Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from September 3, 2018 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

Monday 6 - 7pm (EDT) | On WFMU | 91.1, 90.1, 91.9 FM & wfmu.org
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Upcoming events:

Mon. Oct 3rd, 6pm - 7pm: Douglas Rushkoff (More info...)

Options September 3, 2018: Ali Latifi, journalist in Afghanistan

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This week: Ali Latifi, journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan. "I don't think Facebook takes people here that seriously."

Pointers to Ali's work:

@alibomaye on Twitter

Provocative Social Media Overheats in Afghan Elections (by Ali, in Vice News, around the time of the 2014 elections... see also this Foreign Policy piece about the election)

• News & social media feeds Ali recommends: pajhwok.com, tolonews.com, and the Instagram accounts @alibomaye (Ali's own) and @mujmash @euamiri @EverydayKabul @EverydayKandahar.

Recent Tech News

Google's data collection is hard to escape, study claims (CNN, Aug 21): "It's nearly impossible to do anything digitally without Google collecting data on you." Covers the report written by Digital Content Next, CEO of which, Jason Kint, we've talked about on the show. Google's response was to call it Google desperately tried to call it 'wildly misleading' without offering any real evidence.

Review of George Gilder's new book "Life After Google" (WSJ, Aug 31): "Google makes him mad, as does Silicon Valley more broadly, and his ire is directed at the 'new catastrophe theory' which holds 'that artificial intelligence will make human minds obsolete, and that we’ll soon produce machine-learning tools and robotics that excel the capabilities of human brains.'"

Michael Stipe Explains Why He’s Leaving Instagram: “I Think That We Deserve Better” (Spin, Sept 2), quoting his BBC intreview: "I don’t like being tracked and followed, I don’t like the idea that they’re keeping track of how I look at things and how much time I spend looking at things." (Thanks to listener Russ for the pointer!)

...meanwhile, Google proudly announces that they're keeping track of how much time you spend looking at things:

YouTube expands its ‘digital wellbeing’ tools to track time spent watching videos (TechCrunch, Aug 27): "At Google, the company is now addressing digital wellbeing across its products, including Android, Gmail, Google Photos, YouTube and elsewhere. At its Google I/O developer conference earlier this year, it introduced a series of controls for YouTube viewers, including reminders to pause your viewing ('Take a Break') and those that would disable notification sounds for periods of time, and allow you to receive notifications as a digest."

Facebook whistleblower: Social media giant should face new laws for 'failing to safeguard children' (Telegraph, Sep 3): "Sandy Parakilas, who was responsible for privacy and compliance at Facebook for two years, said the company flagrantly disregarded his warnings over other companies’ misuse of children’s data. He said content and product design was driven by algorithms that maximised the number of users, irrespective of the harm to people’s well-being through addiction or the promotion of inflammatory disturbing or threatening material."

...which reminds me of John Oliver's bit on Facebook from July 30.

- - -

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Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Ali Latifi, journalist in Kabul, Afghanistan, talks about how Facebook, Instagram, and other digital tech is affecting day-to-day life for Afghanis.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
  Mark's intro    
  Interview with Ali Latifi, journalist in Kabul, Afghanistan    
0:16:58 (Pop-up)
  Your calls and comments 201-209-9368    
0:33:48 (Pop-up)
REM  Radio Free Europe   Options     0:53:59 (Pop-up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 5:23pm herb.nyc:

hi mark and all, just writing now so that i can be *first*, and to say that last wk's show mighta been my favoritest so far (i'm so funny; did you remember to laugh?)
  6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Welcome back, Mark!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm ultradamno:

Welcome back Mark! Hello techarantulas!
Avatar 🤖 6:02pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark!
  6:03pm melinda:

Hi Mark and Techtons, I am groggy too!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark! Vacation's over!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm northguineahills:

I'm in and out, good to hear you!
  6:06pm Roland from Australia:

Welcome back, I hope you relaxed and put all thoughts about technology away while on vacation. - oops oh no you didn’t.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Welcome back, Mark. Do you think your face is now in China's big database or did you wear a mask everywhere?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm ultradamno:

Michael Stipe, despite the hype, I still...etc
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm ultradamno:

Won't that interfere with You Tube trying to keep you on the hook forever?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Webhamster Henry:

Website heat maps are pretty well established for website engagement optimization and A/Bing. They track the cursor and where it's hovering to see what parts of the website best fit the business model of how a user should be funneled to a page where they will consummate that most wished-for experience: conversion. Which is to say, they buy something.
Avatar 6:13pm geezerette:

Serfing the web.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm listener james from westwood:

Ah, WFMU, the perfect wedge against the Great Firewall. We will crush them with our Jandek.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Webhamster Henry:

... and Felder!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Webhamster Henry:

Is DuckDuckGo blocked in CN?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm maestroso:

In China earlier this year, indeed WFMU was loud and clear.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Layet J:

a link to that list would be great! thanks
Avatar 6:17pm TDK60:

Hello, been away for a while. Need to just listen..
Avatar 6:21pm Linda Lee:

excellent ~ overseas tech ~ worthwhile discussion
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Mark Hurst:

