Computers That Just Work
Trying to Finally Automate Away Bureaucracy

presented by Vinay Gupta

Everybody thinks of bureau­crats as being kind of a neu­tral force. But I’m going to make the case that bureau­crats are in fact a very strong­ly neg­a­tive force, and that automat­ing the bureau­crat­ic func­tions inside of our soci­ety is nec­es­sary for fur­ther human progress.

The Conversation #48 — Chris Carter

presented by Aengus Anderson, Chris Carter, Micah Saul

When you talk about learn­ing and tra­di­tion­al edu­ca­tion­al styles, there’s this very com­mon incli­na­tion to try and force infor­ma­tion upon peo­ple rather than hav­ing them just kind of dis­cov­er it of their own voli­tion or dis­cov­er it by acci­dent.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: Unintended Consequences

presented by Cara LaPointe, Joey Eschrich, Samuel Arbesman, Susan Tyler Hitchcock

Victor’s sin wasn’t in being too ambi­tious, not nec­es­sar­i­ly in play­ing God. It was in fail­ing to care for the being he cre­at­ed, fail­ing to take respon­si­bil­i­ty and to pro­vide the crea­ture what it need­ed to thrive, to reach its poten­tial, to be a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment for soci­ety instead of a dis­as­ter.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: Playing God

presented by Ed Finn, Josephine Johnston, Nancy Kress, Patric M. Verrone

In Shelley’s vision, Frankenstein was the mod­ern Prometheus. The hip, up to date, learned, vital god who chose to cre­ate human life and paid the dire con­se­quences. To Shelley, gods cre­ate and for humans to do that is bad. Bad for oth­ers but espe­cial­ly bad for one’s cre­ator.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: It’s Alive

presented by Ed Finn

Mary Shelley’s nov­el has been an incred­i­bly suc­cess­ful mod­ern myth. And so this con­ver­sa­tion today is not just about what hap­pened 200 years ago, but the remark­able ways in which that moment and that set of ideas has con­tin­ued to per­co­late and evolve and reform in cul­ture, in tech­no­log­i­cal research, in ethics, since then.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: Fear of the Unknown

presented by Annalee Newitz, Bina Venkataraman, Charlotte Gordon, David Guston, Jacob Brogan

It’s not the strange­ness of new tech­nolo­gies that fright­ens us but the way tech­nol­o­gy threat­ens to make us strangers to our­selves. In a semi-Freudian spir­it, then, I’d like to pro­pose that where Frankenstein and its spawn are con­cerned, our fear of the unknown may real­ly be about our dis­com­fort with know­ing.

Sleepwalking into Surveillant Capitalism, Sliding into Authoritarianism

presented by Zeynep Tufekci

We have increas­ing­ly smart, sur­veil­lant per­sua­sion archi­tec­tures. Architectures aimed at per­suad­ing us to do some­thing. At the moment it’s click­ing on an ad. And that seems like a waste. We’re just click­ing on an ad. You know. It’s kind of a waste of our ener­gy. But increas­ing­ly it is going to be per­suad­ing us to sup­port some­thing, to think of some­thing, to imag­ine some­thing.

Rise of the Hacker Industrial Complex

presented by Niloofar Howe

We have basi­cal­ly lost con­trol over our net­work. All of the advances that have made our lives more pro­duc­tive, more acces­si­ble, more con­nect­ed, have fun­da­men­tal­ly dis­in­ter­me­di­at­ed our abil­i­ty to pro­tect our envi­ron­ments. The democ­ra­ti­za­tion of infor­ma­tion, of tech­nol­o­gy, of goods and ser­vices, of bank­ing, of finan­cial trans­ac­tions with blockchain etc., means every aspect of our lives has become acces­si­ble and there­fore vul­ner­a­ble.

The Things of the Internet
Reflections on Object Culture and Internet Culture

presented by An Xiao Mina

The Internet meme frame­work is a use­ful way to under­stand a cer­tain range of object pro­duc­tion, a cer­tain sort of infor­mal pro­duc­tion that com­bines net­worked modes of pro­duc­tion sim­i­lar to shanzhai or the hat print­ing, with the glob­al reach of the Internet and glob­al ship­ping ser­vices as well. The abil­i­ty to move bits and atoms with just as much ease and effi­cien­cy.

