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Dankzij een toevallige klik belandde ik op een interessant artikel dat de gevaren en toegevoegde waarde van social media tegen elkaar afzet.

Te beginnen met het negatieve:

Social media can extend the emotion of our words, while obsolescing the linearity of long-form writing. They can retrieve the immediacy of oral communication, with the caution that this can quickly reverse into constant outrage. This is a danger when our existing institutions have lost much of their authority with the public.

Daar staat iets belangrijks tegenover:

We trust people we know. We can get to know people through social media, if we listen and take the time.

B.J. May voegde de daad bij het woord. Hij zette zijn Twitter-account in om juist meer te leren over meningen van anderen. Afwijkende meningen, natuurlijk. Zijn conclusie:

“Every one of my opinions on the issues at hand had been challenged, and most had shifted or matured in some way. More importantly, however, was this: The exercise had taught me how to approach a contrary opinion with patience and respect, with curiosity and an intent to learn, with kindness and humanity.”

Eigenlijk is het dus een kans, die vermaledijde social media. De huidige netwerken zijn alleen niet zo ontworpen dat ze ons faciliteren bij het vinden van afwijkende gezichtspunten. Dat vraagt om goede digitale vaardigheden.

(Sociaal kapitaal, ftw! )

In Big Tech & people: a complicated relationship of convenience beschrijft Om Malik onze moeizame relatie met technologie.

Op persoonlijk niveau maakt het ons leven een stuk makkelijker, maar tegelijkertijd versterkt het ontwikkelingen die op regionaal of (inter)nationaal niveau enorm onwenselijk zijn.

In the past, when preparing to go to the airport from my parents house (in India), someone (usually my dad) would walk about a mile and a half to a local taxi stand to try and book a cab — typically an aging old Ambassador with only the theoretical capability to make the 20-mile journey to the airport — to arrive at a prearranged time, which involved haggling with the driver and then hoping he showed up. Fast forward 20 years, and I was checking in at the airport within 50 minutes of making a single, simple tap on Uber.

While I marveled at the convenience, I also remembered that there are rumored to be about 450,000 new cars on the road in the Delhi capital region as a consequence of Uber. Add another 150,000 from Ola, and you can see why there is smog permanently hovering over Delhi as the traffic crawls like Los Angeles on steroids.

Hoe vormen wij technologie?

Technologie vormt ons dan wel. Maar wij vormen technologie. Dus het is zaak dat we daarover nadenken en invloed uitoefenen. Daarover citeert hij Rosé Eveleth:

“Our world is shaped by humans who make decisions, and technology companies are no different…. So the assertion that technology companies can’t possibly be shaped or restrained with the public’s interest in mind is to argue that they are fundamentally different from any other industry.”

Zoals over de vraag of technologiebedrijven politieke advertenties moeten toestaan, en zo ja: hoe. En welke kaders we willen stellen aan de inzet van gezichtsherkenningssoftware.

Alleen weet ook Om nog niet hoe:

I am quite interested in knowing how — or if — we can evolve from the big tech conundrum we find ourselves in. So far, I am really surprised that none of us have developed any real answers beyond vague proposals to break up the big tech companies and abstract ideas of how we might attempt to control them. What are the concrete steps? What should we be doing to tame these monsters, which are on the loose? But more importantly: What if these are monsters we can’t live without? This is the question that kept coming up in my mind as I traveled to Japan and India.

Wordt vervolgd!