technocracy   735

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On "AI" replacing jobs and humans
This is a common aspect of automation or digitization (and bureaucracy interestingly because bureaucracy, automation, the digital turn and “AI” have a whole lot in common but that is a different text): In order for these systems to work, processes need to be simplified, complexity needs to be stripped. That often comes at a cost. It can mean that non-standard faces (which can mean anything from black faces to faces with scars or freckles) are not detected as such. It can mean that an “AI” trying to detect a heart attack was only trained for people assigned male at birth and doesn’t properly detect a heart attack in people assigned female at birth (I fall back to the gender/sex binary here just cause I don’t know how HRT or other genetic markups affect symptoms of a heart attack. I apologize to my non-binary or trans readers). It can also mean that in order to get the damn autonomous cars to work we human beings will be excluded from even more public spaces: Some autonomous car experts are already asking for sidewalks to be basically cages with defined doors that open only when the traffic lights are green so the world becomes simple enough for cars to “understand”.
automation  artificial_intelligence  jobs  metis  technocracy  late_stage_capitalism 
9 weeks ago by perich
The Californian Ideology
Who would have predicted that, in less than 30 years after the battle for People's Park, squares and hippies would together create the Californian Ideology? Who would have thought that such a contradictory mix of technological determinism and libertarian individualism would becoming the hybrid orthodoxy of the information age? And who would have suspected that as technology and freedom were worshipped more and more, it would become less and less possible to say anything sensible about the society in which they were applied?
california  silicon_valley  technocracy  left_eating_itself  individualism  hippies 
11 weeks ago by perich
Say No to the “Cashless Future” — and to Cashless Stores | American Civil Liberties Union
"It is great to see this pushback against the supposed cashless future because this is a trend that should very much be nipped in the bud. There are several reasons why cashless stores, and a cashless society more broadly, are a bad idea. Such stores are:

Bad for privacy. When you pay cash, there is no middleman; you pay, you receive goods or services — end of story. When a middleman becomes part of the transaction, that middleman often gets to learn about the transaction — and under our weak privacy laws, has a lot of leeway to use that information as it sees fit. (Cash transactions of more than $10,000 must be reported to the government, however.) More on privacy and payment systems in a follow-up post.

Bad for low-income communities. Participation in a cashless society presumes a level of financial stability and enmeshment in bureaucratic financial systems that many people simply do not possess. Opening a bank account requires an ID, which many poor and elderly people lack, as well as other documents such as a utility bill or other proof of address, which the homeless lack, and which generally create bureaucratic barriers to participating in electronic payment networks. Banks also charge fees that can be significant for people living on the economic margins. According to government data from 2017, about one in 15 U.S. households (6.5%) were “unbanked” (had no checking or savings account), while almost one in five (18.7%) were “underbanked” (had a bank account but resorted to using money orders, check cashing, or payday loans). Finally, because merchants usually pass along the cost of credit card fees to all their customers through their prices, the current credit card system effectively serves to transfer money from poor households to high-income households, according to a study by the Federal Reserve.

Bad for people of color. The burden of lack of access to banking services such as credit cards does not fall equally. While 84% of white people in 2017 were what the Federal Reserve calls “fully banked,” only 52% of Black and 63% of Hispanic people were.
Bad for the undocumented. Facing a lack of official identity documents, not to mention all the other obstacles mentioned above, undocumented immigrants can have an even harder time accessing banking services.

Bad for many merchants. Merchants pay roughly 2-3% of every transaction to the credit card companies, which can be a significant “tax,” especially on low-margin businesses. With the credit card sector dominated by an oligopoly of 2-3 companies, there is not enough competition to keep these “swipe fees” low. Big companies have the leverage to negotiate lower fees, but small merchants are out of luck, and the amount that they pay to the credit card companies is often greater than their profit. If cashless stores are allowed to become widespread, that will harm the many merchants who either discourage or flat-out refuse to accept credit cards due to these fees.

Less resilient. The nationwide outage of electronic cash registers at Target stores several weeks ago left customers unable to make purchases — except those who had cash. That’s a reminder that electronic payments systems can mean centralized points of failure — not just technical failures like Target’s, but also security failures. A cashless society would also leave people more susceptible to economic failure on an individual basis: if a hacker, bureaucratic error, or natural disaster shuts a consumer out of their account, the lack of a cash option would leave them few alternatives.

The issue goes beyond restaurants and retail stores; other services that are built around electronic payments should also offer cash options (or cash-like anonymous stored value cards). Those include ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, bike and scooter share systems, and transit systems. In San Francisco, for example, the city’s bike-share program is providing an option to pay with cash. In DC, where I live, the Metro requires a smart card to use — but riders have the option to either register their card so that they can cancel it if it’s lost or stolen, or buy it with cash and not register it to keep it more private."


"What to do

So what should you do if you walk into a store and are told: “your cash is no good here”?

Register your objection. Say to the staff, “I know this isn’t your policy personally, but I think it’s a bad one, and I hope you’ll pass that along to your management. Not accepting cash is bad for privacy, bad for poor people, and bad for the undocumented.”

Refuse to provide a credit card. If you haven’t been given very clear advance notice that cash is not accepted, tell them you don’t have a credit card with you and see what they propose. There’s no law that a person has to possess a credit card or furnish one on demand. This may tie up their line, require the calling of a manger, create abandoned food that has already been prepared, and generally create inefficiencies that, if repeated among enough customers, will start to erode the advantages of going cashless for merchants.

