The Garden and the Stream [...]

From a 2015 keynote by Mike Caulfield. The Garden: The Garden is an old metaphor associated with hypertext. Those familiar with the history will recognize this. The Garden of Forking Paths from the mid-20th century. The concept of the Wiki Gardener from the 1990s. Mark Bernstein’s 1998 essay Hypertext Gardens. The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It...

 

Technology’s Mindfulness Racket [...]

In essence, we are being urged to unplug—for an hour, a day, a week—so that we can resume our usual activities with even more vigor upon returning to the land of distraction. Here the quest for mindfulness plays the same role as Buddhism. In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to reno...

 

Online Attention as Inferior Good [...]

From _The Empirical Economics of Online Attention (2016)_: > We find that higher income households spend less total time online per week. Households making $25,000-$35,000 a year spend ninety-two more minutes a week online than households making$100,000 or more a year in income, and differences vary monotonically over intermediate income levels. Relatedly, we also ...

 

Poverty of Attention [...]

“…[I]n an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overa...

 

Addiction as Metaphor [...]

There was a dust-up last week following a New York Post story which described digital technologies as "digital heroin." The Verge responded with its own article, "Why calling screentime 'digital heroin' is digital garbage." The debates whether about technologies or porn or food all revolve around "what counts" as addiction. From The Verge article: Kardaras’ loose...

 

Algorithms Don’t Polarize People, People Do [...]

> “Individual choice has a larger role in limiting exposure to ideologically cross cutting content [than the News Feed algorithm],” a recent study by Facebook’s own data team ruled. “We show that the composition of our social networks is the most important factor limiting the mix of content encountered in social media.” > > In other words, the thing most p...

 

Great Society vs. NASA [...]

Need to implement Great Society initiatives on a tight budget may have nudged out NASA requests in 1966 > In truth, there were events external to the space program that made it impossible to evaluate proposals on their merits. NASA requests were cut back steadily by the Bureau after 1966, not because they lacked virtues that earlier requests possessed, but because of...

 

The Chthulucene [...]

Donna Haraway (from her latest book Staying with the Troubles): So, I think a big new name, actually more than one name, is warranted. Thus, Anthropocene, Plantationocene, and Capitalocene (Andreas Malm’s and Jason Moore’s term before it was mine). I also insist that we need a name for the dynamic ongoing sym-chthonic forces and powers of which people are a part, ...

 

Burn Rate [...]

A term, used by tech entrepreneurs and investors, to describe how quickly a startup is "burning" through their cash reserves, i.e. their venture capital investment. Here is investor Fred Wilson back in 2011: A good rule of thumb is multiply the number of people on the team by $10k to get the monthly burn. That is not the number you pay an employee. That is the "fully ...

 

Redemptive Technologies [...]

From Ursula Franklin's The Real World of Technology: >... the development and use of redemptive technologies ought to be part of the shaping of a new social contract appropriate for the real world of technology, one that overcomes the present disenfranchisement of people....