petej + algorithms   323

Force Fed — Real Life
This was the dream of the early internet utopians: that “the web” was a form of real anarchy, a totally voluntary system of association, interest, and desire. But of course, the internet was created and has evolved to serve the needs of capital, not the people who use it. Technology companies have recognized the possibilities for social domination opened up by increasingly geographically dispersed workplaces and communities. And the algorithmic discipline they have developed has a corresponding geopolitical imaginary.

Unlike the liberals, who have proved utterly incapable of a coherent political vision moving forward, tech libertarians have recognized the imminent collapse of the nation-state and its nonsovereignty in the face of global capital. Seeing that London, Tokyo, and New York City have more in common with each other than with Birmingham, Osaka, or Albany, they envision the political return of much smaller sociopolitical units capable of serving as effective nodes in integrated global flows without all the hang-ups of nations, borders, or social services. The “neoreactionary” right wing of this group advocates the return of monarchy, while the Burning Man–types dream of seasteading city-states, or California splitting into six parts. But in all these visions, corporate sovereigns replace national ones. The internet economy is set up to deliver and manage such a world.

The tech-futurists are post-nationalists; theirs is a fundamentally different vision from that of the neo-fascists currently rising to power. The resurgent nationalism and ethno-fascism represented by the likes of Donald Trump are a counter-tendency that wants to reinvigorate the nation-state through virulent racism and hard borders. Despite their far-reaching hopes for ethnic cleansing, these neo-fascists lack a transformative economic vision. They may be able to plunder the wealth of the wrong types of people — queers, Black people, Muslims, immigrants, Jews — who their program of intensified policing, both at borders and internally, would make vulnerable to further robbery, low-wage exploitation, or prison enslavement. Combined with total deregulation and the selling off of what’s left of the social democratic state in one last cash grab, the strategy could offer continued profits and stability of the system for the medium term. But fascist nationalism has no more ability than neoliberalism to actually solve the economic crises of capitalism or save the nation-state.
games  gaming  YouTube  recommendations  algorithms  extremism  neo-Nazism  targeting  profiling  marketing  correlation  masculinity  whiteSupremacism  predictions  conformity  stereotyping  NRx  neoreactionism  libertarianism  post-nationalism  fascism 
november 2018 by petej
How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump - MIT Technology Review
Rather, the problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts.
socialMedia  politics  activism  communication  ArabSpring  Egypt  TahrirSquare  Tunisia  Syria  Iran  Twitter  MubarakHosni  authoritarianism  power  control  ObamaBarack  targeting  technoUtopianism  bigData  misinformation  polarisation  NSA  security  Facebook  Google  monopolies  YouTube  algorithms  attention  insults  TrumpDonald  USA  Russia  trolling  interference  corruption  accountability  filterBubble  surveillance  platforms  personalData  inequality  precarity  insecurity  dctagged  dc:creator=TufekciZeynep  recommendations 
august 2018 by petej
“What Have We Done?”: Silicon Valley Engineers Fear They've Created a Monster | Vanity Fair
Yet even as we roundly condemned the tech world’s treatment of a vulnerable new class of worker, we knew the stakes were much higher: high enough to alter the future of work itself, to the detriment of all but a select few. “Most people,” I said, interrupting the hubbub, “don’t even see the problem unless they’re on the inside.” Everyone nodded. The risk, we agreed, is that the gig economy will become the only economy, swallowing up entire groups of employees who hold full-time jobs, and that it will, eventually, displace us all. The bigger risk, however, is that the only people who understand the looming threat are the ones enabling it.
gigEconomy  Uber  Instacart  work  labour  exploitation  employment  algorithms  SiliconValley  artificialIntelligence 
august 2018 by petej
Designing Emotion: How Facebook Affordances Give Us The Blues - Cyborgology
“It’s how you use it” is wholly unsatisfying, philosophically misguided, and a total corporate cop-out that places disproportionate responsibility on individual users while ignoring the politics and power of design. It’s also a strangely projective conclusion to what began as a reflexive internal examination of technological effects.

If the trendy onslaught of new materialism has taught us anything, it’s that things are not just objects of use, but have meaningful shaping capacities. That objects are efficacious isn’t a new idea, nor is it niche. Within media studies, we can look to Marshall McLuhan who, 50-plus years ago, established quite succinctly that the medium is the message. From STS, we can look to Actor Network Theory (ANT), through which Bruno Latour clarified that while guns don’t kill people on their own, the technology of the gun is integral to violence.
Facebook  socialMedia  psychology  design  emotion  behaviour  algorithms  manipulation  affordances  private  public  dctagged  dc:creator=DavisJenny 
december 2017 by petej
A mission for journalism in a time of crisis | News | The Guardian
"But our guiding focus, especially in countries such as Britain, the US and Australia, will be to challenge the economic assumptions of the past three decades, which have extended market values such as competition and self-interest far beyond their natural sphere and seized the public realm. We will explore other principles and avenues through which to organise society for the common good."
Guardian  journalism  history  PeterlooMassacre  TaylorJohnEdward  cotton  slavery  ScottCP  Ireland  colonialism  technology  informationTechnology  Internet  businessModels  advertising  Facebook  algorithms  trust  diversity  Brexit  TrumpDonald  polarisation  inequality  resentment  politics  radicalism  dctagged  dc:creator=VinerKatharine 
november 2017 by petej
Facebook’s war on free will | Technology | The Guardian
The engineering mindset has little patience for the fetishisation of words and images, for the mystique of art, for moral complexity or emotional expression. It views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. That’s why Facebook has so few qualms about performing rampant experiments on its users. The whole effort is to make human beings predictable – to anticipate their behaviour, which makes them easier to manipulate. With this sort of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the contingency and mystery of human life, it’s easy to see how long-standing values begin to seem like an annoyance – why a concept such as privacy would carry so little weight in the engineer’s calculus, why the inefficiencies of publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptable.

Facebook would never put it this way, but algorithms are meant to erode free will, to relieve humans of the burden of choosing, to nudge them in the right direction. Algorithms fuel a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behaviour can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That’s always been a danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are the screws and rivets in the grand design.
Facebook  algorithms  artificialIntelligence  surveillance  control  nudge  ZuckerbergMark  hacking  openness  transparency  behaviour  identity  digitalIdentity  multiplicity  engineering  politics  USA  SiliconValley  manipulation  power  dctagged  dc:creator=FoerFranklin 
september 2017 by petej
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