Tag: The Political Economy of Digital Capitalism

I found this review of Trump and the Media by Nicholas Carr in the LA Review of Books immensely thought-provoking. His focus is on the book’s historical contribution, contextualising the enthusiasm with which social media was greeted in terms of long term concerns about the centralisation of mass media. We can’t understand the ideal of […]

There’s an interesting anecdote on loc 3960-3972 of Bad Blood, John Carreyrou’s gripping account of the Theranos scandal, recounting a follow up meeting between Rupert Murdoch and Elizabeth Holmes which sealed the former’s investment in the latter’s company. I thought it was a vivid account of the distinctive corporate culture which had emerged within Theranos and how […]

To frame the commercialisation of space as being somehow related to ‘platform capitalism’ risks misunderstanding. It is certainly the case that Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, owes his wealth to Amazon but this has become a platform over time rather than being founded as one. Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX, owes his early success […]

There’s a fascinating mea culpa in Jaron Lanier’s new book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. On loc 411 he describes how early design decisions, inspired by the libertarian ethos taking hold within the tech community, created the openings for the global monopolies we now see emerging: Originally, many of us who […]

How good does this look? So much of this chimes with the paper I’m currently struggling to finish The Cultural Life of Machine Learning: An Incursion into Critical AI Studies Preconference Workshop, #AoIR2018 Montréal, Canada Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre, INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique) Wednesday October 10th 2018 Machine learning (ML), deep […]

In a fascinating account of the private space programs of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, Christian Davenport explains how the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) has its origins in the geopolitics of the Cold War. From pg 59: Eisenhower entered the room at 10: 31 a.m., and decided to get right to it, asking, “Do […]

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 platforms in an a priori […]

This looks fascinating: FROM THE HRC-SCHOLARS LISTSERV: Dear members, Please find attached for the call for papers from my institution’s anniversary conference. My institution being TILT (The Institute for Law, Technology and Society in Tilburg, The Netherlands), you might find this one a bit out there but we have several tracks for which we secifically […]

In this week’s CPGJ platform capitalism reading group, we turn towards education for the first time with a paper by José van Dijck and Thomas Poell looking at the influence of social media platforms on education, particularly within schools. Much of the literature has addressed social media as tools, with varying interpretations offered about how these […]

The Cultural Matters Group at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University on Sept. 27-28 organizes a symposium called Dis / Connection: Conflicts, Activism and Reciprocity Online and Beyond and we look forward to receiving your papers! Deadline for submissions is June 18, 2018. The symposium focuses on a fundamental aspect of social relationships, namely the […]

Notes for week 2 of the CPGJ Platform Capitalism reading group  Both readings for this week treat utopian hopes of the internet bolstering democracy as anachronistic relics, looking in different ways to the murky reality of the politics which platform capitalism is giving rise to. Tufekci accepts some of the claims made about the affordances […]

On pg 57 of George Packer’s Unwinding, he describes how Oprah Winfrey’s rhetoric of authenticity and openness co-exist with a pronounced tendency to exercise control over representations of herself: She exalted openness and authenticity, but she could afford them on her own terms. Anyone allowed into her presence had to sign away freedom of speech […]

One of the prevailing motifs of the Trumpist era has been the recognition on all sides of the social and political costs of deindustrialization, even if this recognition is typically subsumed into a prior political stance. There’a really powerful account on pg 52 of George Packer’s Unwinding which conveys the scale of this change and the curious […]

Notes for week 1 of the CPGJ Platform Capitalism reading group. The notes below relate to Evgeny Morozov’s lecture below:  The question of ‘who owns digital capitalism?’ was posed for the conference but it was one which Morozov felt uncomfortable with because it implied a separation between ‘digital capitalism’ and financialised capitalism. To illustrate the […]

ALW2: 2nd Workshop on Abusive Language Online EMNLP 2018 (Brussels, Belgium), October 31st or November 1st, 2018 Submission deadline: July 20th, 2018 Website: https://sites.google.com/view/alw2018 <https://sites.google.com/view/alw2018&gt; Submission link: https://www.softconf.com/emnlp2018/ALW2/ <https://www.softconf.com/emnlp2018/ALW2/&gt; Overview Interaction amongst users on social networking platforms can enable constructive and insightful conversations and civic participation; however, on many sites that encourage user interaction, verbal […]

One of the most prominent tropes of social media is the crowd. As the cyber-utopian Clay Shirky put it: here comes everybody. This endlessly repeated motif sees social media in terms of the people. Where once there were a few commentators who dominated the airwaves, now everybody has their say online. Where once there were a few […]

What is the relationship between platforms and their users? I’ve been thinking about this all morning while reading The Know‑It‑Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball, by Noam Cohen. On loc 277 he writes: In fact, tech companies believe that through artificial intelligence tools they understand their users’ state of […]