The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks #15

A weekly reading list to stimulate thoughts about the (digitised) world you might (or might not) want to live in.

Here’s a collection of links to articles that caught my eye last week. They offer data about the world we presently live in, and hints about the one we might wish to pass on to future generations.

May I wish my many American readers a great Independence Day holiday this week — as untaxing and constitutionally restoring as possible!

Noteworthy news

Amazon shareholders call for halt of facial recognition sales to police CNN Tech

“In a letter delivered to CEO Jeff Bezos late Friday, the [20 groups of] shareholders, many of whom are advocates of socially responsible investing, say they’re concerned about the privacy threat of government surveillance from the tool.” — Can we have more of this, please?

Apple, Facebook, Google, and more are meeting to talk data privacy Android Central

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” — Milton Friedman. See also Facebook and Google use ‘dark patterns’ around privacy settings, report says. So they have nothing to hide, right?

Inside Facebook and Twitter’s secret meetings with Trump aides and conservative leaders who say tech is biasedWashington Post

“Complicating matters is that executives in the uppermost ranks of Facebook, Google and Twitter are some of the most outspoken corporate foes of Trump. That’s led to suspicions among conservatives that tech companies’ efforts to clean up their platforms, by banning hate speech and vetting some content for misinformation, are actually targeting them.” — You don’t have to worry about the political leanings of the phone company management getting your calls cut off. Time for a dose of “neutrality” for the Public Switched Tweeting Network? See also Criticize ‘child abuse’ on Facebook, get banned for ‘hate speech’.

Vietnam’s Cybersecurity Law threatens free speech and digital economyIFEX

“On June 10, tens of thousands of Vietnamese rallied across the country to protest the two bills The new law, once it takes effect next year, could legitimize an intensified crackdown on groups and individuals who have been using the Internet to promote religious freedom, environment protection, democratic reforms, civil liberties, and peaceful activism.” — Don’t take any freedoms for granted. Especially this week.

The 25 Most Influential People on the InternetTIME

“There has been little—if any—hard evidence to support Q’s musings. But over time, thousands of people started to believe them—or at least, to acknowledge they might be real. And they became the foundation of a wide-ranging conspiracy theory, known as QAnon, that has been covered by the New York Times and New York Magazine, among others, and discussed in more than 130,000 videos on YouTube.” — One to watch, I promise.

All disposable plastic banned in Mumbai and surrounding stateSky News

“While it has been welcomed by environmentalists, plastic manufacturers fear the introduction of the ban will hit jobs and the industry’s ability to compete. … Vice-president of the state’s chamber of commerce, Lalit Gandhi, said: “Many units are on the verge of closure in the absence of basic packing materials and we fear [300,000] employed there may become jobless.”” — All supply chain software will have to account for ethical inputs and outputs. Plenty of new jobs in eco-friendly suppliers and redesigned ERP systems.

Important ideas

The Domains of Identity Kaliya Young aka “Identity Woman”

“The Domains of Identity outlines sixteen key categories of transactions  which cause personally identifiable information to be stored in databases.” — A key framework for decomposing the extremely difficult and complex issue of identity.

Interesting views

Is this the century of secession? Jon Rappoport

“Decentralization on every front is occurring. It isn’t always pretty, and it isn’t always on target, but that’s what you get when you get freedom. Life pushes through worn ground and explores new possibilities.” — As a thought experiment, imagine if California broke into 3+ states, and CalPERS was on Blockchain and not Oracle. Would it grease the skids of a pension fund secession? How might decentralised apps going to drive geopolitical structural change? See also Liberation Through Radical Decentralization.

The Four Most Expensive Words in the English Language David Rosenthal

“The idea that the edge of the Internet has vast numbers of permanently connected, mostly-empty hard disks that could be corralled into a peer-to-peer storage system that was free, or at least cheap, while offering high reliability and availability has a long history.” — Storage is always about location, location, location.

Data points of distinction

Humanity’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: Starving, Enslaving, Raping, Torturing And Killing Our Children Modern Ghana

“Every day, according to some estimates, human adults kill 50,000 of our children. … We kill children in wars. … We kill them with drones. We kill them in our homes and on the street. We shoot them at school. … We also kill children in vast numbers by starving them to death, depriving them of clean drinking water, denying them medicines. We also execute children in sacrificial killings after kidnapping them. We even breed children to sell as a ‘cash crop’ for sexual violation, child pornography (‘kiddie porn’) and the filming of ‘snuff’ movies (in which children are killed during the filming), torture and satanic sacrifice.”  — The first step to winning a war against evil is to understand who your enemy is.

Twilight Of The Psychopaths Millennium Report

“In On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has re-written military history, to highlight what other histories hide: The fact that military science is less about strategy and technology, than about overcoming the instinctive human reluctance to kill members of our own species. … Marshall’s discovery and subsequent research, proved that in all previous wars, a tiny minority of soldiers – the 5% who are natural-born psychopaths, and perhaps a few temporarily-insane imitators—did almost all the killing.”

Honeybees Can Understand a Complex Mathematical Concept, Study Proves Stillness in the Storm

“Scientists say there are four distinct stages of understanding the concept of zero in both animal learning, and human culture, psychology, and history. … So where do honeybees fall in these categories? Honeybees have officially achieved stage three in that process.” — Who needs artificial intelligence when you have the real thing?

The odd reality of life under China’s all-seeing credit score system Wired

“In China, a high credit score can help you find a date., a dating service with 140 million users which is partly-owned by the American parent company behind Tinder, gives users with high Sesame Credit scores better visibility on their website. And in a Tinder-like move, dating giant lets users with high Sesame Credit show off their score to members of the opposite sex as long as they agree to display their scores as well.” — Our gene pool is being edited by software. See also China is monitoring employees’ brain waves and emotions.

Open source sustainability TechCrunch

“It’s unfortunately very early days for open source sustainability. While Patreon, License Zero, Tidelift, and Open Collective are different approaches to providing the infrastructure for sustainability, ultimately someone has to pay to make all that infrastructure useful. There are only a handful of Patreons that could substitute for an engineer’s day job, and only two collectives by my count on Open Collective that could support even a single maintainer full time. License Zero and Tidelift are too new to know how they will perform yet.” See also Wikipedia Makes The Case For Google & Facebook To Give Back To The Commons, Rather Than Just Take.

Instagram star isn’t what she seems. But brands are buying inCNN Tech

“Miquela is a part of an emerging group of “fake” virtual influencers, including Bermuda, Blawko and Shudu, who’s known as the world’s first “digital” supermodel.” — It’s a hard enough life being an authentic virtual influencer.

How Technology Helped Me Cheat Dyslexia Wired

“The website Dyslexic Advantage named Grammarly as its top dyslexia app for 2016. Unsurprisingly, Grammarly is also a topic of vigorous discussion on Reddit, where the extension receives high praise from dyslexic users and endures bitter criticism from Redditors dissing the app and those who rely on it.” — So there is a virtuous point to their annoyingly persistent YouTube ads, after all.

Media of merit

From YouTube:

From Twitter:

For the latest fresh thinking on telecommunications, please sign up for the free Geddes newsletter.