Looks at the dark side of Google and its search engine, raising issues about intellectual property rights and the impact that Google has on thinking and decision making, and discussing ways to deal with a Google-dominated Internet.
How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System
Author: Siva Vaidhyanathan
Publisher: Basic Books
Category: Technology & Engineering
The Anarchist in the Library is the first guide to one of the most important cultural and economic battlegrounds of our increasingly plugged-in world. Siva Vaidhyanathan draws the struggle for information that will determine much of the culture and politics of the twenty-first century: anarchy or oligarchy, total freedom vs. complete control. His acclaimed book explores topics from unauthorized fan edits of Star Wars to terrorist organizations' reliance on “leaderless resistance,” from Napster to Total Information Awareness to flash mobs.
How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
Author: Siva Vaidhyanathan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
If you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook. Of course, none of that was part of the plan. In Antisocial Media, Siva Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It's an account of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it's an indictment of how "social media" has fostered the deterioration of democratic culture around the world, from facilitating Russian meddling in support of Trump's election to the exploitation of the platform by murderous authoritarians in Burma and the Philippines. Facebook grew out of an ideological commitment to data-driven decision making and logical thinking. Its culture is explicitly tolerant of difference and dissent. Both its market orientation and its labor force are global. It preaches the power of connectivity to change lives for the better. Indeed, no company better represents the dream of a fully connected planet "sharing" words, ideas, and images, and no company has better leveraged those ideas into wealth and influence. Yet no company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy. Both authoritative and trenchant, Antisocial Media shows how Facebook's mission went so wrong.
We all create intellectual property. We all use intellectual property. Intellectual property is the most pervasive yet least understood way we regulate expression. Despite its importance to so many aspects of the global economy and daily life, intellectual property policy remains a confusing and arcane subject. This engaging book clarifies both the basic terms and the major conflicts surrounding these fascinating areas of law, offering a layman's introduction to copyright, patents, trademarks, and other forms of knowledge falling under the purview of intellectual property rights. Using vivid examples, noted media expert Siva Vaidhyanathan illustrates the powers and limits of intellectual property, distilling with grace and wit the complex tangle of laws, policies, and values governing the dissemination of ideas, expressions, inventions, creativity, and data collection in the modern world. Vaidhyanathan explains that intellectual property exists as it does because powerful interests want it to exist. The strongest economies in the world have a keen interest in embedding rigid methods of control and enforcement over emerging economies to preserve the huge economic interests linked to their copyright industries-film, music, software, and publishing. For this reason, the fight over the global standardization of intellectual property has become one of the most important sites of tension in North-South global relations. Through compelling case studies, including those of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Sony, Amazon, and Google Books, Vaidhyanathan shows that the modern intellectual property systems reflect three centuries of changes in politics, economics, technologies, and social values. Although it emerged from a desire to foster creativity while simultaneously protecting it, intellectual property today has fundamentally shifted to a political dimension.
What identity means in an algorithmic age: how it works, how our lives are controlled by it, and how we can resist it Algorithms are everywhere, organizing the near limitless data that exists in our world. Derived from our every search, like, click, and purchase, algorithms determine the news we get, the ads we see, the information accessible to us and even who our friends are. These complex configurations not only form knowledge and social relationships in the digital and physical world, but also determine who we are and who we can be, both on and offline. Algorithms create and recreate us, using our data to assign and reassign our gender, race, sexuality, and citizenship status. They can recognize us as celebrities or mark us as terrorists. In this era of ubiquitous surveillance, contemporary data collection entails more than gathering information about us. Entities like Google, Facebook, and the NSA also decide what that information means, constructing our worlds and the identities we inhabit in the process. We have little control over who we algorithmically are. Our identities are made useful not for us—but for someone else. Through a series of entertaining and engaging examples, John Cheney-Lippold draws on the social constructions of identity to advance a new understanding of our algorithmic identities. We Are Data will educate and inspire readers who want to wrest back some freedom in our increasingly surveilled and algorithmically-constructed world.
