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Facebook, communication, and personhood - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"William Davies tells us about Mark Zuckerberg's hope to create an “ultimate communication technology,” and explains how Zuckerberg's hopes arise from a deep dissatisfaction with and mistrust of the ways humans have always communicated with one another. Nick Carr follows up with a thoughtful supplement:
If language is bound up in living, if it is an expression of both sense and sensibility, then computers, being non-living, having no sensibility, will have a very difficult time mastering “natural-language processing” beyond a certain rudimentary level. The best solution, if you have a need to get computers to “understand” human communication, may to be avoid the problem altogether. Instead of figuring out how to get computers to understand natural language, you get people to speak artificial language, the language of computers. A good way to start is to encourage people to express themselves not through messy assemblages of fuzzily defined words but through neat, formal symbols — emoticons or emoji, for instance. When we speak with emoji, we’re speaking a language that machines can understand.

People like Mark Zuckerberg have always been uncomfortable with natural language. Now, they can do something about it.

I think we should be very concerned about this move by Facebook. In these contexts, I often think of a shrewd and troubling comment by Jaron Lanier: “The Turing test cuts both ways. You can't tell if a machine has gotten smarter or if you've just lowered your own standards of intelligence to such a degree that the machine seems smart. If you can have a conversation with a simulated person presented by an AI program, can you tell how far you've let your sense of personhood degrade in order to make the illusion work for you?” In this sense, the degradation of personhood is one of Facebook's explicit goals, and Facebook will increasingly require its users to cooperate in lowering their standards of intelligence and personhood."
williamdavies  markzuckerberg  communication  technology  2015  facebook  alanjacobs  jaronlanier  turingtest  ai  artificialintelligence  personhood  dehumanization  machines 
september 2015 by robertogreco
79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation. | The Infernal Machine
"Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter-thesis, and a string of arguments, usually buttressed by citations of Aristotle, Augustine, or the Bible.

But disputations were not just formal arguments. They were public performances that trained university students in how to seek and argue for the truth. They made demands on students and masters alike. Truth was hard won; it was to be found in multiple, sometimes conflicting traditions; it required one to give and recognize arguments; and, perhaps above all, it demanded an epistemic humility, an acknowledgment that truth was something sought, not something produced.

It is, then, in this spirit that Jacobs offers, tongue firmly in cheek, his seventy-nine theses on technology and what it means to inhabit a world formed by it. They are pithy, witty, ponderous, and full of life. And over the following weeks, we at the Infernal Machine will take Jacobs’ theses at his provocative best and dispute them. We’ll take three or four at a time and offer our own counter-theses in a spirit of generosity.

So here they are:

1. Everything begins with attention.

2. It is vital to ask, “What must I pay attention to?”

3. It is vital to ask, “What may I pay attention to?”

4. It is vital to ask, “What must I refuse attention to?”

5. To “pay” attention is not a metaphor: Attending to something is an economic exercise, an exchange with uncertain returns.

6. Attention is not an infinitely renewable resource; but it is partially renewable, if well-invested and properly cared for.

7. We should evaluate our investments of attention at least as carefully and critically as our investments of money.

8. Sir Francis Bacon provides a narrow and stringent model for what counts as attentiveness: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

9. An essential question is, “What form of attention does this phenomenon require? That of reading or seeing? That of writing also? Or silence?”

10. Attentiveness must never be confused with the desire to mark or announce attentiveness. (“Can I learn to suffer/Without saying something ironic or funny/On suffering?”—Prospero, in Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror)

11. “Mindfulness” seems to many a valid response to the perils of incessant connectivity because it confines its recommendation to the cultivation of a mental stance without objects.

12. That is, mindfulness reduces mental health to a single, simple technique that delivers its user from the obligation to ask any awkward questions about what his or her mind is and is not attending to.

13. The only mindfulness worth cultivating will be teleological through and through.

14. Such mindfulness, and all other healthy forms of attention—healthy for oneself and for others—can only happen with the creation of and care for an attentional commons.

15. This will not be easy to do in a culture for which surveillance has become the normative form of care.

16. Simone Weil wrote that ‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity’; if so, then surveillance is the opposite of attention.

