János Sugár | 28 May 21:21 2016

your face is big data

Russia's new FindFace app identifies strangers in a crowd with 70 
percent accuracy

Face recognition app taking Russia by storm may bring end to public anonymity

Egort Svetkov: Nowadays the power structures begin to lose their 
monopoly control over the ability to identify a person's face and 
identify him with the help of photos and videos. But people are 
accustomed to differentiate patterns of behavior in society and 
social networks, and leave the ability to spy on their opinion of the 
best, successful moments of their lives for strangers. Such digital 
narcissism - a product of a culture of free expression that defines 
the boundaries of private and public in our time.
We often do not use the privacy settings specifically, and this has 
given rise to a network stalking. Using free-for-all software I was 
looking for the people who sat in front of me on the train 
underground. I learned about the life of people without any contact 
with them through the photos on the social network by comparing a 
real image with a web representation. Modern technologies thus allow 
to continue the practice of Vito Acconci and Sophie Calle - these 
artists followed the habits of the human body and its position in 
space. They did not focus on the personalities of people but only 
constructed character. The ability of quickly and anonymous searching 
people in network helps trace not for impersonal subject and within 
seconds converts to a friend incognito.
Find the project here:
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nettime's apostate | 28 May 10:34 2016

IMF: Neoliberalism:,Oversold?

[This is part of a growing number of statements coming from the
IMF expressing alarm over unsustainable inequality and the kind of
political instability this is causing even in the most developed
countries. In many ways, it's rather disingenious. Still, it's a clear
sign that the neo-liberal agenda is exhausted. But what to replace it?
Some mild form of Keynesianism, as they suggest? As long as there is
no alternative, it will stagger on like a zombie, not the least since
its still profitable to the powerful groups.]

Finance & Development, June 2016, Vol. 53, No. 2

Summar: Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have
increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion.

Milton Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile an “economic in earlier,
1982 miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to
policies that have since widely been emulated across the globe.
The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the
architects of the policies— rests on two main planks. The first is
increased competition—achieved through deregulation and the opening
up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign
competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved
through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to
run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt. There has been a strong
and widespread global trend toward neoliberalism since the 1980s,
according to a composite index that measures the extent to which
countries introduced competition in various spheres of economic
activity to foster economic growth. As shown in the left panel of
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Michael Gurstein | 27 May 18:29 2016

Tech Millionaires vs. Tech Billionaires (guess who is winning... And why it matters to the rest of us

   (Open letter from Nick Denton (Gawker) to Peter Thiel (PayPal, Facebook
   etc.) who evidently has been bankrolling the legal hell ($125 mill and
   counting) that Gawker has been experiencing around the Hulk Hogan
   privacy lawsuit.


   Peter Thiel,

   Nearly a decade ago, [1]after you had opened up to friends and
   colleagues, a gay writer for Gawker shared an item with the readers of
   Valleywag, a section for news and gossip about the rich and powerful of
   Silicon Valley. "[2]Peter Thiel, the smartest VC in the world, is gay,"
   wrote Owen Thomas. "More power to him."

   And more power did indeed come to you. Your investments in Facebook and
   other companies have given you a net worth of more than $2 billion. You
   have tapped some of that fortune to [3]support gay groups such as
   HomoCon. It is now clear that gay people are everywhere, not just in
   industries such as entertainment, but [4]at the pinnacles of Silicon
   Valley power.

   I thought we had all moved on, not realizing that, for someone who
   aspires to immortality, nine years may not be such a long time as it
   seems to most of us. Max Levchin, your fellow founder at Paypal, told
   me back in 2007 you were concerned about the reaction, not in Silicon
   Valley, but among investors in your hedge fund from less tolerant
   places such as Saudi Arabia. [5]He also warned of the retribution you
   would exact if a story was published about your personal life.

(Continue reading)

Brett Scott | 27 May 16:49 2016

If you talk to bots, you're talking to their bosses

Hi all, just published this on the disingenuous and phony behaviour of
AI 'bots', suggesting that the next stage of corporate personhood is for
corporations (legal persons) to literally claim to be natural living
persons, something that can be acheived only if the user-experience
layer of a company’s processes can be completely automated and then
attributed with an abstract personality to make it a being-in-itself.
Original article link:


At a recent financial technology conference I was invited to meet Cleo,
a friendly automated spirit living within the confines of an iPhone
interface that offers financial advice to those who chose to activate
her. Described as an “AI assistant for your money,” she playfully
answered text message queries about bank balances, spending, and budgeting.

Hey, Cleo, what’s my balance?

Hey, Alex! MasterCard: -£760. Current account: £1048. Savings: £1700

Cool, how much have I spent at Pret this month?

You’ve spent £44 at Pret since you got paid on the 15th of December

Despite the futuristic jargon and growing wave of hype around such bots,
automated assistants are not really that new. Our world is full of
simple bots, like the automatic hand dryer in a public restroom that
jets hot air if you trigger its sensor. By now many of us have
experience with some that attempt to mimic basic personality, like the
(Continue reading)

Fusion > Felix Salmon > a dangerous blueprint for perverting philanthropy


Peter Thiel just gave other billionaires a dangerous blueprint for perverting philanthropy

	5/25/16 10:30 PM
	By Felix Salmon

Funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker? That's not cool. Actively
going out to find potential plaintiffs who might have cases against
Gawker and then giving them the money to bring those cases? Even that's
not cool.

You know what's cool? Reinventing the concept of philanthropy so as to
include weapons-grade attacks on America's free press, and doing so from
the very heart of The New Establishment.[1]

	[1] http://www.vanityfair.com/news/photos/2015/09/new-establishment-list-2015

This is the big story, which a lot of people are missing about the news
that Peter Thiel secretly funded[2] a series of lawsuits against Gawker:
the Facebook board member and Silicon Valley demigod just gave the world
a master class in how a billionaire can achieve enormous ends with a
relatively modest investment. That's a lesson many of his friends are
eager to be taught -- not least his protégé, Mark Zuckerberg, who is
just beginning to try to reinvent philanthropy for the 21st Century.

	[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2016/05/24/this-silicon-valley-billionaire-has-been-secretly-funding-hulk-hogans-lawsuits-against-gawker/#4272ea678057

Thiel's interview with the New York Times[3] about his legal campaign,
(Continue reading)

nettime's_speculator | 25 May 21:08 2016

TPM > A Huge, Huge Deal

< http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-huge-huge-deal >

A Huge, Huge Deal

By Josh Marshall

Published May 24, 2016, 9:57 PM EDT

Here and there we've reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker.
As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment
of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive
damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be
reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced,
Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The
anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an
undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named
Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It's hard to feel too much sympathy
when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone's sex
tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind,
significantly changes the picture.

This morning The New York Times reported an interview with Gawker
owner Nick Denton in which Denton said he had begun to believe rumors
that some extremely wealthy person had been bankrolling Hogan's suit.
Read the Times article for the specifics. But the gist is that Hogan's
lawyers made key decisions which made zero sense if the goal were to
maximize the plaintiff's settlement. Denton said he thought the person
was likely someone from Silicon Valley, where you have a strong overlap
between people who have virtually unlimited wealth and people who are
not accustomed to the intrusive and aggressive coverage Gawker and its
(Continue reading)

nettime's avid reader | 24 May 08:46 2016

US: Software to predict future criminals is biased against blacks.


by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner,
ProPublica. May 23, 2016


In 2014, then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that the risk
scores might be injecting bias into the courts. He called for the U.S.
Sentencing Commission to study their use. “Although these measures
were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they
inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal
justice,” he said, adding, “they may exacerbate unwarranted and
unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal
justice system and in our society.”

The sentencing commission did not, however, launch a study of risk
scores. So ProPublica did, as part of a larger examination of the
powerful, largely hidden effect of algorithms in American life.

We obtained the risk scores assigned to more than 7,000 people
arrested in Broward County, Florida, in 2013 and 2014 and checked to
see how many were charged with new crimes over the next two years, the
same benchmark used by the creators of the algorithm.

The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime:
Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes
actually went on to do so.

When a full range of crimes were taken into account — including
(Continue reading)

Alex Foti | 23 May 16:35 2016

alex van der bellen wins austrian presidentials!!!

   european xenophobia defeated again after fn was beaten in france
   plus the winner's a green;)


nettime's_observatory | 23 May 15:56 2016

NYT > Zeynep Tufekci > The Real Bias Built In at Facebook

< http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/opinion/the-real-bias-built-in-at-facebook.html >

The Real Bias Built In at Facebook
by Zeynep Tufekci

NYT, MAY 19, 2016

FACEBOOK is biased. That's true. But not in the way conservative critics 
say it is.

The social network's powerful newsfeed is programmed to be viral, 
clicky, upbeat or quarrelsome. That's how its algorithm works, and how 
it determines what more than a billion people see every day.

The root of this bias is in algorithms, a much misunderstood but 
increasingly powerful method of decision making that is spreading to 
fields from news to health care to hiring and even to war.

Algorithms in human affairs are generally complex computer programs that 
crunch data and perform computations to optimize outcomes chosen by 
programmers. Such an algorithm isn't some pure sifting mechanism, 
spitting out objective answers in response to scientific calculations. 
Nor is it a mere reflection of the desires of the programmers.

We use these algorithms to explore questions that have no right answer 
to begin with, so we don't even have a straightforward way to calibrate 
or correct them.

The current discussion of bias and Facebook started this month, after 
some former Facebook contractors claimed that the "trending topics" 
(Continue reading)

Geert Lovink | 20 May 09:19 2016

++Released Today++ Social Media Abyss by Geert Lovink

Just Out: Social Media Abyss, Critical Internet Culture and the Force of Negation by Geert Lovink

In this fifth volume of his ongoing investigations, Dutch media theorist and internet critic Geert Lovink
plunges into the paradoxical condition of the new digital normal versus a lived state of emergency. There
is a heightened, post-Snowden awareness; we know we are under surveillance but we click, share, rank and
remix with a perverse indifference to technologies of capture and cultures of fear. Despite the
incursion into privacy by companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, social media use continues to be a
daily habit with shrinking gadgets now an integral part of our busy lives. We are thrown between addiction
anxiety and subliminal, obsessive use. Where does art, culture and criticism venture when the digital
vanishes into the background?

Geert Lovink strides into the frenzied social media debate with Social Media Abyss the fifth volume of his
ongoing investigation into critical internet culture. He examines the symbiotic yet problematic
relation between networks and social movements, and further develops the notion of organized networks.
Lovink doesn't just submit to the empty soul of 24/7 communication but rather provides the reader with
radical alternatives.

Selfie culture is one of many Lovink's topics, along with the internet obsession of American writer
Jonathan Franzen, the internet in Uganda, the aesthetics of Anonymous and an anatomy of the Bitcoin
religion. Will monetization through cybercurrencies and crowdfunding contribute to a redistribution
of wealth or further widen the gap between rich and poor? In this age of the free, how a revenue model of the
99% be collectively designed? Welcome back to the Social Question.

English/UK edition (Polity Press) available from May 20, 2016.
https://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9781509507757 <https://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9781509507757>

Italian translation out early June (Agea) with book launches in Rome and Milan. 
German translation (Transcript Verlag) out early October 2016.
Turkish translation (Autonom), scheduled for early 2017.
(Continue reading)

nettime's fluid author | 19 May 20:06 2016

Options for an author to position the "audience" when distributing a work

This text is for confused authors, probably not for you but it is
released in a “release early, release often” manner. so you know what
you are encouraged to do...

Options for an author to position the “audience” when distributing a
work (from a free cultural perspective, so may not sound so objective,

you have 5 options when you distribute a work of art:

1- conventional copyright
2- non-free cultural licenses
3- free cultural licenses"
	a) non-copyleft free cultural licenses
	b) copyleft free cultural licenses
	c) dedicating to public domain
4- dual licensing
5- without relying on copyright or on any other law, you write you own
free cultural or non-free cultural license or your declaration about the
way you want your work to be experienced.

The first four have legal status, which means that you can sue someone
who does not comply with the rules stated in the license. For the last
one, you just depend on the ethics of the people and legally you have
nothing to do unless they do not comply with what you have declared. The
conventional copyright will be valid if you sue someone. You can even
sue someone who totally complies with what you have stated in your
declaration. This is it is up to your ethics.

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