Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from February 17, 2020 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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Options February 17, 2020: Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, founder, Pivot for Humanity

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Tonight: Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, founder, Pivot for Humanity

Pivot for Humanity website (on Twitter, @Pivot4Humanity)

• @jumanatag, Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh on Twitter

Why Google Gets Away With So Much: (by Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, Jan 17, 2020) "It’s time to stop letting ourselves be the ‘abandoned carcass’ of our data"

This coding legend knows the secret to fixing Big Tech’s most pervasive problem (by Jumana in Fast Company, Jan 9, 2020): "Facebook, Google, and Amazon have a lot to learn from Margaret Hamilton, who coined the term 'software engineering' while she was working on the code for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon."

Listen also to Jack Poulson, Irene Knapp, Liz O'Sullivan, and Delphine Halgand on the Nov 18, 2019 Techtonic. Poulson is the founder of Tech Inquiry.

Recent tech news:

Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop (by Kashmir Hill in NYT, Feb 14): Speaking of "privacy armor," Hill covers past Techtonic guest Scott Urban. "In 2016, Scott Urban, an eyewear maker in Chicago, developed a line of reflective frames that turned back visible and infrared light. When a surveillance camera films a person wearing the $164 frames, the reflected light blurs out the face. Mr. Urban called them Reflectacles."

Video of "Wearable Microphone Jamming" (on toxic YouTube, sorry) by HCI lab UChicago. "This bracelet jams any surrounding microphones using ultrasound. It prevents this smartphone, voice assistant, smartwatch, and our camera from eavesdropping on the conversation." As NYT's Adam Sternbergh writes: "cool or maybe just don’t purchase a surveillance machine in the first place and willingly install it in your home"

Terry Clague writes (Twitter, Feb 13): "My 8yr old's school wants me to sign a two page 'participant release' contract which grants Goooogle unrestricted global access to his voice, image, persona, etc. Would you sign this?"

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

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of Pivot for Humanity, on encouraging Big Tech engineers to adopt more ethical practices.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Interview with Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh  
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0:12:01 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments  
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0:40:18 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
The Hood Internet  1979, by Steve Reidell   Options
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0:55:21 (MP3 | Pop‑up)


Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techturnarounders!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Handy Haversack:

Hi, Mark and Techers! The Tech Gin is poured -- let's mix it up!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Webhamster Henry:

Hello Friends! Don't Freak Out™
  6:03pm LCBD:

Hi Mark, Handy, and other tech friends!
  6:03pm John from Florham park:

@LCBD howdy
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Handy Haversack:

I was watching an episode the The Flash on CW (don't judge me!), and Barry Allen spoke to Alexa. Meaning a guy with a secret identity willingly had spyware in his home. Come on, CW, you're missing a rich vein to mine by ignoring the supervillains already among us!

(Hi, LCBD!)
  6:03pm John from Florham park:

@Handy howdy again
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Handy Haversack:

Hi, John! FMU sure makes Mondays a lot easier to take, right?
  6:04pm johnzo:

yay! been a while since Ive caught Techtonic!!! HEY... I deleted my facebook! Thanks to YOU Mark!!! Actually they keep it active for 30 days after you “delete” it so technically it’s not dead yet but Im not gonna log on. I let everyone know my reasons before leaving & posted deletefacebook.com and a link to your show page/archive. maybe it’ll make other people think about leaving
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm brycepunk1:

I love your show, Mark. Glad to get to listen to you while cooking dinner once again.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Swirling around the techtodrain.
  6:05pm John from Florham park:

@Handy yes it does
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Webhamster Henry:

@Handy The Flash also has the Alexa-like Gideon, who has a much bigger presence onThe Legends of Tomorrow.
  6:07pm johnzo:

the president is kind of a temporary king tho...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Handy Haversack:

True, Henry, though Gideon seems fairly well firewalled -- unlike Alexa.
  6:07pm LCBD:

Hi there John fFp!!
  6:08pm Bones:

Play some music!
  6:09pm castor:

good evening everyone :)
Avatar 6:11pm Fredericks:

The Bill Barr Republicans are like the Tories during the revolution.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Ken From Hyde Park:

DJ GeorgyGirl is playing music right next door, just a click away. www.wfmu.org...
  6:12pm castor:

The ancients would say the cycles of history are inevitable
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm LCBD:

Mark, the New Yorker cover that you have on the site right now offers a beautiful contradiction to the reality that you are speaking right now.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm ultradamno:

