Archive for the 'radioberkman' 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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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.

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.

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.

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.

Radio Berkman 219: Whose App Is It Anyway?

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You may be familiar with a typical hack-day or hack-a-thon. Throw a group of developers and creators in a conference room for the weekend, and they’ll come up with some amazing app or product to make life better for all of humankind.

Radio Berkman recently stumbled on a hack-a-thon that turns hack-a-thons on their head. Last year a traveling event called Comedy Hack Day visited the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Run by a group called Cultivated Wit, the goal of the hack day is to bring some laughs to the world of tech entrepreneurship. Instead of trying to attract millions of dollars in venture capital, they’re bringing comedians and developers together to create prank inventions, satirical sites, and smart phone apps to poke fun at our increasingly tech-obsessed world.

Reference Section:
Cultivated Wit, the company that organizes Comedy Hack Days all over the US
What is this cool place where Comedy Hack Day took place in 2013? That would be the MIT Media Lab.
Truth for Humanity’s video pitch!
Truth for Humanity has a special page dedicated just to Radio Berkman.
The most recent Comedy Hack day was the month in New York.

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

Radio Berkman 218: The Threats and Tradeoffs of Big Data

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A lot of personal information about you is completely invisible, intangible, and racing around cyberspace on a mission to pay your bills and geolocate your Facebook status. And, of course, this is useful and in a lot of ways really cool.

But today on Radio Berkman we’re going to talk about the obstacles presented by a data-driven society. How can we keep mountains of information out of the wrong hands without compromising all the great benefits we get everyday?

First, we talk to Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center and the author of Data and Goliath, The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World. In this book, Schneier notes that the bulk collection of data isn’t going away, but changes in policy and public perception could allow citizens to have more control over how this information gets used.

And in the second half of the show we talk to Josephine Wolff, who is also a Berkman Fellow and PhD candidate in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT studying cybersecurity and Internet policy. If you were concerned by the major credit card or email breaches of the last few years, you’ll want to hear this.

Reference Section:
Schneier on Security
Bruce Schneier’s TED talk (20 min.)
Josephine Wolff on Slate

This episode features Creative Commons licensed content from:
Neurowaxx
MorganTJ
Mark van Laera

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This week’s episode produced and edited by Daniel Dennis Jones, with Sara Marie Watson, Elizabeth Gillis, Carrie Tian, and Gretchen Weber.

Radio Berkman 217: Don’t Hate the Player, Change the Game

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Few sectors of the networked environment get a worse reputation for hate speech than online gaming. Competitive games with chat functions have always involved some level of trash talking. Slurs, shaming, and casual threats are part of the players’ toolkit for riling up their opponent.

But the toxicity levels of video game forums have reached a dangerous point. Unregulated and unchecked, many gaming networks have become zones where cyberbullying, misogyny, racism, and homophobic language are the norm.

At least one gaming company has decided that this behavior should NOT be the norm. In 2012, Riot Games – makers of the insanely popular League of Legends (over 60 million players around the world) – hired a cognitive neuroscientist named Jeffrey “Lyte” Lin to “game” the game. Jeffrey is in charge of building social systems that de-incentivize bad behavior and bring about a more sportsman-like culture.

On today’s episode, we talk to Jeffrey about what the web can learn from how games are fighting hate speech.

This is the first episode in a series on hate speech online. If you have any comments, or suggestions for future guests and topics, leave us a note in the comments, or send us a tweet!

Reference Section:
More on Jeffrey’s work with Riot
A great primer from PBS on how hate speech destroys games

This episode features Creative Commons Music from:
Chad Crouch
Timo Timonen

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This week’s episode produced and edited by Daniel Dennis Jones and Carrie Tian, with help from Gretchen Weber.

RB216: The Internet — A Yearbook

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In Radio Berkman 216 we tackle the web as we know it in 2014-2015. Hate speech online, freedom of speech online, censorship and surveillance online, and, of course, whether our smart machines are out to destroy us.

All of these stories and more are part of this year’s Internet Monitor report, a collection of dozens of essays that track how we are changing the web and how the web is changing us.

This episode’s guests include:
• Andy Sellars, author of SOPA Lives: Copyright’s Existing Power to Block Websites and ‘Break the Internet’
• Susan Benesch, author of Flower Speech: New Responses to Hatred Online
• Nathan Freitas, author of The Great Firewall Welcomes You!
• Sara Watson, author of Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things
• David Michel Davies, of the Webby Awards on their recent report Understanding the Sky-High Demands of the World’s Most Entitled Consumer

We also mentioned:
• Randall Munroe’s XKCD chart Stories of the Past & Future

This episode features Creative Commons Music from:
Berdan
Chad Crouch
Learning Music Monthly
Timo Timonen

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This week’s episode produced and edited by Daniel Dennis Jones and Carrie Tian, with help from Gretchen Weber.

RB 215: Prometheus and the Dolphins

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Want to create artificially intelligent machines? Want to find aliens? You might want to try talking to nature first.

Philosophers, animal behaviorists, and scientists have worked for decades to get animals to speak “human.” Researchers have even cohabited with primates and dolphins to see if they could somehow connect. Some suggested that by bringing animals into the human community we could actually keep from killing ourselves with increasingly risky technologies.

Disappointingly, we’ve never quite reached that Dr. Doolittle ideal of sitting down and chatting with any member of the animal kingdom. There are huge gaps between animals and human beings that prevent a satisfying level of comprehension.

But these efforts can teach us a lot about how to develop machines that can communicate with us, and how we might understand extra-terrestrials (if and when that ever happens).

Matthew Battles of the Berkman Center’s MetaLAB has been looking at the cultural dimensions of science in the 20th century. He spoke with us this week about how science helps us understand animals, technology, and our place in the universe.

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