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jerryking : human_experience   6

Opinion | Warning! Everything Is Going Deep: ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’
Jan. 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman, Opinion Columnist.

Recent advances in the speed and scope of digitization, connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence are now taking us “deep” into places and into powers that we’ve never experienced before — and that governments have never had to regulate before. I’m talking about deep learning, deep insights, deep surveillance, deep facial recognition, deep voice recognition, deep automation and deep artificial minds.

Some of these technologies offer unprecedented promise and some unprecedented peril — but they’re all now part of our lives. Everything is going deep........how did we get so deep down where the sharks live?

The short answer: Technology moves up in steps, and each step, each new platform, is usually biased toward a new set of capabilities. Around the year 2000 we took a huge step up that was biased toward connectivity, because of the explosion of fiber-optic cable, wireless and satellites.

Suddenly connectivity became so fast, cheap, easy for you and ubiquitous that it felt like you could touch someone whom you could never touch before and that you could be touched by someone who could never touch you before.

Around 2007, we took another big step up. The iPhone, sensors, digitization, big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing melded together and created a new platform that was biased toward abstracting complexity at a speed, scope and scale we’d never experienced before.....as big data got really big, as broadband got really fast, as algorithms got really smart, as 5G got actually deployed, artificial intelligence got really intelligent. So now, with no touch — but just a voice command or machines acting autonomously — we can go so much deeper in so many areas....DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s parent, developed an A.I. program, AlphaGo, that has now defeated the world’s top human players of the ancient strategy game Go — which is much more complex than chess — by learning from human play......Today “virtual agents” — using conversational interfaces powered by artificial intelligence — can increasingly understand your intent... just by hearing your voice.....The percentage of calls a chatbot, or virtual agent, is able to handle without turning the caller over to a person is called its “containment rate,” and these rates are steadily soaring. ....But bad guys, who are always early adopters, also see the same potential to go deep in wholly new ways.....On Jan. 20, The London Observer looked at Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff’s new book, the title of which perfectly describes the deep dark waters we’ve entered: “The Age of Surveillance Capital.”....“Surveillance capitalism,” Zuboff wrote, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioral surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioral futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behavior.”
5G  algorithms  AlphaGo  artificial_intelligence  automation  books  chatbots  complexity  connectivity  dark_side  DeepMind  digitalization  gaming_the_system  human_experience  massive_data_sets  patterns  rogue_actors  surveillance_profiteers  surveillance_state  Tom_Friedman  trustworthiness  virtual_assistants 
january 2019 by jerryking
Modern African Art Is Being Gentrified
MAY 20, 2017 | The New York Times | By CHIKA OKEKE-AGULU.

.Sotheby’s held its first auction of modern and contemporary African art on Tuesday, where 83 pieces by artists from Cameroon to South Africa sold for a total of nearly $4 million.....The sale at Sotheby’s, the granddaddy of auctioneers, most likely signals the beginning of a more serious interest from Western museums, which may finally start to consider such work worthy of inclusion in their permanent collections........Now that it is seen as high culture, the art and artists are gaining value, investors are jostling to get a piece of the action, and private collections are growing in Africa and around the world.....African contemporary artists have also moved beyond nationalism and are more likely to sound off about globalization and complex identities. But the continent’s masses will be the biggest losers. ...That’s because whole countries in Africa cannot boast of a single art museum of any renown......During the colonial era, bands of looters — missionaries, scholars, security forces and fortune hunters — fanned out across the continent and, by force or guile, carted away vast quantities of Africa’s artistic heritage. Many of these masterpieces of ancient and traditional African sculpture now reside in major private and public collections in the West, with little chance of ever returning to Africa......We cannot let this history repeat itself. But what is to be done?

African collectors and those based in Africa must participate in this market, for it is more likely that their collections will stay on the continent......As Africa overcomes years of dictatorships and civil wars, its fledgling democracies have seen the rise of a wealthy, cosmopolitan class interested in supporting art and culture........The spread of private collections is, however, not the long-term goal. Rather, it is a step toward a future in which well-run public collections are supported by governmental and nongovernmental institutions.....and thus serve the greater cultural good........Even so, Africa cannot solely rely on the good will of individual collectors. State agencies and municipal governments must foster a richer cultural experience for their citizenry. And they can do this by building and maintaining museums in major cities. The usual practice of treating art and culture as a superfluous aspect of the human experience undeserving of public support is not tenable.

If museums exist and are run well, the art will come.
Sotheby's  Africa  museums  collectors  collectibles  human_experience  patrons  art  artists  artwork  auctions  contemporary_art  gentrification 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Biology of Risk - NYTimes.com
By JOHN COATES JUNE 7, 2014

What is it about risk taking that so eludes our understanding, and our control?

Part of the problem is that we tend to view financial risk taking as a purely intellectual activity. But this view is incomplete. Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it is a profoundly physical experience, and it involves your body...Risk by its very nature threatens to hurt you, so when confronted by it your body and brain, under the influence of the stress response, unite as a single functioning unit....The state of your body predicts your appetite for financial risk just as it predicts an athlete’s performance.

If we understand how a person’s body influences risk taking, we can learn how to better manage risk takers. We can also recognize that mistakes governments have made have contributed to excessive risk taking.

