RSS

Tag Archives: Internet

Can the US government stem the tide of ‘fake news’ in a postmodern world?

Three years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the moral panic over “fake news” and “post-truth” has not abated. If anything, it has now blossomed into a full-blown culture war. Conservatives insist that their views are suppressed by Facebook and Twitter; progressives accuse the same platforms of not doing enough to crack down on hate speech and foreign manipulation of elections.

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in US Congress – where politicians competed to deal him the lethal rhetorical blow – doesn’t bode well for Silicon Valley. The Valley’s only savior, at this point, is the Communist Party of China. Only indefinite trade war with China will prevent US lawmakers from regulating the “strategic” tech sector; to break up the industry would weaken Washington’s global standing. The Trump administration is not blind to these risks.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2019/oct/31/can-the-us-government-stem-the-tide-of-fake-news-in-a-postmodern-world

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

How the pursuit of leisure drives internet use

THE CHIEF of Madhogarh, a picturesque village nestled beneath a 17th-century fortified palace in the heart of Rajasthan, came to Indra Sharma three years ago to ask if she would attend a workshop. “Something about the internet,” Ms Sharma, a 40-year-old child-care worker, recalls. She had no particular interest in this internet thing. But she liked the idea of learning something new, so she went along. She and a handful of women from nearby villages were all given a smartphone and some basic lessons in how to use it.

“First we had to learn how to turn it on and off,” says Santosh Sharma (no relation), a 24-year-old schoolteacher from the neighbouring village. Once they had mastered that, they got down to the essentials: “How to take a selfie, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, how to search.”

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/06/08/how-the-pursuit-of-leisure-drives-internet-use

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Africa, Asia, Reportages

 

Tags:

Destroyer of worlds

On 27 April, before he burst into a San Diego synagogue and opened fire, killing one worshipper and injuring three more, the gunman said goodbye to the community that radicalised him. “It’s been real dudes,” he posted on the far-right politics board, /pol/, on the image-posting site 8chan. “I’ve only been lurking for a year and a half, yet what I’ve learned here is priceless.”

Why this story?
There’s no room for argument about whether hate-filled internet message boards encourage real-world violence: they do, and none more so than 8chan. It normalises racism, misogyny, and extremism – and helps turn nightmarish, loud-mouthed talk of action into reality. What kind of person would set up a site like 8chan?

The question matters if we’re serious about trying to regulate it, or prevent similar sites coming into being. We might assume that the brains behind 8chan would belong to a committed, hard-line ideologue; someone, perhaps, we could identify and deal with. But what if other impulses are in play? How do we deal with the motivating power of poverty, disability, anger and self-loathing? Meet Fredrick Brennan. Ceri Thomas, editor
The story was familiar. Six weeks earlier, a 28-year-old had killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before starting his attack, he, too, had posted on 8chan’s /pol/ board. “It’s been a long ride,” he had written. He signed off his post: “Meme magic is real.” The first response from an anonymous 8chan user urged him to “get the high score”.

From its effect on the world, 8chan could be ranked as one of the internet’s most dangerous sites. Some have even compared it to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or ISIS. The pattern is similar: men – and it is always men – find their way there, and get radicalised into an extreme ideology which drives some of them to violence.

Ahmed Al-Mahmoud, centre, survived the attack on the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. The perpetrator posted on 8chan /pol/ beforehand

https://members.tortoisemedia.com/2019/06/29/8chan/content.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2019 in Reportages

 

Tags:

On YouTube’s Digital Playground, an Open Gate for Pedophiles

Christiane C. didn’t think anything of it when her 10-year-old daughter and a friend
uploaded a video of themselves playing in a backyard pool.

“The video is innocent, it’s not a big deal,” said Christiane, who lives in a Rio de Janeiro suburb.

A
few days later, her daughter shared exciting news: The video had
thousands of views. Before long, it had ticked up to 400,000 — a
staggering number for a video of a child in a two-piece bathing suit
with her friend.

“I saw the video again and I got scared by the number of views,” Christiane said.

She had reason to be.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/world/americas/youtube-pedophiles.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Reportages

 

Tags: , ,

Something is wrong on the internet

https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 6, 2019 in Reportages

 

Tags: , , , ,

Facebook’s plan to break the global financial system

What should we make of Facebook’s sudden foray into the world of digital money? Just as regulators were beginning to wake up from their self-induced coma to discover that Facebook has grown too fast and too big for its own good, the company has decided to redouble its unbending commitment to “moving fast and breaking things”. The good old days when Facebook was merely breaking privacy and elections are now gone – and we’ll surely miss them. But how could they compete with the chance of breaking – once and for all – the global financial system?

