1984

A couple of disturbing articles to get you thinking about how you think:

Fifteen Devastating Quotes That Show How Dangerous Social Media Has Become to Society (John Hawkins, PJ Media)

American Narratives: The Rescue Game (John Michael Greer, Resilience/The Archdruid Report)

 

 

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“The web that many connected to years ago is not what new users will find today. The fact that power is concentrated among so few companies has made it possible to weaponize the web at scale.” —Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web

“Let’s build a comprehensive database of highly personal targeting info and sell secret ads with zero public scrutiny. What could go wrong?” —Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.” —Sean Parker, first president of Facebook

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. This is not about Russians’ ads. This is a global problem.” —Chamath Palihapitiya, former VP of user growth at Facebook

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility. I’m sorry.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and Founder

New York Magazine has a great article interviewing the tech experts who created our digital world.  They have regrets and warnings.  But more importantly, they reveal how and why they did what they did.  Read more in The Internet Apologizes.

Although Amazon has clocked staggering growth, it generates meager profits, choosing to price below-cost and expand widely instead. Through this strategy, the company has positioned itself at the center of e-commerce and now serves as essential infrastructure for a host of other businesses that depend upon it. Elements of the firm’s structure and conduct pose anticompetitive concerns—yet it has escaped antitrust scrutiny.   – Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox

The richest men in the world are social media moguls.  Their companies hire tens of thousands world-wide.  Their products have infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives.  Of course, their products often let us act out bad behaviors through tweets, posts, comments, etc.  But the real dangers of social media may be in how the social media companies treat us as customers and as employees.

Read the rest of this entry »

comeypress

There are two main takeaways from Mr. Comey’s testimony:  1) No one asked Comey to stop the Russia investigation; 2) Comey leaked his memo to the press.  (As usual with Mr. Comey, he took questionable professional action based on his personal beliefs and played coy so he could get political and media attention.)

We know President Trump met with high level Russian officials.  We know he talked with them about on-going actions taken against ISIS, as well as proposed security measures for air traffic.  However, we do not know if he revealed classified information.

The Washington Post has accused the President of breaching protocol with the Russians, based on anonymous sources.  You can read details here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.eba9ac24c3d5

National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster said Monday:

There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the President did not discuss any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. And I was in the room, it didn’t happen.

Of course, there will be an investigation.  If the Post’s accusations are accurate, then the Trump administration will need to take serious steps to assure this does not happen again, and lessen the damage done by a major security leak by the President.  If the Post’s accusations are false, then the media must take responsibility for smearing the reputation of the President.  Either way, the public will have lost faith in an important institution, either the White House or the Fourth Estate.