re:publica 2018 – danah boyd: Opening Keynote: How an Algorithmic World Can Be Undermined

How is it that its not necessarily [technologies] intentions, but the structuring configuration that causes the pain

danah boyd continues her investigation of algorithms and the way in which our data is being manipulated. This is very much a wicked problem with no clear answer. Data & Society have also published a primer on the topic. I wonder if it starts by being aware of the systemic nature of it all? Alternatively, Jamie Williams and Lena Gunn provide five questions to consider when using algorithms.

via Jenny Mackness and Ian O’Byrne.

Liked Meme Histories – Learning the Web So We Can Make It Better by dave dave (davecormier.com)
I believe that people sometimes need to learn to work building their objectives on the fly given what they’ve been confronted with. So how do I design activities that allow for people to learn to persist through that uncertainty and still be willing to accept half answers when that’s as far as they will get? Meme histories. That’s how.
Liked To work for society, data scientists need a hippocratic oath with teeth by Tom Upchurch (WIRED UK)

The first question is, are the algorithms that we deploy going to improve the human processes that they are replacing? Far too often we have algorithms that are thrown in with the assumptions that they’re going to work perfectly, because after all they’re algorithms, but they actually end up working much worse than the system that they’re replacing. For example in Australia they implemented an algorithm that sent a bunch of ridiculously threatening letters to people saying that they had defrauded the Australian Government. That’s a great example where they actually just never tested it to make sure it worked.

The second question is to ask, for whom is the algorithm failing? We need to be asking, “Does it fail more often for women than for men? Does it fail more often for minorities than for whites? Does it fail more often for old people than for young people?” Every single class should get a question and an answer. The big example I have for this one is the facial recognition software that the MIT Media Lab found worked muchbetter for white men than black women. That is a no-brainer test that every single facial recognition software company should have done and it’s embarrassing that they didn’t do it.

The third category of question is simply, is this working for society? Are we tracking the mistakes of the system? Are we inputting these mistakes back into the algorithm so that it’ll work better? Is it causing some other third unintended consequence? Is it destroying democracy? Is it making people worse off?

Listened The value of rituals in a digital world from Radio National

Are rituals still needed in a world mediated through digital devices?

Alexandra Samuel made the argument that ‘digital rituals’ are associated with the notions of reflection and community.

I think there’s two pieces. I think there’s the reflection and formulation of intention, what do I want from this experience, what does it mean. You know, a lot of rituals will include some element of solitary reflection as part of that process, and I think that is hugely valuable when it comes to thinking about our digital lives. But then the other piece is really almost the mirror image of that. Yes, there’s a piece of ritual that is about solitary reflection, but then there’s another piece that’s really about community recognition and understanding that you are now taking your place in a community or changing your relationship to the community or the community is now offering you a different form of participation or membership, and that notion, that when you join a community or when you change your relationship to the community, that you need to have some kind of mutual negotiation of what that means, that I think is a big part of what’s missing and it really has to do with giving us a chance to say, you know, hey, your Facebook login or your Instagram account or your new blog are not just about you, you are taking a place in a larger community that has a stake in how you use of this access.

This made me wonder if approaching the web following the #IndieWeb principles is somehow ritualistic. Rather than merely commenting or sharing, I now make the effort post content on my own site and syndicate from there.

My only question is whether this is the way it is simply because the technology is yet to develop and as it currently is, the #IndieWeb involves a little bit more effort and investment? Or will the community nature of it sustain the reflective nature?

Also posted on IndieNews

Liked Facebook must be restructured. The FTC should take these 9 steps now | Barry Lynn and Matt Stoller by Barry Lynn (the Guardian)

If the next set of FTC commissioners truly are serious about making Facebook serve the interests of the American public, here is a set of actions they should begin to take on day one. Every one of these action has a strong foundation in US law and practice:

1) Impose strict privacy rules on Facebook, perhaps using Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation as a guide.

2) Spin off Facebook’s ad network. This will eliminate, in one swoop, most of the incentive that Facebook now has to amass data and to interfere and discriminate in the provision of information and news.

3) Reverse the approvals for Facebook purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram, and re-establish these as competing social networks.

4) Prohibit all future acquisitions by Facebook for at least five years.

5) Establish a system to ensure the transparency of all political communications on Facebook, similar to other major communication networks in the United States.

6) Require Facebook to adopt open and transparent standards, similar to conditions the FTC imposed on AOL Messenger in the AOL-Time Warner merger settlement in 2001.

7) Establish whether Facebook violated the 2011 consent decree and, if so, seek court sanctions.

8) Threaten to bring further legal action against Facebook unless top executives immediately agree to work with the FTC to restructure their corporation to ensure the safety and stability of our government and economy.

9) Establish whether top executives enabled, encouraged, or oversaw violations of the 2011 consent decree and, if so, pursue personal fines against them.

📰 eLearn Update (April 2018)

Updates

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  • Google Classroom: Spiral Review on the About Tab – Alice Keeler coded a spreadsheet that allows users to keep adding to a spiral review all school year and it automatically updates the exact same Google Slides. Every hour the Google Slides changes to show a different 5 spiral review questions.
  • Google Classroom: Short Term Goal Setting – Alice Keeler suggests creating a new assignment in Google Classroom titled something like “Short-Term Goal for this week” to monitor goals. Ask students to, in the Private Comments, state their goal for the week along with their actionable plan to reach that goal.
  • Submitting Photos to Google Classroom – Alice Keeler suggests sharing images in Classroom using Google Slides to improve the workflow.
  • Filter Gmail for Google Classroom – Alice Keeler highly recommends NOT turning off notifications from Google Classroom. Instead, manage the email notifications through filters.

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Liked How firms you have never interacted with can target your Facebook by Alex Hern (the Guardian)

Facebook provides me with the ability to opt out of advertising from those companies, just by clicking a cross in the corner. All I need to do is devote some time to clicking a small button 174 times in a row and I am free from those companies – at least until the next 174 decide to upload my information.

What I cannot do is anything with real power. I cannot tell Facebook that the vast majority of these companies cannot possibly have acquired my email address legitimately; I cannot opt out of them all at once, defenestrating advertisers in their masses with a single click; and I certainly cannot request that no company be able to target me simply by uploading an easily guessable address to the site.