indira Ganesh

I’m inter­est­ed in data and dis­crim­i­na­tion, in the things that have come to make us unique­ly who we are, how we look, where we are from, our per­son­al and demo­graph­ic iden­ti­ties, what lan­guages we speak. These things are effec­tive­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble to machines. What is gen­er­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed as human diver­si­ty and expe­ri­ence is trans­formed by machine read­ing into some­thing absurd, some­thing that marks us as dif­fer­ent.

What Do We Do About the Haters?

presented by Jillian C York

A lot of the top­ics that we’re try­ing to tack­le” or try­ing to deal with on the Internet, we’re not actu­al­ly defin­ing ahead of time. And so what we’ve end­ed up with is a sys­tem where­by both com­pa­nies, and gov­ern­ments alike, are work­ing some­times sep­a­rate­ly, some­times togeth­er, to rid the Internet of these top­ics, of these dis­cus­sions, with­out actu­al­ly delv­ing into what they are.

Ethan Zuckerman on Truthiness

presented by Ethan Zuckerman

When you’re look­ing at some­thing as big as these ques­tions of ver­i­fi­a­bil­i­ty, truth, truthi­ness, dis­in­for­ma­tion, so on and so forth, I find myself now try­ing to pick apart the ques­tions we talked about this morn­ing from the per­spec­tive of tractabil­i­ty. So let me use that to sort of frame a cou­ple of the con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had and then a cou­ple of things that haven’t come up, and then see if I can sort of push us for­ward a lit­tle bit into where we go this after­noon.

Reflection & Synthesis on Truthiness

presented by Urs Gasser

I’d like to clus­ter my thoughts and struc­ture them into four cat­e­gories. One is what I will call foun­da­tion­al issues. Second, a few words and obser­va­tions regard­ing meth­ods. Third, a few areas of appli­ca­tion that we touched upon this morn­ing, and maybe also high­light­ing one or two that we haven’t talked so much about but that I think are increas­ing­ly impor­tant. And then final­ly also as a segue to the fol­low­ing ses­sions, a few words about poten­tial points of inter­ven­tion.

Inflection Point on Truthiness

presented by Charles Nesson

Well I believe there is a truth we share. I think it’s our sense of jus­tice. I think of the great Paul Newman depic­tion in The Verdict, his clos­ing argu­ment when he speaks to the jury and says, You are the law. I believe there is jus­tice in our hearts.” So the truth, the ver­dict. Vera dic­tos, speak the truth. That’s what juries are told to do.

The Misfit Economy

presented by Kyra Maya Phillips

I’ve spent about four years explor­ing the dark side of inno­va­tion, try­ing to con­vince peo­ple that there’s actu­al­ly a lot that we can learn from those who work in the unseen cor­ners of the world. You know, so-called mis­fits. Pirates, hack­ers, gang­sters, con artists, pranksters, ex-prisoners.

The Internet of Agreements

presented by Vinay Gupta

I was look­ing for the tools that you could use to solve glob­al prob­lems in an envi­ron­ment when the nation-state has turned out to be a very very inef­fec­tive set of machin­ery at all. So I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about the tech­nol­o­gy. I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about what it does and where it’s going. And then I’m going to try and tell a sto­ry about the kind of glob­al long-term pic­ture that we could get if this stuff actu­al­ly works.

Biases Abound

presented by Brendan Nyhan

I’ve expe­ri­enced first hand the chal­lenges of try­ing to cor­rect mis­in­for­ma­tion, and in part my aca­d­e­m­ic research builds on that expe­ri­ence and tries under­stand why it was that so much of what we did at Spinsanity antag­o­nized even those peo­ple who were inter­est­ed enough to go to a fact-checking web site.

The Science of Why We Deny Science and Reality

presented by Chris Mooney

What is it about our brains that makes facts so chal­leng­ing, so odd and threat­en­ing? Why do we some­times dou­ble down on false beliefs? And maybe why do some of us do it more than oth­ers?

Virtual Futures Salon: Radical Technologies, with Adam Greenfield

presented by Adam Greenfield, Luke Robert Mason

I am pro­found­ly envi­ous of peo­ple who get to write about set­tled domains or sort of set­tled states of affairs in human events. For me, I was deal­ing with a set of tech­nolo­gies which are either recent­ly emerged or still in the process of emerg­ing. And so it was a con­tin­u­al Red Queen’s race to keep up with these things as they announce them­selves to us and try and wrap my head around them, under­stand what it was that they were propos­ing, under­stand what their effects were when deployed in the world.

Virtual Futures Podcast #7: Trust Shift, with Rachel Botsman

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Rachel Botsman

We rarely think about the link between trust and progress and inno­va­tion, and how soci­eties move for­ward. But when you start to think of it like that, you real­ize that trust is actu­al­ly the key com­po­nent not just for com­pa­nies but any orga­ni­za­tion that wants human beings to try new things.

