How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump - The New York Times
How the Trump-Russia dossier came to pass. A look at how the espionage and politics industry mix...
politics  trump  polarization 
3 days ago
Why Uber lost $2.2 billion in 9 months
Read also the epic five part blogposts he mentions.
uber  platformization 
3 days ago
Coursera’s new monthly subscriptions could monetize procrastination | TechCrunch
“I think because when you’re watching Netflix, you start watching a show and love it and watch the whole thing right away,” he told the FT. “We’re not introducing a new payment model so much as a new psychological model. The power is in their hands and they see the benefit of moving fast because it saves them money.”
moocs  coursera 
17 days ago
Ed H. Chi - A rant. I was wondering why so little ML/RecSys...
A rant.
I was wondering why so little ML/RecSys papers appear in the HCI community, especially given the close relationship that AI had with HCI in its early days.
Speaking from personal experience, I didn't bother to submit such a paper to the CHI conference this year after being rejected by the reviewers several times along this line of exploration, so my interns and I got tired of trying. As a result, after many years of being in the HCI community, this is the first year I didn't submit a single paper to the CHI conference. (Instead I have a paper in submission to the WWW conference on a cool recommender approach.)
I'm reading all of the angst of my HCI research friends over their CHI paper reviews, and have this weird bittersweet feeling that I'm working on something that fundamentally changes user experience(*), but yet the HCI community doesn't seem to really care. Something just feels wrong about that.
footnote: (*) If you use an Android phone or YouTube or G+, you almost certainly have been affected by recommender and search changes that came from my group, and yes, we have published some about that.
moocs  research  computer_science 
17 days ago
Anthropologists for Hire | Savage Minds
The point I’m trying to make in some circular way is that every last notion I’ve had about “fieldwork” as anthropology’s signature method has hopelessly broken down—and that that has at least as much to do with the changing ways in which we now pose research questions, as with our increasingly limiting professional-practical constraints. The professionalized model that caused discomfort once makes perfect sense now, at least because the piecemeal is eminently doable, and seems equitable besides. Truth is, I’d become an anthropologist-for-hire long before I went adjunct—not because I’m marketing services to a company, but because that’s the way in which I was starting to think about my work and my time: as piecemeal parcelable, and ultimately a trade-off. I have a skill, a niche expertise, a way of getting at human habits, of explaining “Indian and hindu” views of genetics, of understanding “the human factor,” the “cultural factor.” It’s part of the rationale by which “Anthropology” exists in smaller schools and corporate environments anyway: the way we don’t do things any more, or perhaps even the way we never did. So, buy me out of teaching or pay me consulting fees by the hour, and I’ll figure out whether Indians will consent to blood donation or a smaller scoop of laundry detergent. In exchange, I reserve the right to use data for my own research, and to reflect critically on the entire process—the right not to join the field. Anthropology turned instrumental in exchange for time and invaluable positioning to other, more reflective, critical ends. “Ethnography” is what happens on the sidelines of for-hire research–which even gold-standard positions within the academy are often generating anyway.
25 days ago
The man who kept editors glued to Chartbeat wants to help them keep the lights on – Poynter
Chartbeat is an app used by journalism to understand reader engagement. I saw this referred to in Angel Christin's presentation.
platformization  journalism 
25 days ago
Analyst's Notebook - Wikipedia
This product is used by the French police to collect information about suspects

Analyst's Notebook is a software product from IBM used for data analysis and investigation. It is a part of the Human Terrain System, a United States Army program which embeds social scientists with combat brigades. Several investigations, including an investigation into fraud in the U.S. Army, are reported to have used Analyst's Notebook capabilities.[1] It is also used by the Swedish police to analyse social contacts and social networks.[2][not in citation given]
research  platformization 
25 days ago
The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation. - The New York Times
Another analysis, from Ball State University, attributed roughly 13 percent of manufacturing job losses to trade and the rest to enhanced productivity because of automation. Apparel making was hit hardest by trade, it said, and computer and electronics manufacturing was hit hardest by technological advances.
artificial_intelligence  automation 
26 days ago
Donald Trump’s trade team has based their analysis on a remarkably silly mistake
The Democratic Party has long been divided on questions of trade policy. Bill Clinton’s administration pushed for NAFTA and Chinese accession to the World Trade Organization over the objections of labor unions. Barack Obama’s administration has pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, again over the objections of labor unions, this time joined by many public health groups.

Over time, the coalition of left-wing skeptics of the prevailing trade policy regime has developed an increasingly sophisticated critique:

Modern trade deals are largely more about encouraging foreign countries to adopt regulatory changes that are friendly to Hollywood and American drug companies rather than about reducing trade barriers.
Investor-State dispute settlement mechanisms undermine democratic control over regulatory policy and the legal system.
Trade deals subject less educated American workers to foreign competition while leaving credentialed professionals protected in a way that skews the income distribution.
Last but by no means least, standard economic theory predicts that increased trade will grow the economy but hurt some specific social classes. And the US has failed over the past quarter-century to adequately grow the welfare state to ensure that trade policy is a win-win.
Because political life is full of dreary reductive binaries, many left-of-center people who are generally strongly critical of Trump have been inclined to praise his criticisms of US trade policy. It is important, however, to understand that Trump is not in any way offering any version of the most sophisticated criticisms of America’s approach to global trade. Not just in his rallies and off-the-cuff remarks but in his policy papers prepared by PhD economists, he is appealing to the idea that arbitrary restrictions on the sale of foreign-made goods will mechanically boost the American economy.

