The Circle: The Future
Bliv bruger af LibraryThing, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg
Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
I think that would definitely be the biggest hurdle for a real-life totalitarian corporation, making it mandatory, and the book didn't truly explain how it could happen.
My doctor's office proudly informed me that I will now be looking up my medical data on-line. They will no longer give me a call with test results or mail me a letter.
--I-- certainly didn't ask them to put my personal health data on-line!
If I want to know how my children are doing in school, I am now to log on to the Parent Portal and check their grades. Indeed, I am encouraged to do this daily. One time I scheduled a meeting and the teacher didn't even bother to show up. It was 'okay' though, because another staff member arrived, with the on-line print out of my child's grades.
And I confess I don't understand why parent volunteers are setting up Facebook pages for children's classrooms. This seems to me like more sharing than we need to be doing.
I think we get to such a scary future one very small step after another. For example, my son's high school was the only one in the county to administer the 'Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery' to all 11th graders this year. It was mandatory for them. My son told me not to worry: it's just his school. It's not like the military is now screening all high schoolers.
So, next year if they give this test to all 11th graders in the county, I'm guessing they'll say, 'What's the big deal? Last year kids at X School took the test. This is nothing new.' And step by seemingly insignificant step we give away more freedom.
That said, I would be concerned about at what point I'd lose control of such information—do doctors have a need or right to know that I was tested for x, y, or z, even if said results turned up negative? And security concerns abound, of course.
I mean, we know what books you are reading here at LT but we don't have access to your medication history, criminal history, etc. So the potential for abuse by LT is low.
Although....putting those things together we could probably give you some pretty damned good recommendations: both for books and future medications. Hah! :)
I LOVE the irony of this, by the way. You guys couldn't have chosen a better book to start this book club with!
But the point is, when Bailey explained it to Mae, I found myself unable to disagree with him. Total openness SOUNDS good, and it's only my gut-feel of 'this is bad' that can disagree. And how do you do a cogent argument with only your gut giving input?
So, how DO we know when to stop? I don't know the answer to that.
One example: my wife has had some medical problems and it's pretty invaluable to have all of her medications, scans, etc. online so that we can review them and give them to other doctors when we need them (without having to wait for some office worker 1000 miles away to "get to it" later in the day) as well as review and question them.
I want access to my data but I don't want anybody to know that I like unicorns, fluffy animals, and ordering pizzas at midnight.
>9 conceptDawg: Yes, exactly. I think there's a huge difference between people who have a reason to know, and publicly available.
Maybe it's that for generations growing up with this technology, they may become too comfortable with it and forget or never learn to relate to other humans person-to-person.
It does feel pretty good to sit here and write this, and know that in a minute or so you will be reading it. Perhaps you'll respond to me. And I'll read your words. It's definitely kind of cool.
If this was the primary way I'd learned to interact with others, would I want to take the effort to know people face-to-face? Mae makes a choice to interact with her thousands of followers rather than her parents and Mercer. It's more satisfying to her. I'm thinking maybe that's really what scared me.
Maybe it's that for generations growing up with this technology, they may become too comfortable with it and forget or never learn to relate to other humans person-to-person.
If this was the primary way I'd learned to interact with others, would I want to take the effort to know people face-to-face?
I don't know about this new invention that all the kids are using for hours every night, what are they calling it? The "telephone?"
I think most major, disruptive technologies tend to be looked at with an untrusting eye by older generations. That's not to say that there isn't value in doing so but that it's nothing new.
I think it really depends on how you look at it, as well. Online/digital learning is inferior to in-person learning, for sure, but it's superior to previous methods of distance learning, right? (To be honest I don't know what those were. Dry-reading textbooks? Course materials by mail?)
Lots of people use Twitter and other things I know nothing about, to 'follow' people. Do you guys think that if use of those services continues growing, people could be tracked down the way Mae did Mercer? Would real humans hunt someone like that in your opinion? Or was that an un-believeable part of the book to you?
It is? Could you elaborate? The social context is important for, say, college, and the physical presence of a teacher is important for, say, kindergarten, and probably for much of the time in between, but it doesn’t have to be either/or. And as an adult living in a small city with a full time job, I am grateful for opportunities to connect to other people with compatible interests (whether formal courses or not), which often wouldn’t be possible otherwise, for reasons of geography and schedule. I read more attentively with LT than I have in previous years. Also depends on what you’re trying to learn; e.g. history vs dance, and even here I can imagine plausible online scenarios. I find online discussions easier to deal with than large groups in person.
I think there are already a lot of companies existing with more information about me then I am comfortable with. With a few mergers and acquisitions of major conglomerates and even more information is merged.
Whew, I'm starting to sound paranoid. Now where did I leave my tin foil hat?
We're not all blindly rushing to give everything of ourselves to those who just want to buy/sell us.
