Central Planning, local experiments The complex implementation of China’s Social Credit System
The „Social Credit System“ is designed to monitor and rate citizens and companies in China and to guide their behavior. „It is a wide-reaching project that touches on almost all aspects of everyday life,“ the authors Mareike Ohlberg, Bertram Lang and Shazeda Ahmed write in the new MERICS China Monitor „Central Planning, local experiments: the complex implementation of China’s Social Credit System“.

The authors analyze the current stage of the system’s implementation and they describe how it will likely function in practice. Their analysis is based on government publiations, discussions in media and social networks, as well as pilot projects.
mercator  shazeda  social_credit  china  km 
The ‘Alt-Right’ Created a Parallel Internet. It’s an Unholy Mess. - The New York Times
Alt-tech is also a victim of the same market forces that have held back other small tech start-ups. Much of the internet’s basic architecture is controlled by a handful of gatekeepers — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon among them. Those companies run back-end services that allow developers to build reliable products, the app stores that allow them to reach a mass audience, and the advertising platforms that allow them to make money. Without the support of Silicon Valley’s giants, it’s nearly impossible to compete, no matter what your political views are.
ee  alt-right  technology 
A Crisis Line That Calms With Texting and Data - The New York Times
The data can help identify when and where problems are spiking, and what interventions are warranted. For example, although National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is observed in September, data show that suicidal ideation peaks in April and May — critical information for mental health counselors in schools and universities. Suicidal ideation is also triggered by popular culture aimed at youth.
ee  algorithms  crisis_response 
FCC Commissioner Blasts Her Own Agency for Withholding Evidence of Fraud
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday accused her agency of withholding evidence of fraud, further intensifying the ongoing battle over the future of net neutrality.
net_neutrality  ee  corruption 
2 days ago
White Collar Crime Risk Zones
White Collar Crime Risk Zones uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes are mostly likely to occur across the US.
6 days ago
Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Meeting or a Lecture - The New York Times
A growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them. It’s not much of a leap to expect that electronics also undermine learning in high school classrooms or that they hurt productivity in meetings in all kinds of workplaces. <...>

Why shouldn’t [stdents] decide themselves whether to use a laptop? The strongest argument against allowing that choice is that one student’s use of a laptop harms the learning of students around them. In a series of lab experiments, researchers at York University and McMaster University in Canada tested the effect of laptops on students who weren’t using them. Some students were told to perform small tasks on their laptops unrelated to the lecture, like looking up movie times. As expected, these students retained less of the lecture material. But what is really interesting is that the learning of students seated near the laptop users was also negatively affected. The economic term for such a spillover is a “negative externality,” which occurs when one person’s consumption harms the well-being of others. The classic negative externality is pollution: A factory burning coal or a car using gasoline can harm the air and environment for those around it. A laptop can sometimes be a form of visual pollution: Those nearby see its screen, and their attention is pulled toward its enticements, which often include not just note-taking but Facebook, Twitter, email and news.
meetings  productivity  focus 
8 days ago
Facebook Launches New Messenger App for Young Kids—What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
A Facebook spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo, “We’ve built automated systems that can detect things like nudity, violence, and child exploitative imagery to help limit that content from being shared on Messenger Kids. We also have blocking and reporting mechanisms, and have a dedicated team of human reviewers that review all content that is reported.”
ee  facebook 
9 days ago
Progress in AI isn’t as Impressive as You Might Think - MIT Technology Review
If machines aren’t nearly as intelligent as we’d often like to believe, it’s natural to wonder what that might mean for the tech industry that’s betting so heavily on AI today. “There is, clearly, an AI bubble at present,” writes Michael Wooldridge, an AI researcher who leads the computer science department at the University of Oxford. “The question that this report raises for me is whether this bubble will burst, [like] the dot-com boom of 1996-2001, or gently deflate, and when this happens, what will be left behind?”
9 days ago
Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle – Medium
Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level.
ee  internet  children  youtube  video  filtering 
21 days ago
Impakt: One-Click Ethical Shopper by Team Impakt — Kickstarter
[from lead-in article] "We finally decided that one of the most effective ways to change behavior was through economic force. On considering the current state of boycotts, we realized that they were stuck in the 20th century."

