And the Anti-Dystopians have returned!
Back by popular demand, Mallika Balakrishnan and Kyra Jasper come on the podcast this week to break down . . . everything that’s happened since we last spoke. From the Trump Twitter ban, to content moderation, contact tracing and conspiracy theories, to bottom-up approaches to digital justice—the Anti-Dystopians have got you covered.
What I’m Writing
My review of FSG x Logic’s series on technology on the Minderoo Center for Tech and Democracy’s blog Power-Switch.
“Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) and the tech magazine Logic teamed up to produce four books that capture “technology in all its contradictions and innovation, across borders and socioeconomic divisions, from history through the future, beyond platitudes and PR hype, and past doom and gloom.” In that, the FSG x Logic series succeeded beyond its wildest imagination. These books are some of the most well-researched, thought-provoking and—dare I say it—innovative takes on how technology is shaping our world.
Here’s my review of three of the four—Blockchain Chicken Farm, Subprime Attention Crisis and What Tech Calls Thinking—but I highly recommend you read them all. (They average 200 pages each, so you could probably get through the whole series in the time it takes to finish Shoshana Zuboff's Surveillance Capitalism.)”
Read more at the Minderoo Blog Power-Switch here.
Mentioned in This Week’s Podcast
Axios roundup of all of the digital platforms that have banned Trump or Trump-related content (so far).
On the power of Facebook’s lookalike audience and group recommendations. Stop the Seal groups on Facebook, ads for military gear next to insurrection posts (is this a . . . feature, not a bug?), and racism in Facebook’s targeted housing ads.
On WhatsApp’s new policy—why it’s bad (spoiler alert: it’s giving Facebook your data) and a nice New Yorker feature on Signal co-founder Moxie Marlinspike. Plus the NYT Daily podcast on the move to encrypted messaging.
The potential investigations into Zoom for complying with Chinese censorship requests over Tiananmen square commemorations—and more on Zoom’s censorship of Palestinian events.
Elon Musk saying that his goal is Mars indentured servitude. Also of note, the space battle shaking down between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos (it centers around satellite internet for rural communities). Plus, in more inspiring news, the Institute for Self Reliance on community-based broadband networks (they have a great podcast too).
And how Selena Gomez emailed Sheryl Sandberg about white supremacy on Facebook.
Plus, some lockdown reads! David Runciman’s How Democracy Ends (it’s actually more optimistic than the title would have you believe). And Ruha Benjamin’s absolutely brilliant book Race After Technology.
What I’ve Been Reading
A really excellent review of two of the best books on tech monopolies this past year, Zephyr Teachout’s Break ‘Em Up and Barry Lynn’s Liberty from All Masters.
ProPublica investigation into racism in the Capitol Hill police force.
How an Airbnb host used Amazon’s Ring to discover his guests were rioters on Capitol Hill, and then reported them to the FBI.
What You’ve Been Reading
Send me your favorite books, podcasts or articles of 2020!