Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from April 16, 2018 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options April 16, 2018: Catherine Price, author, "How to Break Up With Your Phone"

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This week: Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up With Your Phone, on forming a healthier relationship with technology.

Pointers to Catherine Price's work:

How to Break Up with Your Phone on Indiebound

Catherine's homepage

Phonebreakup.com, the book site, which lists recommended books and lock screen images, including the one we discuss during the interview:

• ...and see also The Still-Faced Experiment that Catherine mentions during the interview.

...but first, as usual, we'll start with tech news:

The Many Deceptions of Mark Zuckerberg

Untruths, deceptions, and misdirections that Zuck fed to Congress:

• "You control your data." Not true, says Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler. Or as this EFF piece says, "Zuckerberg’s insistence that users have 'complete control' neatly overlooks all the ways that users unwittingly 'share' information with Facebook."

• "You own your data." That's impossible, given the "shadow profiles" that Facebook keeps on people who never use Facebook. (How can they "own" or "control" the data that Facebook's surveillance has compiled on them?) Even Facebook's Privacy Operations team disagrees, says MIT's Technology Review. See also this WSJ piece by Christopher Mims.

• "It's easy to opt out whenever you want." Give me a break, says Alex Hern. Easy? The basic opt-out requires 14 steps, says David Carroll:

• "Facebook doesn't sell your data." That's deceptive, says this Vice article.

• "Facebook is a community." Not at all, says Ian Bogost...

See also Nicholas Carr's comment on Zuck's repetition of "community." As The Intercept points out from a confidential document, Facebook promises advertisers that it can “predict future behavior,” allowing companies to target people on the basis of decisions they haven’t even made yet. What a fun community!

• "We'll solve it with AI." Willful deception, says Eric Gilbert. (Just like the market we worshipped before!)

• "We need to increase the security of data that users upload." Misdirection, says Zeynep Tufekci. The real issue is "HOW WE KEEP FACEBOOK FROM COLLECTING DATA ON US":

Justin Brookman describes the misdirection this way: "FB always tries to frame privacy as you vs the world, not you vs Facebook." And as David Carroll put it here: "Zuck attempts to redefine the very definition of 'privacy' as what we share, not what he collects"

• "Conspiracy theory" is how Zuck described users' concern about Facebook snooping on the phone. Unfair, says LibrarianShipwreck: "Bear in mind that until pretty recently you were mocked as wearing a tinfoil hat if you talked about 99% of the things that Facebook is now in the hot seat for having done." See also this video test of Facebook and Google by Mitch Hollow.

• "Facebook is here to serve you." Hardly the case, says Ian Bogost: "The computer ceased to be a servant of human life and began to be the purpose for which that life is conducted. That’s the heart of problem with the technology industry today, and it’s a problem that data-privacy regulation alone has no hope of fixing." See also his article in The Atlantic comparing the Facebook debacle to the dotcoms.

• "Facebook made mistakes because it was so idealistic, focusing on doing good things, and no one could have imagined bad things happening." Delusional, says Wired's Erin Griffith: "'I'm sorry for being too focused on the good and not enough on the bad' is about as sincere as saying your greatest weakness is you work too hard." Or as Siva Vaidhyanathan put it, "The idealism is the problem. There is a fine line between pledging to do no evil and believing you can do no wrong."

Other comments on Zuck:

Ban Targeted Advertising, says the New Republic.

Failed by Facebook, We'll Return to the Scene of the Crime. We Always Do. Andrew Ross Sorkin argues that, most likely, nothing will change as most Facebook users don't seem to care about surveillance.

Four Questions For Facebook That We Still Need Answers To (by Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo founder and past Techtonic guest)... not to be confused with The Atlantic's Three Questions Mark Zuckerberg Hasn't Answered.

• As I posted: Don't forget that what we've learned of Facebook & Google surveillance is only what journalists discovered. Be assured that (a) FB & Goog are doing other, equally disturbing things that weren't detected, and (b) they're planning now for future launches to be harder to detect.

