posts about or somewhat related to ‘Tech’
Automated transcription gone awry. The Guardian, Scanner for ebook cannot tell its ‘arms’ from its ‘anus’.
Evidently, high-end scanners using Optical Character Recognition technology can’t tell heads or tail – or arms and anuses – when going through old-timey type.
Takeaway: You still need a copyeditor to tell your arms from your anus. With all the news about robots writing our print, there’s something reassuring about that.
Matt Hamilton, Spiritual Unplugging, Or What to Do When There is Wifi at the Ashram, Religion Dispatches.
Related: Thoughts on what spirituality and journalism have in common.
Under 18, Live in California and Want to Get Stupid Stuff You Posted Off the Internet? There's a Law for That →
On January 1, 2015, being a minor on the Internet will get a lot less embarrassing.
That’s the date the Golden State’s revision to the so-called California Online Privacy Protection Act, or CalOPPA, goes into effect. The tweak is being referred to as the so-called “Internet Eraser Law.”
Websites – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and yes, even Craiglist – take notice:
The revision allows for Californians 18 and younger to wipe content and personal information posted to any website. That content can include, for example, online chats, audio, and photographs. The law will effect websites incorporated in different states that minors access from California…
…The update means 18 year-olds and younger can remove incriminating party pictures or most other content they’ve posted in the past that could someday come back to haunt them.
Let it be so for all ages.
Bruce Schneier, security technologist, in a presentation at the SOURCE Boston conference.
Via Security Week:
The data economy—the growth of mass data collection and tracking—is changing how power is perceived, Schneier said in his keynote speech. The Internet and technology has changed the impact a group can have on others, where dissidents can use the Internet to amplify their voices and extend their reach. Governments already have a lot of power to begin with, so when they take advantage of technology, their power is magnified, he said.
“That’s how you get weird situations where Syrian dissidents use Facebook to organize, and the government uses Facebook to arrest its citizens,” Schneier said.
Over the past few years, it’s become easier and cheaper to store data and search for the necessary item rather than to sort and delete. Email is a very good example of this shift in behavior. This change, spurred by the popularity of mobile devices and the push to move more data and services to the cloud has also made it easier to track user behavior. When corporations track users for marketing purposes, it seems benign, but the same actions come across as sinister when it’s the government…
…The government didn’t tell anyone they have to carry around a tracking device, but people now carry mobile devices. The government doesn’t require users to notify any agency about their relationships. Users will tell Facebook soon enough, Schneier noted. “Fundamentally, we have reached the golden age of surveillance because we are all being surveilled ubiquitously.”
Somewhat related programming note: Read up on Heartbleed, change your passwords everywhere.
Welcome message from Hatebase.org, a project created by Canadian-based Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention.
Hatebase was built to assist government agencies, NGOs, research organizations and other philanthropic individuals and groups use hate speech as a predictor for regional violence. Language-based classification, or symbolization, is one of a handful of quantifiable steps toward genocide
The site maps incidents of hate speech, structures them across language and type, and invites people to contribute.
Developers can access the Hatebase API here.
If you’re a human reporter quaking in your boots this week over news of a Los Angeles Times algorithm that wrote the newspaper’s initial story about an earthquake, you might want to cover your ears for this fact:
Software from Automated Insights will generate about 1 billion stories this year — up from 350 million last year, CEO and founder Robbie Allen told Poynter via phone.
FJP: Here’s a ponderable for you.
A few weeks ago, the New York Post reported that Quinton Ross died. Ross, a former Brooklyn Nets basketball player, didn’t know he was dead and soon let people know he was just fine.
"A couple (relatives) already heard it," Ross told the Associated Press. “They were crying. I mean, it was a tough day, man, mostly for my family and friends… My phone was going crazy. I checked Facebook. Finally, I went on the Internet, and they were saying I was dead. I just couldn’t believe it.”
The original reporter on the story? A robot. Specifically, Wikipedia Live Monitor, created by Google engineer Thomas Steiner.
Slate explains how it happened:
Wikipedia Live Monitor is a news bot designed to detect breaking news events. It does this by listening to the velocity and concurrent edits across 287 language versions of Wikipedia. The theory is that if lots of people are editing Wikipedia pages in different languages about the same event and at the same time, then chances are something big and breaking is going on.
At 3:09 p.m. the bot recognized the apparent death of Quinton Ross (the basketball player) as a breaking news event—there had been eight edits by five editors in three languages. The bot sent a tweet. Twelve minutes later, the page’s information was corrected. But the bot remained silent. No correction. It had shared what it thought was breaking news, and that was that. Like any journalist, these bots can make mistakes.
Quick takeaway: Robots, like the humans that program them, are fallible.
Slower, existential takeaway: “How can we instill journalistic ethics in robot reporters?”
As Nicholas Diakopoulos explains in Slate, code transparency is an inadequate part of the answer. More important is understanding what he calls the “tuning criteria,” or the inherent biases, that are used to make editorial decisions when algorithms direct the news.
Read through for his excellent take.
Because in the New York Times, an “adult film actor” named Stoya writes about pornography, stage names and identity:
Along with desires to differentiate themselves from performers in similar fields, increase ease of spelling and pronunciation or convey a certain image, some performers do take a stage name for the purpose of making themselves more difficult to recognize. This might possibly have worked in the ’70s, but with easy access to enormous amounts of adult content on the Internet and the ease with which we can all find juicy tidbits of information about one another’s pasts online, I can’t see it having much effect anymore…
…[But] my stage name is less about withholding parts of myself or maintaining privacy than it is a symbol of the idea that I am more than just my job or any other isolated slice of my identity.
Stoya talks about the inherent paradoxes in the pseudo-anonymity her stage name affords, but equates it with what she sees as part and parcel of a fragmentation many — notwithstanding those who disagree with the notion of digital dualism — experience between their online and offline selves.
Because in PandoDaily, we read about PornHub’s innovative marketing campaigns to get their NSFW “product” into SFW spaces.
As a result, Pornhub must rely (for now) on social advertising, digital advertising, and organic promotion, which makes them as interesting case study for other startups that, while not restricted by social mores, may have financial roadblocks in getting on TV.
The latest untraditional marketing strategy came this week when Pornhub launched a call for “Safe-For-Work” Pornhub ads. Aspiring ad men and women can submit their entries to this Tumblr (SFW). The person behind the winning entrant has a shot at becoming the company’s next creative director, the site promises.
A campaign like this not only grabs headlines (which is its own kind of free advertising). It also allows Pornhub to set the terms of its own brand identity before even launching a national campaign.
Because while reading the above we read some more and came across a study by the Urban Institute on underground economies and learn that Atlanta is the sex trade capital of the United States, a “sex act” runs anywhere from $5 to over $1000 in Dallas and pimps don’t like being called pimps. It’s too seventies. Business Manager will do.
And because so long as we’re reading about fragmentary identity, online marketing and job descriptions, we might as well read how sea slugs mate: The hermaphrodites “penis fence” in an attempt “to penis-stab the other. An inflicted wound inoculates the recipient with sperm.”
Penis stabbing? It’s not just the sea slug. Enter the bedbug, just penis stabbing its way through life:
Males will often jump on and penis-stab anything that comes their way, even females of other species, often killing them in the process — a phenomenon that has driven some species to evolve apart. Male bedbugs regularly jump other males by mistake—which is such a problem that males in one species have evolved their own damage-control spermaleges.
And that’s what we learned this week by following porn. Now off to watch Isabella Rossellini demonstrate the erotic lives of snails. Spoiler alert: “love darts.”