It’s Time to Push Tech Forward, and Rebuild What It Broke

from Wired In 1904, a group of Canadian workers began the hard slog of constructing the world’s longest bridge, across the Saint Lawrence River just south of the city of Quebec. It was a wildly ambitious project. And it wasn’t just for the Quebecois: Railroads were revolutionizing commerce and communications, and the bridge would connect people and allow trains to run from New Brunswick in the east to Winnipeg in the west. The river was 190 feet deep at the center, and ice piled high above the water’s surface in the winter. Nothing about the bridge’s construction would be easy. […]

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Is Big Tech Merging With Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It

from Wired A friend of mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work. When he offered to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by […]

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The Amazon Selling Machine

from The Atlantic The e-commerce company has so much information about us that it’s become expert at shilling us things we didn’t even know we needed. No wonder its advertising business is booming. What if there were a company that knew what you wanted to buy before you did? What if it made shopping recommendations that tapped into your deepest desires? Better yet, what if it then made buying completely seamless? Would you ever stop shopping? Amazon shareholders may like the answers to those questions. The company that revolutionized the way we buy has now gotten serious about selling the […]

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China Presses Its Internet Censorship Efforts Across the Globe

from NYTs Within its digital borders, China has long censored what its people read and say online. Now, it is increasingly going beyond its own online realms to police what people and companies are saying about it all over the world. For years, China has exerted digital control with a system of internet filters known as the Great Firewall, which allows authorities to limit what people see online. To broaden its censorship efforts, Beijing is venturing outside the Great Firewall and paying more attention to what its citizens are saying on non-Chinese apps and services. As part of that shift, […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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How Americans Really Feel About Facebook, Apple, And More

from The Verge This year marked a sea change in our attitude toward tech’s largest players — and not for the better. Facebook, with a user base twice the size of the Western Hemisphere, seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis: CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent much of 2017 on a national tour that The New York Times billed as a “real-world education.” Meanwhile, the platform has become embroiled in a national debate that started with fake news and has evolved into an investigation into how the Russian government weaponized the network to influence the 2016 presidential election. […]

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