17. The primary battles on social media today are fought by two mutually surveilling armies: code fetishists and antinomians.

18. The intensity of those battles is increased by a failure by any of the parties to consider the importance of intimacy gradients.

19. “And weeping arises from sorrow, but sorrow also arises from weeping.”—Bertolt Brecht, writing about Twitter

20. We cannot understand the internet without perceiving its true status: The Internet is a failed state.

21. We cannot respond properly to that failed-state condition without realizing and avoiding the perils of seeing like a state.

22. If instead of thinking of the internet in statist terms we apply the logic of subsidiarity, we might be able to imagine the digital equivalent of a Mondragon cooperative.

23. The internet groans in travail as it awaits its José María Arizmendiarrieta."

[continues on]

[A collection of follow-ups and responses is accummulating here:
http://iasc-culture.org/THR/channels/Infernal_Machine/tag/79-theses-on-technology/

For example: “79 Theses on Technology: On Attention”
http://iasc-culture.org/THR/channels/Infernal_Machine/2015/03/79-theses-on-technology-on-attention/

And another round-up of responses:
http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2015/04/more-on-theses.html ]
alanjacobs  anthropology  culture  digital  history  technology  attention  dunning-krugereffect  anosognosia  pleasure  ethics  writing  howwewrite  jaronlanier  alextabattok  stupidity  logic  loki  cslewis  algorithms  akrasia  physical  patheticfallacy  hacking  hackers  kevinkelly  georgebernardshaw  agency  philosophy  tommccarthy  commenting  frankkermode  text  texts  community  communication  resistance  mindfulness  internet  online  web  josémaríaarizmendiarrieta  simonwiel  society  whauden  silence  attentiveness  textualist  chadwellmon  surveillance  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Meet the man who predicted Fox News, the Internet, Stephen Colbert and reality TV - Salon.com
"Bai isn’t alone. While he’s hardly a household name, Postman has become an important guide to the world of the Internet though most of his work was written before its advent. Astra Taylor, a documentary filmmaker and Occupy activist, turned to his books while she was plotting out what became “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age.” Douglas Rushkoff — a media theorist whose book “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” is one of the most lucid guides to our bewildering age — is indebted to his work. Michael Harris’ recent “The End of Absence” is as well. And Jaron Lanier, the virtual-reality inventor and author (“Who Owns the Future?”) who’s simultaneously critic and tech-world insider, sees Postman as an essential figure whose work becomes more crucial every year.

“There’s this kind of dialogue around technology where people dump on each other for ‘not getting it,’” Lanier says. “Postman does not seem to be vulnerable to that accusation: He was old-fashioned but he really transcended that. I don’t remember him saying, ‘When I was a kid, things were better.’ He called on fundamental arguments in very broad terms – the broad arc of human history and ethics.”"
neilpostman  via:mattthomas  culture  media  2015  stephencolbert  mattbai  garyhart  jaronlanier  amusingourselvestodeath  camillepglia  astrataylor  stevejobs  amandapalmer  foxnews  internet  net  web  online  douglasrushkoff  elonmusk  lizphair  marshallmcluhan  technology  scotttimberg  superficiality  mediaecology  luddism  luddites  sherryturkle 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Aesthetics of Dispersed Attention: Interview with German Media Theorist Petra Löffler :: net critique by Geert Lovink
"GL: You got a fascinating chapter in your habilitation about early cinema and the scattering of attention it would be responsible for. The figure of the nosy parker that gawks interests you and you contrast it to the street roaming flaneur.

PL: Yes, the gawker is a fascinating figure, because according to my research results it is the corporation of the modern spectator who is also a member of a mass audience––the flaneur never was part of it. The gawker or gazer, like the flaneur, appeared at first in the modern metropolis with its multi-sensorial sensations and attractions. According to Walter Benjamin the flaneur disappeared at the moment, when the famous passages were broken down. They had to make room for greater boulevards that were able to steer the advanced traffic in the French metropolis. Always being part of the mass of passers-by the gawker looks at the same time for diversions, for accidents and incidents in the streets. This is to say his attention is always distracted between an awareness of what happens on the streets and navigating between people and vehicles. No wonder movie theatres were often opened at locations with a high level of traffic inviting passers-by to go inside and, for a certain period of time, becoming part of an audience. Furthermore many films of the period of Early Cinema were actualities showing the modern city-life. In these films the movie-camera was positioned at busy streets or corners in order to record movements of human and non-human agents. Gawkers often went into the view of the camera gesticulating or grimacing in front of it. That’s why the gawker has become a very popular figure mirroring the modern mass audience on the screen.

