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Machine learning and authoritarianism

On pg 258-259 of her Don’t Be Evil, Rana Foroohar poses a question which will become more urgent with each passing year, binding political economy and digital governance together in a way which will define the fabric of social life: Is digital innovation best suited to an environment of decentralization, […]

Big tech is now too-big-to-fail

From Rana Foroohar‘s Don’t Be Evil pg 208: At the very least, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the other systemically important platforms should be forced to disclose political advertising in the same way that television, print, and radio firms do. When in the financial markets, they should be forced to stay […]

A few notes the digital aristocracy

Many of the leading figures in contemporary Silicon Valley are those who survived the fall out from the earlier crash. Thiel made his fortune by co-founding the online payments platform Paypal, acting as CEO until its sale to eBay. He subsequently founded Clarium Capital (a hedge fund), Founders Fund (a […]

The Platform University

This special issue of Discover Society collects articles from speakers at last year’s inaugrial Platform University conference at the University of Cambridge. It has been published to coincide with the release of the call for papers for the second conference, taking place in December at Lancaster University. The Platform University, […]

Platform Surveillance

My notes on Wood, D. M., & Monahan, T. (2019). Platform Surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2), 1-6. In this editorial, David Murakami Wood and Torin Monahan introduce a special issue of Surveillance & Society which considers platform capitalism from the perspective of surveillance studies. Their focus is on how “digital […]

Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem

My notes on Pasquale, F. A. (2018). Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem. American Affairs, 2(2) The most philosophically important aspect of Hayek’s work was his epistemological objection to central planning. He argued that the market was indispensable because it permitted distributed knowledge of a sort which a centralised decision maker couldn’t possibly […]

The governance of platforms

This ECPR panel looks superb. Saving here to follow up later: please find attached, the call for papers for a panel at the ECPR General Conference in Wrocław (4 – 7 September). Title of the panel:***The Relationship Between Digital Platforms and** **Government Agencies in Surveillance: Oversight of or by Platforms?* […]

Cambridge as a platform city

My notes on Philip Cooke (2018) Generative growth with ‘thin’ globalization: Cambridge’s crossover model of innovation, European Planning Studies, 26:9, 1815-1834, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1421908 Since moving to Cambridge in July 2017, I’ve become fascinated by the transformation underway within the city and what it reveals about the political economy of the UK. […]

The Political Ontology of Platforms

These notes are for the fifth and final week of the CPGJ platform capitalism intensive reading group. One of the themes running through the readings over the five weeks has been the political valence of platforms and its relationship to our analysis of them. My own instinct is that valorising […]

What is platform literacy?

In the last couple of years, I’ve found myself returning repeatedly to the idea of platform literacy. By this I mean a capacity to understand how platforms shape the action which takes place through them, sometimes in observable and explicit ways but usually in unobservable and implicit ones. It concerns […]