Consider the most important risk manager of them all — the Federal Reserve. ...Uncertainty over the timing of something unpleasant often causes a greater challenge response than the unpleasant thing itself. Sometimes it is more stressful not knowing when or if you are going to be fired than actually being fired. Why? Because the challenge response, like any good defense mechanism, anticipates; it is a metabolic preparation for the unknown....Most models in economics and finance assume that risk preferences are a stable trait, much like your height. But this assumption, as our studies suggest, is misleading. Humans are designed with shifting risk preferences. They are an integral part of our response to stress, or challenge.......[JCK from David Brooks -The Wisdom Your Body Knows scientists are now focusing on the thinking that happens not in your brain but in your gut. You have neurons spread through your innards, and there’s increasing attention on the vagus nerve, which emerges from the brain stem and wanders across the heart, lungs, kidney and gut. The vagus nerve is one of the pathways through which the body and brain talk to each other in an unconscious conversation. ].......One such opportunity is a brief spike in market volatility, for this presents a chance to make money. But if volatility rises for a long period, the prolonged uncertainty leads us to subconsciously conclude that we no longer understand what is happening and then cortisol scales back our risk taking. In this way our risk taking calibrates to the amount of uncertainty and threat in the environment.

Continue reading the main story
Under conditions of extreme volatility, such as a crisis, traders, investors and indeed whole companies can freeze up in risk aversion, and this helps push a bear market into a crash. Unfortunately, this risk aversion occurs at just the wrong time, for these crises are precisely when markets offer the most attractive opportunities, and when the economy most needs people to take risks. The real challenge for Wall Street, I now believe, is not so much fear and greed as it is these silent and large shifts in risk appetite....As uncertainty in fed funds declined, one of the most powerful brakes on excessive risk taking in stocks was released....There are times when the Fed does need to calm the markets. After the credit crisis, it did just that. But when the economy and market are strong, as they were during the dot-com and housing bubbles, what, pray tell, is the point of calming the markets? Of raising rates in a predictable fashion? If you think the markets are complacent, then unnerve them. Over the past 20 years the Fed may have perfected the art of reassuring the markets, but it has lost the power to scare. And that means stock markets more easily overshoot, and then collapse.

CONTINUE READING THE MAIN STORY
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COMMENTS
The Fed could dampen this cycle. It has, in interest rate policy, not one tool but two: the level of rates and the uncertainty of rates. Given the sensitivity of risk preferences to uncertainty, the Fed could use policy uncertainty and a higher volatility of funds to selectively target risk taking in the financial community....IT may seem counterintuitive to use uncertainty to quell volatility. But a small amount of uncertainty surrounding short-term interest rates may act much like a vaccine immunizing the stock market against bubbles. More generally, if we view humans as embodied brains instead of disembodied minds, we can see that the risk-taking pathologies found in traders also lead chief executives, trial lawyers, oil executives and others to swing from excessive and ill-conceived risks to petrified risk aversion. It will also teach us to manage these risk takers, much as sport physiologists manage athletes, to stabilize their risk taking and to lower stress.
Wall_Street  risks  risk-management  risk-taking  uncertainty  U.S._Federal_Reserve  bubbles  volatility  behavioural_economics  risk-preferences  risk-aversion  biology  psychology  interest_rates  emotions  human_experience  financial_risk  signaling  stress_response  market_crash  immobilize  paralyze  bear_markets  policy_tools  physiological_response  risk-appetite  unpredictability  physical_experiences  calibration  human_behavior  human_frailties  human_psyche  metabolic 
june 2014 by jerryking
Do People Need Libraries in the Digital Age? - Speakeasy - WSJ
Feb 12, 2014| WSJ| by Christopher John Farley.

Google recently launched a program called “Helpouts” which connects people with experts. There’s no reason future libraries couldn’t do something similar, acting as a hub for putting people in touch, via Skype or in person, with book authors, professors, and learned members of the community. A number of places around the world are already setting up such “living libraries,” allowing people to contact people in the know directly. The Ptolemies pioneered a similar concept, bringing together some of the leading thinkers of the Hellenistic world for the Museum at Alexandria, which was linked to the Great Library.

Libraries of the future could be places we go not to just check out books, but to check out each other–to participate, face to face, in cultural activities in a way we can’t do over the internet. Some of this is being done. Perhaps more of it needs to be done soon.
libraries  expertise  human_experience  personal_libraries  personal_connections 
february 2014 by jerryking
Change or die: could adland be the new Detroit?
Feb 18, 2011|Campaign |Amelia Torode (head of strategy and innovation at VCCP and the chair of the IPA Strategy Group) and Tracey Follows ( head of planning at VCCP)...

As the world changed with the globalisation of markets, the transformative power of digital technologies and a shift in consumer demand, the automotive industry and the city of Detroit did not. At a fundamental level, nothing changed. Detroit failed to adapt, failed to evolve.

We have started to ask ourselves: is adland the new Detroit?

Data: find stories in numbers

It's time to reimagine our role. We're no longer solving problems but investigating mysteries; no longer taking a brief, rather taking on a case. Like a detective, we start with behaviour, looking for patterns and anomalies. We assume that what we're being told is not entirely the "truth" so search for information that is given from various perspectives and tend to believe our eyes more than our ears.

Imagine the implications for how we approach data. Seen through the lens of "mystery", we're not simply seeing data as a stream of numbers but as a snapshot of behaviour and an insight into human nature. What we do with data is the same thing we do when we sit on a park bench or at a pavement café - people-watching,albeit from desktops. It's human stories hidden within numbers, and it takes away the fear that surrounds "big data".
shifting_tastes  data-driven  data_journalism  Detroit  advertising_agencies  data  storytelling  massive_data_sets  adaptability  evolution  United_Kingdom  Publicis  managing_change  sense-making  insights  behaviours  patterns  anomalies  assumptions  automotive_industry  human_experience  curiosity  consumer_behavior 
december 2012 by jerryking

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