Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wired January 2018 issue takes up "The Golden Age of Free Speech" and its self-destruction

The January 2018 issue of Wired is dedicated to the paradox of how tech is using free speech to turn it against itself.  The issue is titled “The (Divisive, Corrosive, Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech”, link here.

There is an opening essay by Zyneck Rufecki, explains that the passive outreach technique that I used with the infrastructure set up by Googles and others has run into the limitation of human attention spans (and cognition in the masses).  I actually do go looking for articles on my own, where one thing leads to another; so I am not as influenced by algorithmic news feeds as others. (Neither would be Dr, Shaun Murphy.)  But most people have too many social commitments to maintain such intellectual oversight of their ideas.  There seems to be a problem with “viral outrage” which can cause people to feel targeted, to lose jobs or employment opportunities, or lead to other family members. 

The article goes into some specifics, then, as with a long essay by Steven Johnson on Cloudflare’s cutoff of Daily Stormer, which spread quickly.  The content lead-in "Nice Website  .... shame if something happened to it" suggests that activists will pursue almost any site they see is dismissive of minorities (neutrality equals aggression) and tech executives say this is happening, and they have practiced grade school self-control. 
Doug Bock Clark then explains the sub-doxing campaigns by some of Antifa’s activists.  Generally these activities are barely within the law.


Alice Gregory writes about a startup, Yondr, with a pouch that keeps your phone silent until you get to a “smoking pen”.   Reduce your speech and unchanged the world?  This sounds like a good idea for public schools and cell phone use.   The concept could also work at venues that don’t want to allow photography (as of other attendees). 

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