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In the News 15.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 15.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@adashoffash
In the News 15.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@nastasiaspassport
In the News 15.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@adashoffash

Ideology Is the Original
Augmented Reality

Released in July 2016, Pokémon Go is a location-based, augmented-reality game for mobile devices, typically played on mobile phones; players use the device’s GPS and camera to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures (“Pokémon”) who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player: As players travel the real world, their avatar moves along the game’s map. Different Pokémon species reside in different areas—for example, water-type Pokémon are generally found near water. When a player encounters a Pokémon, AR (Augmented Reality) mode uses the camera and gyroscope on the player’s mobile device to display an image of a Pokémon as though it were in the real world.1 This AR mode is what makes Pokémon Go different from other PC games: Instead of taking us out of the real world and drawing us into the artificial virtual space, it combines the two; we look at reality and interact with it through the fantasy frame of the digital screen, and this intermediary frame supplements reality with virtual elements which sustain our desire to participate in the game, push us to look for them in a reality which, without this frame, would leave us indifferent. Sound familiar? Of course it does. What the technology of Pokémon Go externalizes is simply the basic mechanism of ideology—at its most basic, ideology is the primordial version of “augmented reality.”

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

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The Brutal Fight to Mine Your Data
and Sell It to Your Boss

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On May 23, an email landed in the sales inbox of a San Francisco startup called HiQ Labs, politely asking the company to go out of business. HiQ is a “people analytics” firm that creates software tools for corporate human resources departments. Its Skill Mapper graphically represents the credentials and abilities of a workforce; its Keeper service identifies when employees are at risk of leaving for another job. Both draw the overwhelming majority of their data from a single trove: the material that is posted—with varying degrees of timeliness, detail, accuracy, and self-awareness—by the 500 million people on the social networking site LinkedIn.

The email HiQ received was from LinkedIn Senior Litigation Counsel Abhishek Bajoria. “It has come to LinkedIn’s attention that hiQ Labs, Inc. has used and is using processes to improperly, and without authorization, access and copy data from LinkedIn’s website” in violation of LinkedIn’s user agreement, it read. Bajoria called on HiQ to cease and desist from visiting LinkedIn’s site and to destroy the data it had culled. The email set off a feud that led, a month later, to the two companies meeting in federal court, with HiQ suing LinkedIn and LinkedIn accusing HiQ of violating state and federal law.

A small number of the world’s most valuable companies collect, control, parse, and sell billions of dollars’ worth of personal information voluntarily surrendered by their users. GoogleFacebookAmazon.com, and Microsoft—which bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016—have in turn spawned dependent economies consisting of advertising and marketing companies, designers, consultants, and app developers. Some operate on the tech giants’ platforms; some customize special digital tools; some help people attract more friends and likes and followers. Some, including HiQ, feed off the torrents of information that social networks produce, using software bots to scrape data from profiles. The services of the smaller companies can augment the offerings of the bigger ones, but the power dynamic is deeply asymmetrical, reminiscent of pilot fish picking food from between the teeth of sharks.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

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Free Money: The Surprising Effects of a Basic Income Supplied by Government

Skooter McCoy was 20 years old when his wife, Michelle, gave birth to their first child, a son named Spencer. It was 1996, and McCoy was living in the tiny town of Cherokee, North Carolina, attending Western Carolina University on a football scholarship. He was the first member of his family to go to college.

McCoy’s father had ruined his body as a miner, digging tunnels underneath lakes and riverbeds, and his son had developed a faith that college would lead him in a better direction. So McCoy was determined to stay in school when Spencer came along. Between fatherhood, football practice, and classes, though, he couldn’t squeeze in much part-time work. Michelle had taken an entry-level job as a teacher’s aide at a local childcare center right out of high school, but her salary wasn’t enough to support the three of them.

Then the casino money came.