Digital Labor calls on the reader to examine the shifting sites of labor markets to the Internet through the lens of their political, technological, and historical making. Internet users currently create most of the content that makes up the web: they search, link, tweet, and post updates—leaving their "deep" data exposed. Meanwhile, governments listen in, and big corporations track, analyze, and predict users' interests and habits. This unique collection of essays provides a wide-ranging account of the dark side of the Internet. It claims that the divide between leisure time and work has vanished so that every aspect of life drives the digital economy. The book reveals the anatomy of playbor (play/labor), the lure of exploitation and the potential for empowerment. Ultimately, the 14 thought-provoking chapters in this volume ask how users can politicize their troubled complicity, create public alternatives to the centralized social web, and thrive online. Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Ayhan Aytes, Michel Bauwens, Jonathan Beller, Patricia Ticineto Clough, Sean Cubitt, Jodi Dean, Abigail De Kosnik, Julian Dibbell, Christian Fuchs, Lisa Nakamura, Andrew Ross, Ned Rossiter, Trebor Scholz, Tizania Terranova, McKenzie Wark, and Soenke Zehle
Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers. Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works. While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more. The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire. But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete? No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.
Discussing technologies of transcendence; the cultural work of technological systems; technology and knowledge systems; and technology, mobility, and the body; they consider the place of American technologies in an increasingly globalized, multi-polar, high-tech world and illuminate the relationship between technological positivism and the dynamics
A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms Run a Google search for “black girls”—what will you find? “Big Booty” and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in “white girls,” the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about “why black women are so sassy” or “why black women are so angry” presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance—operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond—understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.
Pairing full-length scholarly essays with shorter pieces drawn from scholarly blogs and conference presentations, as well as commissioned interviews and position statements, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 reveals a dynamic view of a field in negotiation with its identity, methods, and reach. Pieces in the book explore how DH can and must change in response to social justice movements and events like #Ferguson; how DH alters and is altered by community college classrooms; and how scholars applying DH approaches to feminist studies, queer studies, and black studies might reframe the commitments of DH analysts. Numerous contributors examine the movement of interdisciplinary DH work into areas such as history, art history, and archaeology, and a special forum on large-scale text mining brings together position statements on a fast-growing area of DH research. In the multivalent aspects of its arguments, progressing across a range of platforms and environments, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 offers a vision of DH as an expanded field—new possibilities, differently structured. Published simultaneously in print, e-book, and interactive webtext formats, each DH annual will be a book-length publication highlighting the particular debates that have shaped the discipline in a given year. By identifying key issues as they unfold, and by providing a hybrid model of open-access publication, these volumes and the Debates in the Digital Humanities series will articulate the present contours of the field and help forge its future. Contributors: Moya Bailey, Northeastern U; Fiona Barnett; Matthew Battles, Harvard U; Jeffrey M. Binder; Zach Blas, U of London; Cameron Blevins, Rutgers U; Sheila A. Brennan, George Mason U; Timothy Burke, Swarthmore College; Rachel Sagner Buurma, Swarthmore College; Micha Cárdenas, U of Washington–Bothell; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown U; Tanya E. Clement, U of Texas–Austin; Anne Cong-Huyen, Whittier College; Ryan Cordell, Northeastern U; Tressie McMillan Cottom, Virginia Commonwealth U; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M U; Domenico Fiormonte, U of Roma Tre; Paul Fyfe, North Carolina State U; Jacob Gaboury, Stony Brook U; Kim Gallon, Purdue U; Alex Gil, Columbia U; Brian Greenspan, Carleton U; Richard Grusin, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Michael Hancher, U of Minnesota; Molly O’Hagan Hardy; David L. Hoover, New York U; Wendy F. Hsu; Patrick Jagoda, U of Chicago; Jessica Marie Johnson, Michigan State U; Steven E. Jones, Loyola U; Margaret Linley, Simon Fraser U; Alan Liu, U of California, Santa Barbara; Elizabeth Losh, U of California, San Diego; Alexis Lothian, U of Maryland; Michael Maizels, Wellesley College; Mark C. Marino, U of Southern California; Anne B. McGrail, Lane Community College; Bethany Nowviskie, U of Virginia; Julianne Nyhan, U College London; Amanda Phillips, U of California, Davis; Miriam Posner, U of California, Los Angeles; Rita Raley, U of California, Santa Barbara; Stephen Ramsay, U of Nebraska–Lincoln; Margaret Rhee, U of Oregon; Lisa Marie Rhody, Graduate Center, CUNY; Roopika Risam, Salem State U; Stephen Robertson, George Mason U; Mark Sample, Davidson College; Jentery Sayers, U of Victoria; Benjamin M. Schmidt, Northeastern U; Scott Selisker, U of Arizona; Jonathan Senchyne, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Andrew Stauffer, U of Virginia; Joanna Swafford, SUNY New Paltz; Toniesha L. Taylor, Prairie View A&M U; Dennis Tenen; Melissa Terras, U College London; Anna Tione; Ted Underwood, U of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign; Ethan Watrall, Michigan State U; Jacqueline Wernimont, Arizona State U; Laura Wexler, Yale U; Hong-An Wu, U of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign.
Elegantly tracing the intellectual history of computer science, Foer puts the DNA of the very idea of "tech" under the microscope. Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, he argues, are breaking laws intended to protect intellectual property and privacy. This is not the path towards freedom and prosperity, but the total automation and homogenization of our social, political, and intellectual lives. Today's corporate giants want access to every facet of our identities and influence over every corner of our lives. Foer both indicts these companies, and shapes a path towards reining them in.
We live in a digital age, buy and sell in a digital economy, and consume—oh do we consume—digital media. The digital lies at the heart of our contemporary, information-heavy, media-saturated lives, and although we may talk about the digital as a cultural phenomenon, the thing itself—digitality—is often hidden to us, a technology that someone else has invented and that lives buried inside our computers, tablets, and smartphones. In this book, Robin Boast follows the video streams and social media posts to their headwaters in order to ask: What, exactly, is the digital? Boast tackles this fundamental question by exploring the origins of the digital and showing how digital technology works. He goes back to 1874, when a French telegraph engineer, Jean-Maurice-Émile Baudot, invented the first means of digital communication, the Baudot code. From this simple 5-bit code, Boast takes us to the first electronic computers, to the earliest uses of graphics and information systems in the 1950s, our interactions with computers through punch cards and programming languages, and the rise of digital media in the 1970s.Via various and sometimes unanticipated historical routes, he reveals the foundations of digitality and how it has flourished in today’s explosion of technologies and the forms of communication and media they enable, making real the often intangible force that guides so much of our lives.
Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World
Author: Jeff Jarvis
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Business & Economics
In a book that’s one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google, the fastest-growing company in history, to discover forty clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by. At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys—but also opens up—vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything—from corporations to governments, nations to individuals—must evolve in the Google era. What Would Google Do? is an astonishing, mind-opening book that, in the end, is not about Google. It’s about you.
Amazon's business model is deceptively simple: Make online shopping so easy and convenient that customers won't think twice. It can almost be summed up by the button on every page: "Buy now with one click." Why has Amazon been so successful? Much of it has to do with Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder, whose unique combination of character traits and business strategy have driven Amazon to the top of the online retail world. Richard Brandt charts Bezos's rise from computer nerd to world- changing entrepreneur. His success can be credited to his forward-looking insights and ruthless business sense. Brandt explains: Why Bezos decided to allow negative product reviews, correctly guessing that the earned trust would outweigh possible lost sales. Why Amazon zealously guards some patents yet freely shares others. Why Bezos called becoming profitable the "dumbest" thing they could do in 1997. How Amazon.com became one of the only dotcoms to survive the bust of the early 2000s. Where the company is headed next. Through interviews with Amazon employees, competitors, and observers, Brandt has deciphered how Bezos makes decisions. The story of Amazon's ongoing evolution is a case study in how to reinvent an entire industry, and one that anyone in business today ignores at their peril.
This extraordinary book explains the engine that has catapulted the Internet from backwater to ubiquity—and reveals that it is sputtering precisely because of its runaway success. With the unwitting help of its users, the generative Internet is on a path to a lockdown, ending its cycle of innovation—and facilitating unsettling new kinds of control. IPods, iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos represent the first wave of Internet-centered products that can't be easily modified by anyone except their vendors or selected partners. These “tethered appliances” have already been used in remarkable but little-known ways: car GPS systems have been reconfigured at the demand of law enforcement to eavesdrop on the occupants at all times, and digital video recorders have been ordered to self-destruct thanks to a lawsuit against the manufacturer thousands of miles away. New Web 2.0 platforms like Google mash-ups and Facebook are rightly touted—but their applications can be similarly monitored and eliminated from a central source. As tethered appliances and applications eclipse the PC, the very nature of the Internet—its “generativity,” or innovative character—is at risk. The Internet's current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true “netizens.”