There is no empirical or theoretical basis for this view, which is why no president of either party has ever attempted to make it the centerpiece of his national economic strategy. It’s just wrong. It’s the kind of thing you might come up with if you were a wealthy landlord and reality television personality who ran for president on a whim without learning anything about issues or public policy.
26 days ago
Reflecting on Chapter 1 of The Age of Sharing, by Nicholas John
Which raises, for me, the question of solidarity. The Silicon Valley versions of sharing promise to recreate small communities of like-minds in which any natural altruism is modulated carefully through online platforms—for a small fee, of course. This kind of solidarity is mechanical solidarity at its worst, recalling the ways in which pre-modern communities remained close to outsiders and difference and relied on the basest logic of crowds and gossips. Durkheim’s solution was something that looked more like the solidarity of today’s big urban areas, a sense of belonging to a place that relied on each of us being an important piece of a very large system that needed different kinds of jobs, different kinds of skills, and different kinds of consumption. Durkheim’s metaphor for modern society was not one of sharing, but of reliance—just as a body relies on different organs, so too a modern society needs different people to function.
Platformization  sharing_economy 
27 days ago
Facebook now flags and down-ranks fake news with help from outside fact checkers | TechCrunch
If they confirm a story is fake, they notify Facebook through a special reporting website it exclusively built for them, and can include a link to a post debunking the article. Facebook will then show posts of those links lower in the News Feed. It will also attach a warning label noting “Disputed by [one or more of the fact checkers]” with a link to the debunking post on News Feed stories and in the status composer if users are about to share a dubious link, plus prohibit disputed stories from being turned into ads.
Facebook  polarization  platformization 
29 days ago
A No-Nonsense Machiavelli | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
But let’s finish on a lighter note. While translators have played up Machiavelli’s cynicism, they have also been rather prudish about any sexual reference. Machiavelli was a notorious womanizer and in The Prince he believed he was addressing an audience of men who had no worries about political correctness. At the end of his book, discussing the way different personalities will mesh positively or negatively with different circumstances, he observes that there is no one type of person suitable for every situation. All the same, there are certain attitudes that are generally more successful than others; and he comes out with the famous—or infamous—line, la fortuna è donna, et è necessario, volendola tenere sotto, batterla et urtarla. Literally: “fortune is woman and it is necessary, wanting to keep her underneath, to beat her and shove her.”

Clearly the image is a sexual one. Why else would he write “keep her underneath”? Battere and, particularly, urtare were both used colloquially to describe sex, from the male point of view. Like it or not, this is Trump territory. Machiavelli isn’t talking about wife-beating. But many translators are hesitant; Marriot, very cautiously and literally, gives: “fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her.” Bull has: “fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her.” The sex is gone.

Let me conclude, then, with the whole passage as it came out after endless revisions. No doubt if he were alive today, Machiavelli would see Trump’s triumph as an extraordinary demonstration of the soundness of the advice he gives here:

To conclude then: fortune varies but men go on regardless. When their approach suits the times they’re successful, and when it doesn’t they’re not. My opinion on the matter is this: it’s better to be impulsive than cautious; fortune is female and if you want to stay on top of her you have to slap and thrust. You’ll see she’s more likely to yield that way than to men who go about her coldly.
generalinterest  politicaltheory 
29 days ago
Why David Brock’s plan to create a “Breitbart of the left” is destined to fail
Why has the fight for liberal broadcasting been such a struggle? Because liberal innovators have reverse-engineered conservative media without addressing the underlying need that those right-wing outlets meet. Right-wing media thrives in large part because conservatives do not trust other news sources. They have been trained for generations, stretching back to the 1950s, to view news media as inherently ideological, and to reject nonconservative sources.
Trump  polarization  platformization 
4 weeks ago
MSNBC’s special forum with Bernie Sanders showed the promise (and limits) of his political appeal - Vox
Some of the responses here are amazing - they show how Sanders can make Democrats make inroads into Trump voters only to a certain extent...
polarization  trump 
4 weeks ago
Facebook corrects more metrics affecting ad reach, streaming reactions, plus Like & Share counts | TechCrunch
acebook today announced it’s correcting a few more issues with its metrics in areas like audience estimation for ads, live video reaction counts and its Like and Share buttons. Though the fixes are referencing several of Facebook’s more high-profile products, the issues being addressed aren’t as significant as the ones Facebook identified earlier in 2016, when it discovered that the figures for average video view time had been inflated for years.
Facebook  platformization  advertising 
4 weeks ago
Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook. - The New York Times
In the past decade, an enormous reallocation of revenue of perhaps $50 billion a year has taken place, with economic value moving from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms.

I reached this conclusion from the following statistics: Since 2000, recorded music revenues in the United States have fallen to $7.2 billion per year from $19.8 billion. Home entertainment video revenue fell to $18 billion in 2014 from $24.2 billion in 2006. United States newspaper ad revenue fell to $23.6 billion in 2013 from $65.8 billion in 2000.

And yet, by every available metric, people are consuming more music, video, news and books. During that same period, Google’s revenue grew to $74.5 billion from $400 million.
facebook  google  platformization 
5 weeks ago
How Do Software Developers in New York, San Francisco, London and Bangalore Differ? – Stack Overflow Blog – A destination for all things related to development at Stack Overflow
London has the highest percentage of developers using the Microsoft stack: while New York had more Microsoft-related traffic than San Francisco, here we see London with a still greater proportion. Since both London and New York are financial hubs, this suggests we were right that Microsoft technologies tend to be associated with financial professionals.
New York leads in several data analysis tools, including pandas (a Python data science library) and R. This is probably due to a combination of finance, academic research, and data science at tech companies. It's not a huge lead, but as an R user in New York I'm still personally happy to see it!
Bangalore has the most Android development, with two to three times as much traffic to Android-related tags as the other three cities. Bangalore is sometimes called the "Silicon Valley of India" for its thriving software export industry, with Android development playing the largest role.
San Francisco leads in the same technologies as it did in the comparison with New York (except for Android). In particular (thanks to Mountain View), it's indisputably the "Go capital of the world." (This is true even if we look at the 50 highest-traffic cities rather than just the top 4).
data_science  siliconvalley 
5 weeks ago
Education Technology and the 'New' For-Profit Higher Education
industry. If nothing else, it seemed as though for-profit higher ed was poised to rebrand itself, embracing “coding bootcamps” as the new vocational education and career training.
5 weeks ago
Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth - The Verge
While feed formatting isn’t anything new, platforms like Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News are also further breaking down the relationship between good design and credibility. In a platform world, all publishers end up looking more similar than different. That makes separating the real from the fake even harder.
google  facebook  polarization  trump 
5 weeks ago
Facebook begins asking users to rate articles’ use of ‘misleading language’ | TechCrunch
“To what extent do you think that this link’s title uses misleading language?” asks the “survey,” which appears directly below the article. Response choices range from “Not at all” to “Completely,” though users can also choose to dismiss it or just scroll past.

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that this is an official effort, though it did not answer several probing questions about how it works, how the data is used and retained, and so on. The company uses surveys somewhat like this to test the general quality of the news feed, and it has used other metrics to attempt to define rules for finding clickbait and fake stories. This appears to be the first direct coupling of those two practices: old parts doing a new job.

Related Articles
Facebook blocks links to B.S. Detector, fake news warning plugin
President Obama on fake news problem: "We won't know what to fight for"
Disrupt Hackathon app Notim.press/ed algorithmically detects fake news
The feature could be seen as Facebook being transparent in how it is training its algorithms to detect misleading headlines, but is also an example of using its user base as, essentially, a rich well of free data into which it can dip its bucket any time it wants and on its own terms. And what it does with the contents of that bucket is anyone’s guess.
Furthermore, because users are the ones propagating the fake news to begin with, it’s a curious decision to entrust them with its classification. The inmates are being invited to run the asylum, it seems, or at least there’s going to be a bit of A/B testing.
facebook  polarization  platformization  trump 
5 weeks ago
A Jane Austen Row Erupts in Britain
Last week, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that £7.6m — or about $9.48 million — had been earmarked for repairs to Wentworth Woodhouse, Britain’s biggest private estate. In extolling the historical virtues of the behemoth house (with over 300 bedrooms), Mr. Hammond repeated the rumor that Wentworth was the inspiration for Mr. Darcy’s famous “Pemberley,” in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A little puffery, you say? Well, the Guardian didn’t think so, not with all those taxpayer pounds on the line. The newspaper reached out to the Jane Austen Society, which responded through a spokesperson: “There is absolutely no evidence that Jane Austen ever travelled further north than Lichfield in Staffordshire… There are other places such as Chatsworth, which lay claim to be the model for Pemberley.” Wentworth Woodhouse, of course, lies 70 miles north of Lichfield (of course!). That means it’s highly unlikely Austen used the home as the prototype for Darcy’s fictional estate.
But what about the upkeep, the proud history, the 300+ beds to make?
If only to put the nail in the coffin, the Society’s statement continued:
“Jane Austen, herself only too keenly aware of the value of money, and of the need for veracity, would have been savvy enough to know that a building the size of Wentworth Woodhouse… could not possibly have been supported on Mr. Darcy’s reported income of a mere £10,000 per annum.”
That’s some Emma-level shade.
5 weeks ago
How the war against fake news backfired - The Washington Post
The idea that the mainstream media is to blame for fake news stories gets a lot of promotion in the Donald Trump-supporting Internet. As concerns escalated among the mainstream media and Silicon Valley about the impact of fabricated stories on the election results, some Trump supporters saw the coming crackdown as a gambit to silence conservative voices. So, they borrowed from the old rubber-and-glue children’s rhyme and started relabeling the mainstream media as the real “fake news.”

[This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money]

Andrew Torba, the founder of a new social network called Gab, has posted about turning down interview requests from phony news outlets — by which he means CNN and other mainstream news sources. Gab, which was founded as a “free speech” social network, is popular with conservatives and white nationalists who deeply distrust platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and much of the mainstream media. (Pizzagate, the outlandish conspiracy theory about child trafficking in a D.C. pizza restaurant, is a regular trending topic among Gab’s users.)

Infowars’ Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist who has questioned whether the December 2012 massacre of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School really happened, now says that the entire worry about “fake news” is really just a strategy to force Americans to accept only the “establishment’s” viewpoint.


Now the urgent campaign to stop the spread of fake news and the response to it have almost rendered the term itself meaningless. For certain conservatives, “fake news” now means “liberal bias,” even as the other side uses it to describe an exaggerated or completely untrue statement from the president-elect.
facebook  platformization  polarization  trump 
5 weeks ago
How to build a new majority in American politics - Vox
Lee Drutman says the US should have six parties and he classifies them according to six issues in a graphic. Good read
trump  polarization  politics 
5 weeks ago
What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class
One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies.” Annette Lareau found tremendous resentment against teachers, who were perceived as condescending and unhelpful.

Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables. Worse, her mere presence rubs it in that even women from her class can treat working-class men with disrespect. Look at how she condescends to Trump as unfit to hold the office of the presidency and dismisses his supporters as racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic.

Trump’s blunt talk taps into another blue-collar value: straight talk. “Directness is a working-class norm,” notes Lubrano. As one blue-collar guy told him, “If you have a problem with me, come talk to me. If you have a way you want something done, come talk to me. I don’t like people who play these two-faced games.” Straight talk is seen as requiring manly courage, not being “a total wuss and a wimp,” an electronics technician told Lamont. Of course Trump appeals. Clinton’s clunky admission that she talks one way in public and another in private? Further proof she’s a two-faced phony.
trump  politics  economics 
5 weeks ago
We missed what was so effective about Donald Trump’s campaign speeches - Vox
There was a time I assumed if the Democrats “moved left” they could win over the working class, even those who don’t usually vote. Now I realize that this move is far more complicated than simply getting past neoliberalism. With Trump at the helm of the conservative movement for the foreseeable future, creating effective agendas and messages that hit home will be even harder.

Watching Trump with fresh eyes shows that we need to think more clearly about how Democratic proposals assume people will accede to changing social norms, how to convey to voters that the policies pursued by the rich are a problem, how to have clear messaging, how to deal with trade, and how to deal with questions involving wages and power. I don’t have the answers, certainly not here and now; but getting the questions right is the first step.

Trump never blames the rich for people’s problems. He doesn’t mention corporations, or anything relating to class struggle. His economic enemies are Washington elites, media, other countries, and immigrants. Even when financial elites and corporations do something, they are a combination of pawns and partners of DC elites.

It’s important to watch that trick, it conceals who has agency under runaway inequality. From a June speech in western Pennsylvania: “Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization, moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas. Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.” The rich buy politicians (and Trump, of course, can’t be bought!) but he doesn’t turn around and denigrate those rich people.
trump  polarization  politics 
6 weeks ago
Russia's role in this year's presidential election, explained by a media historian
I'm not sure. I'm inclined to believe this is more a problem for Facebook and Twitter to solve than it is for states. Fake news and misinformation spreads as a result of social media algorithms, and I think that's more significant than the subversive activity of states. What we're seeing now would not be possible without social media networks.
polarization  platformization  socialmedia 
6 weeks ago
The Agency - NYTimes.com
As Savchuk and other former employees describe it, the Internet Research Agency had industrialized the art of trolling. Management was obsessed with statistics — page views, number of posts, a blog’s place on LiveJournal’s traffic charts — and team leaders compelled hard work through a system of bonuses and fines. “It was a very strong corporate feeling,” Savchuk says. Her schedule gave her two 12-hour days in a row, followed by two days off. Over those two shifts she had to meet a quota of five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts. The grueling schedule wore her down. She began to feel queasy, she said, posting vitriol about opposition leaders of whom she had no actual opinion, or writing nasty words about Ukrainians when some of her closest acquaintances, including her own ex-husband, were Ukrainian.
trump  polarization 
6 weeks ago
Alexa, Tell Me Where You’re Going Next
On the other hand, you are obviously hiring AI talent, competing with with Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and even traditional companies. What’s the pitch that you give potential recruits to come to Amazon? I don’t think I should answer that, because those other companies will copy it. Actually, if you answer it well, those people might read it here and apply to work at Amazon. What’s unique about research in a company like Amazon is the combination of data, computing power, and the best minds in the world all coming together to solve a customer-facing problem. Working on a customer-facing problem doesn’t take away the innovation — it actually accelerates innovation. The problems we try to solve at Amazon are all super, super hard. When Alexa started, solving speech recognition and natural language understanding across many different domains was clearly a very, very hard problem. Today you are announcing new tools that will help developers, right? Yes. One of the key things we want to make simple for developers is what we call “built-in intent” and “slot types.” Explain, please. In most skills, people will want to say things like, “Alexa, stop.” Or “cancel.” You want those commands, or intents, to be exposed to the developer, rather than trying to tell developers to build customized versions of things like the cancel/stop intent. Slot types are things like city names, vocabulary items. We had previously done a handful of them, things developers use quite often — around 10 intents and 15 slot types. So as part of third-party skills we’re announcing a larger set of hundreds built-in functions — slot types — across different domains, like books, video, or local businesses. And also a large set of intents as well, which help answer queries that people ask Alexa. So in other words, if I’m the developer, I can rely on your built-in vocabulary and your interpretation of synonyms, in order to make my skill smarter off the bat. And you’re doing more. Exactly. It gives you a much better starting point for interaction with skills. We’re announcing this as a developer preview, because of two reasons. One is, we want to see how people use these in their intents, because we have a certain mindset of how these intents and types should be used. But the developer may have a slightly different mindset. And the customer may use it slightly differently as well. We want to make sure that we get some feedback from the developers and continually improve these, and we will keep adding more and more built-ins.
Amazon  artificial_intelligence 
6 weeks ago
Why Snapchat And Apple Don't Have A Fake News Problem
Rob Fishman, co-founder of Niche, a company that connects brands with social media influencers, told BuzzFeed News. “Snapchat makes discovery of people who aren’t in your phone book extremely difficult because they believe peer-to-peer sharing is stickier than a so-called influencer model,” said Fishman, whose company was acquired by Twitter in 2015. “They do see value in premium and traditional publishers, but they’ve created a stand-alone experience to capture that kind of content.” "It’s impossible for somebody to go rogue in Discover." This is a huge difference from other social networks, where publishers and brands are “basically identical to individual users,” Fishman said. “It’s impossible for somebody to go rogue in Discover because everything in there is seen and vetted by Snapchat.”
Platformization  polarization  trump 
6 weeks ago
Solving the Problem of Fake News - The New Yorker
Only in the twentieth century, as the United States became a complex modern society with mass media and professional journalism, did people begin to worry about the fake-news problem, and when they did they usually came down either on the side of restricting democracy or restricting the media. (As American democracy came to include a greater number of people—former slaves, immigrants, and women—élites, including liberal élites, began to find it more worrisome.) Walter Lippmann began “Public Opinion,” published in 1922, with a long quotation from Plato’s cave parable, and wound up abandoning the idea that the press or the public could discern and then pay attention to the truth. Instead, he wanted to create “political observatories”—what we’d now call think tanks—that would feed expert advice to grateful, overwhelmed politicians, relegating both the press and the public to secondary roles in government policymaking.

In the nineteen-twenties, when radio was as new and vastly influential as the Internet is today, the United States decided not to create a government-funded news network like the British Broadcasting Corporation, but instead to turn broadcasting over to private industry and to regulate it heavily. The American news world that many people are nostalgic for had only three networks, which were required to speak in a nonpartisan voice and to do money-losing public-service journalism in return for the renewal of their valuable government licenses. That world disappeared when Ronald Reagan deregulated broadcasting, in the nineteen-eighties. When cable television and the Internet came along, they were structured on the more libertarian idea that everybody should have a voice and everybody should have free access to all forms of information, including misinformation. It shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of people, both creators and consumers of journalism, prefer fake news to real news.

So what should we do about journalism’s role in non-reality-based politics? The easy part—which won’t be all that easy, because of the current economic troubles of journalism—is to expand the real-news ecosystem as much as possible, by training people in how to do that work and by strengthening the institutions that will publish and broadcast it. (Along with this goes enhancing the smaller ecosystem for correcting fake news: snopes.com, PolitiFact, factcheck.org, and so on.) The hard part is figuring out what to do about the proliferation and influence of fake news. It’s a sign of our anti-government times that the solution proposed most often is that Facebook should regulate it. Think about what that means: one relatively new private company, which isn’t in journalism, has become the dominant provider of journalism to the public, and the only way people can think of to address what they see as a terrifying crisis in politics and public life is to ask the company’s billionaire C.E.O. to fix it.
trump  polarization  platformization 
6 weeks ago
Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go - Bloomberg
“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official. Kushner, this official continued, “reached out to some Silicon Valley people who are kind of covert Trump fans and experts in digital marketing. They taught us about scaling. There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing.”
platformization  trump  polarization 
6 weeks ago
The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda - The New Yorker
The most striking issue is the overly broad criteria used to identify which outlets spread propaganda. According to PropOrNot’s recounting of its methodology, the third step it uses is to check if a site has a history of “generally echoing the Russian propaganda ‘line’,” which includes praise for Putin, Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, China, and “radical political parties in the US and Europe.” When not praising, Russian propaganda includes criticism of the United States, Barack Obama, Clinton, the European Union, Angela Merkel, nato, Ukraine, “Jewish people,” U.S. allies, the mainstream media, Democrats, and “the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes.”

