osi_info_program + public_sphere   25

Artificial intelligence runs wild while humans dither
A study published last month in the research journal Plos One, analysing the use of bots on Wikipedia over a decade, found that even those designed for wholly benign purposes could spend years duelling with each other.

In one such battle, Xqbot and Darknessbot disputed 3,629 entries, undoing and correcting the other’s edits on subjects ranging from Alexander the Great to Aston Villa football club.

The authors, from the Oxford Internet Institute and the Alan Turing Institute, were surprised by the findings, concluding that we need to pay far more attention to these bot-on-bot interactions. “We know very little about the life and evolution of our digital minions.”
AI  algorithms  public_sphere 
march 2017 by osi_info_program
Guardian cuts costs but numbers ‘don’t add up’
Britain’s leading left-wing publisher burned through another £48m in cash in the last six months. How long can it go on?
Although the Guardian has reduced its costs and losses this year, a seismic shift in the publishing industry — where historic declines in print income are accelerating while digital advertising revenues flatline because readers are moving to mobile and Facebook and Google are taking the lion’s share — means the day of reckoning is closer. ... The Guardian’s digital business has gone into reverse as Google and Facebook swallow online advertising.
Platforms  public_sphere 
october 2016 by osi_info_program
The Trust Engineers - Radiolab
we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab rats. Ok, yeah, we’re talking about Facebook. Because Facebook, or something like it, is more and more the way we share and like, and gossip and gripe. And because it's so big, Facebook has a created a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’ve never seen. We peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who are tweaking our online experience, bit by bit, to try to make the world a better place. And along the way we can’t help but wonder whether that’s possible, or even a good idea.
Public_Sphere  PoliticsOfAlgorithms 
february 2015 by osi_info_program
How Putin Secretly Conquered Russia’s Social Media Over the Past 3 Years · Global Voices
For many years, the Internet was Russia’s last beacon of honesty. That’s no longer the case. Over the past three years, a social-media army fielded by the Kremlin has stormed what was once a stronghold for people who seek a “Russia without Putin.” Here’s how it happened.
Russia  Public_Sphere  networked-public-sphere 
february 2015 by osi_info_program
Zeynep Tufekci - Beware the Big Data Campaign - NYTimes.com
How did Mr. Obama win? The message and the candidate matter, of course; it’s easier to persuade voters if your policies are more popular and your candidate more appealing. But a modern winning campaign requires more. [Obama's] campaign made an “unparalleled” $100 million investment in technology, demanded “data on everything,” “measured everything” and ran 66,000 computer simulations every day. In contrast, Mitt Romney’s campaign’s data operations were lagging, buggy and nowhere as sophisticated.
big_data  voting  public_sphere 
november 2012 by osi_info_program
Slate Interview: Why Evgeny Morozov thinks that the Internet opens our minds in politics
Though Morozov has plenty of reservations about Google, Facebook, et al, at the Slate/Intelligence Squared live debate on April 17, he’ll join Jacob Weisberg in arguing that the Internet is not hemming us into ideological ghettoes, especially where politics is concerned. Morozov wants to redirect the conversation from illusory “filter bubbles” to the greed—and potentially fallible algorithms—coming out of Silicon Valley.
EM  filterbubble  public_sphere  PoliticsOfAlgorithms 
april 2012 by osi_info_program
Mapping Iran Online - Richard Rogers, Esther Weltevrede, Sabine Niederer and Erik Borra
The research inquires into the liveliness of the Iranian web in times of censorship as well as oppression of voices critical to the regime. It offers a general approach to studying a "national web," and its health, by measuring the freshness and responsiveness of websites significant to a particular country. It also inquires into the effects of censorship in Iran on (critical) content production, with the lead question being whether censorship kills content. We have found an Iranian web that is fresh and responsive, despite widespread blockage of key websites. Secondly, we have found indications of routine censorship circumvention by Iranian web users. Finally, for the period of study (2009-2011), language critical of the regime continues to be published online, and its incidence has risen over time.
public_sphere  censorship  Iran 
april 2012 by osi_info_program
Why WikiLeaks' bid for radical transparency failed - Alasdair Roberts
"WikiLeaks: the illusion of transparency" by Alasdair Roberts, 23 March 2012, International Review of Administrative Sciences. http://ras.sagepub.com/
The significance of the 2008-2010 WikiLeaks disclosures has been overstated, according to new research which highlights four key reasons why radical transparency is hard to achieve, and why a technological fix alone will not achieve it. One key reason is that the radical transparency vision neglects the significance of intermediation – organizing, interpreting, and drawing attention to information. WikiLeaks released a series of US military counterinsurgency manuals in 2008, anticipating a strong reaction and press attention. In reality it garnered little reaction because the material was too complex, and there was no clear story to grasp. “There is no such thing, even in the age of the Internet, as the instantaneous and complete revelation of the truth. In its undigested form, information has no transformative power at all. Raw data must be distilled; the attention of a distracted audience must be captured; and that audience must accept the message that is put before it.”
transparency  wikileaks  public_sphere  abstract_only  research 
march 2012 by osi_info_program
interview: Robert C. Post: Elevating the Discourse (Boston Review)
We take for granted that political dialogue depends upon shared knowledge, yet we rarely consider the role of scholarship in providing such knowledge and how the law both facilitates and restricts it.
public_sphere 
march 2012 by osi_info_program
The Paranoid Style in American Politics - Richard Hofstadter
A classic essay first published in 1964. "Nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style. Style has more to do with the way in which ideas are believed than with the truth or falsity of their content. I am interested here in getting at our political psychology through our political rhetoric. The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent."
oldnews  public_sphere  agnotology  conspiracy_theories  DC 
january 2012 by osi_info_program
IN SEARCH OF SERENDIPITY | Economist Intelligent Life
It means more than a happy coincidence. And it's under threat from the internet. Ian Leslie explains. From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, January/February 2012
public_sphere  serendipity 
january 2012 by osi_info_program
When science is hidden behind a smokescreen - report on agnotology conference in Bielefeld
Under the guise of furthering debate, some scientists foster public ignorance (Guardian - 28 June 2011)
agnotology  public_sphere  DC 
december 2011 by osi_info_program

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