Technologies of Hope & Fear

A Tactical Tech-curated collection of technologies "developed, marketed and implemented to mitigate the pandemic and to help societies ‘get back to normal.’"

The project creates a snapshot in time and an archive of rapid shifts in the uptake of ambient, behavioural and bio-metric data and intelligence worldwide. Some of these technologies bring hope and some play into our fears. Ultimately the project asks — what kinds of societies are we building? what trade-offs are we willing to make? and do these techno-solutions help us succeed in controlling the virus, or only in controlling the hosts?

Submitted by jboy (via)

The joy of text in a world of tech zealotry

In THE Campus, computer scientist Andy Farnell takes up the cudgel for plain-text teaching tools.

We don’t need more complex and insular proprietary teaching tools; we need to make more intelligent use of the powerful, standardised, interoperable foundations we already have in computing.

Submitted by jboy

Can Cooperatives Defeat Digital Coloniality?

On the Platform Cooperativism Consortium blog, T. O. Molefe introduces the concept of digital coloniality to bring into view the extractive and oppressive relations that fuel tech — and to consider what sorts of relations could be built instead.

Like the charter companies that served as tools of colonial conquest, digital multinationals like Meta, Uber and Airbnb have amplified the extractive, exploitative relationship that global elites have established with everyone else, and have also co-opted governments into their plans. The actions of these companies’ controlling shareholders are defining, and some would say corrupting, what it means to be human in a digital world and who can be human.

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A new vision of artificial intelligence for the people

Karen Hao follows the workings of AI colonialism to a remote New Zealand town for MIT Technology Review.

In turning to AI to help revive te reo, the Māori language, Mahelona and Jones, who is Māori, wanted to do things differently. They overcame resource limitations to develop their own language AI tools, and created mechanisms to collect, manage, and protect the flow of Māori data so it won’t be used without the community’s consent, or worse, in ways that harm its people.

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Surveillance Publishing

At Elephant in the Lab, Jefferson Pooley details the metrics and surveillance systems at the heart of academic infrastructures.

Scholarly publishing is its own, emerging surveillance economy. We can call a company a surveillance publisher if it derives a substantial proportion of its revenue from prediction products, fueled by data extracted from researcher behavior. On that definition, we already have surveillance publishers in our midst.

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the html review

Issue 01 of the html review, an annual journal of literature made to exist on the web, is out.

the html review was started out of a yearning for more outlets comfortable with pieces built for our screens, writing that leverages our computational networked tools, both new and old, for the art of language, narrative, and exploration.

Submitted by jboy

Feminist by Design

This collection, edited by Mariana Fossatti, Tigist Shewarega Hussen and Namita Aavriti Malhotra, brings together contributions dealing with the question of how to build a feminist internet.

What are the possibilities of more accessible research outputs and what could be the trajectories of feminist intersectional investments in digital media in the times of anti-gender and anti-rights discourse? There is considerable focus on feminist practices of reflexivity that intentionally explore the messiness of feminist research and research design. This means looking closely at feminist methodologies, feminist ways of knowing in the field of internet research, highlighting questions and concerns around what complications are introduced by the field of the internet itself. It also means translating feminist intentions into building infrastructure, doing participatory research, and exploring the contradictions of standpoint theory and power imbalances inherent in research.

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State of the Internet’s Languages

In this report, researchers from Whose Knowledge?, the Oxford Internet Institute, and the Centre for Internet and Society ask what a truly multilingual internet would look like.

For the past few years, we’ve been working in our own ways to understand knowledge inequalities and injustice on the internet: who contributes to the content online and how? We soon realized that there was very little data on knowledge in different languages on the internet. Then we wanted to find out more: what is the extent to which the world’s languages are on the internet right now? How multilingual is the internet? Our exploration was limited only to a few areas in which we could find useful public and open information, but we hope it will be another contribution for all of us who are striving for a multilingual internet.

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Software Doldrums

In their recent LibrePlanet keynote, the artist collective Hundred Rabbits discussed dangers and shortcomings of relying on always-online proprietary platforms — and their experience building their own tools for their creative practice.

For five years, we lived in remote parts of the world, and during this time we saw firsthand how the modern-day computing stack fails and degrades beyond the shores of the western world. This experience raised a lot of questions: How do we keep creating when the tools we use eat away at our limited power and connectivity? And how do we make sure they work when we need them to?

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Scoring the U.S. Working Class

At FocaalBlog, Don Nonini considers the pandemic as a turning point for the U.S. working class in the context of digitalization, which is increasingly converging with expropriation:

Working-class people in the United States are now at a turning point – whether to compliantly return to the pre-Covid conditions capital set for them, or to shift toward a new militancy toward capitalism. Now, two years into the pandemic, they have suffered severe personal hardships due to Covid-related illness, hospitalizations and deaths, and sudden loss of employment. These traumas have occurred even as they have experienced an historically unprecedented hiatus of relative economic security, given the Covid-related payments and protections they received from the US state, while many have been praised as "essential workers."

Submitted by jboy