To that end, Facebook has announced Libra, a currency, an infrastructure, a network – an ambiguous digital entity capacious enough to be everything for everybody, and with the noble cover of a .org domain to boot. It’s the ultimate Schrodinger’s cat of the digital economy: a blockchain/non-blockchain, it will serve as money/non-money to save/bury Facebook/all of us.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/facebooks-plan-to-break-the-global-financial-system

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Can we stop AI outsmarting humanity?

Fifty thousand years ago with the rise of Homo sapiens sapiens.

Ten thousand years ago with the invention of civilization.

Five hundred years ago with the invention of the printing press.

Fifty years ago with the invention of the computer.

In less than thirty years, it will end.

Jaan Tallinn stumbled across these words in 2007, in an online essay called Staring into the Singularity. The “it” was human civilisation. Humanity would cease to exist, predicted the essay’s author, with the emergence of superintelligence, or AI, that surpasses human-level intelligence in a broad array of areas.

Tallinn, an Estonia-born computer programmer, has a background in physics and a propensity to approach life like one big programming problem. In 2003, he co-founded Skype, developing the backend for the app. He cashed in his shares after eBay bought it two years later, and now he was casting about for something to do. Staring into the Singularity mashed up computer code, quantum physics and Calvin and Hobbes quotes. He was hooked.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/28/can-we-stop-robots-outsmarting-humanity-artificial-intelligence-singularity

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Smart talking: are our devices threatening our privacy?

On 21 November 2015, James Bates had three friends over to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks play the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Bates, who lived in Bentonville, Arkansas, and his friends drank beer and did vodka shots as a tight football game unfolded. After the Razorbacks lost 51–50, one of the men went home; the others went out to Bates’s hot tub and continued to drink. Bates would later say that he went to bed around 1am and that the other two men – one of whom was named Victor Collins – planned to crash at his house for the night. When Bates got up the next morning, he didn’t see either of his friends. But when he opened his back door, he saw a body floating face-down in the hot tub. It was Collins.

A grim local affair, the death of Victor Collins would never have attracted international attention if it were not for a facet of the investigation that pitted the Bentonville authorities against one of the world’s most powerful companies – Amazon. Collins’ death triggered a broad debate about privacy in the voice-computing era, a discussion that makes the big tech companies squirm.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/26/smart-talking-are-our-devices-threatening-our-privacy

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

We are already controlled by the digital giants, but Huawei’s expansion will usher in China-style surveillance

The media bombards us with news about the threats to our security: will China invade Taiwan as a punishment for the US trade war? Will the US attack Iran? Will the EU descend into chaos after the Brexit mess? But I think there is one topic which – in the long view, at least – dwarfs all others: the effort of the US to contain the expansion of Huawei. Why?

Today’s digital network controls and regulates our lives: most of our activities (and passivities) are now registered in some digital cloud that also permanently evaluates us, tracing not only our acts but also our emotional states. When we experience ourselves as free to the utmost (surfing in the web where everything is available), we are totally “externalised” and subtly manipulated. The digital network gives new meaning to the old slogan “the personal is political”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/huawei-5g-china-surveillance-social-credit-google-facebook-assange-a8912891.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Asia, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

It’s not enough to break up Big Tech. We need to imagine a better alternative

As Facebook all but pleads guilty to a severe form of data addiction, confessing its digital sins and promising to reinvent itself as a privacy-worshiping denizen of the global village, the foundations of Big Tech’s cultural hegemony appear to be crumbling. Most surprisingly, it’s in the United States, Silicon Valley’s home territory, where they seem to be the weakest.

Even in these times of extreme polarization, Trump, who has habitual outbursts against censorship by social media platforms, eagerly joins left-wing politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in presenting Big Tech as America’s greatest menace The recent call by Chris Hughes, Facebook’s co-founder, to break up the firm hints at things to come.

Neither the Silicon Valley moguls nor financial markets seem to care though. The recent decision by Warren Buffet – one of America’s most successful but also most conservative investors –to finally invest in Amazon is probably a better indication of wait awaits the tech giants in the medium term: more lavish initial public offerings, more Saudi cash, more promises to apply artificial intelligence to resolve the problems caused by artificial intelligence.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/11/big-tech-progressive-vision-silicon-valley

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,