weekly reel September 24, 2017
Hail, frendz, and music. Have I already shared the new God's pee last week? Yes! Would I re-share it once more this week? Absolutely! Thus, the new God's pee. Listen to it attentively, then give them all your money, then tell your frendz to listen to it attentively and give them all your money. Godspeed, frendz.
"Luciferian Towers" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor (bandcamp.com)
- Maciej Cegłowski: Anatomy of a moral panic, excellent. HN.
The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter’s area of expertise.
And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks. Because Google and Facebook have a duopoly on online advertising, the only measure of success in publishing is whether a story goes viral on social media. Authors are evaluated by how individual stories perform online, and face constant pressure to make them more arresting. Highly technical pieces are farmed out to junior freelancers working under strict time limits. Corrections, if they happen at all, are inserted quietly through ‘ninja edits’ after the fact.
There is no real penalty for making mistakes, but there is enormous pressure to frame stories in whatever way maximizes page views. Once those stories get picked up by rival news outlets, they become ineradicable. The sheer weight of copycat coverage creates the impression of legitimacy. As the old adage has it, a lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on.
The real story of machine learning is not how it promotes home bomb-making, but that it's being deployed at scale with minimal ethical oversight, in the service of a business model that relies entirely on psychological manipulation and mass surveillance. The capacity to manipulate people at scale is being sold to the highest bidder, and has infected every aspect of civic life, including democratic elections and journalism.
Together with climate change, this algorithmic takeover of the public sphere is the biggest news story of the early 21st century. We desperately need journalists to cover it. But as they grow more dependent on online publishing for their professional survival, their capacity to do this kind of reporting will disappear, if it has not disappeared already.
- [fr] Nitot : CNNum et chiffrement, 👍👍👍.
- Reminders to not make fun of people for admitting they don't know things: xkcd #1053: Ten Thousand & Julia Evans: How to answer questions in a helpful way.
- [fr/qc] Marie-Pier Roberge / IRIS : L'égalité n'est pas « presque acquise ».
- DF: EFF withdraws from the W3C over support for DRM, read the update / highlight at the bottom on DMCA. HN.
- A neat Morning paper on WebAssembly.
- [fr] Plein de bonnes choses via Nitot :
- More grumbling around the need to cut Google / Apple / Facebook / Amazon monopolies: No mercy / no malice: the worm has turned, and Yoshua Bengio calls for the breakup of Big Tech. Both via The Exponential.
- South Park is triggering people's Amazon Alexas, 👍, reminds me of xkcd #1807 - 'Listening': "Alexa, order two tons of creamed corn. Alexa, confirm purchase."
- [fr] Anne Archet : Modeste proposition de bombages, au cas où votre aérosol serait en panne d'inspiration.
- Cyanide and Happiness - Non-free cupcakes, on the entitlement of the internets. Most applicable to the most entitled part of the internet: gamers. Thx Berthe.
- SMBC: A heap of trouble.
- jwz: "HTML email, was that your fault?", cool piece of internet history.
- 💩😷⚠ Donaldese: