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Sidney Blumenthal on the Crisis of Democracy

There’s always been this strain, par­tic­u­lar­ly in American pol­i­tics, a skep­ti­cism about politi­cians. We’re in one of these peri­ods where there is such skep­ti­cism, but it runs deep­er.

Sidney Blumenthal on Being Advisor to Hillary Clinton

I have known Hillary for almost thir­ty years. And I hope that when this con­fer­ence takes place, she’s been elect­ed pres­i­dent. We share com­mon val­ues, polit­i­cal val­ues. But also I think that these are deeply root­ed in our own per­son­al expe­ri­ences. And these val­ues we’ve defend­ed against all sorts of peo­ple who have used what­ev­er means that they could, many of them under­hand­ed, in order to try and destroy rep­u­ta­tions, attack peo­ple per­son­al­ly, to engage in what we’ve called the pol­i­tics of per­son­al destruc­tion, but for polit­i­cal advan­tage and gain.

Designing for Data Literacy in the Age of Post-Truth

We should use our tool­box to make com­plex­i­ty under­stand­able. We need to use the tools at our dis­pos­al to build data lit­er­a­cy by show­ing the con­text that data exists in. Because with that data, and with con­text around the data, we’ll be able to build under­stand­ing…

The Real Name Game

Citizenship, after not think­ing about it for a while, feels like some­thing we’re all think­ing about quite a lot these days. In the words of Hannah Arendt, cit­i­zen­ship is the right to have rights. All of your rights essen­tial­ly descend from your cit­i­zen­ship, because only coun­tries will pro­tect those rights.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

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 Spawn of Frankenstein: Fear of the Unknown

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.

The Spawn of Frankenstein: Playing God

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.

Sleepwalking into Surveillant Capitalism, Sliding into Authoritarianism

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.

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

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.

How to Overthrow a Government

I don’t want to live in a world where ISIS is scari­er than hack­ers, espe­cial­ly in 2016. We pre­vi­ous­ly held the title in 2013, 14, and 15. And to be hon­est I was a lit­tle bit dis­ap­point­ed when I saw this result. So I thought I’m in my 40s now, there’s a lot of young hack­ers in the audi­ence, and I’m not going to pass the baton to you guys unless we have that num­ber one spot back in our pile.

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