The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence - The New York Times
Unless they wish to plunge their people into poverty, they will be forced to negotiate with whichever country supplies most of their A.I. software — China or the United States — to essentially become that country’s economic dependent, taking in welfare subsidies in exchange for letting the “parent” nation’s A.I. companies continue to profit from the dependent country’s users.
ai  government 
9 hours ago
Amazon Bites Off Even More Monopoly Power - NYTimes.com
Because of their gatekeeper role, railroads had power to discriminate, both among users and in favor of their own wares. These middlemen could tax the farmers and oil producers who depended on their rails — or deny them a ride and sink their livelihoods....And like the railroads of yore, Amazon dictates terms and prices to those dependent on its rails. During negotiations with the publisher Hachette over e-book pricing, Amazon showed its might by effectively disabling sales of thousands of Hachette’s books overnight.
amazon  antitrust 
2 days ago
Google’s Go-to-Market Gap – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The problem is that as much as Google may be ahead, the company is also on the clock: every interaction with Siri, every signal sent to Facebook, every command answered by Alexa, is one that is not only not captured by Google but also one that is captured by its competitors.
google  stacks 
5 days ago
Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
“Anything they might want to buy online” was pretty broad; the advent of Amazon Web Services a few years later showed it wasn’t broad enough, and a few years ago Amazon reduced its stated goal to just that first clause: We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.
amazon  antitrust 
5 days ago
Raury, a Dolce & Gabbana Model, Protested the Label During Its Own Fashion Show | W Magazine
Raury, an up-and-coming from R&B singer from Georgia, stripped off his top during the finale to reveal message he had written on his skin, including "Protest D&G."
fashion  protests  blacklivesmatter 
5 days ago
[Reviews] | Getting In and Out, by Zadie Smith | Harper's Magazine
Every one of these reversals “lands”—just like a good joke—simultaneously describing and interpreting the situation at hand, and this, I think, is what accounts for the homogeneity of reactions to Get Out: It is a film that contains its own commentary. 
film  race  comedy  criticism 
5 days ago
GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters
The Reddit data could’ve been used as training data for an artificial intelligence algorithm focused on natural language processing, or it might have been harvested as part of an effort to match up Reddit users with their voter registration records.
elections  reddit  data 
6 days ago
How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Sends You Letters about Your Medical Condition
“Doing a search on your mobile device means you are incredibly re-identifiable,” said Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum, referring to the fact that a mobile device provides more unique identifiers than a computer typically does.
data  health  privacy 
6 days ago
On the rise of unproductive entrepreneurs like Travis Kalanick | FT Alphaville
Hence it’s worrying that amidst all the focus on Uber’s horrible corporate culture, very little attention is still being paid to the underlying non-viability of the business model, which is mostly based on undercutting the competition via free giveaways, exploiting drivers and/or adjusting the rules of the regulatory framework to suit the company’s own monopolistic agenda.
silicon-valley  uber  business 
9 days ago
Be Careful Celebrating Google’s New Ad Blocker. Here’s What’s Really Going On.
But who’s part of the Coalition for Better Ads? Google, for one, as well as Facebook. Those two companies accounted for 99 percent of all digital ad revenue growth in the United States last year, and 77 percent of gross ad spending. As Mark Patterson of Fordham University explained, the Coalition for Better Ads is “a cartel orchestrated by Google.”
google  facebook  advertising  stacks 
9 days ago
A Utopia of One’s Own – Weird Future – Medium
"I think people are naturally concerned about change. We’re changing quickly, but some of our institutions, like some laws, aren’t changing with that. The laws [about technology] can’t be right if it’s 50 years old — that’s before the Internet. Maybe more of us need to go into other areas to help them improve and understand technology."
larry-page  google  thebook 
10 days ago
Silicon Valley to Liberal Arts Majors: We Want You | Boston Review
His lack of skepticism when startups claim to build a better world takes me back to one of my favorite quotations from Bertolt Brecht: “Amongst the highly-placed / It is considered low to talk about food. / The fact is:  they have / Already eaten.”...