Walk out. If you can do without, leave the establishment without buying anything after registering your objection to a staff person so they are aware they’ve lost your business over it.

Understand why some stores charge fees for credit card use. If you visit a store or restaurant that charges a higher price for credit card purchases, understand that this is a socially beneficial policy and be supportive. Merchants are explicitly permitted to pass swipe fees (also known as “interchange fees”) along to customers, which among other things is fairer to low-income customers who don’t have credit cards and shouldn’t have to absorb the costs of those cards. If you are a business, consider passing along those fees to increase fairness as well as customer awareness of how the current system works.

Contact your elected representatives. We have already seen some cities and states ban cashless stores. Your state or city can do so as well.

The bottom line is that the technocratic “dream” of a cashless society is a vision in which we discard what is left of the anonymity that has characterized urban life since the dawn of modernity, and our freedom from the power of centralized companies like banks. Doing without cash may be convenient at times, but if we lose cash as an option we’re going to regret it later."
money  privacy  technology  privilege  cashless  currency  2019  aclu  inequality  resilience  bias  business  economics  policy  siliconvalley  creditcards  cash  technocracy  technosolutionism 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
Testez le générateur de communiqués de presse du nouveau monde ! - Contexte
Le journal des politiques françaises et européennes.
Cet été, Contexte disrupte la compol’ avec un outil à destination de tous les stakeholders engagés dans la transformation de nos institutions dans un monde multipolaire.

Appuyez sur le bouton, laissez l’algorithme mixer vos éléments de langage préférés, et partez en vacances l’esprit léger : votre campagne de com’ de la rentrée est prête.
generator  france  technocracy 
july 2019 by davidbenque
Liberals should cheer the return of state power
the twitter lede had it that this essay was about how the confusion of technocracy with neoliberalism was a mistake, and that it was technocracy that was the problem. (it wasn't quite expressed like that but regardless I reacted against it). this essay is interesting though.

1. the state has more power than it realises
2. liberalism should harness this power

populism in part defines itself against the state (see the excellent #yorkshireranter piece on populism here:

so there's a question here about whether that actually helps with the perception of liberalism. sandbu's article is saying that in fact that was *not* a perceived problem with liberalism, and that in fact it was liberalism's inactivity and global quiescence that was the problem. the ability to publicly use the state to help citizens was insufficiently used, and therefore the qualities of the state get called into question.

and it's partially convincing:
That claim [the impotence of the state in the face of globalism] was at least as big a part of the legacy of the 1990s as the rules-based world order now under threat. Today’s politics is often billed as a backlash against globalising liberalism. But it is closer to the truth to see it as a reaction to the way technocracy took the place of politics, institutional design substituted for policymaking and restraint was often preferred to the active wielding of power.

Populist snake oil from the right or the left will not solve these.
this is not a helpful phrase. what does he mean by 'snake oil' here? flags and culture war stuff, sure, but is that what he means? not clear.
has to come up with the hilarious phrase "centrist radicalism" to manage this. And another! "Paradoxically, the best hope for a rules-based world is for the EU to feel a bit less hemmed in by rules."
globalisation  technocracy  neoliberalism  ft 
july 2019 by diasyrmus
Redwashing capital – Uneven Earth
A really thorough, well-linked response to techno-utopianism, outdated forms of central planning, and Bastani's notion of "fully automated luxury communism."
falgsc  technocracy  central_planning  ecology  ecosocialism  globalization  aaron_bastani 
july 2019 by perich
The Sameness of Cass Sunstein | The New Republic
"HOW CHANGE HAPPENS by Cass R. Sunstein The MIT Press, 344 pp., $29.95"
book  review  change  technocracy  politics  rant 
june 2019 by tsuomela
Facebook’s Work With Phone Carriers Alarms Legal Experts
The thought of seeing fewer ads from Facebook might strike some as an unalloyed good — it certainly seems to beat the alternative. But credit reporting, profoundly dull as it might sound, is an enormously sensitive practice with profound economic consequences, determining who can and can’t, say, own or rent a home, or get easy financial access to a new cellphone. Facebook here seems to be allowing companies to reach you on the basis of a sort of unofficial credit score, a gray market determination of whether you’re a good consumer based on how much you and your habits resemble a vast pool of strangers.
social-media  privacy  technocracy  credit-scores  facebook  technology 
may 2019 by chriskrycho
@toad_spotted: Buttigieg and Macron’s sexualities are of course highly relevant to their unadulterated identities as red-robed cardinals of the meritocratic church, trained in the Jesuitical methods of McKinsey or Goldman, a new Mazarin or Richelieu to
@toad_spotted: Buttigieg and Macron’s sexualities are of course highly relevant to their unadulterated identities as red-robed cardinals of the meritocratic church, trained in the Jesuitical methods of McKinsey or Goldman, a new Mazarin or Richelieu to our just born infant Sun King, Woke Skynet
Meritocracy  Technocracy  SpottedToad  Thread  MustRead 
april 2019 by cbearden
We Company hired a Google executive to launch a "smart cities" project — Quartz at Work
@jmcwhrtr: “The question is: Can two futurists, equipped with the resources of a $47 billion company, actually help solve issues posed by urbanization and climate change?”

1. Severely doubt it, to put it nicely.
2. Let’s not ask these kinds of questions please.
cities  technocracy  stacks  2019 
march 2019 by mechazoidal

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