This morning I talked with Aaron DeVera at White Ops about the United States's foray into the Russian power grid, the fourth industrial revolution (including Internet of Things and AI automation in factory and agricultural realms), Facebook content moderation, and Alexa in the classroom - all lovely dystopian topics plaguing our society.
White Ops is a cybersecurity company that fights malicious ads and botnets online. White Ops director Tamer Hassan was recently named the #1 most creative person in business this year by Fast Company after "helping to crack one of the most pernicious digital fraud schemes in history".
Aaron hosts a weekly internal podcast Botcast covering news and issues related to cybersecurity and technology trends. Utilizing the podcast format and covering the latest news offers an impressive and manageable framework for regular, in-house professional development. The podcast is available internally for now, but there are hopes to open it up to the public in the future.
The format for the podcast centered around discussing articles; Aaron had sent me 3 articles in advance, and I chose the final article. I decided to start my search for news at NLT, and found a story about a newer ed tech company pushing voice technology in the classroom via Amazon's Alexa. It was a perfect fit for the discussion, and a nice opportunity to talk about the publishing team!
Here are the articles and resources we discussed and/or mentioned:
- U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia's Power Grid - New York Times
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution Emerges from AI and the Internet of Things - Arts Technica
- Bodies In The Seats: At Facebook's Worst Performing Content Site in North America, One Contractor Has Died, and Others Say They Fear For Their Lives - The Verge
- Alexa In The Classroom? Amazon's Voice Assistant Leads Kids' Story Time - Bloomberg
- Behind The Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media by Sarah T. Roberts, Yale University Press
- Training an AI Model Can Emit As Much Carbon As Five Cars In Their Lifetimes - MIT Technology Review
For me, themes of surveillance dominated the issues at hand. Concerns around privacy are almost always minimized by the notion of anonymous profiling, and generally the idea that a single human data point within larger datasets won't necessarily expose people to an invasion of privacy; however, the prevalence and mechanization of surveillance is something that I like to mull over. Preparing for this podcast led to me watch an artist talk titled Mechanisms of a Surveillance State featuring Benjamin Bratton, Trevor Paglin, and Carmen Weisskopf, and is thought-provoking if anyone is interested.