Liked Why everyone is talking about Childish Gambino's by Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing)

Clearly we're at a stretched-thin moment of tension about race, inequality and gender in America and elsewhere. It's much harder to explain why we like something than why we hate it, and to be honest, I'm at a loss for words. I've been watching this all week, hoping I'd find some way to express what I'm seeing there that keeps me coming back. I never found it. But I just watched it again.

Liked Facebook warns investors to expect bigger and worse scandals than Cambridge Analytica by Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing)
In reality, Facebook is designed to allow its partners to violate its users' privacy, so the fact that Cambridge Analytica got caught with its hand in 80 million of our cookie-jars is an indication of how incompetent they were (they were the easiest to detect, in part because of their public boasting about their wrongdoing), and that means there are much worse scammers who are using Facebook to steal our data in ways that makes CA look like the petty grifters they are.
Listened Cory Doctorow, Meet the Writers 123 - Radio from Monocle
The British-Canadian journalist and author – co-founder of ‘Boing Boing’, one of the most influential blogs in the world – talks about his vision for our digital world.


Cory Doctorow talks about his education, growing up with mainframes, the consumption of news and engaging with others,

Some interesting quotes:

On Succeeding in Technology

If you really want a good job in tech then you should have the good fortune of being born in 1971 … Anyone who is my age who made a living in technology just got lucky by when they were born.

Paying for the Product

They say if you are not paying for that you are the product, what we see in an era of unregulated monopolism is that people who are paying for it are still the product. You buy an iPhone or an Android Phone and it is loaded with survellieance technology … If you are a farmer and you drive your 1/2 million dollar John Deer tracker around your fields, it is gathering telemtery on your fields … Monsanto takes that data and sells it back to you in seed, while John Deer takes that data and sells it to the futures market.

People Are Free, not the Internet

The internet does not want to be free, people do.

Riding the Highs and Lows

It does not matter how delicious the punch is if there is a turd floating in the punch bowl

via Chris Aldrich

📓 Problematic Art

Discussing Molly Ringwald’s essay on the Breakfast Club, Cory Doctorow reflects on the importance of problematic art:

Without “problematic,” then imperfect art is “bad” and you have to choose between cherishing the ways in which it improved your life and jettisoning the art and its effects on you. That all-or-nothing framework makes acknowledging imperfections needlessly expensive and thus unpopular.

But with “problematic,” we can have it both ways: “This art, whose flaws I acknowledge and wish to see improved upon, made me happy and improved my life and my understanding of the world.” That statement doesn’t give a pass to the flaws in art, it doesn’t make a virtue out of the work’s hurtful or ugly imperfections — rather, it opens a space to talk about (and thus address) the flaws without having to deny your pleasures, influences and loves.

Liked Giving It Away by Cory Doctorow (Forbes)
It's good business for me, too. This "market research" of giving away e-books sells printed books. What's more, having my books more widely read opens many other opportunities for me to earn a living from activities around my writing, such as the Fulbright Chair I got at USC this year, this high-paying article in Forbes, speaking engagements and other opportunities to teach, write and license my work for translation and adaptation. My fans' tireless evangelism for my work doesn't just sell books--it sells me. The golden age of hundreds of writers who lived off of nothing but their royalties is bunkum. Throughout history, writers have relied on day jobs, teaching, grants, inheritances, translation, licensing and other varied sources to make ends meet. The Internet not only sells more books for me, it also gives me more opportunities to earn my keep through writing-related activities.
Bookmarked Let’s Get Better at Demanding Better from Tech by Cory Doctorow (Locus Online)
You don’t have to be “protech” or “anti-tech.” Indeed, it’s hard to imagine how someone could realistically be said to be “anti-tech” – your future is going to have more technology in it, so the question isn’t, “Should we use technology?” but rather, “Which technology should we use?”
Cory Doctorow stops and reflects on technology. He argues that it is not about technology or no technology, but rather what technology. He pushes back on the argument about advertising and suggests that there are wider market forces at play:

In 2018, companies from John Deere to GM to Johnson & Johnson use digital locks and abusive license agreements to force you to submit to surveillance and control how you use their products. It’s true that if you don’t pay for the product, you’re the product – but if you’re a farmer who’s just shelled out $500,000 for a new tractor, you’re still the product.

Although it can be easy to blame the fore-fathers, Doctorow highlights how some of these concerns are not new:

The reality is that these early “techno-utopians” were keenly aware of these risks. They founded organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation, not because they were convinced that everything was going to be great – but because they were worried that everything could be terrible, and also because they saw the potential for things to be better.

He closes his piece explaining that we have to fight for and work with technologists for a better future.

Our technology can make our lives better, can give us more control, can give us more privacy – but only if we force it to live up to its promise. Any path to that better future will involve technologists, because no group of people on earth is better equipped to understand how important it is to get there.

For me, this is why I persist with the IndieWeb.

Liked Persuasion, Adaptation, and the Arms Race for Your Attention by Cory Doctorow (Locus Online)
There is a war for your attention, and like all adversarial scenarios, the sides develop new countermeasures and then new tactics to overcome those countermeasures. The predator carves the prey, the prey carves the preda­tor. To get a sense of just how far the state of the art has advanced since Farmville, fire up Universal Paperclips, the free browser game from game designer Frank Lantz, which challenges you to balance resource acquisi­tion, timing, and resource allocation to create paperclips, progressing by purchasing upgraded paperclip-production and paperclip-marketing tools, until, eventually, you produce a sentient AI that turns the entire universe into paperclips, exterminating all life.