Today to view one’s own face on a screen is an everyday experience. Not only CCTV-cameras at public spaces record passers-by, often without their notice. Also popular TV-shows that require life-participation such as casting shows once more offer members of the audience the opportunity to see themselves on a screen. At the same time many people post their portraits on websites of social networks. They want to be seen by others because they want to be part of a greater audience––the network community. This is what Jean Baudrillard has called connectivity. The alliance between the drive to see and to being seen establishes a new order of seeing which differs significantly from Foucault’s panoptical vision: Today no more the few see the many (panopticon) or the many see the few (popular stars)––today, because of the multiplication and connectivity of screens in public and private spaces, the many see the many. Insofar, one can conclude, the gawker or gazer is an overall-phenomenon, a non-specific subjectivity of a distributed publicity."



"GL: I can imagine that debates during the rise of mass education, the invention of film are different from ours. But is that the case? It is all pedagogy, so it seems. We never seem to leave the classroom.

PL: The question is, leaving where? Entering the other side (likewise amusement sites or absorbing fantasies)? Why not? Changing perspectives? Yes, that’s what we have to do. But for that purpose we don’t have to leave the classroom necessarily. Rather, we should rebuilt it as a room of testing modes of thinking in very concrete ways. I’m thinking of Jacques Rancière’s suggestions, in his essay Le partage du sensible, about the power relation between teachers and pupils. Maybe today teachers can learn more (for instance soft skills) from their pupils than the other way around. We need other regimes of distribution of power, also in the classroom, a differentiation of tasks, of velocities and singularities—in short: we need micropolitics.

More seriously, your question indicates a strong relationship between pedagogy and media. There’s a reason why media theorists like Friedrich Kittler had pointed to media’s affinity to propaganda and institutions of power. I think of his important book Discourse Networks, where he has revealed the relevance of mediated writing techniques for the formation of educational institutions and for subjectivation. That’s why the question is, what are the tasks we have to learn in order to exist in the world of electronic mass media? What means ‘Bildung’ for us nowadays?

GL: There is an ‘attention war’ going on, with debates across traditional print and broadcast media about the rise in distraction, in schools, at home. On the street we see people hooked on their smart phones, multitasking, everywhere they go. What do you make of this? This is just a heightened sensibility, a fashion, or is there really something at stake? Would you classify it as petit-bourgeois anxieties? Loss of attention as a metaphor for threatening poverty and status loss of the traditional middle class in the West? How do you read the use of brain research by Nicholas Carr, Frank Schirrmacher and more recently also the German psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer who came up with a few bold statement concerning the devastating consequences of computer use for the (young) human brain. Having read your study one could say: don’t worry, nothing new under the sun. But is this the right answer?

PL: Your description addresses severe debates. Nothing less than the future of our Western culture seems to be at stake. Institutions like the educational systems are under permanent critique, concerning all levels from primary schools to universities. That’s why the Pisa studies have revealed a lot of deficits and have provoked debates on what kind of education is necessary for our children. On the one hand it’s a debate on cultural values, but on the other it’s a struggle on power relations. We are living in a society of control, and how to become a subject and how this subject is related to other subjects in mediated environments are important questions.

