books, Google, internet

Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reich

The first book I’ve read by this author, I downloaded because of the digital privacy theme.

Those details are fascinating. Reich does seem to understand technology.

We get to the DEF CON® Hacking Conference in Vegas.

But aside from that, the plot is stupid and lazy.

It kept me going, but I can’t recommend it.

Apple, ethics, Facebook, good news, Google, government, human rights, internet, things getting better

Why we LOVE Stacey Abrams

If you’re celebrating seeing Donald Trump and the worst of his deplorable followers driven off social media, thank Stacey Abrams.

She devoted years to building the Democratic Party in Georgia. Wrote a book about voter suppression and co-produced an Amazon Prime documentary, “All In: the Fight for Democracy.”

People in the know credit Stacey Abrams for flipping the 2 Senate seats from Republican to Democrat.

NOW the Biden team has control of all 3 branches of government for 2 years.

NOW the Biden team can enthusiastically regulate BIG TECH.

NOW Twitter, Facebook and pretty much every other major platform is banning Trumpy hate speech.

Thanks Stacey.

Amazon, Apple, education, Google, internet, things getting better

Online education SUCKS

There’s no way online classes will be as bad in 2025 as they are today.

I expect Google, Apple, Amazon to be amongst the companies disrupting the current expensive American College system.  Taking their money. 

But it’s this organization — Outlier — that won a Time magazine BEST inventions of 2020 award.

At least they are trying to improve the experience.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, economics, ethics, Facebook, internet, product complaints

Zucked by Roger McNamee (2019)

Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

Roger McNamee was early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg. And an early investor.

A big Facebook promoter.

ZUCKED is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing.

I’ve not heard any other critic as astute, nor as fair, as to exactly why Facebook is harming and even killing some of their customers around the world.

As Facebook is unable to police itself, governments should step in.

books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, internet

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

The Inevitable is a 2016 nonfiction book by Kevin Kelly that forecasts the twelve technological forces that will shape the next thirty years:

  1. Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions
  2. Cognifying: Making everything much smarter using cheap powerful AI that we get from the cloud
  3. Flowing: Depending on unstoppable streams in real time for everything
  4. Screening: Turning all surfaces into screens
  5. Accessing: Shifting society from one where we own assets to one where instead we will have access to services at all times.
  6. Sharing: Collaboration at mass scale. Kelly writes, “On my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.”
  7. Filtering: Harnessing intense personalization in order to anticipate our desires
  8. Remixing: Unbundling existing products into their most primitive parts and then recombining in all possible ways
  9. Interacting: Immersing ourselves inside our computers to maximize their engagement
  10. Tracking: Employing total surveillance for the benefit of citizens and consumers
  11. Questioning: Promoting good questions is far more valuable than good answers
  12. Beginning: Constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix

Though it might sound scary, the book is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic about the future.

Kevin Kelly (born 1952) is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review.

Amazon

 

books, government, internet, movies

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

Nick Bilton is a British-American journalist and author. He is currently a special correspondent at Vanity Fair. …

His reporting is credited with helping to lead the United States Federal Aviation Administration to overturn their longtime ban on using cell phones, Kindles and iPads on airplanes. …

Bilton’s most recent book, American Kingpin, tells the story of the Silk Road marketplace, its founder Ross Ulbricht (who went by “Dread Pirate Roberts“), and how U.S. law enforcement arrested him.

…  In June 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the Coen brothers and Steven Zaillian were adapting the book into a movie.

books, ethics, internet, movies

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road.

Rocco recommended this book.

Sometimes the truth is more unbelievable than fiction.

Ross Ulbricht (born March 27, 1984) is an American convict best known for creating and operating the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 until his arrest in 2013. …

Ulbricht’s online pseudonym was “Dread Pirate Roberts” …

In May 2015, he was sentenced to a double life sentence plus forty years without the possibility of parole.

Silk Road used Tor and bitcoin.

In March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors, 70% of which were drugs.

Ulbricht was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Ulbricht had paid $730,000 in murder-for-hire deals targeting at least five people, allegedly because they threatened to reveal Ulbricht’s Silk Road enterprise.

It’s possible that none were actually killed. Ulbricht might have been scammed for that money.

People died using Silk Road drugs.

Ulbricht justified his crimes with a B.S. personal philosophy that he was doing more good for the world than bad.  He wasn’t.

There are still more questions than answers about Silk Road.

Deep Web is a 2015 documentary film chronicling the events.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

bad news, Facebook, Google, government, internet

Censorship by flood of misinformation

Back in the 1990s I was completely convinced that Google and the internet would make the world a much better place.

If people had more information, they’d be able to make better decisions.

It turned out to be mixed. Smart people make better decisions.

But many are overwhelmed, disinterested and easily confused.

books, happiness, human rights, internet

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a collection of 4 novellas released on March 19, 2019 as a reaction to Trump government chaos.

The issues discussed are very current.

It’s one of the books contending in the Canada Reads 2020 contest.  I’m slightly surprised at that as one of the four is a rant against the American non-health care system.

I recommend it IF you are interested in these themes:

… explores such issues as digital rights management, police brutality, radicalization in internet communities, and doomsday preppers. …

… American medical care, immigration, white male rage and technological monopolies …

Those who did not like the book consider it too preachy.

I quite liked the first story, Unauthorized BreadA refugee, Salima, confronts the software controlling installed in her kitchen appliances after the companies who created those appliances suddenly cease operations.

Cory Doctorow is one of the Tech gurus I’ve been following as long as I’ve been following Boing Boing, which won the Bloggies for Weblog of the Year, in 2004 and 2005.  The web version launched January 2000, a “directory of wonderful things“.

In February 2020, Cory Doctorow left Boing Boing to start Pluralistic.net, a blog that brands itself as having “No trackers, no ads.”  Of course I’m now following it too.

Cory is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.