It’s time to rein in the data barons

“Jonathan Taplin, the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, argues in Move Fast and Break Things, his book about the power of the internet giants, that rebel artists have long had to deal with “suits” who control distribution of their work. But the rise of companies like Facebook and Amazon has increased the stakes immeasurably. “The concentration of profits in the making of arts and news,” he writes, “has made more than just artists and journalists vulnerable: it has made all those who seek to profit from the free exchange of ideas and culture vulnerable to the power of a small group of …”

It’s time to rein in the data barons
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611425/its-time-to-rein-in-the-data-barons/
via Instapaper



Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.

“Taken together, these graphs illustrate ecological overshoot: the fact that, in the pursuit of material progress, our civilization is consuming the earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished. Overshoot is particularly dangerous because of its relatively slow feedback loops: if your checking account balance approaches zero, you know that if you keep writing checks they will bounce. In overshoot, however, it’s as though our civilization keeps taking out bigger and bigger overdrafts to replenish the account, and then we pretend these funds are income and celebrate our continuing “progress.” In the end, of course, the money runs dry and it’s game over.”

Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.
https://patternsofmeaning.com/2018/05/17/steven-pinkers-ideas-about-progress-are-fatally-flawed-these-eight-graphs-show-why/
via Instapaper





Google’s Selfish Ledger is an unsettling vision of Silicon Valley social engineering - watch the video !!

“Building on the ledger idea, the middle section of the video presents a conceptual Resolutions by Google system, in which Google prompts users to select a life goal and then guides them toward it in every interaction they have with their phone. The examples, which would “reflect Google’s values as an organization,” include urging you to try a more environmentally friendly option when hailing an Uber or directing you to buy locally grown produce from Safeway.”

Google’s Selfish Ledger is an unsettling vision of Silicon Valley social engineering
https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/17344250/google-x-selfish-ledger-video-data-privacy
via Instapaper






Jaron Lanier Q&A: ‘We Won, and We Turned Into Assholes’

“And then when you move out of the tech world, everybody’s struggling. It’s a very strange thing. The numbers show an economy that’s doing well, but the reality is that the way it’s doing well doesn’t give many people a feeling of security or confidence in their futures. It’s like everybody’s working for Uber in one way or another. Everything’s become the gig economy. And we routed it that way, that’s our doing. There’s this strange feeling when you just look outside of the tight circle of Silicon Valley, almost like entering another country, where people are less secure. It’s not a good feeling. I don’t think it’s worth it, I think we’re wrong to want that feeling.”

Jaron Lanier Q&A: ‘We Won, and We Turned Into Assholes’
http://nymag.com/selectall/2018/04/jaron-lanier-interview-on-what-went-wrong-with-the-internet.html
via Instapaper

Bill Gates: Global inequality is falling faster than ever

“Now let’s move on to the global picture, and look at the share of global wealth held by the richest 1% - a slightly different measure than the earlier chart, which looked at income inequality. A January 2016 Oxfam report revealed that the richest 1% held over 50% of global wealth – a situation that has become steadily worse over the last five years:


Image: Oxfam

But Bill Gates’ point – which he has made before – is that while incomes at the top of the scale may be rising, overall global inequality is being reduced by the reduction of poverty.

While he is specifically referring to the last 20 years or so, the wider point can be illustrated by taking a longer view. This graphic from Our World in Data shows the progress made in improving the distribution of world income over the last 200 years.”

Bill Gates: Global inequality is falling faster than ever
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/04/bill-gates-global-inequality-is-falling-faster-than-ever/
via Instapaper





The Neighbourhood Where Google Plans to Kill the Private Car

“Many of us may someday be living inside that structure. And what brings us there could be Quayside’s self-driving cars. “Power and control over autonomous-vehicle technology is already concentrated in the hands of a small few,” wrote Anna Wiener last November in the New York Times, “If a company like Uber or Alphabet controls the dominant transportation infrastructure you need not live in an intentional community like Quayside to feel as though your city is becoming a company town.””

The Neighbourhood Where Google Plans to Kill the Private Car
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3y59e/the-neighbourhood-where-google-plans-to-kill-the-private-car
via Instapaper


The Neighbourhood Where Google Plans to Kill the Private Car

“If Google can hasten the demise of the private car, it would accelerate a shift in corporate power already underway at the top of our economy. Since the advent of car-dependant suburbs like Levittown, the world’s most valuable companies have been oil producers like Exxon, Shell, BP, and Chevron. Today the list is dominated by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. Google’s parent Alphabet alone is worth $763 billion. “The numbers are staggering,” Gerd Leonhard, a Switzerland-based futurist, speaker and author, recently told me. “Tech is basically much bigger and more powerful than oil has ever been.” Google’s vast financial power comes from ruling the digital realm. Quayside gives it a bridge into our physical world.”

The Neighbourhood Where Google Plans to Kill the Private Car
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3y59e/the-neighbourhood-where-google-plans-to-kill-the-private-car
via Instapaper



Life in 2030: these are the 4 things experts can't predict

“This explosion of connectivity brings new possibilities, but also economic and social vulnerabilities. The level of coordination and coding required to stitch the Internet of Things together is orders of magnitude more complicated than any historical endeavour yet. It is likely that things will break and no one will know how to fix them. Bad actors will be able to achieve societal disruptions at scale and from afar. Consequently, we are faced with some hard, costly choices. How much redundancy should these complex systems have? How will they be defended and by whom? How is liability redefined, as objects are networked across a global grid and attacks can metastasize quickly?”

Life in 2030: these are the 4 things experts can't predict
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/life-in-2030-what-experts-cant-predict/
via Instapaper




Congress Is Unearthing Facebook’s Terrible Power

“The problem Zuckerberg faces is running an empire that’s too big for any one entity to control. The largest virtual public square in the world, one that provides a communications tool to 2.2 billion users is overseen by one individual. Zuckerberg created something that is far bigger than himself, and he–along with the rest of us–failed to account for the unintended consequences in advance. We’re concerned about who gets access to our information, yes. But as yesterday’s Senate hearing revealed, we’re also concerned about many other ways Facebook is impacting our lives. We’re worried our children are becoming addicted to it.”

Congress Is Unearthing Facebook’s Terrible Power
https://www.wired.com/story/congress-is-unearthing-facebooks-terrible-power/
via Instapaper