- Representation starts from the principle that the sign and the real are equivalent (even if this equivalence is Utopian, it is a fundamental axiom). Conversely, simulation starts from the Utopia of this principle of equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as reversion and death sentence of every reference. Whereas representation tries to absorb simulation by interpreting it as false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation as itself a simulacrum. -- Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation
Absorbed by unreality
What are signs of the unreality that we are seeing today?
- Take a minute to think of one or two examples. After a minute, you will be paired with a classmate. Each take 2-3 minutes to ask the other partner about their example. Then, join with another pair, and explain your partner's example to the group.
Deceptive signs, ominous portents
FIPPA • privacy • corporate co-option • net neutrality • DRM • risk • patent system • security • trolls • openwashing • CISPA • spying • fraud • tracking • hacking • apathy • CALEA • data snooping • LMS/VLE-ification • mass surveillance • Facebook • phishing • spamming • NSA • Gamergate • PRISM • student data is the new oil • vendor lock-in
Terms of Service, Didn’t Read – Integrates legally-informed ratings with a browser extension.
Filter bubbles - http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/
- the Macedonian town of 55,000 was the registered home of at least 100 pro-Trump websites, many of them filled with sensationalist, utterly fake news. (The imminent criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton was a popular theme; another was the pope’s approval of Trump.) The sites’ ample traffic was rewarded handsomely by automated advertising engines, like Google’s AdSense.
Blue Feed, Red Feed - Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side
Algorithms – The Cathedral of Computation
- Here’s an exercise: The next time you hear someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with “God” and ask yourself if the meaning changes. Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers people have allowed to replace gods in their minds, even as they simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.
- Thousands of data brokers keep tabs on everything from social-media profiles and online searches to public records and retail loyalty cards; they likely know things including (but not limited to) your age, race, gender, and income; who your friends are; whether you’re ill, looking for a job, getting married, having a baby, or trying to buy a home. Today, we all swim in murky waters in which we’re constantly tracked, analyzed, and scored, without knowing what information is being collected about us, how it’s being weighted, or why it matters—much of it as irrelevant and inaccurate as the hearsay assembled during the early days of consumer reporting.
- It is the iron cage in binary code. Not only is our social life rationalized in ways even Weber could not have imagined but it is also coded into systems in ways difficult to resist, legislate or exert political power.
Surge Pricing for Your Entire Life, Jacob Silverman
- Insurers and devices manufacturers have quickly united over their shared love of data—our data—and insurance customers are starting to see the effects. Real-time pricing, behavioral nudges: these are the new costs of being insured.
- This month, John Hancock Insurance—whose patriotic namesake might be disappointed that the company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian giant Manulife Financial—announced that it would distribute rebates to life insurance customers in exchange for access to their fitness monitor and location information.
- …What happens when you drive a little too fast on the way to the gym, and your health insurer rewards you but your car insurer slaps on a penalty? What happens when BlueCross knows what’s in your smart fridge? Your life becomes a series of overlapping—and often competing—rewards programs, gamified events, penalties, coupons, warnings, alerts, and nudges. Practically your entire existence becomes subject to dynamic surge pricing.
The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things, Bruce Sterling
- Digital commerce and governance is moving, as fast and hard as it possibly can, into a full-spectrum dominance over whatever used to be analogue. In practice, the Internet of Things means an epic transformation: all-purpose electronic automation through digital surveillance by wireless broadband.
- Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams. Particularly terrifying to me, computer programs can now write clear, publishable articles, and, as Ford reports, Wired magazine quotes an expert’s prediction that within about a decade 90 percent of news articles will be computer-generated.
Existing Digitally, Audrey Watters
- If technologies are shifting our industries – and certainly we’re told they are – then how should we, how must we respond – and respond not in the service of “industry needs” but in the service of our own needs.
- What I often fear is that we don’t really know what our needs are – technologically at least. Indeed, I think we’ve shied away from figuring this out, in part because we’ve been convinced that technology is too hard, too complicated. We’ve surrendered too to the notion tech is necessarily intimidating – or conversely to the idea that tech “just works” – and that we needn’t interrogate, let alone master it. It’s “someone else’s job.”
- “Someone else’s job” – perhaps, but that job is increasingly encroaching on our own work.
Oh yes, data...
We are the robots: Workplace monitoring – The Spy Who Fired Me
- Pearson described the Work Diary as “the equivalent of being able to walk up to someone’s desk and see how they’re doing.” But it is much more than that. Once every ten minutes while you’re logged in, the program takes a snapshot of your computer’s desktop. It’s a detailed image that shows, for example, all the tabs open on your Web browser. The program also records minute-by-minute keystroke and mouse data, along with a productivity rating. The exact timing of the snapshot is unpredictable. It could happen at the moment you open iTunes to start a new playlist. Or when your boyfriend sends you an instant message. An icon pops up on your screen whenever a screenshot is captured, and you can review them and delete any troubling images. “The application is not a surveillance system,” oDesk’s online Help Center says. “You have full control over what it records . . . deleting those [screenshots] you choose not to share with your client.” But the Help Center fails to note that for each screenshot you delete, you sacrifice ten minutes of guaranteed pay.
Mac MacLelland, Brown Box
- With an hour left in the day, I’ve already picked 800 items. Despite moving fast enough to get sloppy, my scanner tells me that means I’m fulfilling only 52 percent of my goal. A supervisor who is a genuinely nice person comes by with a clipboard listing my numbers. Like the rest of the supervisors, she tries to create a friendly work environment and doesn’t want to enforce the policies that make this job so unpleasant. But her hands are tied. She needs this job, too, so she has no choice but to tell me something I have never been told in 19 years of school or at any of some dozen workplaces.”You’re doing really bad,” she says.