platformization   825

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platform economy: restructuring the space of capitalist accumulation | Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society | Oxford Academic
The platform economy and its leading firms, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, are reorganising the geography of value creation and capture on both a local and global scale. This article argues that economic geographers have underappreciated the implications of the platform on space. First, we demonstrate the concentration of platform giants in terms of location on the US West Coast and in terms of their market share in various services, such as search, maps and online sales. Platforms are simultaneously intermediaries, two-sided markets, data aggregators and leading users of artificial intelligence (AI). Second, we use a labour taxonomy to demonstrate the extensive reach of these platforms in terms of the labour markets that they serve and shape. To illustrate these changes in the geography of value creation, we present case studies of Amazon and Google Maps to show their effects on the location of economic activity. Third, we elaborate on our contention that platforms are at once intermediaries and data hubs. AI is likely to reinforce the power of these platform leaders because they have the largest data sets, the most computational power, enormous teams of the best AI researchers and vast reservoirs of capital that they can use to make acquisitions. We conclude by identifying areas for future research and calling upon economic geographers to consider the implications of the platform economy in reshaping the space of economic activity.
10 days ago by scritic
Why the Success of The New York Times May Be Bad News for Journalism - The New York Times
I’m stepping into the space opened a decade ago by David Carr, the late columnist who chronicled an explosion of new online outlets. My focus will probably be the opposite: The consolidation of everything from movies to news, as the media industry gets hollowed out by the same rich-get-richer, winner-take-all forces that have reshaped businesses from airlines to pharmaceuticals.

And the story of consolidation in media is a story about The Times itself.

The gulf between The Times and the rest of the industry is vast and keeps growing: The company now has more digital subscribers than The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the 250 local Gannett papers combined, according to the most recent data. And The Times employs 1,700 journalists — a huge number in an industry where total employment nationally has fallen to somewhere between 20,000 and 38,000.

ImageBen Smith.
Ben Smith.Credit...BuzzFeed
The Times so dominates the news business that it has absorbed many of the people who once threatened it: The former top editors of Gawker, Recode, and Quartz are all at The Times, as are many of the reporters who first made Politico a must-read in Washington.
journalism  platformization 
5 weeks ago by scritic
Calibrating Agency: Human-Autonomy Teaming and the Future of Work amid Highly Automated Systems - EPIC
This paper explores how the design of everyday interactions with artificial intelligence in work systems relates to broader issues of interest to social scientists and ethicists: namely human well-being and social inequality. The paper uses experience designing human interactions with highly automated systems as a lens for looking at the social implications of work design, and argues that what human and automation each do is less important than how human and automation are structured to interact. The Human-Autonomy Teaming (HAT) paradigm, explored in the paper, has been a promising alternative way to think about human interactions with automation in our laboratory's research and development work. We argue that the notion of teaming is particularly useful in that it encourages designers to consider human well-being as central to the operational success of the overall human-machine system that is being designed.
7 weeks ago by scritic
Agile as Trauma — Dorian Taylor
Great meditation on agile.

1970: Managing the Development of Large Software SystemsThe original Waterfall paper by Winston Royce, in which he introduces the Waterfall model as an obvious and deliberate straw man, and makes a pretty clear case for a feedback loop.1971: Program Development by Stepwise RefinementAn important paper on iteration by Niklaus Wirth.1975: The Mythical Man-MonthThe quintessential volume on software design and project management, by Frederick Brooks.1980: Programs, Life Cycles, and Laws of Software EvolutionOne of the agglomerating papers on Meir Lehman’s Laws of Software Evolution, which date back to 1974.1981: Software Engineering EconomicsMost of this 800-page tome by Barry Boehm is about estimating Waterfall-esque projects, but the introductory chapters deal with, among other things, uncertainty and feedback from users.1988: A Spiral Model of Software Development and EnhancementA subsequent meditation by Boehm on incrementalism, iteration and risk.

I should also note that while it is somewhat obliquely related to the content of this particular document, the thing that got me exercised enough to write it is a podcast episode by Laura Klein and Kate Rutter, Problems with Agile UX.
7 weeks ago by scritic
Platform Practices in the Cultural Industries: Creativity, Labor, and Citizenship: Social Media + Society: SAGE Journals
Social Media + Society

Platform Practices in the Cultural Industries: Creativity, Labor, and Citizenship

Edited by Brooke Erin Duffy, Thomas Poell, & David Nieborg
8 weeks ago by scritic
“One part politics, one part technology, one part history”: Racial representation in the Unicode 7.0 emoji set - Kate M. Miltner,


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“We don’t need to racialize hundreds of characters”: colorblind racism in action





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“One part politics, one part technology, one part history”: Racial representation in the Unicode 7.0 emoji set

