Friday, March 11, 2016

Technology and ethics

I keep thinking I should write an essay about this myself.

But although I have strong views on the subject, I'm not a strong enough writer.

Happily, other people are.

Don't miss these three articles:

  • Trackers
    A couple of weeks ago I went to the local shopping centre looking for a thermometer. After entering one store upon leaving without buying anything a tracker was assigned to me. I didn’t think much of it at first, but he followed me dutifully around the shopping centre, took careful note of how I walked. Whenever I visited a store he made a note in his little black book (he kept calling it my profile, and he didn’t want to show me what was in it so I assume it was actually his, rather than mine). Each of those stores of course assigned trackers to me as well and soon enough I was followed by my own personal veritable posse of non-descript guys with little black books making notes.
  • Bitcoin and Diversity
    The importance of understanding the inherently political nature of rules goes deeper than simply saying diversity is important; it also gets at how we as an industry should think about solutions. It is tempting to argue that companies should simply double-down on meritocracy and ensure they are selecting the best possible candidate; remove human judgment to the greatest degree possible. But then it must be asked, on what criteria would hiring decisions be made? Specifically, who would be making these neutral “rules”?
  • Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization
    An examination of the nature and consequences of these uses sheds light on the implicit logic of surveillance capitalism and the global architecture of computer mediation upon which it depends. This architecture produces a distributed and largely uncontested new expression of power that I christen: ‘Big Other.’ It is constituted by unexpected and often illegible mechanisms of extraction, commodification, and control that effectively exile persons from their own behavior while producing new markets of behavioral prediction and modification. Surveillance capitalism challenges democratic norms and departs in key ways from the centuries long evolution of market capitalism.

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