• But don't worry, because (if you're from US/Canada/Europe) you're not the focus anyway. Zuck wants his next billion users - and they'll come from Asia and Africa.

• At least we'll always have Zuck eating toast.

- - -

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  Catherine Price, author of "How to Break Up With Your Phone," describes how we can have a healthier relationship with our tech.
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  Mark's intro  
  Interview with Catherine Price, author, "How to Break Up With Your Phone"  
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Listener comments!

  6:00pm Warren in Australia:

Hey Mark!!!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Michael 98145:

@Warren, how's tomorrow?
  6:02pm Warren in Australia:

@Michael l98145 The futures bright all you gotta do is delete Instagram. Ha.
Avatar 6:03pm Bas NL:

Hello Mark!
Avatar 6:04pm βrian:

Most weekends, I "lose" my phone. That is, I just lose track of where it is. When I finally think about it —usually Monday morning— there it is in my coat pocket.
Avatar 6:05pm northguineahills:

Outside of texting my wife, my bros, and friends, (Or taking calls for work), I rarely use my phone outside of checking the weather.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm ultradamno:

Much ado about suiting up
  6:06pm tom from Glasgow:

i watched pretty much the whole senate hearing, and yes, that “senator...” business became infuriating quickly
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm dale:

i have a dumb phone. but i do spend to much time at my laptop.
Avatar 6:06pm Linda Lee:

fantastic! better late than never.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Michael 98145:

what dale just said
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm dale:

credit card companies can sell your info like whores though.
  6:08pm Warren in Australia:

I mostly use my phone for weather, messages, podcasts and the WFMU app
Avatar 6:09pm northguineahills:

@Warren: Oh, yeah, listening to WFMU via my phone right now!
Avatar 6:10pm Bas NL:

I once was told off at work for not being on Whatsapp. He, he.. they'd never enabled internet access on my work phone. Still don't have it. ;)
Avatar 6:10pm βrian:

He gets it; doesn't care.
Avatar 6:11pm Linda Lee:

we so badly need alternative social media platforms. so badly ~ with a different way of issuing value for content.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Webhamster Henry:

Thanks for saying "Raises the question"!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm common:

I have the oldest phone in the world.
Avatar 6:13pm Linda Lee:

"Zuck": smart, intelligent, but still a sociopath ...
Avatar 6:13pm βrian:

@common: what kind of twine?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I think I'd enjoy hearing the AI telemarketer bot in conversation with the senators. "Can you tell me more about your plan to enhance your database integrity?" "A bee!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm dale:

i got a new dumbphone last year because my 8 year old lg was getting too hard for my old eyes to see without cheaters. phone still worked great.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm common:

@brian: ha! hemp!
Avatar 6:18pm Linda Lee:

sociopaths can & will lie outright as easily as they tell the truth, without any capacity for empathy.
Avatar 6:18pm βrian:

Hemp twine and coconut shells? Sounds nice and organic.
Avatar 6:20pm βrian:

Can anyone suggest a good tutorial for how to f*ck with your shadow profile?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm dale:

"the good people at union carbide are happy to be part of your family at our new bhopal facility"
  6:20pm Warren in Australia:

Anyone use https://micro.blog/ looks promising.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm dale:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Webhamster Henry:

We'll let Zuck get away with it because FB is not a government run program.
Avatar 6:21pm northguineahills:

@dale: well, that was depressing (but point well made).
  6:21pm JakeGould:

I laughed out loud when he said he didn’t need a break during the testimony.