These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself. Yet PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called “useful idiots,” which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. “We focus on behavior, not motivation,” they write.
6 weeks ago
why obama won 53 counties in iowa and clinton won 6
The book is based on ethnographic and interview data collected over a period of several years in two Rust-Belt Iowa cities of similar size, one traditionally Republican, and the other traditionally Democratic. Both of these cities saw a transformation in their politics in the 1980s. Until the 1970s, urban politics were organized around a partisan divide closely associated with local business elites, on the Republican side, and union leaders, on the Democratic side. Politics was highly oppositional, and the party that won local elections got to distribute a lot of spoils. But it was not polarized in the sense it is today—while there were fundamental differences between the parties, particularly on economic issues, positions on social issues were less rigidly defined. During the 1980s, something changed. Pacewicz calls that something “neoliberal reforms”; I might argue that those are just one piece of a bigger economic transformation that was happening. But either way, the political environment shifted. Regulatory changes encouraged corporate mergers and buyouts. This put control of local industry in distant cities and hollowed out both business elites and union power. The federal government shifted from simply handing cities pots of money that the party in power could control, to requiring cities to compete for funds, putting together applications that would compete with those of other cities. This environmental change facilitated the decline of the old “partisans”—the business and labor elites—and the rise of a new group of local power brokers—the “partners”. The partners were more technocratic and pragmatic. They did not have strong party allegiances, nor did they see politics as being fundamentally about competition between the incompatible interests of business and labor. Instead, they focused on building temporary alliances among diverse groups with often-conflicting interests. Think business-labor roundtables, public-private partnerships, and the like. This is what was needed to attract industry from other places (look how smooth our labor relations are!) and to compete for federal grants and incentives (cities with obviously oppositional politics tended to lose out). The end of politics. Sounds great, right? The problem was that these dynamics also hollowed out local parties. The old partisans had lost power. Partners didn’t want to be active in party politics. This left parties to activists, who over time came to represent increasingly extreme positions—a new wave of partisans.
Trump  polarization 
6 weeks ago
Facebook Must Acknowledge and Change Its Financial Incentives - NYTimes.com
Interesting use of the word domain experts.

In the last few decades, technology companies have boasted about their "disruption" of industries like the news media. Now that the consequences of this disruption are becoming clear, platforms have a responsibility to engage on an ongoing basis with domain-experts, such as legacy media organizations and professionals, to learn about journalistic ethics — and preserve them.
platformization  data_science  machinelearning  artificialintelligence 
6 weeks ago
The case for normalizing Trump
Luigi Zingales has this amazing quote from 2011:

How, then, did Berlusconi get elected and reelected? He created an unlikely coalition between the business elite, which supports him for fear of the alternative, and the poor, who identify with him because he appeals to their aspirations. In a country where corruption and lack of meritocracy has all but killed the hope of intra-generational mobility, citizens chose to escape from reality and find consolation in dreams. Berlusconi adeptly fosters the illusion that he can turn everyone else into billionaires. His political career is something like Trump’s Apprentice program, only on a national scale.
politics  trump  polarization 
6 weeks ago
Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check - The New York Times
But hiring editors to enforce accuracy — or even promising to enforce accuracy by partnering with third parties — would create the perception that Facebook is policing the “truth,” and that is worrisome. The first reason has to do with the nature of Facebook’s business. The second has to do with the news business.

One thing is clear to anyone who has worked in a newsroom: Not all fact-checking decisions are black and white.

Did the pope endorse Mr. Trump? He did not.

But did the F.B.I. reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation? That’s a little tougher. Although major news outlets like CNN said that it had, the agency did not in fact reopen the inquiry, which would have been a far more significant move than what it did do (which was to take a look at newly discovered emails to see if it should reconsider its decision to close the case). Erroneous reporting by established organizations is a bigger threat than fabricated stories, and far more rampant.

News organizations like my own publication make these judgments a million times a day. And we sometimes get them wrong. But we are checked by the power of our competitors and, for news organizations with a subscription business, by readers who stop paying us if we fail them.

To be sure, this business model is under great stress as people lose trust in news organizations. But I don’t believe the solution is to give up on it, particularly if the alternative is to cede the power of authentication to companies like Facebook.

I’m not comfortable trusting the truth to one gatekeeper that has a mission and a fiduciary duty to increase advertising revenue, especially when revenue is tied more to engagement than information. Facebook continues to consider, for example, how it can win approval to enter the Chinese market, including by censoring content. For the company, business can come before truth.

No matter how many editors Facebook hired, it would be unable to monitor the volume of information that flows through its site, and it would be similarly impossible for readers to verify what was checked. The minute Facebook accepts responsibility for ferreting out misinformation, users will start believing that it is fact-checking everything on the site.
facebook  platformization  polarization 
6 weeks ago
The Anti-Socialist Origins of Big Data | The Nation
 The information being handled by this equipment might not have been “big data,” but the idea was the same: to gather real-time intelligence from as many sources as possible, analyze it, act as quickly and in as coordinated a manner as possible, and then store it for future use. These upgrades allowed intelligence agencies, either working in tandem through Condor or individually, to kill or disappear more than 100,000 Latin American citizens and torture maybe an equal number.

So we rightly think of Chile’s 1973 coup as a turning point in modern history, where Hayekians and Friedmanites were able to first fully apply neoliberals’ “Shock Doctrine.” The “price system”—and not central planners sitting in fiberglass chairs getting inputs from nationalized factories run by worker committees—would determine the proper distribution of resources and profit.

But the coup should also be memorialized as marking a related historical turning point, when cyber-utopia transmuted into cyber-terror, and technology was used not to increase “real-time happiness”—unto “complete bliss”—but to instill raw pain. “Voltmeter” dials wouldn’t record people’s satisfaction with the government’s social-welfare policies. They’d be hooked up to electrodes and attached to victim’s bodies—a common Condor practice. (Even before Condor was up and running, Dan Mitrione, a US agent stationed in Brazil and Uruguay, is believed to have invented the infamous “Dragon’s Chair,” an electric torture chair; for three years, the current president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff—up for re-election this Sunday in a runoff vote—“was incarcerated in a military prison, stripped naked, bound upside down, and administered electric shocks to her breasts, inner thighs, and head.”)
bigdata  research 
7 weeks ago
What it’s like to be an Asian-American actor: I’m the background of other people’s stories
Every set I’ve been on has had an ethnically diverse crew. I see how directors might not clue in to the lack of diversity of their work because they look out onto an inclusive set. The principal actors onscreen are only a small percentage of the entire body of employees. What they forget is that the rest of the world only sees who is put in front of the camera, and they are hoping to look into a mirror.
generalinterest  politics  movies 
7 weeks ago
Facebook, Twitter & Trump | by Sue Halpern | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Writing in The Atlantic the following month, reporter Andrew McGill pointed to an analysis of five hundred pro-Trump Twitter accounts that had encouraged voters to lodge complaints with the FCC about the Cruz campaign, the majority of which had previously tweeted “17 Marketing Tips for B2B websites.” In other words, they were fake supporters bought and deployed to push a message and look like a small army of concerned citizens while doing so. According to the website Twitter Audit, 4,645,254 of Donald Trump’s 11,972,303 Twitter followers—about 39 percent—were bots, compared to 524,141 of Hillary Clinton’s 10,696,761, or just 5 percent. Here was another way that Trump triumphed.