A great uncertainty is emerged. That’s why formulas that promise easy solutions are highly welcomed. Neurological concepts are often based on one-sided models concerning the relationship between body and mind, and they often leave out the role of social and environmental factors. From historians of science such as Canguilhem and Foucault one can learn that psychiatrist models of brain defects and mental anomalies not only mirror social anxieties, but also produce knowledge about what is defined as normal. And it is up to us as observers of such discourses to name those anxieties today. Nonetheless, I would not signify distraction as a metaphor. It is in fact a concrete phase of the body, a state of the mind. It’s real. You cannot deal with it when you call it a disability or a disease and just pop pills or switch off your electronic devices."
via:litherland  attention  distraction  2013  petralöffer  geertlovink  walterbenjamin  flaneur  gawkers  cities  internet  audience  diaphanesverlag  montaigne  albertkümmel  siegfriedkracauer  frankfurterschule  kant  tibot  psychology  daydreaming  media  mediaarchaeology  richardshusterman  film  micropolitics  friederichkittler  education  subjectivation  massmedia  bildung  nicholascarr  sherryturkle  frankschirrmacher  culture  values  culturalvalues  brain  bernardstiegler  socialmedia  marketing  entertainment  propaganda  deepreading  petersloterdijk  mindfulness  self-control  mediatheory  theory  theodoradorno  weimar  history  philosophy  reading  writing  data  perception  siegfriedzielinski  wolfgangernst  bernhardsiegert  erhardschüttpelz  francoberardi  andrewkeen  jaronlanier  howardrheingold  foucault  micheldemontaigne  michelfoucault 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Just because something has value doesn't mean it has a price | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"The reasoning for DRM goes like this: "I sold you this [ebook/game/video] for the following uses. If you figure out a way to get any more value out of it, it belongs to me, and you can't have it, until and unless I decide to sell it to you.""

"If every shred needs to be accounted for and paid for, then the harvest won't happen. Paying for every link you make, or every link you count, or every document you analyse is a losing game. Forget payment: the process of figuring out who to pay and how much is owed would totally swamp the expected return from whatever it is you're planning on making out of all those unloved scraps.

In other words, if all latent value from our activity has a price-tag attached to it, it won't get us all paid – instead, it will just stop other people from making cool, useful, interesting and valuable things out of our waste-product."
positiveexternalities  drm  jaronlanier  culturalproduction  facebook  google  search  networkeffect  corporatism  commoditization  leisurearts  creativity  music  2013  externalities  economics  corydoctorow  behavior  artleisure 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Such a Long Journey - An Interview with Kevin Kelly - Boing Boing
"…we should be open to assignments and changing our mind. I think that's what I had, a change of mind. I'm a huge believer in science and scientific method…every time that we get an answer in science it also provokes two new questions…in a certain curious way science is expanding our ignorance - our ignorance is expanding faster than what we know…what we know is just a small, small fraction of what is going on in the world…

…the most active theologians today are science fiction authors…asking the important questions of "What if?"… [Examples of questions]…Those are the kinds of questions that not theologians are asking in any religion that I am aware of, but science fiction authors constantly are exploring that. And they're the ones who are going to have the answers for us that the theologians will have to look to. But at the same time these are fundamentally religious questions that are not being asked in that vocabulary."
darkmatter  whatwedon'tknow  ignorance  curiosity  thinking  scientificmethod  technology  jaronlanier  technium  philosophy  avisolomon  interviews  2012  openminded  mindchanges  experience  religion  scifi  sciencefiction  science  kevinkelly  via:litherland  mindchanging 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: danah boyd - Culture of Fear + Attention Economy = ?!?! on Vimeo
"We live in a culture of fear. Fear feeds on attention and attention is captured by fear. Social media has complicated our relationship with attention and the rise of the attention economy highlights the challenges of dealing with this scarce resource. But what does this mean for the culture of fear? How are the technologies that we design to bring the world together being used to create new divisions? In this talk, danah will explore what happens at the intersection of the culture of fear and the attention economy."

[See also: http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/2012/SXSW2012.html ]
networkculture  control  arabspring  politics  policy  power  jaronlanier  stewartbrand  johnperrybarlow  legal  law  internetbubbles  regulation  webstock  webstock12  data  safety  onlinesafety  children  facebook  society  socialnorms  networks  fearmongering  visibility  behavior  sharing  transparency  cyberbullying  bullying  information  advertising  infooverload  panic  moralpanics  unknown  perceptionofrisk  perception  neurosis  internet  online  parenting  riskassessment  risk  cultureoffear  2012  attentioneconomy  attention  technology  responsibility  culture  fear  socialmedia  danahboyd 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Online community ethics | Harold Jarche
"Are you on Facebook? Who isn’t these days? Here’s a question about using Facebook as an extension of work or classroom learning. Is it ethical to force people (over whom you have some power & authority) to use Facebook, a proprietary platform that tracks users & sells their data to third parties?

I ask this question to organizational community managers, teachers, professors and even companies. For example, if I want to interact with our national public broadcaster, it seems the preferred venue is “The Facebook”. Last December I put my Facebook account into hibernation (you cannot actually delete your Facebook profile). Since then, I have had many offers to join groups or engage in communities on the platform, all assuming that, of course, I use Facebook."
proprietarysolutions  ownership  dataownership  open  openweb  ibooks  jaronlanier  teaching  edtech  2012  walledgardens  howardjarche  facebook  online 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Audio Archives | Douglas Coupland & William Gibson | Key West Literary Seminar
"…Coupland leads Gibson through a discussion on culture, technology, & the craft of writing. “What makes us human,” Gibson says, “is our ability to recognize patterns, & to externalize forms of synthetic memory that preserve those recognized patterns.” The internet & its attendant communications technologies, Gibson argues, are a natural evolution of this synthetic memory, the current iteration of the cave painting human ancestors used to record their activities. These technologies function as a “global instantaneous memory prosthesis” & aspire to a transparency of experience whereby distinctions btwn the “virtual” & “real” are thoroughly dissolved. “We are already the borg,” Gibson says.

…Coupland & Gibson address cultural phenomena including Whole Foods grocery chain & Levi’s jeans, & thinkers including Marshall McLuhan & Jaron Lanier. They also explain why Facebook is like a mall & Twitter is like the street, & ask whether life is best understood as a story or as a spreadsheet."
levis  wholefoods  jaronlanier  marshallmcluhan  web  internet  memoryprosthesis  memory  patternrecognition  human  communication  tolisten  writing  technology  cyberspace  douglascoupland  facebook  twitter  2012  williamgibson  beatles 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Technium: You Are a Robot
"Everywhere we look in pop culture today, some of the coolest expressions are created by humans imitating machines. Exhibit A would be the surging popularity of popping, tutting, and dub step dancing. You've seen these dancers on YouTube: the best of them look exactly like robots dancing, with the mechanical stutter of today's crude robots trying to move like humans. Except the imitators robotically dance better than any robot could -- so far."
kevinkelly  robots  trends  technology  jaronlanier  computers  computing 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The pace of change « matt.me63.com – Matt Edgar
"Goaded by my Twitter followers after dConsruct, and by Ivor Tymchak’s pseudo-science, I offer this first draft. It’s an attempt to tell an alternative story about change in our culture, why it seems so rapid yet is probably much the same as it ever was. Also, critically, why the misperception is a bad thing and what we should do about it. You can tell me why I’m wrong, what I’m missing, and what I should read before opining on this subject again."
technology  history  change  mattedgar  acceleratingchange  alternativeview  pace  paceofchange  2011  ivortymchak  jaronlanier  davidedgerton  charlesmackay  googlengramviewer  samuelpalmisano 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Douglas Rushkoff - Blog - CNN.com: Are Jobs Obsolete? ["We're living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is."]
"We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do -- the value we create -- is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

This sort of work isn't so much employment as it is creative activity. Unlike Industrial Age employment, digital production can be done from the home, independently, and even in a peer-to-peer fashion without going through big corporations. We can make games for each other, write books, solve problems, educate and inspire one another -- all through bits instead of stuff. And we can pay one another using the same money we use to buy real stuff.

For the time being, as we contend with what appears to be a global economic slowdown by destroying food and demolishing homes, we might want to stop thinking about jobs as the main aspect of our lives that we want to save. They may be a means, but they are not the ends."
douglasrushkoff  jaronlanier  economics  2011  jobs  work  leisurearts  labor  meaning  basics  gamechanging  paradigmshifts  society  greatrecession  history  making  doing  creativity  stuff  purpose  technology  productivity  food  employment  unemployment  obsolescence  healthcare  post-productiveeconomy  artleisure 
september 2011 by robertogreco
New Statesman - The suburb that changed the world
"In the 1980s, Silicon Valley was populated by lefties and hippies who dreamed of a computer revolution. One of the pioneers recalls how the internet was born."