Also, there’s probably a Facebook clone in China already. Would like to see a nice overview of Chinese knockoff social media apps.
Avatar 6:21pm βrian:

Ah but the government is a corporate-run program, sadly.
Avatar 6:24pm northguineahills:

Weibo Sina is pretty close to a FB clone.
Avatar 6:26pm Linda Lee:

i still find it weird to talk to someone who's looking at their phone. they're just not listening.
  6:28pm JakeGould:

Ohhh! Those “slot machine” apps… Like all those games where you are juts pushing colored squares? Evil!
Avatar 6:28pm βrian:

@LL: You need one of those little rubber reflex hammers that physicians use. Apply to forehead.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm coelacanth∅:

Linda, i've gotten up from a chair and walked away from a person who wanted to "catch up" but was looking down whenever i was the one talking.
Avatar 6:29pm Linda Lee:

indeed. :-D
Avatar 6:29pm northguineahills:

The best I can multitask, is listen to a podcast while playing a mindless videogame while watching sports (mostly as visual ambiance). (the podcast takes the most of my brainpower).
Avatar 6:30pm Bas NL:

On social occasions where over half is on their phone, i'll leave.
Avatar 6:30pm Linda Lee:

coelacanth ~ that's generally what i'll do, since they're not really there.
  6:31pm JakeGould:

I will say that social media has decimated news reporting. Does anyone really know what is happening locally to them anymore?
Avatar 6:31pm βrian:

When a cat is in my lap, I find it hard to duo-task. But I can surely mono-task.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Michael 98145:

i get a lot of my news from WFMU
Avatar 6:32pm βrian:

Avatar 6:32pm Linda Lee:

cat-in-lap is excusable under any circumstances.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm coelacanth∅:

Linda, it's sad, because it's basically letting go of someone thought to be a friend; but such is life.
Avatar 6:33pm northguineahills:

and I only do that on weekend mornings or for 45 mins after I get home from work to relax.
  6:33pm J:

Instagram can only post content from a phone, sadly. It's my last social media vice and I hate it it, but need it for work
Avatar 6:33pm Linda Lee:

it's only letting go while they're not present. it's not permanent.
  6:34pm JakeGould:

Well, FWIW, I discovered an amazing augmented reality app today called, “Sky Guide” which uses your phone to map the sky… Including showing rocket launches. It’s pretty great and not really in the realm of the negative apps that are being discussed here.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Michael 98145:

i guess i'm lucky to not have friends so hooked on distraction.
or maybe we'll all just older.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Michael 98145:

* we're
Avatar 6:35pm βrian:

I have only one app: a bus schedule app. But I find the Metro web site more useful, so I never use it.
  6:35pm J:

IG: @dreambodyexpress ;)
Avatar 6:36pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

"It's not just Facebook. Thousands of companies are spying on you"
By Bruce Schneier
  6:36pm JakeGould:

I really don’t understand people getting upset about smartphones on public transportation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Ken From Hyde Park:

By the way, have we discussed Amazon here recently? www.gocomics.com...
  6:36pm J:

I was using a nice app called Forest for a while to limit my phone use. I recommend it
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm coelacanth∅:

i understood (but didn't) that when i went to my current phone company that the device is a "smartphone" but i have only a phone (& text) account. 4-5 months in i was told that i do in fact have a smart phone account. i used the browser for the first time 2 days ago, to find an address.
Avatar 6:38pm Fredericks:

Linda Lee: I believe you mean Zuck's a psychopath; sociopaths are more impulsive.
Avatar 6:38pm Linda Lee:

it's that the activity that's addictive, not rewarding.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm dale:

when i first started riding the subway i found a bunch of aldous huxley paperbacks in a thrift shop for a dime each - that kept the f train bearable for a while.
  6:38pm J:

I do that "looping" all the time w my phone. It's maddening. Just glad I'm aware of it; because it drives me nuts.
  6:39pm JakeGould:

@dale: “Brave New World” is better than the F train? Well, yeah… I can believe it…
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Michael 98145:

good interview
Avatar 6:39pm Linda Lee:

Fredericks ~ are they? i'm just going on the definition of sociopath as someone without actual feeling for human beings generally.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Webhamster Henry:

Actual telephony qua telephony is vanishingly important in my life.
Avatar 6:40pm βrian:

There are better places to bury one's nose, for sure.
  6:41pm JakeGould:

