Democracy and technology
I just found the youtube videos of my favorite talks at this year’s PDF.
This first one is by Eli Pariser warning about the effects of increasing personalization on sites such as Google and Facebook where most of us are now getting the majority of our news. Some of the most important things I found him to say are that:
– Increasing personalization of our news sources is telling us what we want to know not what we NEED to know as citizens and this has disastrous implications for the future of democracy.
-We need to stop assuming that the personalization of the news that we consume is itself democratic. As he states, “we need to remember that the code, the machines, the software, are designed by people who have ideas about the world and that they incorporate those ideas into the code. They incorporate ideas about what matters into this software”.
On the whole Eli is right that we need to be intentional in asserting that our online environment and sources of news needs to be heterogeneous. Further, I agree with him that this is a very solvable problem. Here is how:
Her talk was a much needed warning about the ongoing consolidation of the U.S. communications conglomerates and its dire impact on internet access for the entire U.S. population. In her words, ” we are in a titanic battle for the future of the internet in the United States, the technology community is radically underrepresented in this conversation and the response ‘i make websites’ is no longer appropriate or sufficient”
Here is more: