James has penned a sweeping arc from the The Mechanical Turk, Sesame Street, and Teletubbies to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
I watched The Social Dilemma last night and to say it’s uneven would be like saying the Himalayas are a little bumpy.
I’m shocked at how appealing so many people find the idea that social networks are uniquely responsible for all of society’s ills.
This cartoon super villain view of the world strikes me as a kind of mirror image of the right-wing conspiracy theories which hold that a cabal of elites are manipulating every world event in secret. It is more than a little ironic that a film that warns incessantly about platforms using misinformation to stoke fear and outrage seems to exist only to stoke fear and outrage — while promoting a distorted view of how those platforms work along the way.
To navigate the web is to beat a path through a labyrinth of links left by others, and to thereby create associative links yourself, unspooling them like a guiding thread onto a floor already carpeted with such connections. Each thread of connection is unique, individualized: everyone draws their own map of the network as they navigate it.
I like this theory!
A terrific little conspiracy theory short story from Charles Stross set at last year’s (very real) 100 Year Starship gathering.
The BBC talk to the hacker/conspiracy theorist awaiting extradition to the US. He's a bit of a loony but he's harmless.