Big Data Bodies: Machines and Algorithms in the World

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.

Ethical Machines episode 1: Mark Riedl

Computers can tell sto­ries but they’re always sto­ries that humans have input into a com­put­er, which are then just being regur­gi­tat­ed. But they don’t make sto­ries up on their own. They don’t real­ly under­stand the sto­ries that we tell. They’re not kind of aware of the cul­tur­al impor­tance of sto­ries. They can’t watch the same movies or read the same books we do. And this seems like this huge miss­ing gap between what com­put­ers can do and humans can do if you think about how impor­tant sto­ry­telling is to the human con­di­tion.

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 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.