Tag Archives: news

Manipulation of the ‘filter bubble’

In my previous post, ‘Is Facebook the Real Big Brother’, I talked about Facebook and manipulation. Here, now, is a TED talk from 2011 about the ‘personalisation’ of the internet, and how it locks us in rather than freeing us up.

I have to say I was shocked when I watched this TED talk, especially as Eli Pariser foresaw the problems we’re now facing…6 years ago. I was also shocked because I had no idea that even my searches were being ‘tailored’ for me by Google.

“From human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones.”

When I do a search, I want it to be relevant, yes, but I also want to see what’s out there. I want to choose what I see, because if I can’t see the things that I may not like, I may be manipulated into seeing things that are skewed for someone else’s benefit.

Cambridge Analytics already boasts that:

  • it knows us better than we know ourselves and
  • used that knowledge in both the Trump election and Brexit.

Truth or bullshit?

Given the company’s connection to billionaire software genius Robert Mercer*, and Mercer’s connection to Breitbart and Bannon, I can’t shrug it off as bullshit. But if Trump and Brexit are possible, then Eli Pariser’s filter bubble could turn out to be more like a noose.

My thanks to Honie Briggs for the link to the TED talk.


*The Guardian expose is here and you can Google the details to check their validity:


It took a prime minister to get Facebook to see the difference between child pornography and history — Quartz

Facebook just can’t seem to engineer news. Two weeks ago the best-selling Norwegian author Tom Egeland wrote a Facebook post about the “photographs that changed the history of warfare,” according to The Guardian. One of the photos Egeland included in his piece was “The Terror of War,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo showing a naked 9-year-old…

via It took a prime minister to get Facebook to see the difference between child pornography and history — Quartz

I dislike Facebook, always have, but until fairly recently that was simply a personal position – similar to not liking the colour pink. Now, though, I worry about its amoeba-like spread into all aspects of internet life.

It’s as if Facebook wants to become the ‘internet of media’, the one-stop-shop for all its users needs. But the glory and the power of the internet era is its diversity, and the ability for all voices to be heard. Concentrating all that power in one place means that news, and be extension, history will once again be capable of being vetted.

This incident was almost too ridiculous to worry about, but in the future, I expect Facebook to become a lot better at being Big Brother. And that worries me.


Tad Williams on Otherland online

otherland series covers_Tad Williams has been one of my all time favourite authors since I fell in love with his Otherland series. Since then my Daughter has become a fan, as has her boyfriend, so I guess you could say it’s a family affair. 🙂

Something else we share in our family is a love of gaming and MMO’s [massively multiplayer online games]. Little wonder then that we have all been waiting for Otherland the MMO.

Otherland online is an mmo that has been in development for something like six years, and is based on Tad William’s Otherland series. But the connection doesn’t end there. Tad Williams has been actively involved in the development of the game, and it has his seal of approval,  so ….

You guessed it, I asked Tad Williams about Otherland online during Supanova [here in Melbourne], and his eyes lit up.

Although Tad is more interested in the social side of Otherland online than in the traditional mmo aspects, we found common ground in the Lambda Mall. For those who have not read Otherland, Lambda Mall is the equivalent of a future Second Life on steroids. It is a place where people go to have fun, shop, and interact with each other. All this interaction happens via avatars that are as basic, or as spectacular as people can afford.

In the Lambda Mall of the Otherland mmo, gamers will be able to hang out with their friends, shop, and generally have fun because for the first time in an mmo, they will actually have things to do in this social hub.

In recent years, I’ve been a fairly solitary gamer because I simply don’t have the time to interact with other gamers during group events like dungeons, or raids. And I do miss that interaction, so I have been following the development cycle of Otherland online with a fair degree of impatience.

That impatience turned to concern when I read of problems with the company developing the game. Naturally I voiced that concern to Tad Williams and he was quick to reassure me that this was just a temporary glitch. Phew!

I’m paraphrasing Tad here but the good news is that Otherland online will be completed in either the US or Canada. Discussions and negotiations regarding this move should be finished within a month and then the beta testing will go on.

At this point, no-one can provide a firm launch date, but both Tad and I have our fingers crossed for the end of 2013.

Needless to say, I can hardly wait. Oh, and did I mention that Tad Williams is incredibly approachable and nice? Well he is. 🙂

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