web theory Archive

Joi Ito interviews Barack Obama for Wired: machine learning, neurodiversity, basic research and Star Trek

Joi Ito (previously) — director of MIT Media Lab, former Creative Commons chief, investor, entrepreneur, and happy mutant — interviewed Barack Obama for a special, Obama-edited issue of Wired. The two covered the ethical implications of machine learning, diversity in tech, neurodiversity, the collapse of funding for basic research, precision medicine, high-speed trading, cybersecurity, robots taking our jobs, internet regulation, space travel, and …

How to: Criticize technology

Sara writes, “This new report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University explores the current state of technology criticism and argues to recognize a wider range of contributors and approaches to the popular critical discourse about technology. The report also advocates for a more constructive approach to technology criticism that fosters conversation and poses alternative visions for a more inclusive technological …

Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law. For example, the major US ISPs and the major US …

Why Facebook's "It's too hard" excuse for Vietnam war photo takedown is bullshit

On Friday, Facebook started deleting posts containing “The Terror of War,” Nick Ut’s photo depicting a young Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack on her village; Facebook approach this photo with a scorched earth (ahem) policy, even deleting it when it was posted by the Prime Minister of Norway. Facebook’s excuse for this is that “it’s difficult to create a distinction between …

48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook's adblocker-blocker

On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook. ABP’s Ben Williams explained that the countermeasure originated with the Adblock Plus community, one of whom wrote a filter extension that would disable Facebook ads without a hitch (“facebook.com##DIV ._5jmm”). The question is, will Facebook really dedicate engineers to inserting features …

As social media centralized, blogging's core infrastructure has withered

When “social media” meant “blogs,” there were many tools, services and protocols that comprised an infrastructure for federated, open, loosely joined interaction: the rise of the social giants has killed off much of this infrastructure, all but erasing it from our memories. Anil Dash compares the services and tools available in the new centralized web, and the new advantages of centralization, and also …

International Olympic Committee bans GIFs

They’ve “expressly prohibited” turning anything from the Olympics into “animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines.” You know what, I fucking surrender. Olympic corruption, greed and venality has been boundless for decades, but this kind of fantastic out-of-touchness literally leaves me wordless. 2. Internet and Mobile Platforms Notwithstanding any …