It is never about the money in Silicon Valley. The fact is: they have plenty of it...Finn is more worried that much work falls into what he calls an “implementation gap”: doing what machines cannot yet do but will do sooner or later. Sometimes the boundary between the two perspectives seems to vanish: Facebook and YouTube moderators and Uber drivers owe their jobs to technology platforms, even as they train their digital replacements by their own efforts.
silicon-valley  tech-criticism 
11 days ago
The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning - The New York Times
Manning told me her decision to provide the information to WikiLeaks was a practical one: She originally planned to deliver the data to The New York Times or The Washington Post, and for the last week of her leave, she dodged from public phone to public phone, calling the main office lines for both papers, leaving a message for the public editor at The Times and engaging in a frustrating conversation with a Post writer, who said she would have to know more about the files before her editor would sign off on an article. A hastily arranged meeting with Politico, where she hoped to introduce herself to the site’s security bloggers, was scrapped because of bad weather. ..
Isolation “changes you; it makes you angry,” she said. “You start to forget about the world outside — it’s not relevant or relatable anymore. The darkest part of solitary confinement is that you start to forget about cars, and jobs, and families, and weather, and politicians, and all the things that make up a society.”
leaks  wikileaks  manning 
13 days ago
Errata Security: How The Intercept Outed Reality Winner
The situation is similar to how Vice outed the location of John McAfee, by publishing JPEG photographs of him with the EXIF GPS coordinates still hidden in the file. Or it's how PDFs are often redacted by adding a black bar on top of image, leaving the underlying contents still in the file for people to read, such as in this NYTime accident with a Snowden document. These sorts of failures are common with leaks.
metadata  leaks 
19 days ago
Rebecca Hall’s Complicated Inheritance - The New Yorker
“My father was a huge influence in that respect. He always said to me, ‘If you want to be a good actor, acting holds everything.’ It’s the art form of interpreting human behavior. So one of the things that will strengthen that ability to do that is engaging with your mind. That means reading books, that means looking at art, that means interpreting the world analytically and having an analytic involvement with life.”
acting  theater  craft 
20 days ago
A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction - The New Yorker
. Dystopianism turns out to have a natural affinity with American adolescence. And this, I think, is where the life of the genre got squeezed out, like a beetle burned up on an asphalt driveway by a boy wielding a magnifying glass on a sunny day. It sizzles, and then it smokes, and then it just lies there, dead as a bug.

Dystopias featuring teen-age characters have been a staple of high-school life since “The Lord of the Flies” came out, in 1954. But the genre only really took off in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, when distrust of adult institutions and adult authority flourishe
sci-fi  dystopia 
20 days ago
The Key Tech Trends of 2017, According to Silicon Valley's Favorite Forecaster | Inc.com
Not everyone was thrilled with Meeker's report. For one thing, the number of slides has ballooned in recent years. "Internet Trends" circa 2017 is more than twice as long as the 2016 version, weighing in at a whopping 355 slides. Bobby Grasberger‏, who works on brand strategy at Twitter, diagnosed the cause of growth as "less understanding of where to focus."

...Meeker's area of expertise may not be the center of tech action anymore, questioning whether "maybe internet and mobile innovation have peaked?"
trends  advertising  coolhunting  tech 
22 days ago
Eli Pariser Predicted the Future. Now He Can’t Escape It.
There was a study of the coverage of the Portland Press Herald in Maine, where I grew up. If you map which towns get covered [journalistically] and which don’t, you get a map that looks a lot like the Clinton areas of Maine [are covered], and not the Trump areas of Maine.
echo-chambers  filters  journalism  trust 
25 days ago
Flipbooks Help Prisoners Stay Connected To Their Loved Ones : All Tech Considered : NPR
Like many proud parents, Nicole Garrens captured her son Zander's first steps on her cellphone. She wanted to share the video with her husband, Roy, but he recently went to prison in Texas.
film  documentation  prison 
26 days ago
How do you fix Facebook moderation’s problem? Figure out what Facebook is - The Verge
During a visit to his alma mater, Bowdoin, this spring, Dave Willner, who helped build Facebook’s first speech guidelines and is now head of community policy at Airbnb, described the challenge of dealing with images in stark terms: “[W]hile Facebook has technically hard problems—like it has to store two billion people’s photos indefinitely for the rest of time—the hard problems those companies face are, what do you do about live video murder? In terms of consequences for the company and the societal impact, the hard problems are the human problems.”