After studying four million election-related tweets created between September 16 and October 21, the University of Southern California computer science professor, Emilio Ferrara, and his colleagues, determined that one in five were generated by bots. And once they were, they were retweeted again and again by actual humans, who sent them ricocheting around the web, especially those that were antagonistic; in earlier work, Ferrara’s group found that negative tweets traveled 2.5 times faster than positive ones.  “As a result, [the bots] were able to build significant influence, collecting large numbers of followers and having their tweets retweeted by thousands of humans,” and leading to the “spreading of content that is often defamatory or based on unsupported or even false, claims.” Ferrara further noted that, “previous studies showed that this systematic bias alters public perception. Specifically, it creates the false impression that there is grassroots, positive, sustained support for a certain candidate.”
trump  polarization  platformization 
7 weeks ago
‘Something is happening that is amazing,’ Trump said. He was right. - The Washington Post
It was a sentiment that I would hear again and again over the next year, as I followed Trump to more than 170 rallies in 35 states and talked with thousands of his supporters. The first question I usually asked: Why do you like him?

The answers were nearly always the same: He’s saying what I’m saying, thinking, feeling or wanting to hear. He’s not a politician and not part of a corrupt system. He’s honest and speaks his mind, even if it gets him in trouble. And he’s tough.

[‘Finally. Someone who thinks like me.’]

Plus, Trump told his supporters that it was okay to blame their financial problems on undocumented immigrants and the Chinese, that it was okay to be fearful of Muslims and those who don’t speak English, that it was okay to punch back at Black Lives Matter activists, that it was okay to hate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
trump  polarization 
7 weeks ago
Trump’s election is actually a return to normal racial politics. Here’s why. - The Washington Post
As we have written, illiberal beliefs and practices have been so strong that the United States has usually only made significant progress toward racial equality only under the exigencies of war. For example, African American rights only advanced dramatically during three periods in U.S. history — during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and immediately after, and most recently during World War II and the Cold War.

[The education gap among whites this year wasn’t about education. It was about race.]

In each of these periods the United States was fighting a war against illiberal enemies, prompting it to highlight its own liberal values. In addition, each of these were big wars in which victory required African Americans as soldiers, sailors, defense workers, and at the very least, quiescent citizens. Finally, and perhaps most important, black and white civil rights advocates used wartime pressures to leverage for legal changes.

But for many white Americans, these advances were instrumental to the need to win the war and accepted only grudgingly. Wartime pressures for equality were felt most keenly at the elite level. Most ordinary white Americans were apathetic at best about such changes. Many were virulently opposed. Once the external pressures of war were removed, the elite consensus broke down, allowing various factions to encourage and harness these racial sentiments for their own political ends
politics  polarization  trump 
7 weeks ago
This researcher programmed bots to fight racism on Twitter. It worked. - The Washington Post
It was essential to keep the race and gender of the subjects constant to test my central question: How would reactions to my sanctioning message change based on the race of the bot sending the message?

To do so, I created two types of bots: white men and black men. To manipulate the race, I used the same cartoon avatar for the bots’ profile picture and simply changed the skin color. Using a method that has been frequently employed to measure discrimination in hiring, I also gave the bots characteristically white or characteristically black first and last names.

Here’s an example of “Greg,” a white bot:

“Greg”, the white bot used in the author’s study. (Screen shot from Twitter by Kevin Munger/TMC)
The picture at the start of this post is a screenshot of “Rasheed,” a black bot, in action.

To make the bots look more like real people, I followed some celebrities/news outlets and sent a number of harmless tweets (“Strawberry season is in full swing, and I’m loving it”).

I also varied the number of followers the bots had, to test the theory that “higher status” people are more effective at changing others’ behavior. To do this, I bought followers for half of the bots — 500 followers, to be specific — and gave the remaining bots only two followers each (see screenshot above). This represents a large status difference: a Twitter user with two followers is unlikely to be taken seriously, while 500 followers is a substantial number.

Overall, I had four types of bots: High Follower/White; Low Follower/White; High Follower/Black; and Low Follower/Black. My prediction was that messages from the different types of bots would function differently. I thought High Follower/White bots would have the largest effect, while Low Follower/Black bots would have only a minimal effect.

I expected the white bots to be more effective than the black bots because all of my subjects were themselves white, and there is evidence that messages about social norms from the “in-group” are more effective than messages from the “out-group.” Race does not always define in-group/out-group status, but because these subjects were engaged in racist harassment, I thought that this was the most relevant group identity.

The primary behavior I hoped to change with my intervention was the subjects’ use of racist slurs. I tracked each subject’s Twitter use for two months and calculated the change in the use of a particular racial slur.

Only one of the four types of bots caused a significant reduction in the subjects’ rate of tweeting slurs: the white bots with 500 followers. The graph below shows that this type of bot caused each subject to tweet the slur 0.3 fewer times per day in the week after being sanctioned.

Change in average daily slur use in the week following online sanctioning (Data and Figure: Kevin Munger)
Change in average daily slur use in the week following online sanctioning (Data and Figure: Kevin Munger)
Roughly 35 percent of subjects provided some personal information on their profile. The effects of my messages on this subset — that is, non anonymous Twitter users — were strikingly different. Tweets from white bots with 500 followers did not cause a significant change in these users’ behavior, but tweets from black bots with few followers (the type of bots that I thought would have a minimal effect) actually caused an increase in the use of racist slurs.

Monkey Cage newsletter
Commentary on political science and political issues.
Sign up
The messages were identical, but the results varied dramatically based on the racial identity and status of the bot and the degree of anonymity of the subject.
polarization  politics  twitter  platformization 
7 weeks ago
The county-by-county data on Trump voters shows why he won - The Washington Post
Consistent with much post-election analysis, the share of a county’s residents with a college education is the strongest predictor. Counties with more college-educated residents gave Trump substantially fewer votes. This is in line with the exit polls, which revealed a fairly sharp cleavage on education.

