We quickly realized that the tech-centric narrative of privacy just doesn’t fit with people’s understandings and experience of it. They don’t see privacy as simply being the control of information. They don’t see the “solution” to privacy being access-control lists or other technical mechanisms of limiting who has access to information. Instead, they try to achieve privacy by controlling the social situation. To do so, they struggle with their own power in that situation. For teens, it’s all about mom looking over their shoulder. No amount of privacy settings can solve for that one. While learning to read social contexts is hard, it’s especially hard online, where the contexts seem to be constantly destabilized by new technological interventions. As such, context becomes visible and significant in the effort to achieve privacy. Achieving privacy requires a whole slew of skills, not just in the technological sense, but in the social sense. Knowing how to read people, how to navigate interpersonal conflict, how to make trust stick. This is far more complex that people realize, and yet we do this every day in our efforts to control the social situations around us.
danah boyd | apophenia » What is Privacy?

I’ve never quite got to grips with social networking. Sometimes I get Facebook friend requests from complete strangers, with no message attached, and I wonder if they have confused me with someone else. I usually decline.

I’m also similarly confused by Linkedin. Why would an executive in an oil company want to connect with an impoverished bookseller from Sussex, unless they needed to be reassured that they’ve made the right career choice. It would be good if people had to explain why they want to connect.

Another annoying trend is the tendency for social networking sites to try and pull all of our telephone and email contacts. I can’t see the sense of this, because it is only natural to compartmentalise the people we know into different groups. Most of us have a public and private persona and never the twain shall meet.

But I digress.

The Age of Uncertainty: Bad Art

twisting circle


twisting circle

Paglen ended his lecture with an amazing anecdote worth repeating here. Expanding on this notion that humanity’s longest-lasting ruins will not be cities, cathedrals, or even mines, but rather geostationary satellites orbiting the Earth, surviving for literally billions of years beyond anything we build on the planet’s surface, Paglen tried to conjure up what this might look like for other species in the far future.

Billions of years from now, he began to narrate, long after city lights and the humans who made them have disappeared from the Earth, other intelligent species might eventually begin to see traces of humanity’s long-since erased presence on the planet.

Consider deep-sea squid, Paglen said, who would have billions of years to continue developing and perfecting their incredible eyesight, a sensory skill perfect for peering through the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the oceans—but also an eyesight that could let them gaze out at the stars in deep space.

Perhaps, Paglen speculated, these future deep-sea squid with their extraordinary powers of sight honed precisely for focusing on tiny points of light in the darkness might drift up to the surface of the ocean on calm nights to look upward at the stars, viewing a scene that will have rearranged into whole new constellations since the last time humans walked the Earth.

And, there, the squid might notice something.

BLDGBLOG: Through the Cracks Between Stars

It’s all in the timing - leaves you with a laugh, while making a point about our phones

‘Gaia’ by Dark0 is my new jam.

‘Gaia’ by Dark0 is my new jam.

Blaming a lack of technological positivity in fiction — especially when there is so much technological positivity in our daily lives — discounts the deep significance and increasing value of dystopian fiction and its ability to keep us on our toes in our day-to-day lives. It’s important to note that positivity happens a lot more often in dystopian fiction than Solana describes: take the cancer-defying medical equipment in Elysium, for example. Those stories are often more about how powerful people use tech to oppress others. To suggest that limiting the human imagination and intellect in order to improve a problem born of ignorance in the first place is absurd and, frankly, dangerous.
Actually, society needs dystopian sci-fi more than ever (Wired UK)

Acerbic as you’d expect - Chris Morris on Biteback, 1994

It’s not new but it’s one of my favourite things on YouTube ever.

Interesting things I find from the internet, my twittering and the occasional blog post.


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