"What is strangest in the recent waves of young arrivals in Silicon Valley is that they tend no longer to be downtrodden geniuses rejected in the playing of social status games, but sterling alpha males. Legions of perfect specimens seem to have grown up in manicured childhoods, nothing scrappy about them. When children started to be raised perfectly in the 1990s, chauffeured from one play date to the next, I wondered what world they would want as adults. Socialism? Facebook and similar designs seem to me continuations of the artificial order we gave children during the boom years."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/9474103819/what-is-strangest-in-the-recent-waves-of-young ]
technology  culture  internet  history  computers  siliconvalley  2011  jaronlanier  parenting  childhood  socialism  web  1980s  suburbs 
august 2011 by robertogreco
AIGA | Video: Jonathan Harris [Cold + Bold]
"Combining elements of computer science, architecture, statistics, storytelling and design, Jonathan Harris’s online projects create large-scale living portraits of the human world—portraits that both simplify and complicate our understanding of it. Jonathan discusses his recent work and poses intriguing questions about what kind of space the digital world is becoming and what that world is doing to us as individuals."

[I find myself on a Jonathan Harris binge about once a year. This time sparked by an article: http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/the-never-ending-story.html . Hadn't seen this video before.]

[The passage he reads in the video was originally posted here: http://www.number27.org/today.php?d=20100319 ]
design  art  jonathanharris  storytelling  coding  coldness  2010  thewhy  purpose  meaning  meaningfulness  human  digital  life  empathy  programming  depression  glvo  relationships  feelings  emotions  rationality  determinism  problemsolving  detachment  expression  web  internet  abstraction  humanity  control  learning  resistance  resistanceofthemedium  process  cold+bold  identity  individuality  diversity  outcomes  scale  sociopaths  jaronlanier  culture  behavior  introspection  self-reflection  time  computation  howwework 
august 2011 by robertogreco
What Jaron Lanier Thinks of Technology Now : The New Yorker
"…part of what Lanier finds most regrettable about Facebook…is precisely what makes it so appealing to most people. “We use technology this way all the time,” Andy van Dam, a professor of computer science at Brown, notes. “To create a layer of insulation. We send an e-mail so we don’t have to call someone on the phone. Or we call someone so we don’t have to go over to their house.” Many of us also use technology, he might have added, when we’re too isolated: when someone wants to find a new friend just because he’s feeling alone…"

"Perversely, the opacity of Lanier’s critique may account for some of its popularity. Because his pronouncements tend to be oracularly vague, readers can interpret them to reflect their own views—from the classicist who deplores pop music to the vaguely disaffected Web designer, or the concerned parent who finds his children consumed by social media. The fact that Lanier is a genuine technology pioneer only adds to his authority."
technology  internet  future  jaronlanier  2011  philosophy  social  facebook  socialnetworking  society 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert | The Awl
"It's high time people stopped kvetching about Wikipedia, which has long been the best encyclopedia available in English, and started figuring out what it portends instead. For one thing, Wikipedia is forcing us to confront the paradox inherent in the idea of learners as "doers, not recipients." If learners are indeed doers and not recipients, from whom are they learning? From one another, it appears; same as it ever was.

It's been over five years since the landmark study in Nature that showed "few differences in accuracy" between Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Though the honchos at Britannica threw a big hissy at the surprising results of that study, Nature stood by its methods and results, and a number of subsequent studies have confirmed its findings; so far as general accuracy of content is concerned, Wikipedia is comparable to conventionally compiled encyclopedias, including Britannica."
culture  internet  history  wikipedia  2011  mariabustillos  science  web  jaronlanier  nicholascarr  sherryturkle  bobstein  marshallmcluhan 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Network Society as ‘high decadence’ | Beyond The Beyond
"*Now that we’ve actually got a network society, we’re gonna see a lot of harrowing-critical-reassessment material of this kind. Mostly because we’re not happier for it and the general situation stinks.

