Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from April 29, 2019 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 29, 2019: Emerging voices diagnosing the risks of tech today

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This week: emerging voices raising the alarm

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In this show we're spotlighting emerging voices who are raising the alarm around tech.

Four voices featured this evening:

John Borthwick Accepts the 2019 Newmark Innovation Award (April 11, 2019)

Rep. Katie Porter grilling Equifax CEO (February 2019)

Tristan Harris speaking at Center for Humane Technology on "A New Agenda for Tech". See also my thread in response: "The scandalous truth is that we need to use tech LESS, put our faith in tech LESS, and ultimately assign LESS power to Silicon Valley." See also Tom Coates' response.

Carole Cadwalladr at TED (April 2019) See also Cadwalladr's description of what happened next: Facebook contacted TED staff to lodge a complaint.

...and speaking of TED, read Jack Dorsey’s TED Interview and the End of an Era (New Yorker, Apr 27). See also Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey met with his most profitable user (Apr 23)

Other tech news:

China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority (Guardian, Apr 11): "Controlling the Uighurs has also become a test case for marketing Chinese technological prowess around the world." Key concept here is "test case." Chinese surveillance is a test, before US companies use this tech on YOU.

United, Delta, and American Airlines Cover Creepy Cameras on Seatbacks (Apr 28)

Someone Smashed Dozens Of LinkNYC Kiosks (Gothamist, Apr 22) A spokesperson for LinkNYC - that is, Google - said, "LinkNYC provides a valuable public service to many of the city's most vulnerable." You mean the Google surveillance of NYC citizens as they walk down the sidewalk? See also the Google-friendly coverage in CBS New York (which provides the image seen at top).

My response to Matt Stoller (Apr 25) who points out, "The statement from Canada privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien on Facebook are fascinating. Therrien basically says Facebook is a private government that refuses to adhere to Canadian law... What's amazing is that the Canadian privacy commissioner told Facebook "Here's how you're violating the law, here's how to stop breaking the law. Please do so." And Facebook's response was, 'No.'"

Facebook Expects to Be Fined Up to $5 Billion by F.T.C. Over Privacy Issues (NYT, Apr 24)

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Listener meetup: You're invited! Killer Robots Movie Night at WFMU - Friday, May 10 in Monty Hall.

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Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

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Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Mark plays clips of people who are raising the alarm on tech: Katie Porter, John Borthwick, Tristan Harris, and Carole Cadwalladr.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
  Mark's intro    

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm annie:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Rich in Washington:

Hiya, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techtoletariats!
Avatar 6:02pm TDK60:

Evenin' ..still skeptical.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Ike:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm tim from champaign:

Mark, you're like a pony. You are a little horse.
  6:04pm Martinibomb:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Greg from ZONE 5:

Evening, Mark & all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm melinda:

hi Mark and everyone
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Tinktonix!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm coelacanth∅:

greetings Mark & techtoniclopses
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Webhamster Henry:

Yeah, you need lat least one review show a quarter. Sometime's there's follow ups on previous shows that need to be done.
Avatar 6:07pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! And i think it's a good idea!
Avatar 6:08pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Sounds like a good idea.
Exceptional & important Program
- but I often find I can't keep up...myself.
Avatar 6:11pm TDK60:

RevRab, there's so much info. goin' on in this show. So, it's a good resource for going back in the archive, for reference.
Avatar 6:13pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

You can websearch the definition of 'accountability'.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Rich in Washington:

The thing that scares be about big tech vs our political system was how fast our lawmakers went from being clueless old white men about tech matters to being completely in their pockets. Money talks.
  6:16pm doug:

I like this, it’s like an appendix to the show
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm melinda:

@Rich yeah.
  6:20pm JakeGould:

Mark, you should time your clip shows to major holidays. I mean, organized religion is bullshit but at least they have the timing of holidays down. So the gap time between Passover and Easter as well as Ramadan and Cinco De Mayo works.
Avatar 6:21pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

How the promise of the Web went from Decentralization
- to the wealthiest Monopolies that have ever been
- the complete Opposite.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, all, appreciate your feedback on the show tonight
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Rich in Washington:

Oh freakies. All this using of the dreaded word google just made google assistant come up on my phone sitting nearby in its cradle.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm tim from champaign:

Excellent point, Rich, re: money talks. I'm digging this style of show, Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm chresti:

Haha Rich
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm coelacanth∅:

nice. 'hear that airbus?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm chresti:

Hi Mark and Techtones
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm coelacanth∅:

Rich -serves you right!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Webhamster Henry:

Certification .. hm like "Well accepted accounting practices".
  6:28pm Registered Listener:

Certification is not a horrible idea but programmers need to be empowered to be able to stand up to their bosses. I mean they are hired workers and for the most part will just be replaced. And they are all under NDAs so face legal consequences for blowing whistle.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Mark Hurst:

Agreed, RL - the programmers don't have a lot of power in the organization. Especially in places like Facebook where Zuck has a special kind of shares that gives him permanent, unassailable power.
Avatar 6:31pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Start w/ recognizing the entire Webz are unquestionably a Public Utility.
As for A. I. thinking faster & more efficiently than its' human creators...
Avatar 6:31pm Jeff Moore:

"A full-stack understanding of how we really work"

Yeah, that right there tells us where he's coming from.
  6:31pm Sam:

Hi Mark - I can’t figure out if you’re for or against internet censorship. You talk about the good old days of the open, free internet, and you condemn govt censorship by the Chinese. But then you blame Facebook for live streaming terrorism and not censoring it in real time. This seems a little contradictory to me. If you want a free, open internet, you’re inevitably going to have lots of horrible stuff on it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm coelacanth∅:

by programmers i assumed it to mean whomever uses that program in their products, not necessarily the technically inclined people themselves.
everyone in the chain should be held accountable.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Mark Hurst:

Sam, censorship vs free speech is an important topic, but I'm not addressing that. Instead talking about underlying incentives. Facebook has an underlying profit motive to encourage people toward extreme content.
  6:36pm paul orsillo:

Hey Tristan, isn't it easier to throw the exectuive team and the boards of directors in jail (esp. NO FINES) rather than create a cognitive model of something we don't understand?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm melinda:

When I first heard about Tristan Harris and the movement to make tech more humane I welcomed it but the more I read and hear it really doesn't address the underlying structures and incentives responsible for the problems. So, what you said, Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm tim from champaign:

"Yo, I got your Silicon Valley right here!"
  6:40pm JakeGould:

But! NYC’s core business model is financing and marketing… And that is why despite a ton of tech talent in NY/NJ you get tech firms that are honestly quite boring, dull and non “woke” in their own way.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Joe C from Brooklyn In Staten Island:

Hey Mark, It's your ticket desk partner from the RF, Hope you are feeling better. Just got home in time to catch some of your show.
  6:41pm Registered Listener:

Not to mention the fact that one can't expect to program a society the way one would design a piece of software. That's like, techofascism or something...
Avatar 6:41pm Linda Lee:

  6:41pm JakeGould:

Arts and tech don’t meld. Look at how Google is located near Chelsea but Google is still Google. When was the last time you heard about a tech millionaire/billionaire donation to a museum or art institution.
  6:41pm German:

Dave Emory has been calling this for years.. thank you wfmu
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm coelacanth∅:

Reggie L glad you mentioned that!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Webhamster Henry:

We're just a few agile sprints away from utopia!
-- Silicon Mindset
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Mark Hurst:

Good one, Webhamster Henry
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Joe C! Nice meeting you at the record fair!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm chresti:

the microsoft guy donates to museums/arts organizations, I think
  6:45pm JakeGould:

“Move Fast and Break Things!” That should be the title of a book on the 2016 election, hacking and collusion.

And Nate Silver is as bad as AI/ML when it comes to swaying votes and ideas.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm mcginniwa:

As someone in tech industry (working in US, Europe, and Oceania), one thing that tends to be negated in discussions is that we have existing solutions to managing collective problems and solutions. Representational democracy for governing through funding, regulation, and laws. We actually have solutions to many of these problems from previous eras such as the rise of TV. However they were dismantled via deregulation and privatization. We don't have to invent as much as we think!

Perfect example is when someone suggests crowdfunding solutions to collective problems and wants to create a new tech platform for it. Uh duh, what do you think taxes are?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm coelacanth∅:

chresti, Bill Gates? i've heard that.
Avatar 6:46pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

they - were - dismantled
  6:46pm JakeGould:

@mcginniwa: I think like 1/3rd of “GoFundMe” is just people with medical conditions looking to pay their medial bills. What a world!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm ultradamno:

Well, Carole cut through the shit.
Avatar 6:48pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Gates has donated more than anyone ever - & it's still not enuff for him to even notice the difference. He's that much richer than ALL of us.
  6:49pm GarryTheViking:

Pro tip: The book of Revelations in the Bible states that one of the signs of the end time is when corporations become larger than governments
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm coelacanth∅:

where's northguineahills we need some ghost pepper sauce
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm mcginniwa:

Gotta run, but here's something that I've wanted to say publicly online, but I've left Twitter and Facebook. We need to get to the point soon for both tech problems and more importantly climate change action that we demonstrate not just by marching, but by withholding economically. I.e. social media strikes for tech, general strikes for demanding climate change action.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm mcginniwa:

Nothing will change until we hit 'em where it hurts.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm chresti:

That explains why they're courting China? Finding hiding places?
Avatar 6:53pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Overton Window stuff mcginniwa.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm chresti:

Haha coel!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm coelacanth∅:

mcginniwa exactly. boycot
  6:53pm JakeGould:

@RevRabbit: Exactly! And Paul Allen created the EMP (Experience Music Project) but who else? Nobody. Who at Facebook, Google or Amazon at least engages in philanthropy to the arts? None I am aware of.

Also, more than 1/2 a dozen NYC taxi drivers have explicitly killed themselves due to loss of income thanks ride sharing stuff.
  6:56pm JakeGould:

How China is using AI and cameras to racially profile and track Uighers (Asian/Russian Muslims). www.nytimes.com...
  6:56pm zpulpa:

What’s the best email provider that’s not gmail?
  6:56pm Cowbore:

the time is NOW! but most people don't give a hoot. they want their new bing-bing toy.
  6:57pm ? Question:

Facebook Uber Alles. Marky Z now has to cough up 5 BILLION bucks penalties from the FTC - drop in the bucket
  6:57pm Kbeach:

Great show and format
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm melinda:

I like the idea of periodic review shows, this was good.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm ultradamno:

Maybe those companies will replace the current political parties. Vote for Amazon or Facebook's candidates.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm listener james from westwood:

thanks, Mark!
Avatar 6:58pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

@ultrad: It got Obama & Drumpf elected. Actually.
  6:59pm Glen but also Luis:

I bet that WILL be our or our next gen's future, Ultra.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark! Excellent as always
  6:59pm ed:

Great show! You have uttered all the reasons I deleted my Facebook account. Also thanks for turning me on to using fastmail.com over google.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm chresti:

how about if we write to Mark Z?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm annie:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm chresti:

Thanks Mark H!
Avatar 7:00pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

It's hard to give up - because they ARE useful.
They are Public Utilities - owned by a Few.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm chresti:

Right RevRab, need to lasso them in!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone, appreciate your thoughtful comments!
Avatar 7:02pm Dr. Goot:

Madison Ave. meets Silicon Valley via "1984".
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