Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tell Me Something (New).

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Tell Me Something (New).

Bonafide Brandiac

Imagine you’re on a train and almost immediately after it’s departure, you feel a gradual brake until you’re at a complete standstill. Right on cue, the conductor’s booming voice comes onto the P.A. system, and informs the passengers the reason for the delay. There’s momentary grief yet simultaneous relief, and the passengers continue in their activities.
The conductor’s voice reappears on the P.A. system; the passengers are aglow hoping for some new news: instead they’re greeted with the same message as before—without change in inflection or wording. The passengers, noticeably disappointed, eventually become agitated after the same stale message is repeated two more times shortly thereafter.
I experienced the aforementioned development on a Sunday afternoon train ride to a family dinner, and realized that the passengers’ gradual annoyance was substantiated: they were hoping for a new message, and were left disappointed when their expectations were not met. The solution? Keep…

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Giants behaving badly: Google, Facebook and Amazon show us the downside of monopolies and black-box algorithms

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Giants behaving badly: Google, Facebook and Amazon show us the downside of monopolies and black-box algorithms

Gigaom

The internet is a wondrous thing — a limitless universe of content and products and information, all of which can be summoned up from the comfort of a chair or the palm of the hand, like some sort of science-fiction dream from centuries ago. Unfortunately, the reality is that massive quasi-monopolies control a large part of that universe, and their self-interested choices and black-box algorithms shape and in some cases define what we see, what we can search for and what we can buy.

This week has brought lessons in all of those areas from Google (s goog), Amazon (s amzn) and Facebook (s fb), each one a cautionary tale about the sci-fi future we live in. So here’s a roundup of the latest bad behavior by the platforms we use (or are used by) as we go about our increasingly digital lives. If we’re missing any other good examples…

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