*Nicholas Carr, Jaron Lanier, Andrew Keen, these guys were like the first robins in spring. Note that this kind of criticism is NOT the same as those who opposed digitalization in the first place; this isn’t Luddism, it’s retrospective in tone. “Look what has been lost. We don’t think the same, our capacity to act is diminished, we are reduced to components and gadgets, those in power over us lack accountability,” etc etc. In Gothic High-Tech, awe at the sublime power of Moore’s Law machinery is replaced by a perception that public life is febrile, rotten, fraudulent and decadent."
networksociety  web  brucesterling  internet  adamcurtis  allwathedoverbymachinesoflovinggrace  documentary  jaronlanier  nicholascarr  andrewkeen  luddism  gothichightech  society  technology  culture  politics  hierarchy  networks  networkculture  well-being  machineslavery  machines  ideology  systems  systemsthinking  social 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Two observations on Lanier on Wikileaks « Snarkmarket
"We’ve canonized these guys, to the point where 1) we think they did everything themselves, 2) they never used different strategies, 3) they never made mistakes, & 4) disagreeing w/ them then or now violates a deep moral law.

More importantly, in comparison, every other kind of activism is destined to fall short. Lanier’s essay, like Malcolm Gladwell’s earlier essay on digital activism, violates the Gandhi principle… The point is, both Ad Hitlerem and the Gandhi Principle opt for terminal purity over differential diagnosis. If you’re not bringing it MLK-style, you’re not really doing anything.

The irony is, Lanier’s essay is actually pretty strong at avoiding the terminal purity problem in other places — i.e., if you agree with someone’s politics, you should agree with (or ignore) their tactics, or vice versa. At its best, it brings the nuance, rather than washing it out."
timcarmody  snarkmarket  wikileaks  jaronlanier  julianassange  2010  falsedichotomies  purity  allornothing  canonization  malcolmx  activism  gandhi  nelsonmandela  jesus  imperfection  grey  tactics  politics  mlk  martinlutherkingjr 
december 2010 by robertogreco
The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy: The Case of WikiLeaks - Jaron Lanier - Technology - The Atlantic
"Anarchy and dictatorship are entwined in eternal resonance. One never exists for long without turning to the other, and then back again. The only way out is structure, also known as democracy.

We sanction secretive spheres in order to have our civilian sphere. We furthermore structure democracy so that the secretive spheres are contained and accountable to the civilian sphere, though that's not easy.

There is certainly an ever-present danger of betrayal. Too much power can accrue to those we have sanctioned to hold confidences, and thus we find that keeping a democracy alive is hard, imperfect, and infuriating work.

The flip side of responsibly held secrets, however, is trust. A perfectly open world, without secrets, would be a world without the need for trust, and therefore a world without trust. What a sad sterile place that would be: A perfect world for machines."
wikileaks  politics  privacy  internet  hackers  jaronlanier  2010  julianassange  trust  democracy  anarchism  anarchy  power  secrecy  dictatorship  structure 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Community and Context: Thoughts on Closing Comments - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic
"I don't want to rule out ever turning off comments again, but I do know that we'd execute very differently. Oddly, I'm heartened that we've developed enough of a reputation as an open and good place to talk about technology that the inability to interact on the site is perceived as an "epic fail," as one reader told me. We are a community now; certain rules have emerged.

