Archive for the 'audio' Category

Radio Berkman 224: Reddit – Community? Or Business?

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Reddit is sometimes called “the frontpage of the Internet.” 170 million people a month help upload, curate, and make viral the cat photos, prank videos, and topical discussions that help fuel our neverending thirst for content.

But recent moves by Reddit management to tighten up their content policy have threatened what is seen as the fundamentally “free speech” culture at Reddit.

David Weinberger and Adrienne Debigare recently wrote about Reddit’s crossroads for the Harvard Business Review.

They joined us this week to talk about the culture of Reddit, free speech, and just who gets to make these decisions anyway?

Credits:
Flickr photo courtesy of fibonacciblue
Music from Neurowaxx and Timo Timonen

Reference Section:
How Reddit the Business Lost Touch With Reddit the Culture
Reddit’s community responds to the changes
Internet Monitor’s roundup of highlights from the controversy

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Radio Berkman 223: Fiber City

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Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 1.41.47 PMListen:or download | …also in Ogg

Why are over 450 towns in the US building their own high speed Internet networks?

Let’s look at the example of the small town of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

A few years back the town’s mayor asked if the local cable or telephone companies wanted to build a fiber network to serve local schools and municipal buildings. The companies declined. The project was turned over to the local gas and electric utility, HG&E. Eighteen years later, HG&E have expanded this network to serve local businesses, and even other towns in the area. And it turns out this investment has more than paid for itself.

On this week’s episode we talk about what happens when municipal utilities and companies compete to provide local Internet services.

Credits:
Music by Morgantj “Fresh Doughnuts”

Reference Section:
The report: Holyoke: A Massachusetts Municipal Light Plant Seizes Internet Access Business Opportunities
A terrific map of the 450+ communities deploying their own broadband

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This week’s episode written and produced by Elizabeth Gillis, with Daniel Dennis Jones.

Olivier Sylvain on Network Equality [AUDIO]

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One of the few clear priorities of the federal Communications Act is to ensure that all Americans have reasonably comparable access to the Internet without respect to whom or where they are. Yet, in spite of this, the main focus of policymakers and legal scholars in Internet policy today has been on promoting innovation, a concept that Congress barely invokes in the statute.

In this talk, Olivier Sylvain — Associate Professor at Fordham Law School — will critique this prevailing approach to Internet regulation, anbd suggest that the singular focus on innovation could starkly exacerbate existing racial, ethnic, and class disparities because the quality of users Internet connections refract through those persistent demographic variables.

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More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 222: Going Public

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Public spaces function based on a varying give-and-take relationship with community members. Publicly supported media — whether it be college radio, a local NPR station, cable access, or PBS — shares the word “public,” but traditionally doesn’t have the same relationship with members as other “public” institutions, for examples parks and libraries.

On this episode of Radio Berkman we speak with Nieman Fellow Melody Kramer who is researching what it means to be a member of a public or community radio station. Kramer pulls from examples at stations all over the country of people supporting their public radio stations in non-financial ways, including code and story ideas.

You can see some of what she’s uncovered on her github.

Credits:
Music by Alialujah Choir “Building a Nation”
Photo by Hey Paul Studios

Reference Section:
Melody’s github, where you can fork her code!
Video of her recent talk at the Berkman Center
More about Melody’s work

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Justin Reich on The Web We Want & The Ed We Want [AUDIO]

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The past decade has seen a dramatic decline in user agency all across the Web, but especially in education. The Aughts saw the budding of a golden age of user-produced media on the Web. But these buds never fully flowered, over-shadowed by the development of proprietary platforms like Facebook in the social sector and learning management systems in the educational sector. Thinkers like Anil Dash have lamented “The Web We Lost,” and groups like the Indieweb movement and the Reclaim Innovation movements are working to revitalize a user-owned and user-produced Web.

In this talk, Justin Reich — Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow, Berkman Fellow, and co-founder of EdTechTeacher — highlights some of the exciting innovations within education that seek to put students and learners in charge of their online lives.

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More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 221: How to Stop Traffic

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The International Labour Organization estimates that between forced labor and the commercial sex trade, more than 20 million men, women, and children are being trafficked internationally.

The web plays a huge role in keeping trafficking industries viable, but new technology is also contributing to the efforts to police and prevent human trafficking and the child exploitation that results from it.

As a PhD student in MIT’s HASTS program, Mitali Thakor is studying the problems associated with a tangled web of different institutions and companies trying to solve these problems. Thakor points to questions of surveillance and the rights of youth online in her discussion with Radio Berkman producer Elizabeth Gillis.

Reference Section:
More about Mitali Thakor’s work

Credits:
“The Last Man on Earth” by Neurowax

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis, with Daniel Dennis Jones.

Ali Hashmi on Ideology and Text: Classifying and Analyzing Discourse using Machine Learning [AUDIO]

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We can use technology to uncover patterns in data. But it’s much harder to uncover an “ideology” embedded in text.

In this talk, Ali Hashmi — a researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media — discusses a tool he has created that uses data-driven approaches for classifying discourse in news media. Using an analysis of discourse on Islam in the mainstream media, the tool reveals how media coverage in several mainstream news sources tends to contextualize Muslims largely as a group embroiled in conflict at a disproportionately large level.

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More info on this event here.

John Palfrey on BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In An Age of Google [AUDIO]

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Anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. Libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, and yet are at risk.

John Palfrey — Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover and President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America — discusses his new book, BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In An Age of Google, in which he argues that libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online, while continuing to play the vital role as public spaces in our democracy that they have for hundreds of years.

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More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 220: Trusting the Platform

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The more comfortable we get using digital platforms the more important it becomes to understand our relationships to them. From Facebook, to Fitbit, to Wikipedia, to networked games, and even to our schools and employers, the more we entrust our data to an outside platform, the more we have to ask the question: “How are they accountable to us?”

For this week’s podcast we spoke to four PhD candidates who are working with Microsoft Research. First, Ifeoma Ajunwa explains the tricky employers use big data collected from their employees. Then, Aleena Chia describes the unique system of governance that’s formed around the digital gaming world of Eve Online. Next, Berkman fellow Nathan Matias addresses the nuanced relationship between users and platforms where users create the content, like Wikipedia and Reddit. Finally, we speak with Stacey Blasiola about her research topic, “Newsfeed: Created by you?”

Reference Section:
Room for Debate: There’s No Guarantee of Anonymity by Ifeoma Ajunwa
The Tragedy of the Digital Commons by Nathan Matias
Event page on the web

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This week’s episode produced by Daniel Dennis Jones, and written and edited by Elizabeth Gillis.

Microsoft Research 2015 PhD Interns on Platforms, Data, and People [AUDIO]

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Microsoft Research PhD Interns Ifeoma Ajunwa, Stacy Blasiola, Nathan Matias, and Aleena Chia present their current research on corporations and the quantified self; the Facebook newsfeed algorithm; how sites like Reddit and Wikipedia are made accountable to their users and the public; and the participatory politics of online gaming.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

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