>23 .Monkey.: I consciously steer clear of Foursquare (and get kind of confused as to its point/popularity) for exactly this reason.
What got me thinking about all this was Mae's bizarre experience late in the novel, where she began enacting the desire of the millions of fans streaming through her. It set me thinking about value distance learning, which I suppose I've always been wary of. Her habit changes were more a result of discipline/surveillance, and not distance learning, however its still worth mulling over. Mae's situation kind of reminded me of a horrible communal reversal of second-life.
Informative online classes are definitely informative, but do they increase your skills as effectively? Take learning the piano from a tutor, for example; there is an incredible amount lost in distance learning, and while it does depend on subject, imitation and repetition are critical beyond elementary school. I don't really support ye old traditional classroom, I just can't see a classroom split into little bubbles hundreds of miles apart being as effective. Of course distance learning is better than not learning at all, if not learning at all is the other option. This is often the case. But it can't replace the real thing.
Did anyone understand Mae's auto-dictation (when she repeats her name to herself in order to rally her spirits)? Odd stuff.
There are other sides to all of these coins, of course, and I don't mean to say that you're flat-out wrong, but... I digress. Back on topic!
As for the last bit, Mae repeating her name, I filed that one under "bizarre" and walked mentally walked away. It was weird, and didn't seem to have a purpose. Eggers seemed to be alternately beating the reader over the head with his metaphors and symbolism, and trying to be super deep with stuff like her own voice repeating her name, and "the tear" nonsense. I would definitely appreciate some insight on that one.
However, I am concerned about kids learning face-to-face social interaction. I think there needs to be more of that, just as I (curmudgeon that I am) think kids need to learn basic math skills before they start depending on calculators. Not so much because I think that they won't always have a calculator available, although that is a possibility, but because they need to understand the underlying concepts.
"Should we waste tax money on elitist hobbies like classical music?"
"Should muslims be prohibited from polluting our horizons with their ugly minarets?" (yes, this was a referendum in Switzerland, and yes, the majority said it should be prohibited)
(I could go on but I'm already getting sick)
A 500-seat lecture hall wouldn’t be so suitable for this either. I can see computers (if not necessarily distance learning) playing a role in rote skills here.
26: the real thing
The real thing though has many forms. Seminar vs lecture hall. Ivy League vs community college. Evaluation of product (e.g. term paper) vs process (dance, sport) in something of a continuum. Mental vs physical. I can see concern where nuanced individualized instruction is replaced by cost-cutting one-size-fits-all presentation or multiple-choice or drill, but there’s more to the concept of distance learning.
29: However, I am concerned about kids learning face-to-face social interaction.
Is this a problem among people you know?
There are equally as many variables in a virtual classroom that can damage learning as in a non-virtual classroom; class size, amount of distraction, ability gap, etc. And those adverse conditions might make virtual learning a very attractive alternative (e.g. Teacher can talk one-on-one to more students in any given time). Rather than get down into all the nitty-gritty details of what conditions make each type competitive to the other, I'll stick to my opinion that there will always be quite a bit of loss, not just in information, but how one goes about doing the thing being learned, if it's done completely at a distance.
I think distance learning should exist by all means, just not replace it when good embodied learning is an alternative.
The 'tearing' that Mae experienced, the weird sort of emptiness in her downtime, may be an existential fit of some sort, aka Sartre. Or at least that's what I think Eggers was gesturing towards. Not sure about the whole repeating her own name.
>30 PimPhilipse: So what about a future with instant democracy
It's a frightening thought. I remind myself that state and federal governments are republics within a republic, at least here in America, which I think was a great idea.
Is this a problem among people you know?"
Yes. Most of the times that I go out to eat, I see whole families all using smartphones or tablets but not interacting with one another at all. That seems sad to me.
The same goes for the technology and the social progression of technology. Much of it is not plausible. But it rhymes with plausibility the same way the outlandish details of Orwell's worlds rhymed with Stalinism.
To that end, here are my defenses of the various points found implausible.
* Mandatory voting. Things might look different from other countries, where voting is in fact mandatory. Governments do make similar deals, for example the deal between DeCode and the Icelandic government, which gave a single company a monopoly over a country's health records, and indeed over its people's genetics.
But I think the larger point is the way these things creep. Someone invents an internet filter and in no time legislatures are requiring libraries to us it, or they don't get state money.
Or take the Social Security Number. The very act that authorized it stipulated it was not for identification purposes--a sop to Americans who were afraid of European-style national id cards. Now, who would deny that the SSN is the primary identification number in both business and government?
That's it for me now. Gotta go get the kid.
>35 TooBusyReading:, >31 qebo: "29: However, I am concerned about kids learning face-to-face social interaction.