The Conversation #47 — Oliver Porter

presented by Aengus Anderson, Micah Saul, Oliver Porter

To me…we all draw our sat­is­fac­tion from what we our­selves have been able to do with our lives. And if some­body, some gov­ern­ment or some­one else is just giv­ing to me, I’m not going to be a hap­py per­son.

Hardware, Software, Trustware

presented by Andreas Antonopoulos

The cul­ture gap at the cen­ter of the debate we’re hav­ing today is a cul­ture gap between peo­ple who build hard­ware and peo­ple who build soft­ware. And those cul­tures have been diverg­ing since the 1950s.

Brooklyn Talks: Iggy Pop and Jeremy Deller with Tom Healy

presented by Iggy Pop, Jeremy Deller, Tom Healy

I use my body, as a lot of peo­ple do that work in pub­lic, as a kind object of com­merce, frankly. When I go out and do a gig, some­body has to pay for the pres­ence. And that’s a cer­tain gig. When you’re still push­ing a hype like that, you lack cul­tur­al weight until you get to the end of that sto­ry where every­body knows you real­ly don’t have to any­more except for an inte­ri­or rea­son.

Mythophysics of the New Normal

presented by Kevin Slavin, Warren Ellis

The future is on the whole a won­der­ful thing because it will bring us new things that we haven’t seen before. And that’s why we stick around.

Discovering Health Innovations in Humanitarian Settings

presented by Kamalini Lokuge

During the war in Afghanistan, the mil­i­tary decid­ed to air drop food pack­ages as part of its win­ning hearts and minds cam­paign. Unfortunately, the food pack­ages were very sim­i­lar in appear­ance to the clus­ter bombs they were drop­ping at the same time. If mil­i­tary decision-makers had spo­ken to com­mu­ni­ties, aid work­ers, mil­i­tary per­son­nel on the ground, they’d have fig­ured out there were smarter ways to deliv­er food and win the trust of the Afghan peo­ple.

Kenneth Goldsmith at The Influencers 2016

presented by Kenneth Goldsmith

I think that what I want to say is that the polemics around the dis­course of the Web are too bina­ry. I think that one of the prob­lems that we have in the­o­riz­ing the Web is that we tend to mor­al­ize it in bina­ries. I get it. It’s bad. The Web is bad for you. Or the sort of free cul­ture is always like, It’s real­ly good. It’s great. Free cul­ture is great.” It’s nei­ther.

Feral Urbanism

presented by AbdouMaliq Simone

There seems to be a rush to exceed time, to pro­duce urban envi­ron­ment and social­i­ty for which we have no lan­guage, some­thing that goes beyond spec­u­la­tion, some­thing cut loose from hav­ing to make sense now. The city cut loose from what it had embod­ied or promised.

Tim Berners-Lee Announces the World Wide Web Foundation

presented by Tim Berners-Lee

I wrote a memo say­ing, We should have a glob­al hyper­text sys­tem to fix this.” The memo, I dis­trib­uted it to a few peo­ple but there’s nowhere real­ly to dis­trib­ute it to at CERN because CERN is a physics lab. It didn’t have com­mit­tees for build­ing pro­grams and hyper­text sys­tems.

So what hap­pened was basi­cal­ly noth­ing for eigh­teen months.

The Algorithmic Spiral of Silence

presented by Zeynep Tufekci

A cou­ple of major plat­forms like Facebook and Twitter, YouTube, have become in many places around the world a de fac­to pub­lic sphere. Especially in coun­tries that have less than free Internet, less than free mass media. And these coun­tries have tran­si­tioned from a very con­trolled pub­lic sphere to a commercially-run one like Facebook.

The Ethics of Open Source

presented by Ashe Dryden

This talk is more about the coer­cion of labor into open source soft­ware. So I want to take a crit­i­cal look at how we can engage busi­ness­es and oth­er stake­hold­ers in tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies to begin to cre­ate a more equal and sus­tain­able envi­ron­ment for all peo­ple con­tribut­ing to open source.

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