Three Ways To Understand Power in The Digital Age

VIDEO: Danah Boyd on Our Broken Information Ecosystem (CNN) 

Image result for danah boyd cnn

I’m most likely going to write a full piece on this topic. In my view it’s the most fundamental and pressing question of our time. Whatever the problem; Climate collapse, rising authoritarianism or wealth inequality how can we solve anything until we address the fact that we are consuming and exchanging information online in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with coming to compromise, cooperation or a common good?

Until information is liberated from the attention economy then our problems and divides will surely only continue to deepen? Emotion is far more attentive than reason. And as long as information continues to be valued by the attention it can extract rather than the substantive value of what is being said then politics will continue its dark descent into a shouting match of anger and fear.

Anyway – enough ranting. This interview with Danah Boyd does a much better job than I in explaining the information ecosystem’s breakdown and the possible paths to a better future:

Danah Boyd on the Spread of Conspiracies and Hate Online

COLUMN: Lessons From History on Corporate Power:

Image result for east india company

Give this excerpt from William Dalrymple’s new book ten minutes of your time. You won’t regret it. A fascinating look at the violence of the East India Company and how we often neglect the role of private companies in colonialism. We still think the British government invaded India when in reality it was an unbridled corporate entity that:

” The East India Company began seizing chunks of India in the mid-18th century, a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by a violent, ruthless and mentally unstable corporate predator — Robert Clive. India’s transition to colonialism, in other words, took place under a for-profit corporation, which existed entirely for the purpose of enriching its investors..” 

https://www.ft.com/content/0f1ec9da-c9a6-11e9-af46-b09e8bfe60c0

PODCAST: Surveillance Capital: Are We Just Raw Material? 

shoshana-zuboff.w600.h315.2x

Shoshanna Zuboff is a writer we should all be listening to right now. Why does it matter that our data is being captured? How is our behaviour being monitored and modified by tech companies? And how do we reclaim privacy rights as citizens in the digital age? The author of the mammoth book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” sits down with Roz Urwin here to answer these questions and more:

https://play.acast.com/s/intelligencesquared/942b5c25-afe0-4c65-9e34-3f5462338065

 

Also because this is my website and there’s no rules, here’s a tiny desk concert I’ve been listening to this week that’s fucking amazing:

 

Advertisements

The Pinnacle of Settlement

Author: Revels

The funny thing about our generation is that apparently there have been a lot of firsts. Breaking stereotypes has become the stereotype – and if you’re not breaking one, you’re supporting someone doing it. Different perceptions have offered varying opinions on whatever happens, but it does not change the fact that we have decided to take matters into our own hands, to disrupt tradition and say no without worrying about the world abandoning us because there’s always someone out there in favour of the drift.

 

Our traditions developed somewhere along the long way that humans have come – we hunted, moved a lot, didn’t have proper language until slowly we realised proper ways to settle, communicate and gather food. We created proper housing, transportation, farmed and processed more food, institutionalised education systems, political systems and so much more until we had achieved a system of living we were satisfied with.

Our people first settled as tribes, then as joint families, then as separate families and eventually people started living on their own. We might just have reached the pinnacle of settlement – did anyone ever think someone would be able to live in a place of their own without fear of security or starvation? People always settled in groups because there was strength in numbers – and as we breathe in an era where anyone can live by themselves, we see a new concept – people not wanting to live in one place at all.

To experience more cultures, to see other areas of the world, a group of people have now decided to never stay in one place, to move from one city to the other, from one country to the next, using their skills to earn whatever amount of money they require to keep going. A rather ironic change, just as we have what we had aimed for, some folks prefer the nomadic way of life. Settling is perhaps not in everyone’s nature, and in a world where nomadic tribes were slowly decreasing, we might see a new kind of nomad. A nomad who has decided to leave the ways he or she is accustomed to and to find fulfilment through a ritual of the past. Are humans really never satisfied with what they have? Or has the age old tradition come knocking again?

 

The group of people devoted to traveling in such a way might be small, but our generation has been the first to have a majority who prefers traveling to settling down and building a house and a family.Could our roots be coming back to take us around and help us realize how being successful does not lie in financial security but rather in learning to connect with the world and embrace the wonders it comes with?

Could this be the next thing our generation takes hold off? Could this end racial and nationalistic differences? Could this wipe away general ignorance and end more stereotypes?

Only the future knows.

Revels is a Pakistani student, blogger and contributing writer at The Conversation Room 

You can visit her excellent blog here:

https://identity17.wordpress.com/

 

Stop Thinking You Need Motivation.

Mel Robbins in this interview for Impact Theory explains why she believes motivation to be a debilitating concept which holds people back. She argues that people get fixated with the idea that “one day” they will do the things they really want to do and all that is missing is courage and motivation.

In reality however, it will always be difficult to do things which create risk in our lives and this belief in motivation contradicts the way in which are brains are designed.

 

 

Why No One is Reading The News Anymore

Gay Talese analyses whether journalism has become a failed profession. And whether journalists going from outsiders looking in to events, to partisan insiders of particular causes has destroyed the functions of a public media

 

what at do you think?

Why Watching Vlogs Can Destroy Your Mental Health

Vlogging (video-blogging) and vloggers have taken the internet by storm and garnered massive followings across social media. However this video questions whether they are both corrosive for the creator and the audience.

Vlogs, while presented as organic diary entries of a person’s life are always artificial. They are edited and tailored to an audience and not an accurate presentation of one’s actual life.

The danger, especially for younger people, is expecting their own lives to be as exciting of that as the vlogger and feeling depressed and inadequate in comparison. Vlogs can be really valuable, inspiring and entertaining but it is fundamental that we realise that they are performances and give an exaggerated example of someones actual life.

This is an emerging topic and something definitely worth thinking about.

Why You Are Addicted to Social Media (It’s no Accident)

Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School discusses the basic biology behind social media attachment.

Highlighting the psychological impulses based on the element of surprise, not knowing what’s going to happen next as well as the gratification involved with sharing and having posts ‘liked’.

This is a riveting biological and psychological assessment which is important to understand in the smartphone age.

A full Transcript can be found here:

http://bigthink.com/videos/tim-wu-on-the-psychology-behind-email-addiction

 

Why Public Confidence in Institutions is Eroding – Stanford Professor

Stanford Law & Political Science professor Francis Fukuyama discusses the ways in which the institutions of the 20th century Churches, Political Parties & Corporations have lost the trust of the general public.

Recognizing the significance of technology, Fukuyama argues this has made the malpractices from institutions more visible and accessible to the public. He further ponders the consequences of instant media on societal cohesion.

Can institutions regain our trust? Or what must happen to prevent societal breakdown and a post truth age?