Yes, I worry about this also. When my daughter was in her mid-teens she had a friend who came over to the house a couple of times. The friend seemed incapable of putting her cell phone in her pocket. It stayed in her hand all the time. She was either texting on it or reading a text on it all the time. She couldn't come out of the phone long enough to have a conversation with my daughter. It was very sad. The friendship didn't last long.
When Mae is at dinner with her parents and Mercer, and he begs her to put away her phone and be with the three people who are in the same place with her, I found that a realistic and powerful scene.
Yes, I thought that was a very telling scene. Her "smiles" and ratings were more important than the people she was supposed to love.
Going back to the earlier comments in this thread, although Eggers didn't paint the leap very well, I can also totally see a plausible future leap from something existing as a corporate thing to it being mandatory for everyone.
At my public university, they make us submit our work to a privately run plagiarism checker site, which keeps your work on file basically forever after you submit it to check against future plagiarism. There is no real option to opt-out. The company provides a useful service to the university, so the university forces us to use it. Extremely hard to object on any principled ground without being viewed as a cheater since the software is being used to maintain academic integrity. Even though if someone else is suspected of plagiarizing your work, the other university with the suspected plagiarizer can request to see your full paper (including private info like name and university!) to see how similar the new work is.
The university also recently switched to using a Gmail-based email system, which caused minor controversy. All students and professors must use that email system for university-related communications. (Profs and TAs are told to warn you they will not respond if you don't use your 'official' email address). This was highly controversial because it means all of our Canadian student (and professor) communications are being routed through a private American company, which means it is legally subject to snooping from the American government. It even got a write-up in the Globe and Mail this week, "E-mail outsourcing to US stokes spying worries": http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/e-mail-outsourcing-to-us-stokes-spy....
Admittedly, those cases aren't mandatory for everyone in the country, just everyone in specific public universities. But public institutions mandate the use of private corporations not infrequently... If you want a driver's license you go to a privatized testing company here, DriveTest. Prisons are privatized and run for profit in many US states.
If something is seen to save money, or be morally right, it's easy to get public support for privatization that is seen to be more efficient/effective. And once it's privatized and run for profit, the company has a strong incentive to get everyone to use it. Whether that's bribing judges to put more people in prison (See the 'Kids for Cash' scandal) or funding political campaigns of both political parties, so anyone who gets elected is indebted to you, or demonizing those who support privacy as 'siding with the child pornographers', it's happened already... (The specific quote from the Canadian Public Safety Minister was: “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”)
Does Facebook archive everything? Or can stuff be deleted from it?
In response to some of the other comments, I don't know that there is a big difference in dismissing online learning and dismissing home schooling. The arguments are similar. I have the same concerns about opportunities for social interaction (famously lampooned in South Park), but I would have loved to have opportunities for online courses in classes my school was too small to offer. I also know a number of working adults who use online courses to complete advanced degrees that just wouldn't work time-wise any other way. Ernest Cline in Ready Player One offers an interesting take on an entire school system that children attend virtually.
About Mae hearing her own name in her ear when she took too long to answer a survey question, I kind of had the feeling it soothed her because it was her past self calling to her. Almost like it was the last time she was her own person and she realized at least on a subconscious level that she had lost her sense of self. I may be off the deep end a little on that one.
I'm far from consistent on technology vs. privacy, and I think Eggers got that right. I like having medical records online, plus banking and any number of things, but I often refuse to give my zip code to a cashier at stores that ask for it. Part of the reason one of my favorite inventions is what I call No Human Contact Shopping, and others call self-checkout.
I believe that one of the most insecure things in our lives today is on-line banking. What to get bilked? Do your banking on-line. I do the save thing. I pay in cash whenever possible.
I would rather use self-checkout than depend on a clerk who too often ignores me while he/she talks to a co-worker or someone he knows who is behind me in line, or those who stop in the middle of a transaction to answer the phone. That's just rude. If they have to answer the phone, which they sometimes do, the caller should be told that they will be helped when the customers already waiting have been helped. (This is obviously a pet peeve of mine.)
I was like you when I first bought a cell phone and I was always very careful about my privacy on line. Slowly, I realize I have been relaxing my "standards" if you want to call them that. I still don't have a Facebook page, but I do use online banking. I only go to my bank, not the gas or electric company's websites etc. I am beginning to give my cell phone number out to more people, regretting these decisions each time. For example, the vet. They only had my home phone number before, but I am never home during the day because I work. So is it better to give them my work number, my cell number or live with the inconvenience of always having to call them back the next day?
This anxiety, which was one of the successes of the book, I think, stems from the dilemma of convenience and connection vs. privacy. Yes I could connect with my friends more easily if I had a Facebook page. Yes, it is better for companies/physicians to have my cell phone number and not use my work phone, but at what price? The knowledge that you are always reachable and therefore condemned to answer when someone calls. The Circle certainly portrayed this well, although not with subtlety.
