The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks #24

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

Here is this week’s collection of articles and ideas that caught my eye, with a focus on ‘digital life’ , broadband Internet and personal data. They offer data about the world we presently live in, and hints about the one we might wish to pass on to future generations.

Censorship corner

Out-of-control censorship machines removed my article warning of out-of-control censorship machinesJulia Reda

“With upload filters, platforms won’t even wait for complaints by media companies to remove your posts. Instead, your expression won’t even go online in the first place unless it passes a check against databases submitted by media companies. And you can be sure that these databases will be just as filled with junk and fraud. Upload filters would give media companies even more direct control over the internet. All of us who post and upload content will be considered guilty until proven innocent, while media companies will continue to face no consequences for abusing the system.” See also EU to tighten screws on internet giants to remove terrorist content.

Trump says ‘too many voices are being destroyed’ by social media censorshipMSN

“Both Facebook and Twitter have been under fire for allegedly censoring accounts, while ignoring rules violations by liberal and left-wing users. Trump in the past has referred to alleged “shadow banning” by Twitter as “discriminatory and illegal.”” — Expect action to follow, if past pronouncements are any guide. See also Google News Results Overwhelmingly Favor CNN, Excludes Conservative SourcesDozens at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal CultureTrump Campaign Manager: If Trump ‘Leaves Twitter’ for Alt Platform, ‘Twitter Is Done’ and the counter-view Trump’s Ludicrous Attack on Big Tech.

Noteworthy news

Google CEO slammed by lawmakers for declining to testify at Senate hearingFox News

“Google CEO Sundar Pichai drew widespread criticism from senators of both parties after it was announced that he would not testify on Sept. 5 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but instead would send Kent Walker,  the company’s senior vice president for global affairs, to the hearing.” — They have big problems ahead. See also Google responds to Trump: Denies favoring ideologies in search resultsKudlow: Trump administration ‘taking a look’ at regulating Google and Bokhari: Google Is Trump’s Most Dangerous Enemy.

Don’t let Google dox me on Lumen Database, nameless man begsThe Register

“It became apparent during the hearing that neither the judge, the court clerks, nor Google’s lawyers knew ABC’s name despite the court briefly sitting in private to argue about it. Communications between the three appeared to have taken place over email only, with no hard copies being used despite the High Court normally requiring this.” — An unusual case, some interesting questions result.

‘Most beautiful silicone ladies’: N. America’s 1st sex doll brothel to open in TorontoRT

“There are six “prostitutes” on offer, with ethnicities to fit just about anyone’s taste. Among the offerings are a Korean named Yuki, an American named Scarlett, and a Colombian named Jazmine. … Half an hour will cost a patron $80, while an hour will set them back CAD $120 (US$92). Customers also have the option of being with two dolls at the same time – if they’re willing to pay extra for the privilege – and anyone looking to have a regular relationship with a sex doll can sign up for a monthly membership.” See also Sexbot brothels: What we might see in an era of sex robots.

If you don’t want the Daily Mail and the Sun to receive public subsidies you need to say so now — Byline

“A public consultation on future funding of journalism closes on 14 September. It’s a government device to give taxpayers’ money to their press friends. … The Cairncross Review was set up to look at new ways of funding what the government called ‘high-quality journalism’, and since the review panel is packed with representatives of the newspaper industry it’s obvious they are meant to be the beneficiaries.”

Man Behind 3D Gun Files Spoils The Left’s Celebration Over Ban With Major AnnouncementTrue Pundit

“The anti-gun Left could not contain their excitement when news broke on Monday that a federal judge in Seattle extended a ban on Austin-based company Defense Distributed which prevented it from hosting 3D-printable gun files, though the company has a license from the State Department to do so, and, you know, First Amendment protections. … But their celebration was premature.” — Just because you can do something legally doesn’t mean you should.

Twitter Tests Showing ‘Unfollow’ Suggestions to UsersGadgets 360

“The platform is testing a new feature which suggests accounts you might want to unfollow. It is aimed at those who want a more relevant Twitter timeline and one way to do that is by unfollowing those whom they don’t engage with regularly, Slate reported. Although the limited scale test has concluded, it is not clear if the company has decided to bring a full-fledged version of the feature to all users.” — Ripe for abuse.