facebook  platforms  moderation 
27 days ago
Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology: Brian Hochman: 9780816681389: Amazon.com: Books
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, writers and anthropologists believed that the world’s primitive races were on the brink of extinction...In Savage Preservation, Brian Hochman shows how widespread interest in recording vanishing races and disappearing cultures influenced audiovisual innovation, experimentation, and use in the United States.
history  anthropology  media-studies 
28 days ago
52 Insights | Before The Internet, There was Minitel
Imagine a cyberspace where your online searches do not trigger being inundated with targeted ads, where the right to be forgotten is a non-issue because your personal data is not archived and stored by internet service and content providers, and where content exchanged with your friends does not become the property of your social media platform of choice. This world did exist and it was called Minitel.
28 days ago
Zoe Tillman on Twitter: "9th Circuit: No, the word "google" hasn't become so generic that Google should lose its trademark https://t.co/Tq45J1gnkU https://t.co/dQtjvfF1a1"
9th Circuit: No, the word "google" hasn't become so generic that Google should lose its trademark ªªhttp://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/05/16/15-15809.pdf …ºº
4 weeks ago
Facebook’s moderation is of public interest. It should be public knowledge. - Columbia Journalism Review
It is certainly the case that free expression on Reddit is markedly different from the experience on Facebook, which in turn is different from Twitter or YouTube. But with two billion users and very few other players of size, the marketplace of rules and ideas envisioned by Post, Benkler, and others appears to be failing.
moderation  platforms  facebook 
4 weeks ago
How I Write – tressiemc
Sentence after sentence I chose one thing that I knew and then I explained how I knew it. You can probably still see this in the structure of the overall book. It is: set up, description, explanation, integration with previous explanations. Over and over again.
4 weeks ago
The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel
The costs of creating wetware is huge and the closer that tissue is to human brain tissue, the more cost-efficient it is to just make a human. After all, making a human is something we can do in nine months.
ai  singularity 
4 weeks ago
How He Used Facebook to Win | by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books
(In March, Cambridge Analytica won an Advertising Research Foundation David Ogilvy Award for its “Can’t Run Her House” ad, which used a clip from the 2008 Democratic primary of Michelle Obama criticizing Clinton
advertising  elections  Cambridge-Analytica 
4 weeks ago
Paris Review - Annie Proulx, The Art of Fiction No. 199
A lot of the work I do is taking the bare sentence that says what you sort of want to say—which is where a lot of writers stop—and making it into an arching kind of thing that has both strength and beauty. And that is where the sweat comes in. That can take a long time and many revisions. A single sentence, particularly a long, involved one, can carry a story forward. I put a lot of time into them. Carefully constructed sentences cast a tint of indefinable substance over a story. 
4 weeks ago
The curious rise of the ‘white left’ as a Chinese internet insult | openDemocracy
 baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”;
politics  china 
5 weeks ago
Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in | World news | The Guardian
Yet for decades longer than more orthodox contemporary thinkers, accelerationists have been focused on many of the central questions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: the rise of China; the rise of artificial intelligence; what it means to be human in an era of addictive, intrusive electronic devices; the seemingly uncontrollable flows of global markets; the power of capitalism as a network of desires; the increasingly blurred boundary between the imaginary and the factual; the resetting of our minds and bodies by ever-faster music and films; and the complicity, revulsion and excitement so many of us feel about the speed of modern life.
accelerationism  transhumanism  fringe  futurism  theory 
6 weeks ago
Is the Gig Economy Working? - The New Yorker
Seth F. has been hired to assemble five jigsaw puzzles for a movie set, to write articles for a newspaper in Alaska, and to compose a best-man speech to be delivered by the brother of the groom, whom he had never met. (“The whole thing was about, ‘In the future, we’re going to get to know each other better,’ ” he explained.) Casper, the mattress company, booked him to put sheets on beds; Oscar, the health-insurance startup, had him decorate its offices for Christmas.
work  sharing-economy  labor  task-rabbit 
6 weeks ago
White Elephant Art and Termite Art (1962)
Most of the feckless, listless quality of today’s art can be blamed on its drive to break out of a tradition while, irrationally, hewing to the square, boxed-in shape and gemlike inertia of an old, densely wrought European masterpiece.
