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else 8.26: Getting a Little Too Comfortable with Technology

By - August 26, 2013

This week in the else round up we explore the responsibilities of technology builders and designers, what it will take for 3D printers and autonomous vehicles to go mainstream, and how humans will always find ways to misuse technology. If you want to keep up with what we’re reading/thinking about on a weekly basis, the best way is to subscribe to the “else” feed, either as an email newsletter or through RSS.

Addicted to Apps – The New York Times
“We cannot rely on the makers of new technology to think about the moral and privacy implications.” This article walks us through the arc of seduction of new technologies, from distrust of the creepy to dependence on the critical. Outlines many of the reasons we’re tackling the societal implications of data in the book.

Addicted to Apps, The New York Times

The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can’t Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook – The Atlantic
Natasha Dow Schüll’s work on slot machine “Addiction by Design” might explain the pleasures of infinite scrolls and click throughs on Facebook photo albums. Incidentally, the 99% Invisible podcast mentioned is also great.

The Rise of the Period Apps: Where Big Data Meets Girlie Graphics – The Cut
Women have been tracking this for a long time. Now we have pink, flowery apps developed by men to help us make better data.

Marketing to the Quantified Self – Ad Exchanger
“First-party data” from self-quantifiers is closer to the consumers, but requires more value and trust in the exchange.

Why bitcoin has a firm foothold in the online gambling world – CoinDesk
Bitcoin gambling sites might have the added benefit of trustworthiness and transparency.

3D Printing Goes Mainstream Retail – The Atlantic
Consumers need a little hand-holding from engineers to bring their 3D printing needs to life at the UPS Store.

A 3-D Scanner Reaches for the Masses – The New York Times
The Digitizer desktop scanner will make 3-D printing more accessible to the masses.

Beyond the tech, autonomous driving is an issue of trust – and parking – Digital Trends
It’s going to take a lot of infrastructure changes, like databases of parking spaces, for driverless cars to take off at scale.

Do our brains pay a price for GPS? – The Boston Globe
GPS impacts on our mental maps and way-finding abilities. What happens when our cars start doing the navigation work as well?

NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests – Wall Street Journal
Even with controls in place, technology will be misused. Human jealousy gets the better of NSA officers, code: LOVEINT.

How We Killed Privacy in 4 Easy Steps – Foreign Policy
“A legal framework that has remained largely static since the 1970s, significant changes in our use of rapidly evolving technology, commercial providers’ increasingly intrusive tracking of our every online habit, and a growth in non-state threats that has made governments the world over obsess about uncovering these dangers.”

Terms and Conditions May Apply
This documentary picks apart the lengthy TOS that we all accept without reading. The whole thing is available on Youtube [looks like it's been taken down, but here's the trailer and some showtimes].

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3 thoughts on “else 8.26: Getting a Little Too Comfortable with Technology

  1. luis says:

    On the “Addicted to Apps” and “We cannot rely on the makers of new technology to think about the moral and privacy implications.” and “If engineers can build something, the thinking goes, they do.”
    With the recent passing of Red Burns, I started reading some of the things she wrote and I stumbled onto one of Red’s core ideas, which was that technology should be a means, not an end: “think of technology as a verb- not a noun. It is subtle but important difference… issues are usually not technical.” I think makers (and myself included) often forget that.

    • johnbattelle says:

      Well put. I knew Red back in the 1990s, and really respect her ideas and leadership in our industry.

  2. Kinex Media says:

    Wonderful points most people wrote in this article… Great items… I think you have made some genuinely interesting elements. Keep the good do the job.