Tag Archives: algorithmic politics

We Don’t Know What ‘Personal Data’ Means

Mark Zuckerberg Data

It’s Not Just What We Tell Them. It’s What They Infer. Many of us seem to think that “personal data” is a straightforward concept.  In discussions about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, GDPR, and the rest of the data-drenched world we live in now, we proceed from the assumption that personal data means something like “data about […]

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The Terribly Thin Conception of Ethics in Digital Technology

robot teacher fooled students

Thanks in part to ongoing revelations about Facebook, there is today a louder discussion than there has been for a while about the need for deep thinking about ethics in the fields of engineering, computer science, and the commercial businesses built out of them. In the Boston Globe, Yonatan Zunger wrote about an “ethics crisis” […]

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Please Consider Supporting Our Legal Challenge to Cambridge Analytica’s Role in the Trump Election

Crowd Justice campaign header

Since December of last year, I have been part of a small group of concerned citizens engaged in a series of actions against Cambridge Analytica (CA) and its parent corporation, SCL Group. I am writing this post in the hopes of gathering support (that is, funds) we need to continue this action. You can support […]

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Wikipedia and the Oligarchy of Ignorance

wikipedia

In a recent story on Medium called “One Man’s Quest to Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake: Meet the Ultimate WikiGnome,” Andrew McMillen tells the story of Wikipedia editor “Giraffedata”—beyond the world of Wikipedia, a software engineer named Bryan Henderson—who has edited thousands of Wikipedia pages to correct a single grammatical error and is […]

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Social Media as Political Control: The Facebook Study, Acxiom, & NSA

NSA Facebook

Although it didn’t break the major media until last week, around June 2 researchers led by Adam Kramer of Facebook published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) entitled “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks.” The publication has triggered an flood of complaints and concerns: is Facebook […]

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Google, Culture, Computationalism

This sort of story captures what i see as one of–perhaps the–most paradigmatic manifestations of computationalism. I have noticed how much more streamlined, clean, and professional Google’s designs have been recently. It never occurred to me to think about how their design team works, although i spent lots of time working at this interface. It […]

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Draft for Comment: ‘Playing with Rules’

The Electronic Book Review kindly published an in-depth review of The Cultural Logic of Computation (and of Mark McGurl’s The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing, both Harvard UP 2009) by Brian Lennon titled “Gaming the System.” The editors of the journal ask all reviewed authors to respond; after far too […]

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