Category Archives: ideas

The US, Canada and “long hope”

With love and respect to my friends in the US who are celebrating today, I’m not there. Yes, it’s wonderful that Donald Trump will no longer be in the White House, though I suspect the process of extricating him from … Continue reading

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Stop Doomscrolling. Hang out with smart folks trying to build better futures online.

My US readers – Let’s be honest: you’re doomscrolling. It’s not helping. Unless you’re an attorney who can intervene legally in a voter intimidation scenario, there’s very little useful you can do right now. You have permission to doomscroll after … Continue reading

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Beyond Facebook Logic: Help us Identify and Map Alternative Social Media!

(By Ethan and Chand Rajendra-Nicolucci of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University) As we head towards a pivotal US presidential election in early November, social media platforms are coming under scrutiny. Will they be flooded with disinformation seeking … Continue reading

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A personal update

It’s September 1, and because I’ve spent 35 of my 47 years in educational institutions of one sort or another, the start of the school year seems like the start of the year. So, time for a personal update. Yesterday … Continue reading

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Digital Public Infrastructure… and a few words in defense of optimism

My friends at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia have just published a new paper from me on the topic of digital public infrastructures. This is an idea I started talking about in an article for the Columbia Journalism … Continue reading

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Whose deaths matter? New research on Black Lives Matter and media attention

What influences do social movements like Black Lives Matter, MeToo or Occupy have on society as a whole? One hope movement leaders express is that a successful movement can change how we think and talk about key social issues. Champions … Continue reading

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On me, and the Media Lab

(Please be sure to read the addendum at the end of this post.) A week ago last Friday, I spoke to Joi Ito about the release of documents that accuse Media Lab co-founder Marvin Minsky of involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s … Continue reading

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Training the next generation of ethical techies

My friend Christian Sandvig, who directs the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing at the University of Michigan, started an interesting thread on Twitter yesterday. It began: “I’m super suspicious of the “rush to postdocs” in academic #AI ethics/fairness. Where … Continue reading

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Philanthropy and the hand-off – what happens if government can’t scale social experiments?

My friend and (lucky for me) boss Joi Ito has an excellent essay in Wired which considers the challenges of measuring the impact of philanthropy. For Joi, one of the key problems is that social problems are complex, and the … Continue reading

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Beyond the Vast Wasteland: briefing Congresspeople for the Aspen Institute

I was privileged to speak to a gathering of Senators and Representatives who came to MIT for an Aspen Institute event in May, 2019 titled “Internet, Big Data and Algorithms: Threats to Privacy and Freedom, or Gateway to a New … Continue reading

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