Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from September 16, 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.

Mondays 6 - 7pm (EDT) | On WFMU (Info) | 91.1, 90.1, 91.9 FM & wfmu.org
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Mon. Oct 21st, 6pm - 7pm: Station Manager Ken Freedman (More info...)

Options September 16, 2019: Sarah T. Roberts, author of "Behind the Screen," on content moderators

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | | Add or read comments

This week: Prof. Sarah T. Roberts, author, "Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media."



Pointers:

Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media (book). See also the New Yorker review and the Verge's review.

@ubiquity75 (Sarah T. Roberts on Twitter)

The Illusion of Volition (blog)

The Cleaners (documentary that features Sarah) - previously shown on PBS

More to read:

My comments on Apple's "commercial day" last week.

Left Fetishists, Prepping and the Abandonment of Earth by Sarah T. Roberts and Mél Hogan (August 21)

'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft by Julia Carrie Wong (Guardian, June 25)

At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site in North America, one contractor has died, and others say they fear for their lives, by Casey Newton (The Verge, June 19). See also Vicki Boykis's comment (June 24). Vicki was the guest of the second Techtonic episode.

There Is No Tech Backlash. Worse, we think there is one, by Rob Walker (NYT, Sept 14).

Amazon will let anyone answer your Alexa questions now. The Alexa Answers crowdsourcing platform is now open to everyone in the United States. (Fast Company, Sept 12). See past guest Chris Gilliard's comment.

- - -

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

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Album Comments Images Approx. start time
  On content moderation: Prof. Sarah T. Roberts discusses her book "Behind the Screen" about the invisible, and often exploited, human moderators of Big Tech social media.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack   
Options
 
  Mark's intro      
Options
 
  Interview with Sarah T. Roberts      
Options
0:06:58 (MP3 | )
  Your comments      
Options
0:37:01 (MP3 | )
Sen. Josh Hawley and Google's Karan Bhatia  Remix of EDM Detection Mode by Kevin Macleod   Options   Music from filmmusic.io "EDM Detection Mode" by Kevin MacLeod License: CC BY    0:55:47 (MP3 | )

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techtonerodderators!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all! Glad to hear Prof. Roberts tonight!
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:01pm John from Florham park:

Hello fellow technoids
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

Hello Friends! Looks like Alexa and Amazon Mechanical Turk have joined forces.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:02pm chresti:

Hi Mark and technods
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:02pm herb.nyc:

Hi, did you know that Bruce sang about a "Hurst on the floor"?
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:02pm dale:

are we continuing the shortwave chat? maybe we could talk about the cuban numbers lady - that's a conspiracy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:04pm Fuzzy:

That Zuck is a naughty duck!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:04pm chresti:

numbers as in lottery?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:04pm EG_Astro:

So excited for Sarah's interview!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:05pm EG_Astro:

Thank you Mark for having her on your show!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:05pm chresti:

That'd be a swell job
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:06pm chresti:

sounds like an entry level job
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:06pm Dave in Vermont:

I saw a documentary about this last year at the VT Film Fest.
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:07pm brycepunk1:

Great to catch your show live again Mark. Love it.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:07pm Dave Miss:

Howdy from BK
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:07pm Dave in Vermont:

The Cleaners
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:08pm chris:

hi, Mark and folks. that Verge article was as shocking as it was heartbreaking.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:09pm EG_Astro:

Saw the Cleaners also @dave
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:10pm ultradamno:

If one thinks imagery such as violent video games can inspire violence IRL, then it would follow mental health services for mods should be mandatory.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:11pm Mark Hurst:

Hi everyone! Yes, @Dave, Sarah Roberts was featured in the documentary "The Cleaners."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:11pm chresti:

I imagine they have a checklist and if so many boxes get checked, it get's sent to a senior moderator, etc and so on, like QC
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:12pm Mark Hurst:

Ultra, James, John, Webham, Chresti, herb, Dale, Fuzzy, EG_Astro, Dave, Bryce, Dave Miss... HI TO ALL. Thanks for joining!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:16pm EG_Astro:

Individual moderators are responsible to not post content or not, it doesn't go to a senior moderator usually
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:17pm Bic Lighter:

I got googled
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:17pm EG_Astro:

sorry *to post, or not post.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:18pm Sam:

They can’t use the climbing wall?? Oh the humanity!
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:18pm John from Florham park:

This is a very interesting interview
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:19pm ultradamno:

Sin is not so bad, with some hot sauce.
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:20pm dale:

that was an episode of night gallery. except the sin eater ate the entrails of the deceased.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:24pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, John!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:25pm EG_Astro:

@John her thesis is great and am pretty sure it's available online. It's very readable and accessible.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:26pm Sam:

They should go on strike for better wages. Google would have to fold once all the horrific shit started getting through.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:27pm John from Florham park:

@EGA going to give it. Read later right now I am in the car listening to this
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:28pm Webhamster Henry:

The story is "they" are trying to use Machine Learning to screen for hate posts, but it kept knocking out "legitimate" Republican voices.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:28pm Listener Robert:

I think the reason they can get away with paying these screeners so little is that there are a lot of people who'd do it for free.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:28pm EG_Astro:

@John if you can't find it let me know. I have it and would be happy to share.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:29pm EG_Astro:

People wouldn't do this for free.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:30pm Listener Robert:

See, regardless of how you bring up awful content, there are people who would WANT to see exactly that. Others are just curious about how unfiltered content would look, and being the filter would be the way to see it. Plus, there are people who seek power over others; being a screener gives them the power to let content thru or not.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:32pm John from Florham park:

@EG thanks very much
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:33pm EG_Astro:

People see unfiltered content very easily on line if they want to. It's already out there and readily available.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:36pm Listener Robert:

Ah, but they want to see the unfiltered content THAT'S SUBMITTED TO some of the major hosts.

