The end of ideology? Big data and decision-making in politics

Throughout most of the 20th century, one leader or ruling party tried to frame the policy visions of the future and then act upon them. Mostly, ideology and simple heuristics were used to accomplish this goal which led to clear slogans, e.g. supporting a free market economy, lowering taxes or investing in education and other public goods. Above all, it was beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it allowed the political leader(s) to reduce uncertainty by having a long-term agenda. Secondly, it could be used to justify themselves towards their constituents. However, we are currently witnessing a shift in western politics […]

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. […]

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 […]