Newton Lee: Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness (2013)

10 July 2013, dusan

“President Barack Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union Address, called America “the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers” and “of Google and Facebook.” U.S. Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel, said that America has become a “Facebook nation” that demands increased transparency and interactivity from the federal government. Facebook as a nation in 2012 would be the third largest country in the world with over 900 million citizens, after China and India. This book portrays the social media ecosystem as a world of increasing Total Information Awareness, which is essentially a civilian version of the controversial Total Information Awareness program unveiled in 2002 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the U.S. Department of Defense. Back in the 60’s, DARPA initiated and funded the research and development of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) that went online in 1969. The success of ARPANET gave rise to the global commercial Internet in the 90’s and the new generation of Fortune 500 companies today including Amazon.com, Google, eBay, and Yahoo!. As if life comes full circle in the 21st century, private businesses and the ubiquity of social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube are creating the technologies and infrastructures necessary for the DARPA-proposed Total Information Awareness program.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called Facebook “the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented.” Indeed, military and civilian technologies have interwoven into every fabric of our society, as Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We exist at the intersection of technology and social issues.” This book offers discourse and practical advice on the privacy issue in the age of big data, the rise of Facebook nation, and Total Information Awareness. Opening with President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 National Security Decision Directive and ending with George Orwell’s novel 1984, the author takes us on a roller-coaster ride through Facebook’s botched IPO, Carrier IQ, Kony 2012, SOPA/PIPA blackout, cyber bullying, crime fighting, and a host of other timely issues facing our Facebook nation. Social media strategists, information architects, social scientists, policymakers, and academic scholars in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) will find this book a valuable asset.”

Publisher Springer, 2013
ISBN 1461453089, 9781461453086
235 pages

review (Will M, AllFacebook.com)

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Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp: Digital_Humanities (2012)

26 November 2012, dusan

Digital_Humanities is a compact, game-changing report on the state of contemporary knowledge production. Answering the question, “What is digital humanities?,” it provides an in-depth examination of an emerging field. This collaboratively authored and visually compelling volume explores methodologies and techniques unfamiliar to traditional modes of humanistic inquiry–including geospatial analysis, data mining, corpus linguistics, visualization, and simulation–to show their relevance for contemporary culture.

Included are chapters on the basics, on emerging methods and genres, and on the social life of the digital humanities, along with “case studies,” “provocations,” and “advisories.” These persuasively crafted interventions offer a descriptive toolkit for anyone involved in the design, production, oversight, and review of digital projects. The authors argue that the digital humanities offers a revitalization of the liberal arts tradition in the electronically inflected, design-driven, multimedia language of the twenty-first century.

Written by five leading practitioner-theorists whose varied backgrounds embody the intellectual and creative diversity of the field, Digital_Humanities is a vision statement for the future, an invitation to engage, and a critical tool for understanding the shape of new scholarship.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2012
Open Access
ISBN 0262018470, 9780262018470
176 pages

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Stephen Baker: The Numerati (2008)

31 October 2012, dusan

An urgent look at how a global math elite is predicting and altering our behavior — at work, at the mall, and in bed.

Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the twenty-first century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to dissect us and map out our next steps. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior — what we buy, how we vote — without our even realizing it.

In this tour de force of original reporting and analysis, journalist Stephen Baker provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we’re all entering — and to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists — and lovers. The implications are vast. Our privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor and measure our every move (then reward or punish us). Politicians can find the swing voters among us, by plunking us all into new political groupings with names like “Hearth Keepers” and “Crossing Guards.” It can sound scary. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we’re aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Surprising, enlightening, and deeply relevant, The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor — the mathematical modeling of humanity — will transform every aspect of our lives.

Publisher Mariner Books, Boston/New York, 2008
ISBN 0618784608, 9780618784608
256 pages

review (Marcus du Sautoy, The Guardian)
review (Rob Walker, The New York Times)
review (Tim Walker, The Independent)

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