Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategorySocial Media

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Canadian Province to Ban Cell Phones from Classrooms

Education experts are cautiously hopeful about reducing distraction and cyberbullying
France and a number of jurisdictions in Britain, as well as some American ones, have already instituted such bans and several studies have identified subsequent improvements in schoolwork. Read More ›
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Facebook Gets Rich Off What We Tell Our Friends

Social media pioneer David Gelernter also has a proposal for sharing the wealth more fairly

Yale University computer science prof David Gelernter, “a leading figure in the third generation of artificial intelligence” (Edge.org). social networks pioneer, and Unabomber survivor, discusses his idea in a podcast at The Federalist Radio Hour.

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Popping water balloon / highspeed image
Popping water balloon / highspeed image

Fast Facts re the Google, Facebook Anti-Trust Probes

The 48-state pile-on comes just before an election year

The accusations by American states of a Big Social Media stranglehold on advertising come on the heels of the European Union fining Google $billions in recent years for anti-competitive activities.

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Classmates using their smartphones heavily during classes

The Prof Banned Phones in Class. What Happened?

Not a walkout. No riots. No revolution. Some insights though, that match up with other research
Essentially, the user keeps the phone but must leave the venue to unlock it. Barring a reasonable excuse, that might be like excusing oneself to go outside to smoke. Read More ›
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Prof: Google Must Not Choose the Next President

Robert Epstein, a Clinton supporter in 2016, thinks Big Tech meddling is a risk. And, he says, he isn’t planning on suicide

He doesn’t want Silicon Valley to use its near-monopoly power over search engines and social media to manipulate the information available to the lone voter in the booth.

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A Closer Look at Google’s Search Engine Bias

If Google’s CEO honestly believes that there is no political bias, that is, in itself, a big part of the problem
If Sundar Pichai thinks that there is no bias in Google's algorithms, he is arguing against the nature of writing algorithms itself—not a good position for a computer guy to be in. Read More ›
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Google Engineer Reveals Search Engine Bias

He found Google pretty neutral in 2014; the bias started with the US 2016 election

The algorithms—the series of commands to computers—“don’t write themselves,” Coppola says. People who have their own opinions may write them into an algorithm, knowingly or otherwise.

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We Built the Power Big Social Media Have Over Us

Click by click, and the machines learned the patterns. Now we aren’t sure who is in charge

We’re stuck, working for free, training the Web giants’ ML systems to reap benefits for them while enduring (assuming we notice) the downsides.

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Jordan Peterson’s New “Thinkspot” Takes Shape

Analysts ask, can his proposed rules work?

What about the problem of expecting people to pay? Perhaps most people are so used to getting their social media for free for the same reasons as turkeys get their feed for free—because they’re the product—that they willingly submit to censorship?

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Young man (backpacker, hitchhiker) on the high-speed highway not far from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China’s far west

The Internet Doesn’t Free Anyone by Itself

China is testing 100% surveillance on the Uighurs, a strategically critical minority

The Uyghur people in Xinjiang province in northwest China spend their lives in a digital panopticon. Over 2.5 million Muslims are tracked via facial recognition software and cameras, and their cell phone monitored for any language that could be construed as religious. Over a million have been placed in so-called “vocational training centers” that are widely described as detention camps. Even when not detained, they live like prisoners: For Uyghurs in Xinjiang, any kind of contact from a non-Chinese phone number, though not officially illegal, can result in instant arrest. Most Uyghurs in Turkey have been deleted by their families on social media. And many wouldn’t dare try to make contact, for fear Chinese authorities would punish their relatives. Isobel Read More ›

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You Think You Have Nothing To Hide?

Then why are Big Tech moguls making billions from what you and others tell them?

The bottom line is this: if you think you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t understand how the modern data economy really works, nor the impact of being caught in a riptide of public opinion.

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Is Data Privacy a Luxury Now?

In an age of constant connectedness and digital monitoring, access to privacy is becoming the new digital divide. Can you afford it?

The people most likely to know how to protect their privacy are the well-informed. In an information society in the free world, as an information analyst notes, “well-informed” tends to correlate with well-educated (which in turn correlates with being better off).

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Fake News Thrives on Fears of a Robot Takeover

The motion graphics artist tried to explain that he faked the amazing robot video

The convincing film was great for Tom’s Twitter feed but less great for what it says about our judgment as viewers. We believe too much AI hype. 

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Server room or server computers with data hud.3d rendering.

Is the Tech Industry Destroying the Free Market?

The internet drifts toward monopoly control due, in part, to its structure, not merely due to tech moguls’ plans

One potential solution could be the rise of edge computing, which distributes all data as close to the edge as possible.

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The Smartest Phone Is Silent in Class

While academics debate smartphones’ effect on teens, some hard facts begin to emerge
What if we focus on something more easily measurable than emotional well-being?: grades. There seems to be a growing consensus that students get better grades when separated from smartphones in learning environments. Read More ›
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Social Media Censorship? Governments Weigh the Options

The United States may be going in the opposite direction from other Western countries
Social media monopolies may welcome an opportunity to avoid difficult issues by tacitly encouraging strict censorship of national platforms, along whatever lines a government prefers (the China model, if you like). Read More ›
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Close-up Of A Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading And Holding Flashlight

Scientific American: No Consensus on Smartphones’ Effect on Teen Brains

Others continue to wonder why teens seem comparatively fragile
The editor's view is that "change is unceasing, and different does not necessarily mean worse – despite the fears of the “cluck-cluckers." We recommend several other sources for alternative context and background. Read More ›
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Quell the Cell and Kids Do Well?

That sounds simplistic but it worked at a girls’ school in New Zealand

High goals, discipline and, perhaps most critically, a ban on cellphones, have seen St Joseph’s Maori Girls College reach the top 10 for University Entrance in this year’s high-school league tables, the NZ Herald reports.

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