They're hoping Be the Impakt will interrupt the purchasing process on Amazon with information about ethical consumption, and suggest alternatives. The "ethical shopping companion" will tell shoppers if, for instance, a company "helped elect Trump" or has a poor environmental record.
[from the kickstarter] he real challenge is to develop machine learning algorithms that (1) scrape our public Data Sources, (2) crawl for news articles containing relevant information, and (3) maintain accurate Company Profiles in the Company Ethics Database.

Our initial release will feature some simple algorithms along with a curated foundational set of profiles; the eventual goal is to use that as a training set for more advanced machine learning systems.
ee  transparency  accountability  purchasing  ethical  plugin  amazon  labor 
22 days ago
Leche Libre
As a brand which works to empower women, ethical manufacturing is an integral and necessary aspect of my business because I work to empower customers AND workers and create win win solutions.
ee  zebras  ethics  supply  chain  labor 
28 days ago
Hey, Mark Zuckerberg: My Democracy Isn’t Your Laboratory - The New York Times
But for us, changes like this can be disastrous. Attracting viewers to a story relies, above all, on making the process as simple as possible. Even one extra click can make a world of difference. This is an existential threat, not only to my organization and others like it but also to the ability of citizens in all of the countries subject to Facebook’s experimentation to discover the truth about their societies and their leaders.
ee  facebook  serbia  journalism  occrp 
29 days ago
Better filters won’t cure this: YouTube’s kids nightmare
For what Bridle is describing, he explains, is a disturbing new kind of “art”, mass-produced only because a huge ad-supported platform such as YouTube rewards its creation. The “such as” caveat is redundant here, since no other video platform has scale. It has to be YouTube. Just as no other social network (at least outside China or Russia) has the scale of Facebook, so for fake news and political ads, it has to be Facebook. This is as much a characteristic of the internet in 2017 as fake news or spam.
youtube  ee  filtering  businessmodels  algorithms 
4 weeks ago
Soothsayer in the Hills Sees Silicon Valley’s Sinister Side - The New York Times
“The whole internet thing was supposed to create the world’s best information resource in all of history,” he says. “Everything would be made visible. And instead we’re living in this time of total opacity where you don’t know why you see the news you see. You don’t know if it’s the same news that someone else sees. You don’t know who made it be that way. You don’t know who’s paid to change what you see. Everything is totally obscure in a profound way that it never was before.
facebook  ee  algorithms  elections  big_four  privacy  google  microsft 
4 weeks ago
What Reality TV Teaches Us About Russia’s Influence Campaign - The New York Times
But pretty much everyone in the world of reality TV acknowledges it happens to some degree on most shows, and that there are certain basic ways to manufacture drama. Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, a former producer on “The Bachelor” who later created “Unreal,” a scripted show about the reality industry, said the key to manipulating contestants into acting a certain way is to “tap into their fears, passions and ego.”

On reality TV, producers can do that because they keep detailed dossiers on everyone on set. But guess what? Russian trolls had detailed dossiers too — and they could consult them at scale. Using Facebook’s exquisitely detailed ad-targeting and viral propagation systems, trolls could create content that perfectly matched your fears, passions and ego.
ee  facebook  Russia 
5 weeks ago
Launching WhoWasInCommand.com – a power tool for investigating security forces – Security Force Monitor
WhoWasInCommand.com makes it fast and easy to find detailed information about the chain of command, areas of operation, commanders and bases of the police, military and other security forces of a country and discover links to alleged human rights violations.