@Layet: Alternatives to Google - restoreprivacy.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm listener james from westwood:

No small techno-feat that we are hearing someone speaking from Afghanistan with the audio clarity of being right across the studio!
Avatar 6:23pm Linda Lee:

let's find out how much better technology serves the people in afghanistan vs rural US
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Ken From Hyde Park:

WFMU is blocked at Macy's and Kame-Apart in this country. Good gravy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Herb - James - Ultradamno - Bas - Webhamster Henry - Melinda - Roland - Ken - Geezerette - James - Maestroso - Layet - TDK - and Linda!
Avatar 6:24pm Linda Le:

Macy's? :-D
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Layet J:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 6:24pm Linda Le:

hey there Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mark Hurst:

@James - I agree - basic communication tools can be hugely helpful - no reason that they ALSO need to be surveillance platforms!
Avatar 6:26pm Linda Le:

communications & surveillance technologies have matured together here ~ linked forever i guess
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm listener james from westwood:

@Linda Lee: excellent point re: rural US
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm ultradamno:

If I didn't know the context I's assume digital well-being referred to finger health
Avatar 6:28pm Linda Le:

just left an ulster county township with about 5% of the population with functional net access ~ & provider needed bribing to offer that much.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm Mark Hurst:

Good point, Linda
Avatar 6:30pm Linda Le:

there's one provider, having taken advantage of state incentives to connect us. not that they've kept up their end of the agreement ..
Avatar 6:34pm Linda Le:

how is the concept of morality relevant to the interests of a corporate entity like facebook or google? it's not.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Mark Hurst:

That's a pull quote. "I don't think Facebook takes people here that seriously."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Webhamster Henry:

Yes, Spectrum is being kicked out of NY because of their failure to reach the unwired, in Ulster County and elsewhere.
Avatar 6:36pm Linda Le:

does facebook take any people seriously, really? they don't seem to.
Avatar 6:36pm TDK60:

LL: correct answer: not.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Webhamster Henry:

This was fascinating - how people try to work around tech censorship. We'll be seeing more of that here as Net Neutrality gets more neutered.
Avatar 6:39pm Linda Le:

webhamster henry ~ that's right. without meeting their mandate. they're being allowed to take the money & run.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In California, a bill to reinstall some net neutrality is on the governor's desk. Will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Avatar 6:41pm geezerette:

All the money and energy put into commercially totalitarian tools instead of global effort ameliorating the acceleration of climate deterioration...enervating..
Avatar 6:41pm Linda Le:

the 'dark age' interview was very good.
Avatar 6:42pm geezerette:

Well being of tech titans.
Avatar 6:43pm Linda Le:

gee .. with friends like facebook, who needs enemies?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm ultradamno:

It's to hear some of these issues about Google again, as opposed to the emphasis on negative Trump search results.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Facebook as your only friend ... nauseating!
Avatar 6:44pm geezerette:

Big brother loves you.
Avatar 6:45pm Linda Le:

big brother can kiss my tuchus.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm melinda:

@LL haha
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm dale:

they're taking advantage of human nature. when human nature changes we'll be better for it.
  6:48pm Vanessa bikes:

so, I just came up with a comparison; not sure if anyone thought of it before? "free" internet sites remind me and same issues as "free" credit cards!
Avatar 6:49pm Linda Lee:

Avatar 6:50pm Linda Lee:

my phone is too dumb for fb/google apps. thankfully.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Webhamster Henry:

Nice Bob Tinney BYTE Magazine image there (Latifi interview)
Avatar 6:53pm Linda Lee:

@dale ~ the damn thing is the effect of social media on human nature ..
Avatar 6:54pm Linda Lee:

yes we can say tuchus! :-D
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm listener james from westwood:

You can say "tuchus"—but you have to give it that good "ch" noise.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Ken From Hyde Park:

On WFMU, you can say it and play it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Webhamster Henry:

Dumbphones have really good battery life!
Avatar 🤖 6:55pm Bas NL:

Vocally fried?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm dale:

social media doesn't create dependency. it's like gambling - it's up to the user to keep it in check.
Avatar 6:56pm geezerette:

Mark, hydration! Rest up. :)
Avatar 6:56pm Linda Lee:

any addiction wins by default, including net addiction.
Avatar 🤖 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 6:58pm Linda Lee:

if there's nothing else happening that's equally compelling, it wins. so we have a pandemic, as most of our lives aren't really that interesting ~ if not downright intolerable.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Webhamster Henry:

You should have a Tinney pic on each week's playlist: authentically retro-furturist!
Avatar 6:59pm Linda Lee:

always liked this one! makes me nostalgic now..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm dale:

linda - i buy that.
Avatar 7:00pm TDK60:

Is this a non-album version of Radio Free Europe? Sounds different from the LP version.
Avatar 7:00pm Linda Lee:

that sounded live.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Yes indeed, I was vocally fried. Came out of nowhere. I blame jet lag... See you all next week!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks again for being with us this evening, everyone
Avatar 7:01pm Linda Lee:

thanks again Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Webhamster Henry:

till next time!
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