This Week: May 30, 2018

Time Well Spent Movement:

Here’s an excellent interview with Tristan Harris, whose notion of “time well spent” is finally catching on with companies like Google and Facebook. Essentially, he makes the case that our technology is pulling away from what matters most in life and that it is time to force tech companies to shift their design priorities, much the way Ralph Nader once did with automobile manufacturers and other consumer products companies.

Ethnicity Recognition Software:

A few weeks ago, investigative journalist Geoff White tweeted an image from Moscow-based NtechLab showing what they claimed was an “ethnicity detection” feature soon to be released in its facial recognition software. It turns out that the technology was nothing more than a skin-tone classification feature, not something that could actually distinguish ethnicity. The company faced a huge backlash, however, as people around the world hammered home the importance of considering the implications of something like this.

Facial Recognition for Post-Cog Policework

And speaking of facial recognition, a Public Security Bureau in China used facial recognition software to arrest a potato thief (actually, a big-time potato thief, to be fair) who was attending a concert. “A few minutes after he passed through the security checkpoint, our system issued a warning that he was a wanted person.” Not quite Minority Report pre-cog, but still, that’s a lot of power to put into the hands of government. Amazon is catching some flack right now for pitching similar facial-recognition solutions to law enforcement offices here in the United States.

A Spotify That Better Helps Musicians

Platform cooperative, Resonate demonstrates a new model for music streaming that is much more generous to artists:

Resonate is a cooperative, and because of that artists, board members, and listeners all have stake in the company and participate in decision-making. According to its website, 45 percent of Resonate’s annual profit is distributed to artists, 35 percent to listeners, and 20 percent to paid staff.

And if you’re unsure of what a “platform cooperative” is, you can read my article, “When Robots Take Our Jobs, Platform Cooperatives Are a Solution” in YES! Magazine.


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