Billion dollar technology firms blasted by ‘Five Eyes’ nations for snubbing meeting to tackle extremist material and child abuse on THEIR websitesDaily Mail

“Internet giants are under fire for snubbing a meeting to tackle extremist material and child abuse on their websites.” — Is this a meaningful endeavour, or just political theatre, given how all the actors involved are dirty in some way? See also Five Eyes intelligence partners threaten to name and shame foreign interference perpetrators.

Here’s Why Apple Acquired a Small Augmented Reality StartupFortune

“The tech giant confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that it acquired Akonia Holographics for an undisclosed sum. … Akonia Holographics was a company that focused on building displays for augmented reality glasses. According to its website, the company has more than 200 patents on holographics and related materials, potentially giving it an upper-hand in the broader augmented reality marketplace.”

China Using LinkedIn For Mass Spy Recruitment Of Americans With Security ClearancesZero Hedge

“But if the allegations of mass infiltration efforts to ensnare Americans with security clearances and access to sensitive information are true, it doesn’t appear that LinkedIn has so much as begun to identify or put a dent in such activities.” — I deleted my LinkedIn account.

Cool tech


A visual communications graphics editor with a strong social media slant. Signifies the development of a post-Microsoft Office world of work communications applications. Best explained by their promo video.

Scientists transfer one snail’s memory onto another, potentially unlocking secrets of human memory transferNatural News

“They trained a group of these animals by applying light taps to the outside of their shells that also administered weak electric shocks. These snails learned to associate the tapping motion with potential danger. When the researchers administered harmless taps, they withdrew into their shells and stayed hidden for up to 50 seconds. They did this even if the tapping did not result in electrical shocks.”

Sleepphones effortless sleep headphones reviewI4U news

“Over the past decade, customers have adopted the SleepPhones to battle sleeplessness or block out their snoring partner. The product works, but it’s not a cutting-edge gadget.” — Not a new product, and a segment with several competing players. Indicative of a general shift of tech from content and media to wellbeing.

Important ideas

What Is Identity?New York Times

“And both books help explain so much more than Trump. #MeToo. White nationalism. Hindu nationalism. Black Lives Matter. Campus debates about privilege and appropriation. Syria. Islamism. The spread of populism and retreat of democracy worldwide. The rise of the far right in Europe. The rise of the far left in the United States. All these phenomena throb with questions of identity, of “Who am I?” and “To what do I belong?” Appiah and Fukuyama seek out answers.” — I don’t agree with the analysis, but it is informative nonetheless.

Data of distinction

A look inside Facebook’s efforts to expand Wi-Fi in developing countriesCNBC

“Fees are low, and users are allowed to access the entire internet through their device and are not limited to Facebook platforms. The company settled on this paid model after noticing people stopped using the service if they were required to go through a registration landing page in order to get access for free.”

‘Dr. Doom’ Economist Nouriel Roubini Bearish On Everything CryptoForbes

“To illustrate the extent that crypto centralizes wealth, Roubini referred to the Gini coefficient, an economic term that expresses the distribution of wealth across a population from 0% (everybody equally wealthy) to 100% (one person has all the wealth.) The Gini coefficient for Europe, for example, is about 50%. North Korea stands at 86%. And bitcoin? How about 88%. “Bitcoin wealth is more concentrated than North Korean wealth,” Roubini pointed out.”

Interesting views

The Nine Kinds of Bad FuturistsAlf Rehn

“I’ve put the bad futurists into nine categories, but you should remember that there is a great deal of overlap between these categories. For instance, many of the mystics are also obfuscators, and many of the trendsters are neologizers.”

Facebook still needs to work on what to do when users dieMashable

“Nearly all social media platforms offer some way users can report that an account belongs to a deceased person, but these options are not widely known. Often, reporting a deceased person’s account merely results in its removal, which is not ideal for those who’d like access to the user’s content.”

The memoir by Steve Jobs’ daughter makes clear he was a truly rotten person whose bad behavior was repeatedly enabled by those around himBusiness Insider

“Still, the stories that have come out so far from “Small Fry,” the new autobiography from his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, are shocking. Jobs comes across not just as someone who could be self-centered and mean but as someone who was a truly terrible human being.” — The media creates completely fake images of people. Choose your heroes and heroines carefully.

Provocative perspectives

All religions were a Human Experiment to disconnect You from SourceYouTube

More of a meta-thought on this one. Do codified systems of morality naturally lead to hierarchical institutions to main and disseminate them, thus setting up an inevitable (abuse of) power game?

Media of merit

From Twitter:

From YouTube:

Jordan Peterson: How Autism and Intelligence Connect


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