tech-culture

Ars Technica
Google's default search deal with Apple is worth so much to the search giant that Google pays 36 percent of its search advertising revenue from Safari to keep its search engine set as the default in Apple's browser, Bloomberg reported.
Google pays a high price to be the default search option everywhere.
Gizmodo
Here’s the bottom line: The techno-optimist tribe gives off the distinct impression of people who have been so ridiculously rich for so long that they’ve just completely lost the plot about how the real world works. To be fair, this is an apt description of most of Silicon Valley.
Neil Postman explained why this strain of techno utopianism is dangerous in the early 90s in his book Technopoly. We have even more evidence supporting his warnings since then. This "manifesto" displays such depressingly retrograde thinking from the people with money.
Anil Dash
…most are very easy to program by simply playing to their insecurity and desire for acknowledgement of exceptionalism, and so they push each other further and further into extreme ideas because their entire careers have been predicated on the idea that they're genius outliers who can see things others can't, and that their wealth is a reward for that imagined merit. "I must be smart, look how rich I am."
Anil on the brainworms that seem to be infecting the billionaire class. It sounds like a bizzaro normalcy bias driving extremism. Surely something would be stopping me if my views were out of bounds. But there are no bounds in our society once you have a certain amount of money.
shesabeast.co
Recently I remembered a thing that existed when I was younger: “person who does not wear a watch.” The wearing (or not) of watches wasn’t a neutral characteristic, like having blond or brown hair. The not wearing a watch was a fact that might be stated in, say, the profile of an important person or celebrity, that signified bemusement and reverence for a certain characteristic: they are unbound by time; they don’t have much concern about when they get places, or when other things happen.
Excellent thoughts by Casey Johnston on becoming less tethered by sitting with thoughts and anxieties as they come up instead of reaching for screens. Reminds me of Pema Chodron’s explanation of shenpa which I’ve found helpful.
Business Insider
A controversial facial recognition database, used by police departments across the nation, was built in part with 30 billion photos the company scraped from Facebook and other social media users without their permission, the company's CEO recently admitted, creating what critics called a "perpetual police line-up," even for people who haven't done anything wrong.
Posting to social media was supposed to be harmless.
The Verge
“I trust users are doing what they want to do,” he said, noting friction frustrates people trying to grab data or read an article. He wants those users to return — and tell their friends. He views UX as “growing a relationship,” providing something of value rather than squeezing the most out of a single session.
That's it, I'm pressing the independent thought alarm.
Platformer
The pace of change in AI does feel as if it could soon overtake our collective ability to process it. And the change signatories are asking for — a brief pause in the development of language models larger than the ones that have already been released — feels like a minor request in the grand scheme of things.
Not sure it’s possible to slow this train but it is interesting to hear arguments that we should let society absorb what we already have before releasing more evolutions.
NYMag
"The models are built on statistics. They work by looking for patterns in huge troves of text and then using those patterns to guess what the next word in a string of words should be. They’re great at mimicry and bad at facts."
I, for one, welcome our intelligent octopus overlords.
ftc.gov
"The Federal Trade Commission has issued a proposed order banning online counseling service BetterHelp, Inc. from sharing consumers’ health data, including sensitive information about mental health challenges, for advertising. The proposed order also requires the company to pay $7.8 million to consumers to settle charges that it revealed consumers’ sensitive data with third parties such as Facebook and Snapchat for advertising after promising to keep such data private."
Targeted advertising money makes people behave in awful ways. We need more government intervention like this because companies have shown over and over and over that they don’t respect privacy.
businesstoday.in
"A few days later, Marc Benioff said in an interview that he took a 10-day digital detox that included a vacation to French Polynesia after the layoffs announcement."
It sounds really stressful to lay off 7,000 people for no good reason. Glad he got a nice vacation.
Platformer
"Now, awaiting Musk’s latest tweets, I find myself anxious that one of his former employees could be physically assaulted or worse over what the CEO is posting. I don’t know how, in that environment, to make little jokes about Google’s latest failed messaging app, or bad PR pitches, or any of the other bits I have been doing on Twitter forever. I don’t know how to pretend that what is happening is not actually happening. I don’t want to provide, even in the smallest of ways, a respectable backdrop against which hate speech against my fellow LGBTQ people, or Black or Jewish or any other people, can flourish."
Go for the bot mishap but stay for the excellent personal reporting in It’s time to start leaving Twitter behind.
The Atlantic
"Beyond Musk’s political affiliations, his actual political convictions—by which I mean the bedrock set of values, ideologies, and organizing principles through which he sees the world and wishes it to be structured—are a slightly different conversation. Here, I tend to agree with The Verge’s Liz Lopatto, who wrote recently that Musk doesn’t really have political beliefs, only personal interests. But one can have vapid or nonexistent political beliefs and still be a political activist. Political activism is about actions."
If someone behaves exactly like a far right activist it doesn't matter what they believe in their heart. Debate should center around known actions, not unknowable motivations.
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