Imagine the tech utopia of mainstream science fiction. The bustle of self-driving cars, helpful robot assistants, and holograms throughout the sparkling city square immediately marks this world apart from ours, but something else is different, something that can only be described in terms of ambiance. Everything is frictionless here: The streets are filled with commuters, as is the sky, but the vehicles attune their choreography to one another so precisely that there is never any traffic, only an endless smooth procession through space. The people radiate a sense of purpose; they are all on their way somewhere, or else, they have already arrived. There’s an overwhelming amount of activity on display at every corner, but it does not feel chaotic, because there is no visible strife or deprivation. We might appreciate its otherworldly beauty, but we need not question the underlying mechanics of this utopia — everything works because it was designed to work, and in this world, design governs the space we inhabit as surely and exactly as the laws of physics.
Google’s weight and power come because most of the world use it without knowing there’s an alternative. Perhaps it is time we started voicing our concerns through actions and start using alternative search platforms.
So what happens when these tools for maximizing clicks and engagement creep into the political sphere?
This is a delicate question! If you concede that they work just as well for politics as for commerce, you’re inviting government oversight. If you claim they don’t work well at all, you’re telling advertisers they’re wasting their money.
Facebook and Google have tied themselves into pretzels over this.
Cancelling the future.
The future lives and dies by the state of the archives. To look hard at this world and honestly, diligently articulate what happened and what it was like in the present is a sort of promise to the future, a new layer to the palimpsest of history that can become someone else’s foundation.
We’ve gone through the invention step. The infrastructure came out of DARPA and the World Wide Web itself came out of CERN.
We’ve gone through the hobbyist step. Everyone now knows what the internet is, and some of the amazing things it’s capable of.
We’ve gone through the commercialization step. Monopolies have emerged, refined, and scaled the internet.
But the question remains: can we break with the tragic history that has befallen all prior information empires? Can this time be different?
The first part of this article is a great history lesson in the style of Tim Wu’s The Master Switch. The second part is a great explanation of net neutrality, why it matters, and how we can fight for it.
If you do nothing, we will lose the war for the open internet. The greatest tool for communication and creativity in human history will fall into the hands of a few powerful corporations and governments.
A weekly list of short, concrete actions to defend the weak, rebuild civic institutions, and fight right-wing extremism. For UK people.
A service for US citizens that suggest five phone calls they can make at any time—based on their location—to influence their representatives.
Calling is the most effective way to influence your representative. 5 Calls gives you contacts and scripts so calling is quick and easy. We use your location to give you your local representatives so your calls are more impactful.
An excellent location-based resource for US citizens looking to make a difference in the 2018 midterm elections.
When a solid 67% of your soul is engaged with battles elsewhere, how do you continue on with our ongoing, non-revolutionary work?
Responding to Malcolm Gladwell's recent piece in the New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer argues that the strength of weak ties *does* extend to social activism.
A well-argued piece by Malcolm Gladwell on the relative pros and cons of weak-tie networks and strong-tie hierarchies ...although, as always, Gladwell relies on anecdotes more than data to make his point.
Here's the first initiative from the WaSP Street Team: labeling outdated webdev books in libraries as hazardous material.
An account of an anti-scientology protest in London that used memes as weapons: rickrolling, "the cake is a lie", you name it... and all while wearing V masks. In short, teh awesum.