Critically examines the influence of Google, profiling company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin while offering insight into their lucrative business processes and assessing the internal and external threats that may inhibit the company's prospects.
The Rise of Intellectual Property and how it Threatens Creativity
Author: Siva Vaidhyanathan
Publisher: NYU Press
Social movements inspired by powerful ideological beliefs continue to define global and national politics. In Yugoslavia, civil war is justified in the name of religion and ethnic identity. The Arab-Israeli conflict rages on, fuelled on either side by a conviction of indisputable ideological truth. Closer to home, American religious organizations consistently challenge political authority in the name of a higher morality. Existing theories either ignore the role of religion in social movement formation or discredit the claim that religious convictions can directly lead adherents to engage in political action. Through a detailed analysis of American and British evangelical Christians, J. Christopher Soper here demonstrates that religious commitments were, in fact, crucial in promoting political activism in both countries. Evangelical Christianity in the United States and Great Britain is the first book to provide such a comparative perspective. Focussing on the temperance movement and the politics of abortion, Soper highlights the similarities, and equally intriguing differences, between British and American political/evangelical structures. Using interviews and literature gathered from evangelical organizations on both sides of the Atlantic, he paints a fascinating picture of a hitherto neglected aspect of social movement theory. Evangelical Christianity in the United States and Great Britain is an invaluable new resource for scholars of religious studies, political science and sociology alike. Soper provides a unique model with which to view a dominant political trend: the mobilization of collective action groups around a set of powerful beliefs. His research can thus be applied beyond the boundaries of his chosen topic, and will be an important contribution to the study of any movement in which ideology assumes a significant role.
Ian Wilson,Jean Noel Jeanneney,Teresa Lavender Fagan
Author: Ian Wilson,Jean Noel Jeanneney,Teresa Lavender Fagan
The recent announcement that Google would digitize the holdings of several major libraries sent shock waves through the book industry and academe. Google presented this digital repository as a first step towards a long - dreamed - of universal library, but skeptics were quick to raise a number of concerns about the potential for copyright infrin...
The gap between theoretical ideas and messy reality, as seen in Neal Stephenson, Adam Smith, and Star Trek. We depend on—we believe in—algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It's as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations—the marriage vow, the shaman's curse—do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking. In this book, Ed Finn considers how the algorithm—in practical terms, “a method for solving a problem”—has its roots not only in mathematical logic but also in cybernetics, philosophy, and magical thinking. Finn argues that the algorithm deploys concepts from the idealized space of computation in a messy reality, with unpredictable and sometimes fascinating results. Drawing on sources that range from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash to Diderot's Encyclopédie, from Adam Smith to the Star Trek computer, Finn explores the gap between theoretical ideas and pragmatic instructions. He examines the development of intelligent assistants like Siri, the rise of algorithmic aesthetics at Netflix, Ian Bogost's satiric Facebook game Cow Clicker, and the revolutionary economics of Bitcoin. He describes Google's goal of anticipating our questions, Uber's cartoon maps and black box accounting, and what Facebook tells us about programmable value, among other things. If we want to understand the gap between abstraction and messy reality, Finn argues, we need to build a model of “algorithmic reading” and scholarship that attends to process, spearheading a new experimental humanities.
Behind the lectern stands the professor, deploying course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, PowerPoint slides, podcasts, and plagiarism-detection software. In the seats are the students, armed with smartphones, laptops, tablets, music players, and social networking. Although these two forces seem poised to do battle with each other, they are really both taking part in a war on learning itself. In this book, Elizabeth Losh examines current efforts to "reform" higher education by applying technological solutions to problems in teaching and learning. She finds that many of these initiatives fail because they treat education as a product rather than a process. Highly touted schemes -- video games for the classroom, for example, or the distribution of iPads -- let students down because they promote consumption rather than intellectual development. Losh analyzes recent trends in postsecondary education and the rhetoric around them, often drawing on first-person accounts. In an effort to identify educational technologies that might actually work, she looks at strategies including MOOCs (massive open online courses), the gamification of subject matter, remix pedagogy, video lectures (from Randy Pausch to "the Baked Professor"), and educational virtual worlds. Finally, Losh outlines six basic principles of digital learning and describes several successful university-based initiatives. Her book will be essential reading for campus decision makers -- and for anyone who cares about education and technology.