Just months before Spencer was born, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened a casino near McCoy’s home, and promised every one of its roughly 15,000 tribal members—among them Skooter and Michelle—an equal cut of the profits. The first payouts came to $595 each—a nice little bonus, McCoy says, just for being. “That was the first time we ever took a vacation,” McCoy remembers. “We went to Myrtle Beach.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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Is It Too Late To Save The World?

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If an essay is something essayed – something hazarded, not definitive, not authoritative; something ventured on the basis of the author’s personal experience and subjectivity – we might seem to be living in an essayistic golden age. Which party you went to on Friday night, how you were treated by a flight attendant, what your take on the political outrage of the day is: the presumption of social media is that even the tiniest subjective micronarrative is worthy not only of private notation, as in a diary, but of sharing with other people. The US president now operates on this presumption. Traditionally hard news reporting, in places like the New York Times, has softened up to allow the I, with its voice and opinions and impressions, to take the front-page spotlight, and book reviewers feel less and less constrained to discuss books with any kind of objectivity. It didn’t use to matter if Raskolnikov and Lily Bart were likable, but the question of “likability,” with its implicit privileging of the reviewer’s personal feelings, is now a key element of critical judgment. Literary fiction itself is looking more and more like essay.

Some of the most influential novels of recent years, by Rachel Cusk and Karl Ove Knausgaard, take the method of self-conscious first-person testimony to a new level. Their more extreme admirers will tell you that imagination and invention are outmoded contrivances; that to inhabit the subjectivity of a character unlike the author is an act of appropriation, even colonialism; that the only authentic and politically defensible mode of narrative is autobiography.

Meanwhile the personal essay itself – the formal apparatus of honest self-examination and sustained engagement with ideas, as developed by Montaigneand advanced by Emerson and Woolf and Baldwin – is in eclipse. Most large-circulation American magazines have all but ceased to publish pure essays. The form persists mainly in smaller publications that collectively have fewer readers than Margaret Atwood has Twitter followers. Should we be mourning the essay’s extinction? Or should we be celebrating its conquest of the larger culture?

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Not Every Kid-Bond Matures

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On a recent visit to my parents, my mother asked me whether I want to have kids. Being 30 and single, an uncle to a niece and a nephew through both my siblings, I’ve started to get questions from older generations about my plans to reproduce. This began later for me than it does for women and is a fraction as oppressive, but to be honest I’d thought male privilege would shield me from it entirely. When this defense failed, I forestalled a line of inquiry from my mother by talking about climate change. Even as I said it, I knew it was an already hackneyed form of stonewalling. You can defend any uncertainty these days by evoking melting ice sheets and disappearing permafrost.

But she’d never heard anyone take this tack before—at least not since her own generation’s “population bomb” version of the same story. “That,” my mom said slowly, “is so heavy.” Over the course of the rest of my visit, she mentioned it to others my age for confirmation, to others her age in incredulity. “Gabe says nobody in his generation wants to have kids because of climate change. Did you know about this?”

How could the gap between us be so great? What seemed to me such a commonplace as to be evasive and impersonal appeared to my mother as a serious human quandary—which in fact it is. I’m more politically optimistic than my mother, yet I was taken aback to realize how much darker the future seems to me than to her. Then I remembered: she’s a boomer, I’m a millennial, and this is the song of the season.

There hasn’t been a generational divide this pronounced since the 1960s. The flareups that have occurred have been aftershocks of the 1960s—as in the 1992 confrontation between World War II veteran George H. W. Bush and draft dodger Bill Clinton with the wife who didn’t want to bake cookies. Generational analysis rarely got beyond generic psychobabble: The “greatest generation” were stoic, laconic survivors, boomers the spoiled offspring of Dr. Spock, et cetera. The actual “life chances” of the generations were not meaningfully different, and politics did not line up with the generations. Clinton’s best generational slice of the electorate in 1992 was the senior vote, but he performed pretty evenly overall, winning between 41 and 50 percent in every age category. Neither party enjoyed any significant preference from the young or the old in particular.

Read the rest of this article at: n+1

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @brothervellies; @katie.one; @brightonkeller

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