I said my opinion back to the radio, and my friend Bob listening here with me said he thought I was right.

Those who are being erased even here, welcome to the club!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:36pm EG_Astro:

@NP John
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:38pm EG_Astro:

damnit, @John no problem
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:38pm dale:

the companies don't serve us. we serve them and their profit.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:39pm John from Florham park:

@EGA it happens to me too don’t worry about it
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:39pm EG_Astro:

Thank you Mark!
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:40pm Nellies:

What a tremendous interview, thank you!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:40pm chresti:

Doesn't the FCC monitor?
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:41pm phillippe bastille:

hey Mark and everyone
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:42pm chresti:

*communications
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:42pm EG_Astro:

the Cleaners is on Kanopy
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:43pm ultradamno:

Cleaners trailer and follow up vid www.pbs.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:44pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Turks Harm
Murk Trash
Hark Strum
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:45pm diciassette:

Thanks, EG_Astro. I was wondering..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:45pm chresti:

Thanks Mark
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:46pm John from Florham park:

@EGA I have Kanopy on my iPhone will watch it tonight
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:46pm tak:

alexa is people
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:46pm chresti:

crowd sourced by e-mail, too, amazon answers
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:47pm EG_Astro:

@John Cool! Would love to hear what you think of it - I research CCM also but in a little different context and was very influenced by Robert's work.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:47pm Listener Robert:

Consider that most of the hosts that monetize are turning what amounts to others' volunteer work into money. Quora.com makes that pretty obvious, but everybody else is doing it too.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:47pm diciassette:

re Kanopy: it might depend on your library (I don't see it, but I am hooked up to the SF public library)
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:48pm dano59:

Dear Techtonic: where can i find a weather app for an older iPod Touch / iPhone?
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:48pm John from Florham park:

@EGA will do
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:49pm Sam:

Funny to hear a volunteer on Wfmu complaining about people working for free
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:49pm chresti:

so they want ai for customer service, speaking of low level jobs
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:49pm crateslinger:

What company was ever set up to benefit it’s users?
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:50pm dano59:

... Or its workers?
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:50pm Fredericks:

This was in our local paper recently. The job has terrible effects on the workers' mental health. www.tampabay.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:51pm crateslinger:

zackly
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:51pm Listener Robert:

Exactly, Sam. It's just that WFMU has an artist's ethic that's difficult to maintain. The temptation to make money off it must be huge, but balanced by the fear that that would corrupt the art.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:51pm chresti:

xactly dano
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:52pm chresti:

ahh crateslinger!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:53pm EG_Astro:

thanks for sharing that Fredericks
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:53pm JakeGould:

@Sam: WFMU is not a for profit entity. People who volunteer do so of their own choice and not for economic reasons.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:53pm Sam:

I know I was kidding.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:53pm chresti:

ai to replace the pissed off workers
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:54pm Listener Robert:

Ever try to engage Station Manager Ken in a discussion about the edges of the not-for-profit "religion" of Auricle? He gets uncomfortable quickly, and I feel very strongly for him, because it must be hard.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:54pm chresti:

That bobble head is great
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:54pm Webhamster Henry:

WFMU is super not for profit - thanks for contributing to the fund raisers (October's is going to be great!)
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:54pm Fredericks:

Welcome EG
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:55pm northguineahills:

Thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:56pm chresti:

Have not seen the billboards
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:56pm dano59:

We are already slaves to new tech (is part of the answer)
Simplify, simplify
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:57pm chresti:

My gizmo is evil and useful
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:57pm listener 126464:

Thanks again Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:57pm chris:

thanks, Mark! great interview, show and discussion.
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:57pm dale:

but sam makes the point that people want to answer your questions or review hotels or restaurants or products for free because they want to be heard. profit has nothing to do with it.
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 6:57pm Fredericks:

While maybe some of the WFMU music is a bit off sometimes. It's not like looking at dead babies and worse all day long.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:58pm EG_Astro:

But profit always has something to do with it.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:58pm Sam:

If millions of Alexas were thrown into the sea her cold cold heart would stop the warming of the oceans in its tracks.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:58pm John from Florham park:

@Jakegould Thanks a lot of DJs on here do this out of love for music not fir the money
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 6:58pm EG_Astro:

Someone is always profiting off of free labor. That you "enjoy"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 6:59pm ultradamno:

They were able to stop flagging Battlebots as dogfights, so not recommending your vacation videos to perverts shouldn't be that hard.
  Mon. 9/16/19 6:59pm John from Florham park:

@Listener Robert then why do you continue to listen to this station if it bothers you so much
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 7:00pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In a similar vein, I'd like to know about the jobs of internet fact checkers. Are they paid well / at all? How do they avoid personal bias? Many more questions.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 7:00pm chresti:

I get amazon answers e-mail about this speaker I got about 5 years ago, I responded that it had died a swift death
  Mon. 9/16/19 7:00pm Listener Robert:

It doesn't bother ME because I don't have to helm it! If I did have Ken's job I'd break down and cry every day.
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 7:00pm JakeGould:

I get paid handsomely for every informative link I post on the WFMU comment chat thing.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 7:01pm EG_Astro:

Those are the same answeres (bias/context/etc) that should be applied to moderators. ANd fact checkers are paid better. It's considered reputable work
Avatar Mon. 9/16/19 7:01pm Fredericks:

Justifiably, Jake.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 9/16/19 7:02pm chresti:

Sam, that's what big tech has to do, save the world instead of escape it with loads of cash
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 9/16/19 7:02pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone
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