I made a mistake and gave my home number to the optometrist. Now they call me a week ahead and ask me to confirm that I am coming to my appointment. I don't know that far ahead and I resent them calling for that. At least it is the answering machine and I can delete that. prior to this, they called at work, and the phone was answered by our receptionist who took a message and gave it to me. Of course, we now don't have a receptionist at work. Her job has been subsumed by e-mail. I don't give out my e-mail address either.
Why don't I use self-checkout? You have to use a credit card or a debit card. I don't have a debit card, and after a rather ugly time being in debt I only use a credit card for emergencies. As I said, I did the safe thing and use cash or checks whenever possible. The thing about credit cards being safer is a lie. They are actually easier to use for fraud than are checks. I got that from our local police and my bank after my credit card number was stolen. I do keep a credit card and now house it in one of those metal boxes that blocks it from being electronically read.
Probably, my number one reason for not using self-checkout. People need jobs. What are they going to do if they can't run a cash register or flip burgers? Go on welfare?
The job situation was one thing that I thought The Circle did not address. Other than Mercer and Marion, Mae didn't know anybody who did anything other than work at the Circle. I understand why Eggers did that because he was trying to address the issues of privacy, but the way things are headed I see the world becoming more of a place like that depicted in some of the more dystopian science fiction with a small elite and a huge underclass with no way of getting to a better life.
There's still a person working it, and there's no less checkouts than there otherwise would be. It's an express-lane option.
The ones I have seen only allow cards. Can't use checks there. I have seen some that allow the use of cash, but very few.
I hate that.
And this morning, when I was buying 4 things and got my turn after the person ahead with a cart-full was finished, the clerk barely acknowledged my presence because she was too busy talking to the person behind me, whom she knew.
I hate that too. If the person is going to have no more personality than a machine, I prefer dealing with a machine.
I've never seen a self checkout station that doesn't accept cash. I'm not denying that they exist; I've just never encountered one.
Which brings up a whole new issue: are we at the point in society and technology that we create jobs just so people can work? I can't remember which state in the U.S. I was travelling in a couple of years ago, but they had NO self-service gas pumps. Full service everywhere, and I must say it was pretty nice having someone else pump the gas. I asked why and was told it was to create jobs.
Is this good (think FDR's work programs during Great Depression)? Is it bad?
By the time it got to be Mae's world, I wonder how many jobs would be left. The Circle would make so many careers obsolete (in a perfect Circle world there wouldn't be much need for law enforcement, for example). So, how would anyone be able to pay for the fancy Circle gadgets and computers/phones to run their programs?
Ha ha. Maybe the world is saved by poverty.
The woman who cuts my hair does not accept cards because she has to pay a transaction fee that is a percentage of the sale. She said it cost too much so she accepts cash or checks.
I think what really bothers me is that we are giving up essential things in order to get these conveniences. This was the central issue in the book. I identified with Mercer in that regard. I feel that I am being forced into some practices that I don't agree with simply because it is impossible to not go along with them. I have often asked myself why I am asked for ID when I write a check and those who pay with a card are not. What is the reason for that? I know that it is because the card guarantees payment in case of fraud. But why shouldn't the card payers be asked for ID as well. Wouldn't that cut down on the fraud and save the card company money? I feel that if I don't carry a card with me I am less of a person than those that do.
It's funny how there is such a generational (and perhaps country-based) divide in what is even seen as the future. In my experience in Canada, half the people my age don't even own cheques any more. Those who do use them almost exclusively to pay rent. I have literally never seen anyone pay with a cheque at a store, I am 99% sure it would not accepted, but not positive because I can't imagine a circumstance in which anyone would even try. Even the government is pushing for direct-deposits of all government benefits/payments, they have a set date (2016 I think?) for the phase-out of government-mailed cheques entirely.
It also illustrates the difference between when things are run by (monopolistic) corporations vs not. In my opinion, Interac is the best payment system here: it's a non-profit company that is coordinated by all 5 big banks in Canada (they wanted to become a for-profit company at some point, but anti-monopoly provisions prevented it). Canadian debit cards are run with Interac instead of Visa or Mastercard, and processing fees charged to merchants end up being way lower than credit cards. So no cash/cheque needed, and merchants are happy too. When me and my room-mates need to square bills with each other, we use Interac e-transfers (most bank plans give you a couple free a month) to move the money from one of us to the other.
On the other hand, I find it crazy when I drive to the US and can't pay for gas at the pump because they require an American zip code, and can't figure out that my Canadian credit card is valid despite not having a zip code.
