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Big Revolution - Humans are the problem

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Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. I'm traveling for most of the rest of the week. Can I keep this
 
May 15 · Issue #79 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. I’m traveling for most of the rest of the week. Can I keep this newsletter consistent with an erratic schedule? Find out over the next couple of days! I’ll be finding the time, I’m sure.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- Facebook has suspended around 200 apps it suspects of playing fast and loose with its data retention rules like Cambridge Analytica did. New Scientist has the story of one such app that left personal data exposed for years. 
- Ripple wants startups to adopt its XRP cryptocurrency via a new ‘Xpring’ initiative. The much-discussed company (a startup itself) has previously targeted big banks to use XRP, with limited success.
- Goodbye Google Drive. Over the next few months, all users will be moved over ‘Google One,’ with cheaper paid cloud storage plans and easy access to customer service reps. 
- If you’re following the latest season of HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley,’ you may like to now that Business Insider has Gilfoyle’s entire pitch deck for Pied Piper to raise money with an ICO. I’m watching it on Sky Atlantic so won’t get this episode for another week or so, but it’s not exactly a spoiler.
The big thought
It's not tech influencing our votes. Credit: Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash
In recent months, I’ve seen countless pitches for 
‘Fake news’ isn’t a tech problem – it’s human
In recent months, I’ve seen countless pitches for, and discussion about, technology solutions to misinformation being spread online. That’s understandable – if fake stories are spreading via tech, it makes sense that the solution should come through tech too.
But automated language analysis and fact-checking apps are still at a relatively early stage. Tech can’t prove something to be false, especially when there’s nuance to propaganda – it’s not often outright false, just dishonestly twisted for emotional impact. 
And then there’s the whole idea of 'bias’ – a tech person might try to find a solution to bias in the media by surfacing 'just the facts,’ but media people know that whenever you publish a set of facts you’re exhibiting a form of bias by deciding what’s relevant and important.
This was all hammered home to me this morning as I read the New York Times’ account of how misinformation spreading virally on WhatsApp has  affected elections in India.
Facebook might be able to show a user alternative viewpoints when their friend shares a disputed story, it might be able to display a debunk from Snopes, but people are still going to believe the stories that fit their worldview over more accurate accounts. And people are still going abuse technology to exploit that weakness.
Until we all become more willing to listen to voices outside our own worldview, tech solutions are only going to plug holes in an increasingly weakened dam.
One big read
At NYC’s Big Crypto Conference, the Lamborghinis Are Rented and Protests Are Staged At NYC’s Big Crypto Conference, the Lamborghinis Are Rented and Protests Are Staged
A look at the religion that is cryptocurrency – some have faith in a future they’re certain will arrive. Others just want to make as much money as they can before it’s clear that future won’t arrive.
One big tweet
Maybe technology journalists should rebrand as ‘innovation journalists’ (eww) or even 'big revolution journalists,’ as that’s basically what Christopher Mims is describing here…
Christopher Mims 🎆
The longer I cover technology the more apparent it is that "technology" is typically far too narrowly defined. So much innovation is about our business models, good governance, even how people relate to one another and whether they are spiritually fulfilled.
3:40 PM - 14 May 2018
That’s all for today...
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