Filtering by Tag: noamchomsky
- Microsoft is opening a research lab in New York City staffed by A-list sociologists, computational scientists, and network theorists among others.
The NYC lab recruits bring in mathematical and computation tools that could work magic with existing social media research already underway at Microsoft Research, led by folks like Gen-fluxer danah boyd. "I would say that the highly simplified version of what happens is that data scientists do patterns and ethnographers tell stories," boyd tells Fast Company. While Microsoft Research New England has strengths in qualitative social science, empirical economics, machine learning, and mathematics, "We’ve long noted the need for data science types who can bridge between us," boyd explained in a blog post announcing the NYC labs.
- Noam Chomsky's latest publication is a "pamphlet" on the Occupy Wall Street movements that was released on May Day. Chomsky answered occupy-related questions for the Guardian, and wrote an op-ed for Salon:
So the world is now indeed splitting into a plutonomy and a precariat — in the imagery of the Occupy movement, the 1 percent and the 99 percent. Not literal numbers, but the right picture. Now, the plutonomy is where the action is and it could continue like this.
If it does, the historic reversal that began in the 1970s could become irreversible. That’s where we’re heading. And the Occupy movement is the first real, major, popular reaction that could avert this. But it’s going to be necessary to face the fact that it’s a long, hard struggle. You don’t win victories tomorrow. You have to form the structures that will be sustained, that will go on through hard times and can win major victories. And there are a lot of things that can be done.
- An article at the Atlantic poses the question: Are LOLCats making us smart? The article quotes Kate Miltner who wrote her dissertation on LOLCat memes:
According to Miltner, "When it came to LOLCats, sharing and creating were often different means to the same end: making meaningful connections with others." At their core LOLCats weren't about those funny captions, the weird grammar, or the cute kitties, but people employed those qualities in service of that primary goal of human connection.
- A Forbes contributor asks, What if we tossed out the advertising model? The article is largely a response to a book by Doc Searls called The Intention Economy.
A newer idea outgrowth of this is that information is so omnipresent and that consumers face so much of it that businesses are now in a completely different economy model fighting to get people’s attention. This Attentioneconomy has new rules based on how much time people are willing to spend paying attention to some piece of information and to their hopes the advertisements that may surround it. New tools are emerging to analyze not just what is talked about but also sentiment, audience demographics, and how quickly it spreads.
To push efficiency, the better way would be to be able the craft the message more accurately to specific people, not just a demographic: to me personally, not just to ‘people who live in that part of the city’. How would that be possible? It starts with trying to understand the intention of what people want, rather than trying to just grab their attention as they walk away. If we knew, or better yet, if the consumer each told us what they wanted and we could craft the message for each person as well as target exactly who would be interested, then the efficiency of that message suddenly shoots way up. It hinges on that dialogue with the consumer.
Another substantial topic of the book is just how incorrect most of the information collected about us actually is. And still this factually wrong data is used to select which advertisements are presented to you, in the hope that you’ll click through. Aside from how intrusive advertising is, is it any surprise that click-through rates are so low when the data used to target ads to viewers is so wildly off-base?
Searls also advocates strongly for Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) solutions to give to consumers the same kind of tracking and information collection about vendors that the vendors use against us. The point of VRM is not adversarial, according to Searls. Instead, it restores balance to the overall market and seeks to actively reward those companies that pay attention to individual intentions.
Due to end-of-the-semester activities posting has been slow the last couple of weeks. But my exams are finished and I've submitted grades so here's a celebratory news roundup:
- Wired reported on Sergey Brin of Google: China, SOPA, Facebook Threaten the ‘Open Web’
In an interview published Sunday, Google’s co-founder cited a wide range of attacks on “the open internet,” including government censorship and interception of data, overzealous attempts to protect intellectual property, and new communication portals that use web technologies and the internet, but under restrictive corporate control.
There are “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world,” says Brin. “I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle."
- From Gigaom: 3 key lessons from Facebook & Zynga’s shopping spree. Among the educational insights:
The post-social world is an “attention economy.” If you don’t have engagement, you don’t have attention and if you don’t have attention – well you don’t have anything really.
- Gizmodo asks Douglas Rushkoff about his geek origins (VIDEO).
- And another Douglas Rushkoff video, this one from Motherboard TV.
- Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges are two of the plaintiffs is a lawsuit filed over the National Defense Authorization Act.
- Danah Boyd wrote a piece for the Guardian: Whether the digital era improves society is up to its users – that's us
In the 1970s, the scholar Herbert Simon argued that "in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients."
His arguments give rise both to the notion of "information overload" but also to the "attention economy". In the attention economy, people's willingness to distribute their attention to various information stimuli create value for said stimuli. Indeed, the economic importance of advertisements is predicated on the notion that getting people to pay attention to something has value.
- UW professor and author of Castells and the Media Philip N. Howard: How to Predict Political Crisis With Your News Feed:
If one wanted to track three trends likely to have the most impact on international relations over the next decade, what three trends could help us anticipate global political crises? At the top of my news feed are items about who is in jail and why, rigged elections, and social media.
- Critical media theorist Douglas Kellner on school shootings:
School shootings and domestic terrorism have proliferated on a global level. In recent months there have been school shootings in Finland, Germany, Greece, and other countries as well as the United States. Although there may be stylistic differences, in all cases young men act out their rage through the use of guns and violence to create media spectacles and become celebrities-of-the-moment.
Class dismissed, have a great summer!
- I recently came across this Salon article by UMD doctoral student Nathan Jurgenson from last year where he argues that Noam Chomsky is wrong about Twitter. Both Chomsky's and the author's statements about new media forms are extremely interesting from a medium theory perspective. Jurgenson cites the role of social media in the Arab Spring protests as evidence that new media aren't as shallow and superficial as Chomsky believes:
In fact, in the debate about whether rapid and social media really are inherently less deep than other media, there are compelling arguments for and against. Yes, any individual tweet might be superficial, but a stream of tweets from a political confrontation like Tahrir Square, a war zone like Gaza or a list of carefully-selected thinkers makes for a collection of expression that is anything but shallow. Social media is like radio: It all depends on how you tune it.
- Finally, Shelly Palmer at SYS-CON Media wrote an article titled Always On: Proof consumers are enslaved and the consequences for brands.
In responding to calls, emails, texts, social media, etc, our electronic devices play to a primitive impulse to react to immediate threats and dangers. Our responding to that call, email or social media post provokes excitement and stimulates the release of dopamine to the brain. Little by little, we become addicted to its small kick in regular, minute doses. In its absence, people feel bored.