When I went to look at the Amazon drones there was another article on the page that caught my eye. It too was straight out of the Circle. This one was on individual pricing for products at grocery stores. Two people buying the same product pay two different prices. I have noticed this trend in buying from companies I have used for ages. I buy baking products from a certain New England flour company and have done so for years. Twenty years ago I sent them an order in the mail and they sent me products. I made a mistake and gave them my e-mail address when I joined their on-line baking blog. (I love the blog.) However, I now also get advertisements from them. One of them said that I got free shipping with an order over a certain dollar amount. I went home that night and called in my order only to find out that the free shipping was only for on-line customers. I was shocked. Shipping is shipping is shipping. I called the company the next day and they gave me the free shipping and upped it to the fast primo shipping but they did tell me that these offers were only for on-line orders. For a company that prides itself on customer service, I find this whole thing disturbing. Now I see that grocery stores are going to do it too.
I think the Circle is here.
I mean I agree differential pricing based on things like what web browser you are using does seem pretty creepy (and I hear that happens now?). But is it functionally that much worse than giving students or seniors discounts to people who can prove they are students/seniors? I'd say the main new and scary part about it is the lack of transparency it has, compared to old forms of discounts. I'm not sure if the actual practise is any more unjustifiable though...?
Edited to add: Maybe the extent of the data they collect on you to target the discounts and products is the scary part? Anyone remember this story about Target predicting this teenager was pregnant before her dad knew? http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen...
#75: Yes, the request for the zip code at the gas pump is strange. That has only been the case for the past 5 years or so, I think. They keep making it more and more difficult. Maybe that will force people to use cash again. ;-)
And please don't think I'm biased just because I refer to humans as 'humans' and drones as 'adorable flying robots'.
Seriously, the only Circlish thing I see about it now, is the loss of yet more jobs for humans, who, while possibly not as cute as adorable flying robots, do need to make a living. Possibly the manufacture and maintenance of drones will create more jobs than the delivering by drones will eliminate. I hope.
Personally, I don't think we're going to get this anytime soon. Mechanical things are harder to perfect, and less forgiving of error. People are not going to want drones flying above them which, if they fell, would kill someone. And if they do eventually happen, there are many, many more efficient uses of such drones than as Amazon delivery agents.
Regarding the recent posts about paying with credit card, here's where I think credit cards are Circley: I pay with my card at the grocery store, the gas pump, the bookstore. The credit card company charges a fee to the grocery store, the gas station, the bookstore. I think there's no fee because it's not broken down on my statement. It's passed on to the merchant.
The merchant raises prices to cover the fee.
So, really, I'm paying the fee, which is, I think, usually something 3%. Feel free to help me out here; I don't really know the numbers.
Now, what does the credit card company do with the fee money? Turns around and gives it back to me in the form of 'rewards'. Some cards are better than others, and give me my 'rewards' in the form of 2 or 3% back in cash. Other cards make me take my 'rewards' in the form of gift cards to places they've decided I should shop. Or, even worse, merchandise they've decided I should want to own. I had one card that wanted me to go on an on-line auction and try to 'win' the preselected items they'd decided I want by outbidding other people with my earned 'points'. Sheesh.
Even the cards that give me 'cash rewards' are Circley. They let me 'earn' more 'rewards' by shopping at the stores they want me to shop at. I can earn extra 'rewards' by buying when they want me to buy.
Am I just finding the Circle in everything? Or do you find that a bit Circley also?
And then the next step is 'what else can we use these drones for? I only listened to part of the next news clip, the one about the law enforcement guy wanting drones to hunt for drug runners. Should have listened to all of it, but I was too busy trying to make the clip go back because I wanted to see the cute Amazon drones again.
So once we're all used to adorable robots, it will be much easier to get our okay on drones doing things we initially would have said 'no way!' to. Yes. Circlish indeed.
I feel like you've described a… brick in the wall, not the wall. Credit cards, loyalty cards, credit histories, banks, Facebook, Google, etc. exist in a world that is still working to sell, trade and aggregate data. The volume of sales, trades and aggregations increases, but the process is fitful and incomplete, and won't be complete so long as there exists a market with lots of players in competition. Whatever data CVS has on you through it's loyalty program, for example, is hardly out there for all to see--or RiteAid would be using it too! The Circle would is one in which we finally get everything together in one place--one company that knows more about who you are and what you buy than any other company or collection of companies with data agreements could know. Honestly, I think we're heading in that direction. But progress there is going to be fitful, with all sorts of opportunities for competing interests to align in the direction of privacy and non-agglomeration.
I don't actually care if my grocery store knows my food and other merchandise preferences. They give me coupons that save me money on stuff I buy anyway. I like that.
But the Target article creeped me out, yet it's absolutely no different from what my local grocery store does with my 'plus' card every time I shop, except that it's to do with that vulnerable time of bringing new life into one's family. And it made me recall, almost 20 years after the event, how angry I was about the case of free baby formula left on my doorstep. A 'gift' from the formula company that, I read in an article, had pinpointed exactly what day the new mother was most likely to be exhausted by parenting and discouraged with breastfeeding, and most open to 'just trying one bottle'.
