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Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura
The New York Times
LONDON — What will our future look like — not in a century but in a mere two decades?
Terrifying, if you’re to believe Yuval Noah Harari, the Israeli historian and author of “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus,” a pair of audacious books that offer a sweeping history of humankind and a forecast of what lies ahead: an age of algorithms and technology that could see us transformed into “super-humans” with godlike qualities.
In an event organized by The New York Times and How To Academy, Mr. Harari gave his predictions to the Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. Humans, he warned, “have created such a complicated world that we’re no longer able to make sense of what is happening.” Here are highlights of the interview.
Monday, 9 April 2018
The world’s richest 1% are on course to control as much as two-thirds of the world’s wealth by 2030, according to a shocking analysis that has lead to a cross-party call for action.
World leaders are being warned that the continued accumulation of wealth at the top will fuel growing distrust and anger over the coming decade unless action is taken to restore the balance.
An alarming projection produced by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of the world’s wealth by 2030. Even taking the financial crash into account, and measuring their assets over a longer period, they would still hold more than half of all wealth.
Sunday, 8 April 2018
As decisions made by algorithms come to control more and more aspects of modern life, we need to act swiftly to make sure those decisions are actually fair. As of right now, they’re often not.
Thursday, 5 April 2018
University of Canberra
The concept of ‘self-tracking’ (also referred to as life-logging, the quantified self, personal analytics and personal informatics) has recently begun to emerge in discussions of ways in which people can voluntarily monitor and record specific features of their lives, often using digital technologies. There is evidence that the personal data that are derived from individuals engaging in such reflexive self-monitoring are now beginning to be used by actors, agencies and organisations beyond the personal and privatised realm. Self-tracking rationales and sites are proliferating as part of a ‘function creep’ of the technology and ethos of self-tracking. The detail offered by these data on individuals and the growing commodification and commercial value of digital data have led government, managerial and commercial enterprises to explore ways of appropriating self-tracking for their own purposes. In some contexts people are encouraged, ‘nudged’, obliged or coerced into using digital devices to produce personal data which are then used by others. This paper examines these issues, outlining five modes of self-tracking that have emerged: private, communal, pushed, imposed and exploited. The analysis draws upon theoretical perspectives on concepts of selfhood, citizenship, biopolitics and data practices and assemblages in discussing the wider sociocultural implications of the emergence and development of these modes of self-tracking.
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Work is the master of the modern world. For most people, it is impossible to imagine society without it. It dominates and pervades everyday life – especially in Britain and the US – more completely than at any time in recent history. An obsession with employability runs through education. Even severely disabled welfare claimants are required to be work-seekers. Corporate superstars show off their epic work schedules. “Hard-working families” are idealised by politicians. Friends pitch each other business ideas. Tech companies persuade their employees that round-the-clock work is play. Gig economy companies claim that round-the-clock work is freedom. Workers commute further, strike less, retire later. Digital technology lets work invade leisure.
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Robots are hiding in plain sight. It’s time we stop ignoring them.
There’s a chart I came across earlier this year, and not only does it tell an extremely important story about automation, but it also tells a story about the state of the automation discussion itself. It even reveals how we can expect both automation and the discussion around automation to continue unfolding in the years ahead. The chart is a plot of oil rigs in the United States compared to the number of workers the oil industry employs, and it’s an important part of a puzzle that needs to be pieced together before it’s too late.