When was the last time I used my phone as a phone? Also, any kid raised in the 21st Century… What do they think a “phone” is.
Avatar 6:41pm Linda Lee:

some folks should've been on the phone instead of conceiving children. sorry.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Michael 98145:

" phubbing " :)
Avatar 6:42pm northguineahills:

@Linda Lee: The curmudgeon in me agrees w/ you.
  6:42pm Eugene R.:

"A man is what he does with his attention, and mine is not for sale." - John Ciardi, American poet.
Avatar 6:42pm Linda Lee:

thank you.
Avatar 6:43pm βrian:

@Linda Lee: Some were, no doubt!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm tom from Glasgow:

that experiment's fascinating, just pulled up a bunch of links to read on it. good interview
Avatar 6:43pm Linda Lee:

@Brian ~ ha. right, only the bottom half was involved.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm dale:

even 'after many a summer dies the swan' was better than the f train.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm coelacanth∅:

Michael @6.34 i live in/near a college town so i have had many not friends but friendly acquaintances of the secondmost zombified generation. (teenagers are worse)
  6:44pm °:

I think parents who constantly phub their children should get a visit from Child Protective Services
Avatar 6:44pm Linda Lee:

ok, loled at the dog gif.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Ken From Hyde Park:

There should be an app that's an anti-Tamagotchi. The more you stay away from the phone, the more your pet grows.
  6:45pm JakeGould:

@KenFromHydePark: That’s basically what “Forest” is. A forest grows the more you don’t use your phone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm dale:

that's a good one. the epicanthic eyes make it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Michael 98145:

@LL, heheh :)
Avatar 6:46pm Linda Lee:

hey i can use it as my facebook profile! :-D
  6:47pm JakeGould:

You know… Marc Zuckerberg looks like Data from Star Trek! And Donald Trump? He’s fat and angry!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm Webhamster Henry:

Some restaurants have a phone check service.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Smokestack:

Turn off ringer. Turn off notifications. Voila!
  6:50pm J:

Zuck is an AI. That "Senator, yes" biz was a glitch in his programming. Sad!
Avatar 6:50pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

Can you ask them to check other people's phones?
Avatar 6:50pm Linda Lee:

my neighborhood has no cell service & isn't served by any service provider, so no cell phone til now. use my laptop only. it's fine!
Avatar 6:50pm northguineahills:

I only use What'sApp for when myself and my wife happen to be in different countries.
  6:51pm jess:

every time I get on an elevator or just walk down the street everyone is on their damn phone. No communication with the people around them. I'm really tire of it and it's totally sad.
  6:52pm Patty D:

I think he keeps saying Senator because it's guaranteed to show up in a soundbite and politicians gave a negative connotation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Phil with the phone:

Not only the best, but the onlyest call screener!
Call in at 201-209-9368. If any of you called in and I missed it please call back, I was busy screening another call!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Michael 98145:

whatever happened to those cellphone jamming devices ??
  6:52pm JakeGould:

The way I understand it: A sociopath is basically someone who is extremely narcissistic and enjoys trapping people. To them, society is a game and we are all pawns. They have the capacity for empathy but don’t care.

A psychopath is a more extreme sociopath who doesn’t feel empathy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Andrew Waterloo:

Need an alternative to the Facebook events platform.
Avatar 6:52pm Linda Lee:

i use duck duck go as well.
i've been investigating alternatives for facebook along with james corbett: steemit, yours.com. he's working on a series highlighting facebook alternatives right now. these offer cryptocurrency rewards for providing content. unfortunately that model is really easily gamed.
  6:53pm JakeGould:

@Michael98145: They still exist but are costly and illegal in many places. Outright jamming is really a bad idea.
Avatar 6:53pm Linda Lee:

thanks Jake.
Avatar 6:53pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

The alternative needs to be distributed and not a platform, similar to email, or it'll go the same path.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Michael 98145:

so, Zuck is a monetized sociopath ?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm coelacanth∅:

i like that bit over there verifying zuckerberg's stupidity regarding "conspiracy theories". i'll add him to the assholes who either don't know what the word "conspiracy" means, or is thoroughly brainwashed by pop media to deny the obvious.
  6:54pm JakeGould:

The problem with ANY alternative is ultimately it is still a user created database of other users. Friendster and MySpace had the same capacity for this stuff… They just never went as big as Facebook.
  6:54pm J:

Hey shitty parents, pro tip: don't give your kid a phone in the first place. Solved
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Andrew Waterloo:

Ingrained habits take at least 6 weeks to change.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Michael 98145:

@J, correct. your dog will have much more fun with one. :)
  6:55pm Neil:

thanks for the duckduckgo suggestion Mark. Just updated my search engine default
Avatar 6:55pm Fredericks:

Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. But a psychopath has less regard for others, says Aaron Kipnis, PhD, author of The Midas Complex. Someone with this personality type sees others as objects he can use for his own benefit.
Avatar 6:55pm Linda Lee:

coelacanth ~ 'conspiracy theory' is a phrase actually originating with the CIA to help discredit people who think too much.
  6:56pm JakeGould:

Saw a kid on the subway a week or so ago playing with a taser app. Not social media but really creepy.
  6:56pm KC:

Do you think with all of the surveillance it will result to the extreme of people having multiple phones/burner phones/emails just to search on Google/use social media websites
Avatar 6:56pm Linda Lee:

Fredericks ~ the FB business model seems to point to one or the other definitively!
Avatar 6:57pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

Burner cell towers
  6:57pm Brian in New Orleans:

Great episode! ..I have to admit that I stream wfmu on my phone every day all day!!!
Avatar 6:57pm Linda Lee:

i don't mind sounding like the old guy if the young guys seem so stupid.
  6:57pm jeremyb:

thanks for taking the call. I recommend this https://www.screenagersmovie.com
  6:57pm JakeGould:

Also, in different cultures there are different ways phones are used. In poor communities a smart phone is their only Internet connection. And in China if you lose your phone number, you basically lose your social circle.

So to me I wonder how much of this is a Western cultural concern or something else. If I lived in the middle of nowhere I would see a smart phone as a positive.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm ultradamno:

On Twitter it's presented as an equal reward to recieve likes as getting a thoughtful reply or even conversation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm listener 126464:

Thanks again Mark!
Avatar 6:58pm Linda Lee:

i live in the middle of nowhere & we just don't have em. :-D
  Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Zetti:

Avatar 6:59pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark and all!
Avatar 6:59pm Jeff Moore:

Some friends say they're migrating to


...whatever that is.
Avatar 6:59pm Linda Lee:

thanks Mark! you need a longer show!
Avatar 6:59pm northguineahills:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm tom from Glasgow:

cheers Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Michael 98145:

thank you!
Avatar 7:00pm Linda Lee:

let's go look at social.coop!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm dale:

ha ha !! music box rapper!
Avatar 7:00pm Jeff Moore:

...and something called Mastodon?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm coelacanth∅:

Linda @6.55 that makes sense
Avatar 7:01pm Jeff Moore:

Mark H will make that face he makes, but I still like Google+.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm coelacanth∅:

...then tv shows like south park - where some people get their opinions from, make it worse.
  7:01pm JakeGould:

@Jeff: Mastodon is an open source Twitter clone. And “social.coop” is just an implementation of Mastodon for a groups specific use.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm tom from Glasgow:

someone has to, Jeff
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Ken From Hyde Park:

How about a virus kind of thing that sends people to wfmu.org instead of facebook.com and they can become one of us? One of us!
Avatar 7:02pm Jeff Moore:

@tom: :-)
  7:02pm JakeGould:

Here! github.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:04pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 7:05pm Linda Lee:

thanks Jake.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:06pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Mastodon should be pretty cool. Diane Kamikaze plays them occasionally.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:06pm Michael 98145:

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