So, I don't care that 'they' know my favorite ice cream, but I don't want 'them' meddling with decisions affecting my young ones. Except it's okay that they know my young ones' favorite ice cream. I want those coupons.
As you see, I can't form a logical argument at all.
Lists your longest post. Mine was 2,610 words. :)
ETA source: https://twitter.com/QuantumPirate/status/407529481361195008/photo/1
Mercer tried to point out the other side of things. Privacy is good and not everything needs to be known. Somehow the spinning of privacy into secrecy really bothered me as I see evidence of that kind of spinning in so many ways. Not to mention that it is one of the things that people scream so loudly about when it comes to politics and government.
>88 timspalding: Thanks Tim. I will NOT try to top your number!
>90 norabelle414:, 92 I'm still laughing. :)
"Google’s Anti-Facial Recognition Policy for Glass is Deadly"
The author argues that, in banning facial recognition, Google is damaging children. Rather, he advocates that Google Glass come pre-installed with an "Amber Alert" app, which is constantly scanning for children who have been declared missing.
"Isn’t this very real prospect of technologically-enhanced safety worth sacrificing a bit of our own privacy? While I’m not a parent, if anyone of my family were to go missing, their privacy would be the last thing I’d be concerned about. And if I’d gone missing, I’d want everyone to do all they could to find me, even if it meant sacrificing my own privacy."And
"In my opinion, such a system could be used to help save thousands of lives. But then, we’re too damn caught up on absolute privacy that we’re willing to sacrifice actual, physical lives to ensure our privacy remains untainted. Such individualist dogma is deadly."Circle-y, no?
I do think the novel missed out on the government's interest in exploiting all this data. The Circle renders congresspeople helpless, then takes over voting, etc. It is more powerful than the state. What we're seeing now is a kind of vast mirrorsite for corporate data collection that is bigger than any social network data trove. Of course, the state and corporations are deeply entangled (and Edward Snowden was not a civil servant, but a corporate employee with a contract to do technical work for the state), but there seems to be some outrage at this point that the state is doing things like tapping undersea cables to suck data out of the pipeline and exploit data compiled by any number of corporations (though how much outrage is real and how much for show is never clear to me).
i did wonder, reading the book, what Eggers is thinking about the NSA leaks.
Teens aren’t abandoning “social.” They’re just using the word correctly.
"You see, we’ve come to define “social” in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. “Social” has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define “social” as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.
“Social” is what happens when someone posts personal information—photos, thoughts, announcements, favorite songs, jokes—on the internet and another person comes along and clicks a thumbs up icon or a star or a heart. If someone’s really “social,” they’ll even type a comment or reply.
Kids aren’t leaving social networks. They’re redefining the word “social.” Rather, they’re actually using the word with the intent of its original meaning: making contact with other human beings. Communicating. Back-and-forth, fairly immediate dialogue. Most of it digitally. But most of it with the intent of a conversation where two (or more) people are exchanging information and emotion. Not posting it. Exchanging it."
Want creepy? Here's creepy. LibraryThing employees all use a company Google account, with Gmail, calendars, etc. We got them way back when Google started allowing Gmail for non-Google domains; it's very handy. As you might expect, we can add new employees, delete old ones, change passwords and get into accounts. In theory, therefore, Abby and I (at least) can have a minute-by-minute account of where all our employees are.* Have any made any unexplained visits to another employer? Were they really sick on that sick day? Too much time at the bar? Visits to the marijuana dispensary? A nude bar? Affair?
*This depends upon what Google apps they have, and whether they've granted permission. I appear not to have any Google location data, which is odd considering I use their maps app. Also, most employees have iPhones, and we don't pay for any Google phones. We might do that in the future, however. After all, if we paid for every employee to have an Android phone, we'd be able to track them…
As for the greater question, I think this is a bit creepy. Most people don't know that when they turn on "Use my location" that the company is not only USING the location for the transient API calls, but also STORING that information forever.
The EU is also talking about requiring each country's eID system to be compatible with eachother, eventually.
The thing is, they talk it up as being more secure. But when you boil it down it's just a user/pass combo... I don't quite understand it all.
Obviously the tweet was stupid, unprofessional and racist. I'd have fired her too. (She worked in PR too!) But the scale and sharpness of the action—one woman plucked from obscurity becoming reviled by millions—is breathtaking. That's a lot of power directed at anyone, let alone some random person on Twitter.
Yeah, I just disagree. People do unspeakable things—far worse things—all the time. They do things, rather than saying things. Often their local context reacts, and they get their just deserts. But as for the rest of the world, unless we install cameras in every home, we'll never know. Good.
This incident works—it spreads and spreads—because people like watching a car wreck. They enjoy watching someone get destroyed. That they can contribute in their small way heightens the thrill. And that they can sit ring-side at the delicious, gory mess while assuming the mantle of anti-racism? It's a orgy of self-righteous cruelty.
