Ethan Zuckerman: Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civics – a whitepaper for the Knight Foundation | … My heart’s in Accra
The paper I wrote – “Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics: understanding the deep roots of the crisis of faith in journalism” – served two purposes for me. First, it’s a rough outline of the book I’m working on this next year about mistrust and civics, which means I can pretend that I’ve been working on my book this summer. Second, it let me put certain stakes in the ground for my discussion with my friends at Knight. Conversations about mistrust in journalism have a tendency to focus on the uniqueness of the profession and its critical civic role in the US and in other open societies. I wanted to be clear that I think journalism has a great deal in common with other large institutions that are suffering declines in trust. Yes, the press has come under special scrutiny due to President Trump’s decision to demonize and threaten journalists, but I think mistrust in civic institutions is much broader than mistrust in the press.

Because mistrust is broad-based, press-centric solutions to mistrust are likely to fail. This is a broad civic problem, not a problem of fake news, of fact checking or of listening more to our readers. The shape of civics is changing, and while many citizens have lost confidence in existing institutions, others are finding new ways to participate. The path forward for news media is to help readers be effective civic actors. If news organizations can help make citizens feel powerful, like they can make effective civic change, they’ll develop a strength and loyalty they’ve not felt in years.
misinformation  cyberpolitics  ethan_zuckerman  journalism 
5 days ago
How Palantir, Peter Thiel's Secretive Data Company, Pushed Its Way Into Policing | WIRED
A Backchannel investigation reveals the difficult issues police and communities face when they adopt Palantir's secretive data-scooping software.
big_data  palantir  predictive_policing  algorithms 
5 days ago
Just Business | Library Babel Fish
nice thought piece from a librarian on the implications of Elsevier's acquisition of Bepress
OA  mh 
5 days ago
Computer scientists reveal the hidden architecture of tax havens—and how to beat them — Quartz
Using a global dataset that tracks the relationships between more than 98 million companies, the researchers used algorithms to build a network that identified the relationships between corporate subsidiaries, tracing the flow of tax-free money from country to country through these corporate chains.
This technique allowed them to make a key distinction, between offshore financial centers that act as conduits from major markets, and their final destinations, offshore financial centers that act as sinks for capital.
transparency  tax_justice 
15 days ago
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? - The Atlantic
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
mobile  youth 
16 days ago
You Are The Product
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
long but excellent review essay - very interesting speculation on how Facebook's monopoly could be countered towards the end
cyberpolitics  disinformation  must_read  anti-trust  antitrust 
17 days ago
Has our attention been commodified? – The Economist
(This 7-minute segment is the best summary I've come across of Tim Wu's argument in "The Attention Merchants", which meshes with the thinking of James Williams [see podcast flagged just before this] and Tristan Harris.)
Has our attention been commodified?
If you’re not paying for it, you might be the product
When media is free to read, watch or listen to, does that make you the product?
According to Professor Tim Wu, author of “The Attention Merchants: How Our Time and Attention Are Gathered and Sold”, our eyes and ears have been commodified by newspapers, TV channels, search engines and social media platforms at the expense of our public sphere and our individual efficiency. We interviewed Mr Wu on our Babbage podcast, where his segment starts at 7.35:
attention_economy  cyberpolitics  disinformation 
18 days ago
'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?' Talking Politics podcast
This week we talk to James Williams, winner of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which offered $100,000 for the best answer to the question: 'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?'  James used to work at Google and he channeled his experiences for his prize-winning entry.  He tells us what he learned there and what it means to live in the attention economy.  Plus we discuss how Trump has managed to monopolise the attention of the entire world.  Along with the money, James now has to write a book with his answer - we'll be checking in with him along the way to see how he's getting on.  With David Runciman and John Naughton. (JULY 28, 2017)
attention_economy  cyberpolitics  disinformation 
18 days ago
How startup Kite tried to ruin two open source communities
Kite hired a key developer on the popular open source project Minimap (Cédric Néhémie) and either hired or influenced the key developer on autocomplete-python (@sadovnychy). In the former case, almost immediately upon his hire Néhémie implemented a new feature ("Implement kite promotion") that managed to infuriate the Minimap developer community even as it allowed Kite to push ads into the Minimap user experience. There was no way to disable it, something developers deemed "simply obnoxious," though Kite finally backed down and disabled the "feature" in July.
open_source  advertising  km 
19 days ago
Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance! -
When Americans talk about technology, they often use “innovation” as a shorthand. But “innovation” refers only to the very early phases of technological development and use. It also tends to narrow the scope of technology to digital gadgets of recent vintage: iPhones, social media apps and so on. A more expansive conception of technology would take into account the diverse array of tools, including subways and trains, that we humans use to help us reach our goals.