Biohacking: The Moral Imperative to Build a Better You

presented by Tim Cannon

I think that we have a moral imper­a­tive to change the human being, giv­en the fact that we are built so flawed and built for a time that we no longer live in. There’s a pret­ty per­va­sive belief that we kind of stopped evolv­ing from the neck up. And that we don’t have behav­iors that are actu­al­ly stuck inside the human being, and ways in which we’re in this sort of evo­lu­tion­ary lock­step with what we used to be, and not what we are and what we’ve become.

The Conversation #52 — Walter Block

presented by Aengus Anderson, Micah Saul, Neil Prendergast, Walter Block

Benevolence isn’t inef­fi­cient and I’m a big fan of benev­o­lence. It’s just that it’s not enough. It’s okay for a group of twenty-five or fifty peo­ple where every­one knows every­one. But when you have 300 mil­lion in the US or 7 bil­lion in the world, if we were self-sufficient and we had to pro­duce every­thing for our­selves we’d all die, or 99% of us would die. So we have to coop­er­ate with each oth­er. But the only way to coop­er­ate with each oth­er in such large num­bers is through mar­kets.

Everybody Runs

presented by Ingrid Burrington

I’ve been try­ing to get as many weird futures on the table as pos­si­ble because the truth is there are these sort of ubiq­ui­tous futures, right. Ideas about how the world should or will be that have become this sort of main­stream, dom­i­nat­ing ver­nac­u­lar that’s pri­mar­i­ly kind of about a very white Western mas­cu­line vision of the future, and it kind of col­o­nized the abil­i­ty to think about and imag­ine tech­nol­o­gy in the future.

Inform/Transform: Translating Critical Tech Perspectives

presented by Zara Rahman

Over the past cou­ple of years, it feels like civ­il soci­ety has been almost over­whelmed with promis­es of how tech­nol­o­gy can sud­den­ly mag­i­cal­ly solve the prob­lems that we’re try­ing to address. Some com­ing from tech giants who say they’ve devel­oped some sem­blance of social con­science sud­den­ly. Some from star­tups who see a prob­lem and think that tech­nol­o­gy can help with­out think­ing about the sys­temic issues under­ly­ing it.

The Entropy of a System

presented by Tega Brain

I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned with how to design from the dystopi­an posi­tion of the Anthropocene. How to make cre­ative work that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly crit­i­cal and gen­er­a­tive. What does it mean to have aug­ment­ed the atmos­phere and the ocean’s capac­i­ty to absorb heat? And to be rapid­ly increas­ing the entropy of those sys­tems?

Virtual Futures Podcast #6: Virtual Therapy, with Michael Carthy

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Michael Carthy

Traditional psy­chol­o­gy and coun­sel­ing will help peo­ple under­stand in a very lin­ear way why they are the way they are. Whereas what I’m real­ly focused on and what I’ve been spe­cial­iz­ing in for the last num­ber of years is the how. And for me, vir­tu­al real­i­ty ther­a­py is the how of change.

Virtual Futures Podcast #5: Electronic Waste, with Dani Ploeger

presented by Dani Ploeger, Luke Robert Mason

This idea of (re)performing the posthu­man was pret­ty much based on a desire to talk about the cyborg ten years after, or fif­teen years, twen­ty years after the Cyborg Manifesto and Katherine Hayles’ book became famous. And to really—yeah, to talk about maybe the nor­mal cyborg, the nor­mal tech­nol­o­gized body. You know, tech­nol­o­gy in the every­day and its impli­ca­tions for the way we per­ceive and expe­ri­ence our bod­ies.

Virtual Futures Podcast #4: Emoji Delights, with Carla Gannis

presented by Carla Gannis, Luke Robert Mason

AR mixed real­i­ty has more poten­tial, I think. With vir­tu­al real­i­ty, you’re just some­where else alto­geth­er, right? And VR is all the rage right now. But in terms of dis­sem­i­nat­ing infor­ma­tion, in terms of keep­ing us in touch still with phys­i­cal, you know. I mean, it’s all real life now. I don’t even dis­tin­guish IRL/URL now. I mean it’s all real life. But like, how do we main­tain a foot in both simul­ta­ne­ous­ly? Both the vir­tu­al and the phys­i­cal.

Virtual Futures Podcast #3: Transhumanism and Risk, with Professor Steve Fuller

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Steve Fuller

Humanity 2.0 starts to chal­lenge a lot of the assump­tions of Humanity 1.0, espe­cial­ly in terms of issues hav­ing to do with lim­i­ta­tions. So in oth­er words, you might say there are two ways to go on Humanity 2.0. And in my writ­ing, I asso­ciate these with the tran­shu­man and the posthu­man, respec­tive­ly.