Life will go on. People will be beastly to each other as they always have. Sometimes they will do so on a medium that is usually semi-private but potentially global, and one time in a million the fickle, lazy eye of the internet meme will snatch them one up and rip them apart for our passing enjoyment.
I think for many people it's not the trainwreck, not when it comes to things like bigotry. Yeah, people like trainwrecks, that's why hideous "reality" TV is a thing and all, but people really are not tolerant of racism, especially with the tons of stuff that's been going on (more visibly) over the past year or two. Paula Deen, Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman, rich white kids getting off free while blacks are accused of utterly absurd crimes, etc, so people are quick to jump on it and attempt to right wrongs where possible. Because we can't stop those with guns/power from abusing them, but we can possibly do something about admissions of racism in the cloud.
Seems to me you are doing lots of assuming of your own about complete strangers. That they are merely "assuming the mantle of anti-racism" (as if it's impossible to be against racism sincerely), and that they are self-righteously cruel. If somebody were organising this woman's physical tarring and feathering, then I'd be concerned about cruelty. No, it's not nice to gloat. But being a racist idiot is worse.
She shouted in a public auditorium, the auditorium shouted back. Considering her job, it's not surprising there were repercussions. At least she doesn't seem to be in any danger of material poverty.
In The Circle, wanting to reserve one's free will is counter to the "we do everything in the open and together" ethos. Coupled with transparency is an insistence on conformity, on belonging, on joining in. It feels good to be part of the crowd, even when it becomes a pack attacking something. It's validating. Other people are like me; I am part of something bigger than me. I have somehow grown in stature by being part of this group.
The scale and the speed of responding to something has been amplified by social media. It can alert people to a problem or help them share information (as in the response to the earthquake in Haiti). It can also spread misinformation much faster than in the past. And it can become a human wave of disapproval that breaks over someone who did something stupid in public. I agree that the power - in part because it scales up so quickly - is pretty breathtaking and not a little disturbing.
When I've used public writing in classes it's partly to encourage thinking about public audiences. In school, the audience is usually your teacher. Now it can be anyone, but crafting writing for that vast an audience (which in reality hardly ever is paying attention) is an interesting rhetorical challenge. But it's a daily writing situation that we need to consider.
Another tack: Consider your whole life. Consider the lives of the 100 people close to you. Picture every things you did and said laid out on a light table to be picked over by the world. Have you ever in your whole life said or done anything worse than this tweet? Have any of them? Seriously. Maybe you or someone you know suffered for their stupid or evil act. Justice is good, sometimes it even makes us better. But imagine that act somehow attracted this sort of attention. Do they—do you—deserve this?
I note that when you type Justine Sacco into Twitter it offers "justine sacco husband" as the first suggestion. The top tweet is:
The first thing that comes up when you search for "Justine Sacco" is "Justine Sacco husband." Cause it was all about calling out racism.Glad someone noticed. (By the way, it appears she doesn't have one.) The second is:
"Justine Sacco the kinda white woman you give AIDS to and let her find out by infecting her husband"Has that guy landed yet? Would you like me to spend five minutes assembling 100 tweets as vile as Ms. Sacco's? I would be pretty easy. But something about them won't stick. The eye passed over them. They're in the audience cheering, not on the gallows.
She shouted in a public auditorium, the auditorium shouted back
I guess we disagree there. The internet is a graveyard of analogies from the real world. That said, for most people--and Justine Sacco had 400 followers--Twitter is more like saying something on the street. In theory it's public, but most of the time only the people around you notice what you said, and not one person in 1 million finds something they say casually on the street taken up and shown to hundreds of millions.
*I am against capital punishment, but they deserve to be punished.
So now you are saying that the hue and cry on Twitter is like a public hanging?
Consider your own self-righteousness, Zorro.
Justine Sacco had 400 followers--Twitter is more like saying something on the street. In theory it's public, but most of the time only the people around you notice what you said, and not one person in 1 million finds something they say casually on the street taken up and shown to hundreds of millions.
I'm not on Twitter, your post brought this to my attention. So, you've done your bit to disseminate knowledge about this incident and make me aware that this woman is a racist, and probably a very stupid person even apart from her racism. Which may not be practically useful to me but clearly could be useful to any number of people she may deal with.
If you don't like analogies, don't make them. Verbal thrashing isn't "hanging". Twitter isn't a "street". Four hundred followers isn't a cozy brunch party, and they aren't sitting behind closed doors either. Any place on the internet can get hit by a spotlight any time, the nature of the beast amplifies the effect, and this is what happened here.