This platform is a unique resource containing a level of detailed data about security forces that has never existed before. It’s the result of an enormous amount of work – and would not have been possible without extensive advice and help from civil society partners. We hope that you find this new tool useful.
humanrights  ee  grantee  security  police  accountability 
5 weeks ago
Twitter Bans Two Kremlin-Backed News Outlets From Advertising - The New York Times
Twitter said it had earned $1.9 million in advertising revenue from Russia Today since 2011. The company said it would now donate the money to research into the civic impact of Twitter, as well as its abuse by purveyors of fake news and propaganda.
ee  twitter  news  russia 
6 weeks ago
Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis made available for first time | Science | The Guardian
In celebration of Open Access Week, Hawking makes his thesis freely available.
OA  mh 
7 weeks ago
In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News
After reading the horrors in Dante’s “Inferno,” Italian students will soon turn to the dangers of the digital age. While juggling math assignments, they’ll also tackle worksheets prepared by reporters from the national broadcaster RAI. And separate from the weekly hour of religion, they will receive a list of what amounts to a new set of Ten Commandments for the digital age.

Among them: Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.

The lessons are part of an extraordinary experiment by the Italian government, in cooperation with leading digital companies including Facebook, to train a generation of students steeped in social media how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online.
FakeNews  education  km 
8 weeks ago
Can you make it in the gig economy (uber)
simulation of the life of an uber drive
uber  simulation  game  km 
8 weeks ago
Apple gave Uber's app 'unprecedented' access to sensitive Apple features that can record iPhone screens
Uber's iPhone app has a secret back door to powerful Apple features, allowing the ride-hailing service to potentially record a user's screen and access other personal information without their knowledge.

This access to special iPhone functions — which are so powerful that Apple almost always keeps them off-limits to outside companies — is not disclosed in any consumer-facing information included with Uber's app.
uber  apple  privacy  km 
8 weeks ago
Preliminary Findings: Rent Seeking by Elsevier – The Knowledge G.A.P.
The acquisition of scholarly communications by commercials publishers
8 weeks ago
Verificado19S: The citizen-led disaster response system helping organize aid in Mexico's earthquake — Quartz
In Mexico City, Verificado19S also showed how civil society can in some ways be more adept at emergency management than elected officials—in particular, at preventing false information from spreading. In the most extreme case, senior Mexican officials told the media that a girl called Frida Sofia was alive under the rubble of a collapsed school, and granted the country’s biggest TV network, Televisa, access to the building. After some 24 hours of nail-biting coverage that made Frida Sofia a worldwide story, it emerged that she didn’t exist—a severe blow to the credibility of the rescue agencies and the media.

In contrast, Verificado19S has some 500 volunteer reporters on the ground, some of whom stay put at the same site for days, closely following any changes. The picture they paint is much wider, more granular, and a better reflection of reality.
ee  crowdsourcing  mapping  verification 
10 weeks ago
Guardians of White Innocence
A small team of engineers in Menlo Park. A panel of anonymous power users around the world. And, increasingly, you. [Good article from January 2016]
facebook  algorithms 
10 weeks ago
A Start-Up Slump Is a Drag on the Economy. Big Business May Be to Blame. - The New York Times
Many economists say the answer could lie in the rising power of the biggest corporations, which they argue is stifling entrepreneurship by making it easier for incumbent businesses to swat away challengers — or else to swallow them before they become a serious threat.
ee  monopoly  institution  trust 
11 weeks ago
Who Targets Me - Who Targets Me?
Who Targets Me tells you which political campaigns use Dark Ads and Micro-Targeting to influence your vote.

Installing the browser extension helps us monitor election campaigns and call for greater digital transparency.
browserextension  elections  politics  advertising  km 
12 weeks ago
Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won't Tell Me How
What makes the results so unsettling is the range of data sources—location information, activity on other apps, facial recognition on photographs—that Facebook has at its disposal to cross-check its users against one another, in the hopes of keeping them more deeply attached to the site. People generally are aware that Facebook is keeping tabs on who they are and how they use the network, but the depth and persistence of that monitoring is hard to grasp. And People You May Know, or “PYMK” in the company’s internal shorthand, is a black box.
algorithms  privacy  facebook  km 
12 weeks ago
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