7 weeks ago
Hot takes and “problematic faves”: the rise of socially conscious criticism - Vox
if you look at the older movies that helped inspire Get Out — satirical, unsubtle horror-comedies like The Stepford Wives and They Live — you'll find their critics had much less enthusiasm for social commentary.

When John Carpenter released They Live in 1988, his attack on the selfishness and commercialism of 1980s America (the white family in Get Out has the same name, Armitage, as one of the characters in They Live), the Washington Post sneered that "the heavy artillery of sociological context and political implication" was just a distraction from a silly plot.
thebook  sharing  criticism 
8 weeks ago
The Cult of Bayes' Theorem
The theorem owes its present-day notoriety to Cold-War-era research into statistical models of human behaviour [1], the same research movement that gave us the Prisoner's Dilemma, Mutually Assured Destruction and Fuck You, Buddy. Statisticians in the 1950s and 1960s, initially concentrated around the University of Chicago and the Harvard Business School, decided to interpret probability not as a measure of chance, but as a measure of the confidence an agent has in its subjective beliefs. Under this interpretation, Bayes' Theorem acquired great prescriptive power: it expressed how a perfectly rational agent should revise its beliefs upon obtaining new evidence.
cold-war  bayes  rationality  silicon-valley 
8 weeks ago
This Easton business turns your kid into a hologram, statuette | lehighvalleylive.com
You can get a 3D printout, a downloaded 3D scan, a fruit bowl or a nightlight with a 3D image of anyone or anything you want at 3D Reactions in Downtown Easton.
hologram  weird 
8 weeks ago
With Neuralink, Elon Musk Promises Human-to-Human Telepathy. Don’t Believe It. - MIT Technology Review
Putting an implant in healthy people? That would require extraordinary evidence of safety. And that’s hard to picture, because as soon as you open someone’s head you put that person’s life at risk....Another thing in favor of Musk’s proposal is that symbiosis between brains and computers isn’t fiction. Remember that person who types with brain signals? Or the paralyzed people who move robot arms? These systems work better when the computer completes people’s thoughts. The subject only needs to type “bulls …”
junk-science  elon-musk  telepathy  ai  neuroscience  wetware  autocomplete  thebook 
8 weeks ago
Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire - The New York Times
They spent much of their energy one-upping rivals like Lyft. Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft’s business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)
data  uber  lyft  consent 
9 weeks ago
#520: Oculus’ VR Privacy Policy Serves the Needs of Facebook, Not Users | Voices of VR Podcast
For example, in Oculus’ response to Al Franken’s question as to whether Oculus is sharing information with third parties including it’s related companies they said, “Oculus does not currently share location information with third parties or related companies.” Their privacy policy certainly allows this sharing to happen at any moment, and so Oculus is basically just saying that we’re not sharing this data yet.
facebook  oculus  vr  privacy 
9 weeks ago
What killed Service Merchandise? - Nashville Business Journal
The Brentwood-based catalog retailer's demise was intricately related to its antiquated business model and inability to successfully transform into a traditional retailer.
80s  retail 
9 weeks ago
POETRY OF FACT by Robert Polito | Graywolf Press
“I write prose with a poet’s head. . . . Without sounding utterly pretentious, I do think of almost everything I write as a poem—certainly all three of my big books. The chapters are strophes. It’s not an account. It’s not a history. I’m not a historian—I’ve never pretended to be one—and I’m not giving a definitive account of anything. It’s a very, very subjective approach to the past, to a certain time and place. It’s carved in a particular way. It favors certain narratives over certain others. It’s intended above all else to be an experience.”
writing  non-fiction  luc-sante 
9 weeks ago
Violent spring: The nature book that predicted the future | Books | The Guardian
Thirteen years ago I described The Peregrine as “not a book about watching a bird, [but] a book about becoming a bird”. Baker himself often suggests a comparable process of conversion, writing of how – by means of primitive rituals of following and mimicking – “the hunter becom[es] the thing he hunts”. Now, though, I no longer believe The Peregrine is a book about “becoming a bird”. Truer to say that it is a book about “failing to become a bird”.
nature  writing  wildlife 
9 weeks ago
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