Archive for the 'radioberkman' Category

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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RB 214: CopyrightXXX

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Not long ago, illegally downloading a movie could land you in court facing millions of dollars in fines and jailtime. But Hollywood has begun to weather the storm by offering alternatives to piracy — same day digital releases, better streaming, higher quality in-theater experiences — that help meet some of the consumer demand that piracy captured.

But the porn industry is not Hollywood.

While the web has created incredible new economic opportunities for adult entertainers — independent production has flourished, as well as new types of production, which we won’t go into here simply to preserve our G-rating — few other industries on the web face the glut of competition from services that offer similar content for free or in violation of copyright.

Simply put, there’s so much free porn on the net that honest pornographers can’t keep up.

It’s hard to get accurate numbers on how much revenue is generated from online porn. It’s believed to be in the billions, at least in the United States. But it’s even more difficult to get a picture of how much revenue is lost in the adult entertainment industry due to copyright violation.

Surprisingly though, the porn industry doesn’t seem that interested in pursuing copyright violators. Intellectual property scholar Kate Darling studied how the industry was responding to piracy, and it turned out that — by and large — adult entertainment creators ran the numbers and found that it simply cost more from them to fight copyright violators than it was worth.

For today’s episode, Berkman alum and journalist Leora Kornfeld sat down with Kate Darling to talk to her about how porn producers are losing the copyright battle, and why many don’t care.

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RB213: The Public Spectrum

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Most of the spectrum of frequency that exists in the US is occupied or owned by large wireless corporations, cable companies, by the government. But at least one small chunk of spectrum — “low-band spectrum” wireless, or TV white spaces (so-called because it is the space between the television dials) — has been somewhat open to the public.

There are thousands of devices on the market that take advantage of this spectrum without paying a license fee, allowing consumers to transmit bits without interference from walls, trees, or radiation from devices like microwaves.

But the Federal Communications Commission is now deciding whether to auction off this spectrum to the highest bidder, putting at risk not only billions of dollars in economic activity, but also very fundamental concepts of affordable public access to information spaces. And on May 15th, just a couple days away from this podcast, the FCC will be holding an open meeting to discuss whether auctioning off this spectrum would be a good idea.

Harold Feld, senior vice president for Public Knowledge, recently sat down with David Weinberger to talk about why we should be concerned about auctioning off this spectrum.

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RB 212: Richard Price on Academia.edu

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In January of 2012 a British mathematician posted a humble invitation on his blog for fellow academics and researchers to join him in boycotting the prestigious research publisher Elsevier. Citing high prices, exploitative bundling practices, and lobbying efforts to prevent open access to research, the mathematician publicly denounced Elsevier and refused to do business with them in the future.

Eighteen months later almost 14,000 researchers have joined the boycott of Elsevier, kicking off what’s been referred to as the Academic Spring movement.

But despite the effort, closed academic journals continue to be a frustration for professors and researchers in the digital age. Alternatives to closed journals are becoming more common, but growth is slow, and some fields are more welcoming to open access than others.

Enter Academia.edu, a topic agnostic platform for researchers to share their work, connect with peers, and present an entire corpus of their research, completely open and completely free.

Today’s guest Richard Price launched Academia.edu after encountering his own frustrations with the world of closed publishing as a student and researcher of philosophy. He recently spoke with David Weinberger about how the platform is facing up against for-profit journals.

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