I don't doubt you can find more vileness on the internet, the question is, what's your point? That nobody deserves criticism unless EVERYONE who deserves it gets criticised? I don't know, open a Tumblr account and get busy, you got the makings of a dandy social justice blog there.
by Nick Bilton
Mobs that start with a small spark and erupt in chaos have existed for centuries. As John Mullan, a professor of English at the University College London, noted in a lengthy piece about the history of mobs, in the past it was often the poor who rallied against the rich and powerful.
But today’s riots are different in that it is the powerful, specifically those with the largest followings online, that could help quell these eruptions, yet instead douse them with more anger and hate.
Those not piling on with hate ended up egging on the others by treating the entire experience as if it were a reality TV show. Or a joke. Anyone who tried remotely to defend Ms. Sacco was then attacked, too.
In the eyes of the mob, there was justice.
Yet the people who threatened to rape and murder Ms. Sacco, who attacked her family and friends, aren’t held in contempt or fired from their jobs.
Is that also true in Europe? My impression is that "hate speech" is taken more seriously there. Does that apply to the internet?
Those who post anything feminist or controversial that gets any kind of notice, get bombarded with that kind of vile threatening crap.
Just "posting while female" is enough. Men don't seem to get rape threats as often.
It's a question of scale. Also, threatening people with death, rape and etc.--not to mention their families, etc.--is worse than a racist joke.
So, you're not paying ANY attention to what sort of people would behave in this way? It's all just grist to your anti-liberal mill.
I had once an upstanding conservative citizen tell me--on the Internet, in Salon's talk--that he'd like to see me swinging from a lamppost. That's what you and your sort are like, obviously.
What sort of people would behave in this way? Which way? The mob is a mob of the righteous, racially oppressed?
Incidentally, I don't really see where liberals or conservatives get into this. Ms. Sacco is not a conservative. I see no evidence the Huffpost and NYT writers are conservatives. It seems to me you're the one introducing the notion. Is it comforting to put that which you don't like into boxes with other things you don't like?
Is it a "mob" of "anti-racists" who are threatening her with rape, or is it a bunch of morons--a small minority within the responses to her tweet--beneath anyone's contempt?
Is it comforting to put that which you don't like into boxes with other things you don't like?
Too rich! A delicate constitution could OD on the irony!
GigaOm: "You don’t want your privacy: Disney and the meat space data race"
The article is great overall. Disney is showing us what can be done, and it's scary. But some of the stuff at the end is scary now:
"I recently installed a flashlight app on my phone. In exchange for this app that does no more than turn on my phone’s camera flash, I give it my geolocation all day long. Who owns this app? No idea. Probably some Ukranians. What I do know is that this app is worth like $5 to me, and yet that was enough to give these strangers all my info.
Same with Angry Birds (tracks location). Same with LinkedIn (can read AND WRITE my phone call data, can read my “calendar events plus confidential information”, etc.). Same with the freaking Shazam app that let’s me identify that song playing in the mall. Have you heard of Stylitics? …
We’re all wringing our hands over the NSA, and meanwhile we’re handing our data as fast as we can to other entities for next to nothing. If the NSA were smart, it would buy Candy Crush Saga, change the permissions, and be done with it."
Opera Singer Can't Stop Farting After Surgery, Loses Job
See also HuffPost, NYPost, UK Independent, io9, and a million copycats of the repurposers.
So, to review:
1. Woman suffers a dangerous, humiliating and disabling medical mistake.
2. Woman sues hospital for it.
3. Lawsuits are public as a matter of government
4. Local paper (?) picks it up and writes a sober, local-interest story.
5. Gawker, Huffpost pick it up for laughs, and it acquires massive viral fame. She farts through her VAGINA—bwahahahaha!
6. For a few weeks, a woman will have the state of her vagina and asshole laughed at across the web.
7. For the rest of her life, anyone Googling the woman will rapidly discover the state of her vagina and asshole.
8. Gawker and the rest did nothing useful, and they make a killing.
And here's what I find most gross: normal, morally adjusted people I know share the story and laugh about it on social media. Then, squirrel-brained, it's off to the next thing.
"The Narrative Clip is a lightweight square only a smidge larger than a postage stamp. A tiny lens is in the corner, capable of shooting 5-megapixel images. You clip it to your lapel and it starts shooting two photos a minute. Later, you can simply connect it to your computer to store the photo stream. A Narrative app then organizes what it thinks are the best shots of the day."
I hate being photographed at the best of times. In my mind, I'm a gorgeous 30-year old, but for some reason, the photographs all show some old lady well past her prime, and who likely never was gorgeous. (Maybe this post belongs in the Dorian Gray thread.)
Essentially, this plane operates like a permanent satellite in synchronous orbit, taking photo on photo of the entire city. The broadcast caught my interest because of how low-tech the enterprise seemed--airplanes and cameras? Law enforcement successfully tracked criminal activity before and after crimes have been committed in Dayton, Ohio, so cities might be seeing a little observant speck above them any time now.