Careful, Now: Turing’s life and the construction of a genius narrative

“I wish I had,” said Steve Jobs when asked if he had designed the Apple logo as a reverence to the computer pioneer Alan Turing who committed suicide with a poisoned apple. Nevertheless, we can draw a line between the mathematician and contemporary technology companies. Without Turing the development of computer science, the end of World War II and the advances in Artificial Intelligence would have taken much longer. We celebrate Turing’s centenary and although his name is generally unknown to the wider public, he will enter history books and the pantheon of science right next to Newton or Darwin. […]

YouTube Still Appreciates User-Generated Content (For Now)

  “YouTube is popular.” There it is, folks. The safest sentence I have written on this blog. With 60 hours of content uploaded every minute and 4 billion page views every day, the pre-eminent video sharing site has found monumental success. But since 2007, what can be less confidently asserted is that YouTube is a champion of user-generated content, a bastion of hope for the layman with a camera or video file. Of course, a statement like this was tautological when YouTube was created. The only content on YouTube was of the user-generated variety, and so the site fostered the […]

Exploring the Geography of WorldBank.org

 “Once we become critical of the assumption that the Web is a neutral repository of information, the structure of the Web becomes much more interesting.” – M.H Jackson, 1997 Absences speak volumes, and yet, interpreting information gaps online has produced only muffled truths. Studies on the geographical origin of Internet content have shown old divides between rich and poor countries repeat themselves online. For example, the vast majority of the shares of Google’s user generated content, academic journal citations and authorship of Wikipedia entries tilt to the wealthier global north. Admittedly, exploring digital landscapes is far less adventurous than the globetrotting variety. However, these journeys allow us to […]

Your Voice–Your Vote?

Facebook is updating its privacy policy and its users can vote which policy version they actually want to have. Considering the torrent of criticism about Facebook’s general approach to privacy, that sounds like a good idea. Except it is not. It presents itself as a democratic procedure but is far away from the standards of an actual referendum. A chance to enhance the self-regulation process has been wasted. Who should get to decide how long Facebook should keep personal data or how they should deploy targeted advertising? The future of privacy will be decided by little tweaks in the phrasing of regulation terminology and users are […]