Kate M. Miltner

First Published January 29, 2020 Research Article



Emoji are miniature pictographs that have taken over text messages, emails, and Tweets worldwide. Although contemporary emoji represent a variety of races, genders, and sexual orientations, the original emoji set came under fire for its racial homogeneity: minus two “ethnic” characters, the people emoji featured in Unicode 7.0 were represented as White. This article investigates the set of circumstances that gave rise to this state of affairs, and explores the implications for users of color whose full participation in the emoji phenomenon is constrained by their exclusion. This project reveals that the lack of racial representation within the emoji set is the result of colorblind racism as evidenced through two related factors: aversion to, and avoidance of, the politics of technical systems and a refusal to recognize that the racial homogeneity of the original emoji set was problematic in the first place.
platformization  Teaching 
9 weeks ago by scritic
Theatres of Failure: digital demonstrations of disruption in everyday life - Goldsmiths Research Online
Disruption regularly occurs in everyday life: public transport runs late, online accounts get hacked or faddish technology interrupts our experience of public spaces. These disruptions are sometimes called 'speed bumps' in our daily experience, giving insight into our expectations of a normal working order of everyday life. But mundane disruptions are not only events that occur and are then forgotten about. As I discuss in this thesis, we also demonstrate our disruption to those responsible as a form of problematisation (Callon 1986a), enrolling others into the disruption. As far as direct communication is concerned, these disruptions were once demonstrated between the disrupted party and the responsible entity via personal media such as letters, telephone conversations or emails. However, the uptake of social and digital media devices in recent years has meant demonstrations of mundane disruption have become networked, enlisting participation from broader audiences beyond those directly responsible. This leaves us with questions about the ontology and agency of the digital: is the digital a setting, an actor or an assemblage in the demonstration of disruption, or many other entities in addition? This thesis investigates how demonstrations of disruption are being reconfigured in light of the digital. I examine this phenomenon through theoretical standpoints in Science and Technology Studies, the emerging field of digital sociology and, ethnomethodology, which I bring to bear on demonstrations performed in three different field sites. The first is an ethnographic study of the situated practices of Transport for London’s social media customer service team. The second analyses blogs and YouTube videos that attempt to enrol publics in issues of cyber security. The last empirical chapter combines digital ethnography with an in situ breaching experiment to describe and analyse how people use social media to demonstrate a particular disruptive digital object, the selfie stick, in public places.
Teaching  platformization 
9 weeks ago by scritic
Algorithms at Work: The New Contested Terrain of Control | Academy of Management Annals


The widespread implementation of algorithmic technologies in organizations prompts questions about how algorithms may reshape organizational control. We use Edwards’ (1979) perspective of “contested terrain,” wherein managers implement production technologies to maximize the value of labor and workers resist, to synthesize the interdisciplinary research on algorithms at work. We find that algorithmic control in the workplace operates through six main mechanisms, which we call the “6 Rs”—employers can use algorithms to direct workers by restricting and recommending, evaluate workers by recording and rating, and discipline workers by replacing and rewarding. We also discuss several key insights regarding algorithmic control. First, labor process theory helps to highlight potential problems with the largely positive view of algorithms at work. Second, the technical capabilities of algorithmic systems facilitate a form of rational control that is distinct from the technical and bureaucratic control used by employers for the past century. Third, employers’ use of algorithms is sparking the development of new algorithmic occupations. Finally, workers are individually and collectively resisting algorithmic control through a set of emerging tactics we call algoactivism. These insights sketch the contested terrain of algorithmic control and map critical areas for future research.
platformization  artificial_intelligence 
11 weeks ago by scritic
Why California's new privacy law won't really protect you
or this kind of legislation to work, enforcement is key. Weakened enforcement is one of the most egregious mistakes that was made in the legislative compromise in California. The initiative had a private right of action—which means that individuals would be empowered to sue companies that violated their rights—in addition to enforcement by the state’s attorney general, district attorneys, and city attorneys and prosecutors. In the legislative compromise, only the attorney general can enforce the CCPA (except for data breaches). Unfortunately, the California attorney general’s office predicts that even with additional resources, they will only be able to bring three enforcement actions a year, rendering the CCPA largely toothless.

Along with lax enforcement, the CCPA does not have provisions to protect the most vulnerable in our society, who are often most impacted by privacy abuses. Privacy should not be a commodity that only the wealthy can afford. Future legislation should explicitly prohibit digital redlining and also include a strict non-discrimination provision to protect consumers if they choose to exercise any of their rights.

platformization  teaching 
12 weeks ago by scritic
On Assemblages and Things: Fluidity, Stability, Causation Stories, and Formation Stories - Timothy Rutzou, Dave Elder-Vass, 2019
This article conducts a dialogue and creates a new synthesis between two of the most influential ontological discourses in the field of sociology: assemblage theory and critical realism. The former proposes a focus on difference, fluidity, and process, the latter a focus on stability and structure. Drawing on and assessing the work of Deleuze, DeLanda, and Bhaskar, we argue that social ontology must overcome the tendency to bifurcate between these two poles and instead develop an ontology more suited to explaining complex social phenomena by accommodating elements of both traditions. Going beyond DeLanda’s recent work, we argue that a concept of causal types must be used alongside a typology of structures to give us an ontology that can sustain sociology’s need for both formation stories and causation stories. We illustrate the necessity and value of our proposed synthesis by discussing MacKenzie’s recent empirical analysis of a high-frequency trading firm.
platformization  research 
12 weeks ago by scritic
Isomorphism through algorithms: Institutional dependencies in the case of Facebook - Robyn Caplan, danah boyd, 2018
Algorithms and data-driven technologies are increasingly being embraced by a variety of different sectors and institutions. This paper examines how algorithms and data-driven technologies, enacted by an organization like Facebook, can induce similarity across an industry. Using theories from organizational sociology and neoinstitutionalism, this paper traces the bureaucratic roots of Big Data and algorithms to examine the institutional dependencies that emerge and are mediated through data-driven and algorithmic logics. This type of analysis sheds light on how organizational contexts are embedded into algorithms, which can then become embedded within other organizational and individual practices. By investigating technical practices as organizational and bureaucratic, discussions about accountability and decision-making can be reframed.
12 weeks ago by scritic
A taxonomy of users’ active design engagement in the 21st century - ScienceDirect
People do not only purchase and use products; they design, appropriate and innovate.

Research on active users in different fields highlight different characteristics.

We synthesize a taxonomy on active design engagement from existing literature.

Active use is pivotal to many design approaches for decades, and increasingly so.

We illustrate the taxonomy with examples from peer-to-peer open design making.
january 2020 by scritic

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