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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.

AI and Ethical Design

I teach my stu­dents that design is ongo­ing risky decision-making. And what I mean by ongo­ing is that you nev­er real­ly get to stop ques­tion­ing the assump­tions that you’re mak­ing and that are under­ly­ing what it is that you’re creating—those fun­da­men­tal premis­es.

The Algorithmic Spiral of Silence

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.

Malia Lazu, Black Reality 2.0: Creating and Making in the Digital Age

I became tired of knock­ing on the same doors and either see­ing the same peo­ple or dif­fer­ent peo­ple. But I real­ly just felt like I was in this cycle of faux lib­er­a­tion, where I would feel a vic­to­ry, and the vic­to­ry was prob­a­bly formed around the RFP for the grant that we need­ed to get in order to do our work.

Online Platforms as Human Rights Arbiters

What does it mean for human rights pro­tec­tion that we have large cor­po­rate interests—the Googles, the Facebooks of our time—that con­trol and gov­ern a large part of the online infra­struc­ture?

Behind the Screen: The People and Politics of Commercial Content Moderation

When I asked my peers and my pro­fes­sors if they’d ever heard of this type of work, two things hap­pened. The first thing is that they said no, they hadn’t. The sec­ond thing they said, which is prob­a­bly what you’re think­ing, is, Well, can’t com­put­ers do that?” And in fact the answer to that is no.

Automation and Algorithms in the Digital Age

I want to think more broad­ly about the future of cyber state, and think about accu­mu­la­tions of pow­er both cen­tral­ized and dis­trib­uted that might require trans­paren­cy in bound­aries we wouldn’t be used to.

Cyborg Anthropology and the Evaporation of the Interface

When you look at your online pro­file, is that real­ly you? It’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of you that can be act­ed on when you’re not there. But where do you end and the machine begins? The thing is that humans and tech­nol­o­gy have coe­volved with each oth­er over time, being very very cocre­ative. We have sur­vived because of tech­nol­o­gy, and tech­nol­o­gy has sur­vived because of us.

Nudes and N00dz

What we’re talk­ing about today is how social media, and specif­i­cal­ly Facebook because we’ve found that they have the strictest poli­cies around this top­ic, how these social media com­pa­nies cen­sor art, and specif­i­cal­ly nude art. We believe that nude art is an impor­tant part of our cul­ture, an impor­tant part of our his­to­ry, and an impor­tant part of our present.

The Education of Mark Zuckerberg: Lessons Learned from the People of Newark

You might have heard that this week Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced that they’re going to give away 99% of their Facebook stock in hopes of mak­ing the world a much bet­ter place for their new­born daugh­ter and her gen­er­a­tion. Now, I just want to be right up front with you. I have no inside infor­ma­tion about this fas­ci­nat­ing devel­op­ment. But what I do have is inside infor­ma­tion, the inside sto­ry, on a gift that this cou­ple made five years ago in their first act as phil­an­thropists.

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