Monkey Cage newsletter
Commentary on political science and political issues.
Sign up
A county’s racial composition also mattered. The larger the percentage of minority residents in a county — whether black, Hispanic, or Asian — the lower Trump’s support. In the graph, I plot lines for the black and Latino populations.

Notably, size of the Latino population was an even stronger predictor in 2016 than in 2012. In 2016, the effect of moving from a prototypically low Hispanic county to a prototypically high Hispanic county was 14 points larger in the Democrats’ favor than in 2012. In other words, counties with large Latino populations, such as Cook County, Ill., Los Angeles County, Calif., and Hidalgo County, Tex., are places where Clinton ran up the score. Given Trump’s demonization of Latino immigrants and promises to deport millions of them, that is perhaps no shock.

I also found evidence consistent with the “racial threat” hypothesis. As shown by the orange dotted line in the graph, Trump’s vote was higher in counties where the number of Latinos has increased significantly since 2000. This suggests that some voters may have supported Trump as a way of expressing white identity in an increasingly diverse nation.

Finally, Trump also did better in counties experiencing a loss in manufacturing since 2000. (The downward slope of the red line means that Trump did better in counties with manufacturing losses, on the left, and worse in areas with manufacturing gains, on the right.) Indeed, economic struggles may well have been the factor that flipped some Midwestern counties in such places as Michigan and Wisconsin: The effect of the manufacturing variable is stronger in that part of the country than elsewhere.
politics  trump  polarization 
7 weeks ago
How racially resentful working-class whites fled the Democratic Party — before Donald Trump - The Washington Post
Across time, a large and stable majority of whites with a college degree believed that the Democrat was more supportive of federal aid to blacks. But among whites with no college degree, there was a substantial 22-point increase in awareness from 2004 to 2012. The election of an African American Democratic president helped shrink a different diploma divide — this time, in awareness of the two parties’ differing positions on race.
trump  polarization  politics 
7 weeks ago
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure
Berkshire is extreme in this regard, but a basic divisional backbone is the main way to organize a big company. Most people work for units that are responsible for particular lines of business, while a few functional groups (maybe public relations or accounting) provide support to all the business divisions. Apple is extremely functional Apple isn’t like that. If you look at their executive team you’ll find that there’s no senior vice president for iPhone who works alongside a senior vice president for Mac. Nobody is in charge of Macs or iPhones or iPads or really anything else, because Apple is almost entirely functional.
Siliconvalley  apple 
7 weeks ago
Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook’s ideas to battle fake news - The Washington Post
“We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Friday night post on his own Facebook page. He then named seven approaches the company was considering to address the issue, including warning labels on false stories, easier user reporting methods and the integration of third-party verification.

[Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’]

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” he cautioned, repeating the company’s long-standing aversion to becoming the “arbiters of truth” — instead preferring to rely on third parties and users to make those distinctions.

“We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or mistakenly restricting accurate content,” he said.
facebook  trump  polarization  platformization 
7 weeks ago
“These Days, Everyone Needs a Side Hustle”
The language of the ‘sharing economy’ positions all of us equally in the same community of app users. Indeed, the main advocacy group for the industry, now packaging portable benefits for gig workers, is simply called Peers. But if we read the latest data alongside earlier data on consumers of gig platform labor, it becomes clear that we are not all on the same page. An earlier Pew report found that super-users who purchase services from six or more of these platforms are generally digitally literate, college-educated urbanites making $75,000 or more. The gulf between frequent suppliers of labor to these platforms and frequent purchasers of that labor mirrors the gulf in the labor market that has been growing for decades but which ballooned after the recession: Low-wage service jobs with unpredictable schedules and no benefits on one side, and high-wage knowledge economy jobs concentrated in urban areas on the other.
sharing_economy  uber 
7 weeks ago
There is no such thing as western civilisation | Kwame Anthony Appiah | World news | The Guardian
So the very idea of the “west,” to name a heritage and object of study, doesn’t really emerge until the 1890s, during a heated era of imperialism, and gains broader currency only in the 20th century. When, around the time of the first world war, Oswald Spengler wrote the influential book translated as The Decline of the West – a book that introduced many readers to the concept – he scoffed at the notion that there were continuities between western culture and the classical world. During a visit to the Balkans in the late 1930s, the writer and journalist Rebecca West recounted a visitor’s sense that “it’s uncomfortably recent, the blow that would have smashed the whole of our western culture”. The “recent blow” in question was the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.

To be blunt: if western culture were real, we wouldn’t spend so much time talking it up
If the notion of Christendom was an artefact of a prolonged military struggle against Muslim forces, our modern concept of western culture largely took its present shape during the cold war. In the chill of battle, we forged a grand narrative about Athenian democracy, the Magna Carta, Copernican revolution, and so on. Plato to Nato. Western culture was, at its core, individualistic and democratic and liberty-minded and tolerant and progressive and rational and scientific. Never mind that pre-modern Europe was none of these things, and that until the past century democracy was the exception in Europe – something that few stalwarts of western thought had anything good to say about. The idea that tolerance was constitutive of something called western culture would have surprised Edward Burnett Tylor, who, as a Quaker, had been barred from attending England’s great universities. To be blunt: if western culture were real, we wouldn’t spend so much time talking it up.

Of course, once western culture could be a term of praise, it was bound to become a term of dispraise, too. Critics of western culture, producing a photonegative emphasising slavery, subjugation, racism, militarism, and genocide, were committed to the very same essentialism, even if they see a nugget not of gold but of arsenic.

Talk of “western culture” has had a larger implausibility to overcome. It places, at the heart of identity, all manner of exalted intellectual and artistic achievements – philosophy, literature, art, music; the things Arnold prized and humanists study. But if western culture was there in Troyes in the late 12th century when Chrétien was alive, it had little to do with the lives of most of his fellow citizens, who did not know Latin or Greek, and had never heard of Plato. Today the classical heritage plays no greater role in the everyday lives of most Americans or Britons. Are these Arnoldian achievements that hold us together? Of course not. What holds us together, surely, is Tylor’s broad sense of culture: our customs of dress and greeting, the habits of behaviour that shape relations between men and women, parents and children, cops and civilians, shop assistants and consumers. Intellectuals like me have a tendency to suppose that the things we care about are the most important things. I don’t say they don’t matter. But they matter less than the story of the golden nugget suggests.

