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Category Archives: Recommended Books

Shoshana Zuboff on the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Intercept: “…An unavoidable takeaway of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” is, essentially, that everything is even worse than you thought. Even if you’ve followed the news items and historical trends that gird Zuboff’s analysis, her telling takes what look like privacy overreaches and data blunders, and recasts them as the intentional movements of a global system designed to violate you as a revenue stream. “The result is that both the world and our lives are pervasively rendered as information,” Zuboff writes. “Whether you are complaining about your acne or engaging in political debate on Facebook, searching for a recipe or sensitive health information on Google, ordering laundry soap or taking photos of your nine-year-old, smiling or thinking angry thoughts, watching TV or doing wheelies in the parking lot, all of it is raw material for this burgeoning text.”

Tech’s privacy scandals, which seem to appear with increasing frequency both in private industry and in government, aren’t isolated incidents, but rather brief glimpses at an economic and social logic that’s overtaken the planet while we were enjoying Gmail and Instagram. The cliched refrain that if you’re “not paying for a product, you are the product”? Too weak, says Zuboff. You’re not technically the product, she explains over the course of several hundred tense pages, because you’re something even more degrading: an input for the real product, predictions about your future sold to the highest bidder so that this future can be altered…”

Thieves of Experience: How Google and Facebook Corrupted Capitalism

Los Angeles Review of Books – Nicholas Carr’s review of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power By Shoshana Zuboff To the Googles and Facebooks of the world, we are neither the customer nor the product. We are the source of what Silicon Valley… Continue Reading

Technology has over-saturated us

Axios: “For millennia, technology, in terms of its big-picture impact, was, well, meh. Look at the straight line in the chart — that includes every major invention since the year 1 AD, including the printing press. Then James Watt triggered the Industrial Revolution by reinventing the steam engine, and before you knew it we all… Continue Reading

We Need an FDA For Algorithms

Nautilus – UK mathematician Hannah Fry on the promise and danger of an AI world.” In the introduction to her new book, Hannah Fry points out something interesting about the phrase “Hello World.” It’s never been quite clear, she says, whether the phrase—which is frequently the entire output of a student’s first computer program—is supposed… Continue Reading

Book Review – The unmaking of the steady job

The Nation – Ad Hoc Nation – The unmaking of the steady job. Reviewed – Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary, By Louis Hyman “…Today’s temps, permalancers, subcontractors, and underemployed do have an advantage that their predecessors didn’t: The effects of the gig economy permeate society more thoroughly and… Continue Reading

How Enforcing Competition Law Could Have Stopped Big Tech

New York Magazine – The Intelligencer: “Yesterday, Amazon announced that it was opening two new campuses in Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. The preceding audition process, with dozens of local and state governments offering ridiculous financial incentives to Jeff Bezos’s megalith, made Amazon’s power over the public sector plainly clear. Elsewhere, the parliaments… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – Book Review of “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)”

Via LLRX – Book Review of “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)” – Advertising is now part of a complex ecosystem that engages a wide range of components, including but not limited to: social media, Big Data, AI, data mining, competitive intelligence, and marketing. Alan Rothman, reveals and explains for… Continue Reading

A neuroscientist explains what tech does to the reading brain

The Verge – “For anyone who has ever been a reader, there’s much to sympathize with in Maryanne Wolf’s Reader, Come Home. The UCLA neuroscientist, a great lover of literature, tries to read Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, an old favorite, only to realize that she finds him boring and too complex. She wonders why… Continue Reading

Book Review: Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment

Blog of the London School of Economics: “In Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment, Daniele Archibugi and Alice Pease delve into the hypocrisies and failings of international justice projects. Their book offers a timely reminder that the current international justice regime has not offered a silver bullet for complex political problems, writes Teemu Laulainen. “In the absence of… Continue Reading

Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services

Recommendation via Joe Hodnicki: Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services, edited by Ed Walters “helps legal professionals meet the challenges posed by a data-driven approach to delivering legal services. Its chapters are written by leading experts who cover such topics as: Mining legal data Computational law Uncovering bias through the use of… Continue Reading

New book – It’s not that economists didn’t see a crash coming – they just didn’t see the crash that happened

The Prospect August 2018 issue – review by Duncan Weldon – How economists predicted the wrong financial crisis. “As the 10th anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers approaches, many books on the financial crisis will be published. Few are likely to match Adam Tooze’s Crashed in scope, ambition or rigour. This is truly contemporary… Continue Reading

The Book of Hope

Rockefeller Institute of Government – Nancy Zimpher: “Working together, good people are changing the world. In his new book Reclaiming the American Dream: Proven Solutions for Creating Economic Opportunity for All,[1] Ben Hecht spotlights efforts that are successfully addressing some of the country’s most pressing issues: meaningful employment, economic empowerment, impactful civic involvement, education that… Continue Reading