And here's the other lesson I learned, which may be more generalizable. I'm an experimenter and so are many of the staffers here at The Atlantic. We've been tremendously lucky that most of the things we've tried have worked. But you don't always experiment for the good times. You need to have things not work sometimes. There's nothing like a (very) public learning experience to focus the mind on the things that matter for your site."
community  commenting  alexismadrigal  theatlantic  online  blogging  transparency  jaronlanier  wikileaks  tinkering  failure  experimentation  learning  trust  interaction  discussion  jayrosen  patricklaforge  internet  web  2010 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Generation Why? by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books
"At the time, though, I felt distant from Zuckerberg and all the kids at Harvard. I still feel distant from them now, ever more so, as I increasingly opt out (by choice, by default) of the things they have embraced. We have different ideas about things. Specifically we have different ideas about what a person is, or should be. I often worry that my idea of personhood is nostalgic, irrational, inaccurate. Perhaps Generation Facebook have built their virtual mansions in good faith, in order to house the People 2.0 they genuinely are, and if I feel uncomfortable within them it is because I am stuck at Person 1.0. Then again, the more time I spend with the tail end of Generation Facebook (in the shape of my students) the more convinced I become that some of the software currently shaping their generation is unworthy of them. They are more interesting than it is. They deserve better."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/1481824813/at-the-time-though-i-felt-distant-from ]
zadiesmith  philosophy  social  sociology  markzuckerberg  thesocialnetwork  generations  identity  personhood  nostalgia  facebook  cv  disconnect  jaronlanier 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind? - NYTimes.com [Some great stuff in here, including his definition of education.]
"The deeper concern, for me, is the philosophy conveyed by a technological design. Some of the top digital designs of the moment, both in school and in the rest of life, embed the underlying message that we understand the brain and its workings. That is false. We don’t know how information is represented in the brain. We don’t know how reason is accomplished by neurons. There are some vaguely cool ideas floating around, and we might know a lot more about these things any moment now, but at this moment, we don’t.

You could spend all day reading literature about educational technology without being reminded that this frontier of ignorance lies before us. We are tempted by the demons of commercial and professional ambition to pretend we know more than we do. This hypnotic idea of omniscience could kill the magic of teaching, because of the intimacy with which we let computers guide our brains."
jaronlanier  toshare  topost  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  education  schools  teaching  learning  self-directedlearning  policy  technology  computers  computing  information  informationliteracy  lcproject  knowledge  culture 
september 2010 by robertogreco
The Technium: Predicting the Present, First Five Years of Wired
"I was digging through some files the other day and found this document from 1997. It gathers a set of quotes from issues of Wired magazine in its first five years. I don't recall why I created this (or even if I did compile all of them), but I suspect it was for our fifth anniversary issue. I don't think we ever ran any of it. Reading it now it is clear that all predictions of the future are really just predictions of the present. Here it is in full:"
kevinkelly  technium  future  futurism  guidance  history  quotes  trends  value  90s  web  wired  death  dannyhillis  paulsaffo  nicholasnegroponte  peterdrucker  jaychiat  alankay  vernorvinge  nathanmyhrvold  sherryturkle  stevejobs  nealstephenson  marcandreessen  newtgingrich  brianeno  scottsassa  billgates  garywolf  johnnaisbitt  mikeperry  marktilden  hughgallagher  billatkinson  michaelschrage  jimmetzner  brendalaurel  jaronlanier  douglashofstaster  frandallfarmer  rayjones  jonkatz  davidcronenberg  johnhagel  joemaceda  tompeters  meaning  ritual  technology  rituals 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Caterina.net: Participatory media and why I love it (and must defend it)
"I love participatory media, collective knowledge systems, user-generated content and the like, and spent much of my life and career participating in them and making them. As I say in this post from 2005, the internet is built on a culture of generosity -- the first web page I built was when I noticed there was no page on Nabokov and realized I could just make one. Amazing! And it dawned on me that every other page on the web -- this was 1994 -- had come about for the same reason. Then the dotcom thing happened. And then Web 2.0 brought us back to the web's roots -- communication and contribution. That is why I love participatory media and must defend it."
caterinafake  jaronlanier  participatory  web2.0  communication  crowdsourcing  del.icio.us  tumblr  flickr  twitter  facebook  hunch  wikipedia  amateur  amateurism  collectiveintelligence  participatoryculture  culture  internet  social  media  collaboration  vladimirnabokov 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The World Question Center: The Edge Annual Question — 2010: How is the internet changing the way you think?: Jaron Lanier: The flaws of the latest pop version of the internet have made me more of a biological realist, and in particular have made me...
...more sensitive to neoteny" "The Internet, in its current fashionable role as an aggregator of people through social networking software, only values humans in real time and in a specific physical place, that is usually away from their children. The human expressions that used to occupy the golden pyramidion of Maslow's pyramid, are treated as worthless in themselves."
neoteny  jaronlanier  internet  edge  2010  web  online  socialnetworking  popinternet 
january 2010 by robertogreco

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