So how have we bridged the chasm here? How have we managed to tell ourselves that we are rightful inheritors of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant, when the stuff of our existence is more Beyoncé and Burger King? Well, by fusing the Tylorian picture and the Arnoldian one, the realm of the everyday and the realm of the ideal. And the key to this was something that was already present in Tylor’s work. Remember his famous definition: it began with culture as “that complex whole”. What you’re hearing is something we can call organicism. A vision of culture not as a loose assemblage of disparate fragments but as an organic unity, each component, like the organs in a body, carefully adapted to occupy a particular place, each part essential to the functioning of the whole. The Eurovision song contest, the cutouts of Matisse, the dialogues of Plato are all parts of a larger whole. As such, each is a holding in your cultural library, so to speak, even if you have never personally checked it out. Even if it isn’t your jam, it is still your heritage and possession. Organicism explained how our everyday selves could be dusted with gold.

Britons once swapped their fish and chips for chicken tikka masala, now, I gather, they’re all having a cheeky Nando’s
Now, there are organic wholes in our cultural life: the music, the words, the set-design, the dance of an opera fit and are meant to fit together. It is, in the word Wagner invented, a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. But there isn’t one great big whole called culture that organically unites all these parts. Spain, in the heart of “the west,” resisted liberal democracy for two generations after it took off in India and Japan in “the east,” the home of Oriental despotism. Jefferson’s cultural inheritance – Athenian liberty, Anglo-Saxon freedom – did not preserve the United States from creating a slave republic. At the same time, Franz Kafka and Miles Davis can live together as easily – perhaps even more easily – than Kafka and his fellow Austro-Hungarian Johann Strauss. You will find hip-hop in the streets of Tokyo. The same is true in cuisine: Britons once swapped their fish and chips for chicken tikka masala, now, I gather, they’re all having a cheeky Nando’s.

Once we abandon organicism, we can take up the more cosmopolitan picture in which every element of culture, from philosophy or cuisine to the style of bodily movement, is separable in principle from all the others – you really can walk and talk like an African-American and think with Matthew Arnold and Immanuel Kant, as well as with Martin Luther King and Miles Davis. No Muslim essence stops the inhabitants of Dar al-Islam from taking up anything from western civilisation, including Christianity or democracy. No western essence is there to stop a New Yorker of any ancestry taking up Islam.

The stories we tell that connect Plato or Aristotle or Cicero or Saint Augustine to contemporary culture in the north Atlantic world have some truth in them, of course. We have self-conscious traditions of scholarship and argumentation. The delusion is to think that it suffices that we have access to these values, as if they are tracks on a Spotify playlist we have never quite listened to. If these thinkers are part of our Arnoldian culture, there is no guarantee that what is best in them will continue to mean something to the children of those who now look back to them, any more than the centrality of Aristotle to Muslim thought for hundreds of years guarantees him an important place in modern Muslim cultures.

Values aren’t a birthright: you need to keep caring about them. Living in the west, however you define it, being western, provides no guarantee that you will care about western civilisation. The values European humanists like to espouse belong just as easily to an African or an Asian who takes them up with enthusiasm as to a European. By that very logic, of course, they do not belong to a European who has not taken the trouble to understand and absorb them. The same, of course, is true in the other direction. The story of the golden nugget suggests that we cannot help caring about the traditions of “the west” because they are ours: in fact, the opposite is true. They are only ours if we care about them. A culture of liberty, tolerance, and rational inquiry: that would be a good idea. But these values represent choices to make, not tracks laid down by a western destiny.
culture  research 
7 weeks ago
A computer program used for bail and sentencing decisions was labeled biased against blacks. It’s actually not that clear. - The Washington Post
Debate over using algorithms for guiding sentencing - argues that there's an incommensuratation between the two kinds of "good" outcomes here.
algorithms  research  artificialintelligence 
7 weeks ago
The Slow Fade Of Tom Hanks - BuzzFeed News
Scorched earth analysis of Hanks' persona and the films that helped him construct it. Not sure I buy it but worth storing
7 weeks ago
« earlier      
2u abtesting academy accreditation advertising affect agile airbnb algorithms amazon america amplify analytics anonymous ant anthropology apple apps architecture artificial_intelligence artificialintelligence asu automation badging baidu berkeley bigdata bitcoin blackboard blogging bollywood books boundary_work business business_model california canon capital capitalism career cars china cities cmoocsvsxmoocs cmu code coding cognition coldwar college community_college companies computational_social_science computer_science computing consulting copyright corporation cost coursebuilder coursera credentialing crowdsourcing crowdwork cryptocurrency cs_education culture cybernetics data data_science dating davidson debates debt deeplearning demographics derivatives design design-decisions desire2learn development digital_learning digitalsts economic_growth economics ed education edx email employment engineers engineervsinstructor entrepreneurship europe expertise expertisevsaggregation facebook fcc finance flipped_classroom forums funding futurism gender generalinterest google grading hackathon hackers hardware harvard hawkeye hci health higher higher_ed hindicinema history ibm india inequality information information_technology infrastructure innovation intel internet investments ip iraq isis islam java jira jobs journalism jurisdiction_contest keypoints khanacademy knewton labor language latour law lawenforcement learning_analytics learning_research licensing linguistics linkedin literature lms lyft machinelearning management marijuana marketing markets marxism media medicalanthropology medicine meditation michigan microsoft mit mitx money moocs moodle motivation movies music myspace neoliberalism netflix netneutrality norms novels nsa nuclear nudging obama okcupid openedx opensource optimization ora pbs pearson pedagogy peer_grading performativity personal personalization philanthropy philosophy piketty platformization polanyi polarization policy political_economy political_science politicaltheory politics pot prediction privacy productivity productivity-tips psychology public_discourse public_sphere publishing python quantifiedself quora reading regulation replicationcrisis research revenue robotics rorty scale scam school science sciencestudies sciencevspolitics security sharing_economy siliconvalley sjsu socialmedia socialpsychology socialscience socialtheory sociology software software_engineering softwarestudies softwarevscontent spam spoc spotify standardization stanford statistics stem_education stephenhawking sts studio supremecourt surveillance taxes teaching_tips technical-help technological_progress technology technologyvspolitics television tennis texas tinder tips toblog tools trading translation tripadvisor truecrime trump turing twitter uber udacity video visualization wallstreet watson web web2.0 webanalytics websearch whatsapp women workers workplace xblock xblocks youtube

Copy this bookmark: