The efforts of Russia and China to fundamentally alter the internet's current governing model or wrest its architecture from Western influence is not likely to succeed in the foreseeable future. Opposition to any future domestic network-security policies could also hamper such measures. China already has had to backpedal on some policies, such as forcing its banking institutions to abandon foreign technologies, in the past year.
But their calls for multilateral internet governance and government control over network security likely will find some measure of success. China's attempt to resist Western influence will certainly continue; that strategy is tied to Beijing's economic ambitions to expand into high-tech industries. Russia will likely feel a growing need to control the exchange of information over networks in its territory as it prepares for potential unrest amid a steep economic decline. Global concerns about network security will provide both countries with a pretext to pursue their efforts.
They want to police social norms so that hurtful comments are no longer tolerated and so that real bigotry is given no tacit support. Of course, at some level, they are right. Callous statements in the mainstream can lead to hostile behavior on the edge. That’s why we don’t tolerate Holocaust denial.
But when you witness how this movement is actually being felt on campus, you can’t help noticing that it sometimes slides into a form of zealotry. If you read the website of the group FIRE, which defends free speech on campus, if you read Kirsten Powers’s book, “The Silencing,” if you read Judith Shulevitz’s essay “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas” that was published in The Times in Sunday Review on March 22, you come across tales of professors whose lives are ruined because they made innocent remarks; you see speech codes that inhibit free expression; you see reputations unfairly scarred by charges of racism and sexism.
KPCB’s Mary Meeker presents the 2015 Internet Trends report, 20 years after the inaugural “The Internet Report” was first published in 1995. Since then, the number of Internet users has risen from 35 million in 1995 to more than 2.8 billion today.
But can you identify trolls before they ruin a community? Researchers from Stanford and Cornell think they can (pdf), after analyzing 18 months worth of Disqus threads from the news site CNN, the right-wing political site Breitbart, and the gaming site IGN. That amounted to 1.7 million users, almost 40 million comments, and 100 million up- or down-votes on those comments. Using that, they developed an algorithm that can look at those factors and determine with 80% accuracy whether the troll will be banned in the future based on the content of their first five posts.
Andrey Miroshnichenko's insight:
Minority report" is in the progress. Next step - to ban the future trolls preventively.
In his first column for US wired, in 1993, Nicholas Negroponte refused to be distracted by HDTV –- predicting instead the ways a digital revolution would alter how we consume content. Now, in a historic return to the magazine, he explains why MIT’s Media Lab is so vital.
Today, "either/or" is "both/and" in so many different ways. All things digital commingle where and when they never have before. Examples: work and home, reader and author, education and entertainment, container and content. Solutions without problems. When pointing, he said, the dog looks at the tip of your finger and the human looks in the direction in which you are pointing. Media Lab projects pointed. Quod erat demonstrandum. Said differently: the best vision is peripheral vision.
Bacteria have traditionally been viewed as solitary organisms that 'hang out on their own,' says a molecular biologist. However, scientists now realize that in fact, bacteria exhibit social behavior within groups. In a new paper, researchers describe how they deciphered this bacterial communication to reveal new mechanisms of regulating gene expression in the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis.
Rather downbeat analysis of media literacy policy, especially in the European context, written in in 2009.
"In a digital era, media literacy is crucial for achieving full and active citizenship," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. "The ability to read and write – or traditional literacy – is no longer sufficient in this day and age. People need a greater awareness of how to express themselves effectively, and how to interpret what others are saying, especially on blogs, via search engines or in advertising. Everyone (old and young) needs to get to grips with the new digital world in which we live. For this, continuous information and education is more important than regulation."
Google’s Ray Kurzweil predicts robots will reach human levels of intelligence by 2029 – if they overcome current limitations
The increase in computing prowess during the past decade has expanded the kinds of tasks computers can undertake independently. IBM’s Watson computer, which won the US quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011, is being successfully applied to medical diagnosis.
A growing proportion of citizens rely on social media to gather political information and to engage in political discussions within their personal networks. Existing studies argue that social media create “echo-chambers,” where individuals are primarily exposed to like-minded views. However, this literature has ignored that social media platforms facilitate exposure to messages from those with whom individuals have weak ties, which are more likely to provide novel information to which individuals would not be exposed otherwise through offline interactions. Because weak ties tend to be with people who are more politically heterogeneous than citizens’ immediate personal networks, this exposure reduces political extremism. Contrary to conventional wisdom, my analysis provides evidence that social media usage reduces mass political polarization.
But the robots that are really ruining Twitter aren’t these wholly automated fakers. They’re the semi-automated fakers: us. Many of us have long used tools that allow us to expedite our social media posting; for example, I’ve used Buffer and HootSuite for several years to pace my tweets and keep my social media presence active. But now these companies not only offer the ability to schedule tweets; they also can suggest tweets for you to post.
Artificial intelligence, robotics and new disruptive technology are challenging white-collar professions that previously seemed invulnerable.
Andrey Miroshnichenko's insight:
Associated Press has run an experiment of automatically creating corporate earnings reports since June 2014 with software from Automated Insights and data from Zacks Investment Research. After working through problems at the outset, the process is virtually error-free, which likely beats what humans would do.
Internet censorship has evolved. In Version 1.0, censorship was impossible; in Version 2.0, it was a characteristic of repressive regimes; and in Version 3.0, it spread to democracies who desired to use technology to restrain unwanted information. Its latest iteration, Version 3.1, involves near-ubiquitous censorship by democratic and authoritarian countries alike. This Article argues that the new censorship model involves four changes: a shift in implementation to private parties; a hybrid approach mixing promotion of favored viewpoints with suppression of disfavored ones; a blend of formal mandates with informal pressures; and a framing of censorship using uncontroversial labels. It suggests a set of responses to censorship that cabin its abuses and push it towards more legitimate methods: focusing on governmental restrictions, insisting on labeling censorship as such, supporting distributed Internet governance, demanding a default right of access to information, and addressing corporate involvement.
Today's schools are focusing on boosting kids’ technological proficiency and warning them about the perils of the web. But something critical is missing from this education.
Loewy half-jokingly compares the state of digital learning in America’s schools to that of sex ed, which, as one NYU education professor describes it, entails "a smattering of information about their reproductive organs and a set of stern warnings about putting them to use." Kids are learning a distorted view of the digital world "that reflects the fears of adults rather than the aspirations of youth." Loewy started developing what he’s now calling "an interdisciplinary curriculum for the digital age," a.k.a. "Living Online." The curriculum, which is designed primarily for high-school students (though he says it can be adapted for younger kids, too), includes a dozen teaching modules that would be integrated into various classes—from "Privacy" and "A is for Algorithm" to "Digital Activism" and "Cyberpsychology." Other units under development include "Remix Culture," "Gaming in Education," and "Reality—Virtual/Actual." In some ways, it could be described as the liberal arts of virtual living.
Modern literacy has always meant being able to both read and write narrative in the media forms of the day, whatever they may be. Just being able to read is not sufficient. Shift from text centrism to media collage. New media coalesce into a collage. Being literate also means being able to integrate emerging new media forms into a single narrative or "media collage," such as a Web page, blog, or digital story.
News companies have moved from print dollars to digital dimes to mobile pennies. Now, with the highly anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, the screens are getting even smaller. How are smart publishers thinking about the right way to serve users and maintain their attention on smartwatches?
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