While innovation — the social process of introducing new things — is important, most technologies around us are old, and for the smooth functioning of daily life, maintenance is more important.
ee  intermediary  maintenance  technology 
29 days ago
Zebras Unite
“Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break” calls for a more ethical and inclusive movement to counter existing start-up culture. We believe creating an alternative to this status quo is a moral imperative.
ee  maintenance  dazzle  data  entrepreneur  investing 
29 days ago
Questions FTC Data Security Enforcement Approach
​Interesting FTC case that is being argued right now and is a major test for what is considered harm, especially in the context of security and protection of private data. In recent years, the FTC has used "unfairness" as a way of managing consumer issues related to default settings (Frostwire) as well as security measures to enforce data protections. The question of what constitutes harm comes up quite a bit, as it does in our class discussions as well, and is something that is of ongoing interest in the evolving world of personal data protection.
FTC  km 
7 weeks ago
please include in our list of upcoming conferences. Thanks!
conferences  OA  OER  MH 
8 weeks ago
Wikimania - Wikimania
please include in our list of upcoming conferences
conferences  MH 
8 weeks ago
Inside the Algorithm That Tries to Predict Gun Violence in Chicago - The New York Times
statisticians reverse engineering the "strategic subject list" algorithm used in Chicago. CPD has declined to release details citing proprietary technology. Journalists filed FOIA suits to get full information.
algorithms  ee  chicago  guns  violence  police  predictive_policing 
9 weeks ago
ConceptNet Numberbatch 17.04: better, less-stereotyped word vectors
"I had tried building an algorithm for sentiment analysis based on word embeddings — evaluating how much people like certain things based on what they say about them. When I applied it to restaurant reviews, I found it was ranking Mexican restaurants lower. The reason was not reflected in the star ratings or actual text of the reviews. It’s not that people don’t like Mexican food. The reason was that the system had learned the word “Mexican” from reading the Web.

If a restaurant were described as doing something “illegal”, that would be a pretty negative statement about the restaurant, right? But the Web contains lots of text where people use the word “Mexican” disproportionately along with the word “illegal”, particularly to associate “Mexican immigrants” with “illegal immigrants”. The system ends up learning that “Mexican” means something similar to “illegal”, and so it must mean something bad."
algorithms  bias  nlp  km 
10 weeks ago
Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life
Report by Susan's grantee: How thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in today’s digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data?
surveillance  km 
10 weeks ago
DHS Public Database Includes Personal Information of Abuse Victims
The Trump administration’s effort to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants has become a nightmare for immigrant victims of abuse, with the personal information of undocumented victims appearing in a publicly searchable database launched last month by the Department of Homeland Security.
trump  database  km  privacy 
10 weeks ago
How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide - The New Yorker
At the University of Washington, students are learning to navigate the hazards of our information-addled age.
11 weeks ago
How Twitter Is Being Gamed to Feed Misinformation
“Bots allow groups to speak much more loudly than they would be able to on any other social media platforms — it lets them use Twitter as a megaphone,” said Samuel Woolley, the director for research at Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project. “It’s doing something that I call ‘manufacturing consensus,’ or building the illusion of popularity for a candidate or a particular idea.”
twitter  misinformation  botnets  km  nytimes 
11 weeks ago
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning | Mental Floss
At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data.
ai  machine_learning  ee 
11 weeks ago
Uber Starts Charging What It Thinks You’re Willing to Pay
On Friday, Uber acknowledged to drivers the discrepancy between their compensation and what riders pay. The new fare system is called “route-based pricing,” and it charges customers based on what it predicts they’re willing to pay. It’s a break from the past, when Uber calculated fares using a combination of mileage, time and multipliers based on geographic demand. Daniel Graf, Uber’s head of product, said the company applies machine-learning techniques to estimate how much groups of customers are willing to shell out for a ride. Uber calculates riders’ propensity for paying a higher price for a particular route at a certain time of day. For instance, someone traveling from a wealthy neighborhood to another tony spot might be asked to pay more than another person heading to a poorer part of town, even if demand, traffic and distance are the same.
uber  price_discrimination  km 
may 2017
Twitter user numbers overtaken by China's Sina Weibo - BBC News
There are now more people using Sina Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging platform, than there are using Twitter. According to the Chinese company's first quarter results, it has 340 million active monthly users, 30% up on the previous year. About 154 million people use the site daily, 91% of whom access it via mobile. By comparison, Twitter, which is blocked in China, has around 328 million active monthly users.
may 2017
A Taxpayer-Supported Version of Facebook - The Atlantic
So, haven’t we just replaced one tech-centric explanation with another? Not quite. If the combination of online news, social media, and echo chambers led to political polarization and ideological capture, we’d expect to see the same phenomenon on the left as on the right. We don’t. In our study, people who read far-left sources like Daily Kos or Mother Jones are generally also engaged with center and center-left sources like the New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN. The new right’s echo chamber is hermetically sealed, while the left’s is not. (Of course, if you’re within that hermetically sealed chamber, you’re likely to see CNN as just as left-leaning at The Nation.)
facebook  fakenews  elections  hjd 
may 2017
“Google Is as Close to a Natural Monopoly as the Bell System Was in 1956"
Media scholar Jonathan Taplin, author of the new book Move Fast and Break Things, on the rent-seeking and regulatory capture of digital platforms.
antitrust  Google  Facebook 
may 2017
Regulating the internet giants: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data | The Economist
Regulating the internet giants: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

The data economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules
may 2017
NAACP | Open Educational Resources: Equity & Opportunities
Civil rights org NAACP adopts OER resolution in fight for education access and equity
may 2017
Jeff Wise - When machines go rogue | The Outline
What’s happening inside our algorithms? What happens when those algorithms control our cars and planes? Pretty soon, we may have no idea.
algorithms  automation 
march 2017
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