The ‘Coded Bias’ documentary is ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ for Big Tech algorithms

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Director Shalini Kantayya’s documentary ‘Coded Bias’ unravels how inherent gender and racial biases get embedded in the algorithms that run our lives. There’s been no shortage of documentaries covering the perils of Big Tech. Most recently, Netflix’s The Social Dilemma made waves, for better or worse , as it leaned on insiders to unpack the manipulative designs of social media algorithms. Read Full Story

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How social media is pushing us toward 1984

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Social media platforms are manipulating users and distorting our sense of reality—just as George Orwell predicted. In his dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four , George Orwell created “Big Brother” and, with it, the perfect metaphor for Big Tech. Orwell’s “telescreens,” which can’t be switched off and which record every conversation and monitor every movement of his characters, bear striking resemblance to our smartphones. And just as telescreens automatically push programs on their viewers, social media’s algorithms today decide what we see and shape our vision of the world . Orwell’s heroes, under the Party’s surveillance, try to ban certain ideas from their minds, in a way that resembles how we are starting to monitor our thoughts and actions under the influence of the internet. Read Full Story

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The black box of justice: How secret algorithms have changed policing

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Crime prevention efforts increasingly depend on data analysis about neighborhoods. But there’s a lot we don’t know—and vast opportunities for bias. The story of predictive policing begins in the 1990s with a process developed by the New York Police Department. Today New York is one of the safest big cities in America. In 2018, 289 people were murdered in the five boroughs. The city’s murder rate—3.31 per 100,000 people—was the lowest measured in 50 years Read Full Story

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These are the ways self-regulation could fix Big Tech’s worst problems

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To better police misinformation, social media companies can curb their appetites for constant engagement. Governments and observers across the world have repeatedly raised concerns about the monopoly power of Big Tech companies and the role the companies play in disseminating misinformation. In response, Big Tech companies have tried to preempt regulations by regulating themselves . Read Full Story

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Big Tech no longer sees its customers as humans–antitrust could change that

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Tech giants like Amazon and Facebook have lost sight of the people behind the data points. Antitrust regulation may be the best way to return empathy to tech. Big Tech CEOs—Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg—testified yesterday before the U.S. House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. I don’t expect much to result from this hearing. Such gatherings are largely theatrical, and yesterday’s was frequently derailed by partisan questions around liberal biases. And then there’s the fact that U.S. antitrust efforts are only a shadow of their former self, narrowly focused on consumer pricing rather than general competitive and societal impact and a far cry from the time of the Standard Oil Company, U.S. Steel Corporation, and AT&T breakups. Read Full Story

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Conservative social network Parler has shot to the top of the App Store

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The Twitter alternative is welcoming hordes of conservatives who are frustrated with election content policies on the big social networks. In the days following Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in the election, the conservative social networking app Parler has vaulted to the top of the download charts in both Apple and Google’s app stores. The app, which was founded in 2018 as a “non-biased free speech” alternative to Twitter, has pitched itself as a haven for conservatives who are frustrated with content policies on Twitter and other social networks. Read Full Story

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New study: Social media’s alleged anti-conservative bias is ‘disinformation’

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Republicans charge that social networks intentionally suppress their point of view. An NYU researcher says that the allegation doesn’t hold up. Many Republicans routinely complain that the big social networks systematically suppress right-wing viewpoints, but they’ve produced little real evidence of it. A new study from New York University finds that there is no evidence of it, and in fact finds the opposite—that social media has spread right-wing viewpoints to wider audiences than ever before. Read Full Story

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