Opinion

 

  • #Love: In The Time Of Spotify

    #Love: In The Time Of Spotify

    If you look closely at what I’ve built—at my playlists, all of them public—you can see me. You only have to search my name and you’ll see it all right there: what’s in my head. I’m 23, and my idea of love isn’t far from the chorus of “In Your Eyes”. I’m living in the memory of John Cusack standing outside a window. I’m in the… Read More

  • On The Importance Of Forgetting

    On The Importance Of Forgetting

    The ongoing debate about Europe’s so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling on search engines has shone a light onto a key pressure point between technology and society. Simply put the ability of digital technology to remember clashes with the human societal need to forgive and forget. Read More

  • How To Save Books

    How To Save Books

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a time of triumph, it was a time of disaster, it was the publishing industry in 2014, just after mighty Amazon fired a new salvo in its war on traditional publishing by announcing its $10/month Kindle Unlimited book subscription service. At first glance this might seem useless and ridiculous: Read More

  • A Most Dangerous Machine

    A Most Dangerous Machine

    Facebook’s News Feed has decided that I like gruesome murders. Actually, senseless deaths and gruesome murders. I’m not exactly sure when the problem started, but I imagine it was around the time of one of the now too-common stories of mass shootings like Sandy Hook. Or at least, that’s what I like to tell myself – that surely, I was following a nationwide news story… Read More

  • #Love: My First Experience With Internet Porn

    #Love: My First Experience With Internet Porn

    Pornographic media has existed since the dawn of time, but it has never been as widely available and accessible as it is today. That’s largely due to the internet, which provides a launch pad for our curiosity no matter the topic. But with sex, a topic relatively more private and intimate, the internet can serve as an important resource for sexual exploration, understanding, and yes… Read More

  • Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    This is a post about good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, but don’t worry, it’s highly technical. Let’s start with Stormfront, the white-supremacist hate site that attracts circa 300,000 unique American visitors per month, and the recent analysis of its members (and follow-up) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the New York Times. Some numbers you probably didn’t expect: Read More

  • Innovator’s Dilemma Is Real And Requires Bold Action To Overcome

    Innovator’s Dilemma Is Real And Requires Bold Action To Overcome

    There has been some debate of late as to the validity of Clayton Christensen’s basic idea of the Innovator’s Dilemma. I’m here to tell you it’s real and it requires brave and decisive leaders to work through it. In his 1997 seminal book by the same name, Christensen recognized that companies and indeed entire industries are being challenged constantly by changes in… Read More

  • The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    “Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more. It’s the culture,” quoth Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, prompting some eyebrow-raising by Guardian and New York Times columnists. And here’s some more from TechCrunch…but my stance is a bit different. “The culture”? That’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing as majority… Read More

  • Who Watches The Watchmen?

    Who Watches The Watchmen?

    In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s talk a little about how horrifically paranoid and counterproductive the US government has become. And I’m not even talking about Congress! Instead I mean our old friend the No Such Agency, who, it turns out, have been singling out for special treatment anyone who displays any interest in tools which might make the NSA’s life more difficult. Read More

  • Everyone Has Seen Fireworks, No One Needs Your Photos

    Everyone Has Seen Fireworks, No One Needs Your Photos

    Here’s a novel idea for watching the fireworks: use your eyes. See, the Fourth Of July is when we celebrate the birth of our nation by blowing up a small part of it. But when the urge to pull out your camera phone strikes you, instead, leave it in your pocket, throw your arm around the person next to you, and just be present in the moment. You’re never going to look at those… Read More

  • Stop The JerkTech

    Stop The JerkTech

    “Go disr*pt yourself” is what I have to say to founders of startups like ReservationHop and Parking Monkey. They’re emblematic of a compassionless new wave of self-serving startups that exploit small businesses and public infrastructure to make a buck and aid the wealthy. Let’s call these parasites #JerkTech. It’s one thing to outcompete a big, stagnant company… Read More

  • Facebook’s Head Of Policy On Emotion Experiment: “That’s Innovation”

    Facebook’s Head Of Policy On Emotion Experiment: “That’s Innovation”

    While Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg today apologized for its controversial emotion manipulation experiment being “poorly communicated”, another executive said this kind of research makes the product better, and “it’s concerning when we see legislation that could possibly stifle that sort of creativity and that innovation.” Facebook’s head of global policy… Read More

  • The Morality Of A/B Testing

    The Morality Of A/B Testing

    We don’t use the “real” Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Google, Yahoo, or LinkedIn. We are almost all part of experiments they quietly run to see if different versions with little changes make us use more, visit more, click more, or buy more. By signing up for these services, we technically give consent to be treated like guinea pigs. But this weekend, Facebook stirred up… Read More

  • #Love: Pride

    #Love: Pride

    I’ve been gay since I was… well, born. At seven years old, I knew something was different when I felt an overwhelming affection for my 19-year-old basketball coach, Cathy. By the time I figured out how sex worked, I had also learned that my Southern Baptist private school and religious community weren’t cool with the whole “gay” thing. At 13, despite truly… Read More

  • This Week In The Digital Panopticon: Google And The Right To Be Forgotten

    This Week In The Digital Panopticon: Google And The Right To Be Forgotten

    The ongoing tug of war between data capture and individual privacy in the digital space involves myriad threads, usually moving in different directions. Getting an overview of and a handle on developments can therefore be almost impossible. It’s as if — ironically enough — this issue itself needs to be observed within a Panopticon. Read More

  • Foursquare, Quora, Path: What Becomes Of The Underachievers?

    Foursquare, Quora, Path: What Becomes Of The Underachievers?

    Foursquare, Quora, Path. Each is (or was) a Valley darling; each has millions of loyal users; each has raised more than $50 million, albeit nontraditionally, and been valued at $400 million or more — and each has recently done something remarkable. Foursquare and Path pivoted, hard. Quora, bizarrely, joined Y Combinator. Are they flailing, or is there method to this madness? Read More

  • #Love: Hacking Social Isolation

    #Love: Hacking Social Isolation

    Dr. Christina Villarreal is a clinical psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. For professional inquiries, visit her website here The evolution of technology into our everyday lives is allowing us to do things more efficiently than ever. The act of finding, experiencing and ending relationships is all now widely available at the touch of a finger to a screen. For many… Read More

  • Snapchat’s “Our Story” Is A Genius, Collaborative Reinvention Of The Livestream

    Snapchat’s “Our Story” Is A Genius, Collaborative Reinvention Of The Livestream

    What does it feel like to be a massive music festival? Nothing like a glossy livestream of the mainstage. Much more like Snapchat’s new Our Story feature, a curated channel of user submitted photos of videos from all around a big event. I was there last night at Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival, an 140,000-person dance music festival where Snapchat piloted Our Story. I can vouch that… Read More

  • Welcome To Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door.

    Welcome To Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door.

    Will robots and software eat all the jobs? No. Will robots and software eat your job? Yes, probably. Eventually. Rejoice! …for your grandchildren. You and your kids are likely to have a pretty tough time over the next few decades. Sorry about that. Read More

  • Yo? No.

    Yo? No.

    Growing up – and excuse me for dating myself here a bit – kids were into Swatch watches, jean jackets, stirrup pants, and jelly bracelets. My sister grew up collecting something called “pogs,” which I never understood. Today, kids are more technically oriented. They obsess over iPad-connected toys like Furby, and the never-ending game that is Minecraft. They also like… Read More