Tag: Personalisation and Escaping the Filter Bubble: The Iron Cage in Binary Code

In a recent paper, I’ve argued we find a cultural project underpinning ‘big data’: a commitment to reducing human being, in all its embodied affective complexity, stripping it of any reality beyond the behavioural traces which register through digital infrastructure. Underlying method, methodology and theory there is a vision of how human beings are constituted, […]

Another really provocative idea from Rethinking Social Exclusion by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall. From pg 126: This supposedly ethical process of distancing oneself from vulgar commercialism is a variant of self-exclusion from the social; like it or not, these non-places come closest to representing the actuality of contemporary British life. There is no more ‘reality’ or […]

I love the analogy offered by Elinor Carmi at the start of this excellent Open Democracy piece: Yesterday I walked to the supermarket, like I do every Tuesday morning. All of a sudden I started noticing a few people starting to follow me. I try to convince myself that it is probably just my imagination, and […]

Any suggestions about where I can find syllabi for digital hygiene courses in schools would be much appreciated. I’m also curious about how advocates of ‘digital hygiene’ see its relationship to the notion of a ‘digital footprint’: is the former what we must do in order to mitigate the damage potentially created by the latter?

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 57. This isn’t necessarily the case but it’s a claim that holds true in the absence of personal tech skills and a disposition to  exercise then: The paradox is that, the more the small item (smartphone or iPod) I hold in my hand is personalized, easy to use, ‘transparent’ […]

I knew data brokerage was big but I didn’t realise it was this big. From The Data Revolution by Rob Kitchin, loc 1039: Epsilon is reputed to own data on 300 million company loyalty card members worldwide, with a databank holding data related to 250 million consumers in the United States alone (Edwards 2013). Acxiom […]

A lovely passage from Lisa Gitelman at Loc 78 of her edited collection “Raw Data” Is An Oxymoron about the difficulty of going ‘off grid’ when the utilities of daily life leave us bound into the digital cage: Try to spend a day “off the grid” and you’d better leave your credit and debit cards, transit […]

In their Being Digital Citizens, Evelyn Ruppert and Engin Isin outline a theory of conventions on pg 25-26: We shall characterize conventions broadly as sociotechnical arrangements that embody norms, values, affects, laws, ideologies, and technologies. As sociotechnical arrangements, conventions involve agreement or even consent—either deliberate or often implicit—that constitutes the logic of any custom, institution, […]

An absolutely fascinating account of developments in the newsfeed algorith at Facebook since its introduction: Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s 32-year-old director of product for news feed, is Alison’s less technical counterpart—a “fuzzie” rather than a “techie,” in Silicon Valley parlance. He traffics in problems and generalities, where Alison deals in solutions and specifics. He’s the news […]

From Addiction By Design pg 83-84 Seeking to engender this same compelling sense of efficacy, secondary “bonus games” on video slots invite gamblers to perform actions over which they seem to have control (but do not). Anchor Gaming’s 2000 game Strike It Rich, for instance, presented players with a bonus game in which the object […]

If a critical mass of the dominant free providers were to do this, would it deter consumers from using ad blocking or merely piss them off and lead them to go elsewhere? From Boing Boing:  The company says it’s not policy to do this — yet — but they’re testing locking Yahoo Mail users out […]