Vint Cerf, the living legend largely responsible for the development of the Internet protocol suite, has some concerns about history. In his current column for the Communications of the ACM, Cerf worries about the decreasing longevity of our media, and, thus, about our ability as a civilization to self-document—to have a historical record that one day far in the future might be remarked upon and learned from. Magnetic films do not quite have the staying power as clay tablets.

At stake, according to Cerf, is “the possibility that the centuries well before ours will be better known than ours will be unless we are persistent about preserving digital content. The earlier media seem to have a kind of timeless longevity while modern media from the 1800s forward seem to have shrinking lifetimes. Just as the monks and Muslims of the Middle Ages preserved content by copying into new media, won’t we need to do the same for our modern content?”

As media becomes more ephemeral across technological generations, the more it depends on the technological generation that comes next.

Also, depends on the mindset of the generation that comes next too... What if we don't even want to remember?

Source: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/vint-cerf...

Coinciding with a continued rise in public cynicism and a legitimate mistrust of mainstream media beholden to systems of power that are discredited, it seems most people turn to social media networks to get their news now. But this seemingly doesn't fix the problem. Rather than a "democratisation" of the media and/or a mass reclamation of investigative journalism (as technology pundits continuously purport), there's arguably been the opposite.

Now, with the convergence of closed social media networks that are beholden to nefarious algorithms such as The Filter Bubble and the personalisation of information, as an article in the Guardian explains, "Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism."

Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition. For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths.

Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob.

What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.

Increasingly, what counts as a fact is merely a view that someone feels to be true – and technology has made it very easy for these “facts” to circulate with a speed and reach that was unimaginable in the Gutenberg era (or even a decade ago).

Too much of the press often exhibited a bias towards the status quo and a deference to authority, and it was prohibitively difficult for ordinary people to challenge the power of the press. Now, people distrust much of what is presented as fact – particularly if the facts in question are uncomfortable, or out of sync with their own views – and while some of that distrust is misplaced, some of it is not.

In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true – as we often see in emergency situations, when news is breaking in real time.

It's like the well-oiled tactics of the tobacco industry that have since permeated pretty much all industries---confuse the hell out of people so they don't know what's true anymore. It's a popular PR tactic honed over decades for social control and manipulation of democracy, and it's that element that exists and is especially reinforced online (particularly in real time), in the giant echo chamber of corporate social media networks, where the user is constantly subjected to streams and streams of information about current events---most devoid of context, analysis, or even significant depth in the time and space of a tweet.

The grounding that gives rise to physical reality and epistemological truths goes missing when we're tied to screens that simply reflect our projections.

In the words of Sherry Turkle, the issues facing our planet right now cannot be solved in the time-space of texting/tweeting. So if the way we understand, perceive and relate to the world through the prism of media (mainstream media and social media alike) is in decline, it should tell us volumes about the state of democracy...

Global Voices' adds: "The need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-paste -- or in some instances, plagiarise -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves.

UPDATE 29/7 -- Example, of sorts. "#SaveMarinaJoyce conspiracy theories about British YouTuber go viral." News reporting social media rumours, facts from source ignite disbelief and cynicism, confirmation bias at work, etc.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul...

This short video explores how the online world has overwhelmingly become the popular outlet for public rage by briefly illustrating some of the many stories of everyday people which have suddenly become public enemy number one under the most misunderstood of circumstances and trivial narratives. With the web acting like a giant echo-chamber, amplifying false stories and feeding on the pent-up aggression of the audience watching the spectacle, The Outrage Machine shows how these systems froth the mob mentality into a hideous mess, as a good example of where the spectacle goes and how its intensity has to keep ratcheting up in order maintain the audience attention, in a culture of dwindling attention spans, distraction and triviality.

Filmmaker and author Jon Ronson also recently wrote a book about this topic too, which is quite good. So You've Been Publicly Shamed. His TED talk is essentially a 17 min overview:

And a longer presentation with interview and Q&A from earlier this year:

For all the anthropomorphising, the elements of this story are way less interesting than the way the story is being reported...

A robot escaped from a science lab and caused a traffic jam in one Russian city, it’s reported. Scientists at the Promobot laboratories in Perm had been teaching the machine how to move around independently, but it broke free after an engineer forgot to shut a gate, says the local edition of the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper. The robot found its way to a nearby street, covering a distance of about 50m (164ft), before its battery ran out, the daily says.
With every passing day, it feels like the robot uprising is getting a little closer. Robots are being beaten down by their human overlords, even as we teach them to get stronger. Now, they’re starting to break free.
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-el...
Posted
AuthorJordan Brown

"Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) should be wound up as biometrics has failed miserably in many parts of the country, said eminent legal expert Usha Ramanathan.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Interrogating the UID and the National Population Register,’ Ms. Ramanathan, who has been monitoring and engaging with the UID project, said: “In India, we have no idea if biometrics will work or not.”

“Two to five per cent of people do not have fingerprints that work,” she said, pointing to the study using biometric technology which was tested on 25,000 people by the Biometrics Standards Committee before commencement of the project in 2009.

“It is an anti-people project. I am not willing to have a technology god to oversee me. Companies handling biometric data also have close links with intelligence agencies,” said Ms. Ramanathan.

Following the memorandum of understanding between the Registrar General of India and UIDAI, the National Population Register is breaking the rule in collecting biometrics, she added.

“There is simply too much we do not know. The National Population Register is actually acting illegally. The executive has systematically ignored the order of the Supreme Court. Yet there is hardly any questioning and reporting in the media.”

She stressed the need for learning the principles of civil disobedience when the State sees itself above the law. “There has never been an audit of the system. We need to destroy the system.”

“It is not a unique identity project. It is a unique identification project. It is about helping agencies identify us,” she said.

Chairing the talk and moderating the discussion, eminent lawyer Geeta Ramaseshan, clarified why we need to be wary of the hidden agenda in official schemes for creating a citizens’ roster through invasive data harvesting."

Thanks or the link KMA.

See also http://www.thealternative.in/society/what-we-dont-know-about-the-companies/


Courtesy: Getty

Courtesy: Getty

"Cohen, himself dressed smartly for the occasion in red shoes and oversized red glasses, led us on a tour of the latest in wearable surveillance technology, including Google Glass, fully functional button cameras, and radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that can be woven into our clothing.

Cohen drew an analogy with Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, where the action takes place in two locales: Venice itself, a hotbed of commerce and greed; and nearby Belmont, the refuge to which the protagonists escape for love and art. Smart clothes threaten to "disrupt the place of refuge," even when we leave our phones behind. "At some point we squeeze out the space for living a life," he warned. "Lots of people have things they want to do and try but wouldn't if everything was archived."

MORE: What the Comcast-Time Warner deal says about the future of media

Can the law protect us? We shouldn't count on it, Cohen thinks, given that "most acts of private surveillance will never be detected, and therefore will likely never have a legal claim." He'd rather see business take the lead and bake privacy protection right into the technology -- so-called West Coast Code, devised and implemented in Silicon Valley, as opposed to East Coast Code, or laws made in Washington.

But then we have to trust the companies. Are we optimistic? "I'm not," Cohen admitted."

Article by Whitford for CNN Money (Fortune). Read more here

Read more 

identities and uberveillance.jpg
Courtesy: CSIRO

Courtesy: CSIRO

Watch video here