Pledge drive starting early?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Politics - Wealth Inequality - & Big Tech intersect n a few ways.
Yes - one way is profiting from dissension
- both in $ = clicks
- & not being @ all neutral as 1%er monopolies...
...but there is also the Worldwide Populist Revolution - in which individual citizens have been rising up demanding more voice in government - everywhere
- enabled by New Media.
There is a flood of new Information - both of quality - & quite obviously - very much otherwise
- & also communication & organization from & between individuals of an unprecedented kind...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm listener 126464:

you never trick-or-treated on day before Halloween?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all! @LCBD, yes, all the images tonight are a bit of a throwback to a simpler time. Also ties into Jumana's comments about Margaret Hamilton during the interview.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Mark Hurst:

@johnzo, nice work! Thanks for pointing people to the show.
@brycepunk, thanks for tuning in, good to see you here. What's for dinner?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

The Right favors Libertarian Deregulation
- enabling Monopolies...
Also since Karl Rove & the 'Republican Revolution' - Politicians have been encouraged, instructed, & enabled in Orwellian disinformation & dissent for political gain. (Tea Party & so on.)
This was a growing dumpster fire which New Media pours gasoline on...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Handy Haversack:

I dunno, RR1163, I think the idea of organizing using the tools of the oppressors (Google, Twitter) is a dicey one -- even relying on cell networks and utilities under the control of, well, the controllers. I think the Arab Spring showed how easily those tools can be turned back against those who use them.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm ultradamno:

images.wisegeek.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Don't necessarily suggest otherwise.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

After all - the means are owned by Big Tech.
  6:24pm Any-Ominous:

After 35 Years, The Personal Computer Show on WBAI "disappeared" Without Explanation, also.
  6:25pm John from Florham park:

@Amy a lot of shows disappeared from WBAI
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm ultradamno:

Sure, 'cause...typing.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Mark Hurst:

@ultra imagine trying to debug that
Avatar 6:29pm coelacanth∅:

i'm surprised that i cannot find a "Fuck google" t-shirt on a duckduckgo image search. maybe i can find one on google...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm ultradamno:

They'll probably hook you up with a Go Fuck A Duck Duck T-Shirt
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm listener 126464:

i thought he was loading helios bold font
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Mark Hurst:

@coel take a look at the resistance group in Berlin - www.theguardian.com...
  6:31pm P-90:

Pivot for Humanity: followed.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm ultradamno:

Here you go www.spreadshirt.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm brainiac:

@ coelacanth∅: ih0.redbubble.net...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Mark Hurst:

"Guck"... almost sounds like Guck Guck Do
  6:35pm Dave Miss:

Howdy hidden figures
Avatar 6:35pm franny:

big data right here.
Avatar 6:35pm ottovonbqe:

this is a strange thesis - that the problem with big tech is a misunderstanding of what software engineering is. software isn't being mis-engineered - it is being driven by poor or single-track values.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

Hey Dave Miss
Avatar 6:36pm coelacanth∅:

i did "google" it and many t-shirt results. i still don't see a single one that doesn't say "ask me".
  6:38pm ?:

When I think about Margaret Hamilton, the one who comes to mind would be on screen with the Marx Brothers or a similar bunch.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Granny Spicy Tuna (e/em):

Glad to get the thumbs up on DDG from you, Mark! I've switched to them recently and feel much better!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Mark Hurst:

@ottovonbqe, I think that's a valid criticism, though my feeling is, let's try it out & see what positive change might come from it
Avatar 6:39pm coelacanth∅:

northern sun merchandising doesn't have one, which i'd be a little surprised about if i didn't think that that formerly excellent company used the google search engine extensively.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Mark Hurst:

@GrannyST, glad to hear it! I agree, it feels a lot better to search without being creepily followed everywhere.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm ultradamno:

Yeah, I'm not sure why they'd assume that just because you want google fucked that you want to be asked about it.
  6:41pm John from Florham park:

@Granny evening
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark and all!
  6:42pm castor:

I think it is has a lot to do with our christian enlightenment legacy that makes us believe in infinite "progress" and see all "useful" technology as inherently good. But this goes way deeper than digital tech and will take a larger social shift to change.
Avatar 6:42pm JakeGould:

“Guck Foogle”
  6:42pm Listener Robert:

(Forgot to log on.) Darn, I see Margaret Hamilton was the witch in Oz, not the one I was thinking of.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Handy Haversack:

I get nervous when the solutions offered to the problems of capitalism are ... more capitalism (q.v. "sustainable development goals").
  6:43pm jumana:

hello all! thanks for listening. I'm jumana with Pivot For Humanity
  6:43pm matt:

throw money at the problem
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm brainiac:

If the underlying point of Big Tech is enabling surveillance capitalism, it seems naive to imagine its values being overthrown by good guy programmers.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm brainiac:

*reformed not overthrown
Avatar 6:46pm ottovonbqe:

@Mark Hurst - don't mean to be a hater - but as a software engineer(ish) (academia, not google), I feel like there is a lot of mystique ascribed to the process that is not there. And a lot of these values issues have been dealt with in the open source software world for several decades already.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Fuzzy:

You didn't know that? What a world, what a world!
Avatar 6:47pm ottovonbqe:

what brainiac said.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm listener 126464:

Thanks Jumana!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm tw2sheds:

Margaret Dumont was in the Marx brothers movies.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm tw2sheds:

Just saying.
  6:49pm jumana:

The industry needs a new north star to replace move fast and break things. What should it be?
  6:50pm P-90:

I’ve had a question for many years, as I’ve watched these digital industries and tech companies grow: where are the “guilds”? Where are the “brotherhoods” that should be emergent in these new industries that will set the standards and values that address the responsibilities the workers in these fields have to the larger society?
Jumana seems to be working in the answers.
Avatar 6:50pm JakeGould:

Related we should reference how “legendary” male hackers did damage to systems at MIT that actually (inadvertently) sabotaged Marget Hamilton’s work at MIT. Watch and read, “Programming is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic”: “Margaret Hamilton, of course, was unaware that the PDP‑1 had undergone surgery the previous night. So she did not immediately know the reason why her Vortex program…broke. […] Though programs often did that for various reasons, this time Margaret Hamilton complained about it, and someone looked into why, and someone else fingered the Midnight Computer Wiring Society. So there were repercussions. Reprimands.”

opentranscripts.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm listener 126464:

please observe the roads
Avatar 6:50pm JakeGould:

“Levy clearly views this anecdote as an example of the hacker ethic at work. If that’s the case, the hacker ethic in this instance has made it impossible for a brilliant woman to do her work, right. For Levy, the story is passed off as a joke but when I first read it I got angry.”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Handy Haversack:

@jumanja: mitigating climate catastrophe? Since that's going to pull the plug on their industry sooner than later anyway?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Handy Haversack:

(Also: thanks for coming on the air and sharing your work!)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Webhamster Henry:

I've wanted the software industry to be unionized. Everyone thinks - you guys earn a lot of money, what to you need a union for? Answer: to push back on ethical and work security issues.
Avatar 6:52pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

@Henry +1
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm listener 126464:

it sounds like WFMU!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Fuzzy:

I read that these may interfere with hearing aids too -- not sure if that's true or not.
Avatar 6:53pm JakeGould:

Former Amazon AWS head disables his Alexa. That means something, right?

‘Even one of the founders of Amazon Web Services approaches his Alexa devices with caution. Robert Frederick, who left the company in 2006, tells FRONTLINE that he turns off his Alexa devices “whenever I want to have a private moment.”’

www.pbs.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Fuzzy:

Cats and dogs would hear it too.
  6:54pm jumana:

@handy haversack interesting. is that too narrowly focused? it gets to the difference between tech for good companies, and the purpose of tech to begin with. e.g., move humanity forward safely. that's what we're working with tech workers to figure out. join us!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm brainiac:

I'd like a wearable Faraday cage, please
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Bas NL:

I think the best defense is to remain original. No algorithm recognizes originality.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Webhamster Henry:

HAL-like lip reading is actually being used to help solve the "roomfull of people talking" problem.
Avatar 6:55pm JakeGould:

That high frequency bracelet is a nice novelty, but it’s too destructive to valid amplification devices to be practical. It’s a nice student project and that’s that.
  6:55pm P-90:

Siri calling for Mark again
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Webhamster Henry:

@brainiac that's what tinfoil hat is about .. but only if you are dragging a grounding wire.
  6:55pm Ed:

My Wife found out today at the airport that wearing a shirt that has been bedazzled (glittered, applicaques, etc.) can apparently defeat a TSA body scanner. She had to get a pat down because the scanner rays bounced right off her. Hello Bedazzled underwear!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Handy Haversack:

Thank you, Mark!
  6:56pm jumana:

yes to guilds and unions and other models of putting power in the hands of workers who see a way to work in tech while holding onto their values
Avatar 6:56pm ottovonbqe:

Thanks and thanks to your guest.
  6:57pm Peter from Dover NJ:

If I've missed it, I'm sorry.

Will you do a show on self driving cars?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
  6:57pm jumana:

thank you for all you do mark!
Avatar 6:57pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark! Thanks Jumana!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Webhamster Henry:

I'll check out your material, jumana! Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm listener 126464:

not enough time for the tough bedazzle issue
  6:58pm P-90:

Those glasses are an elegant, passive, materials-based approach. But do they come in the right-shaped framed for my face?
Thanks,Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Webhamster Henry:

I'm also part of an organization that thinks people should pay musicians.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Good comments tonight & appreciate your encouragement.
Avatar 6:58pm coelacanth∅:

i want my self to be driving that nova
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Fuzzy:

Nice Nova!
Avatar 7:00pm Kenzo (Ken's Last Ever):

Umm that is my new favorite mashup, thanks
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