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futuribile / curating futures - Issue #5

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Aloha! Welcome new subscribers, hope this will become your favourite newsletter about tech social imp
 
May 17 · Issue #5 · View online
futuribile / curating futures
Aloha!
Welcome new subscribers, hope this will become your favourite newsletter about tech social impact. I have a handful of events in the pipeline, I will be speaking and/or be facilitating workshops about the Next Generation Internet at: Kinnernet Catalunia (May 31 - June 2); IoT Week Bilbao (June 5); Digital Social Innovation Fair (Rome, June 6-7); Futur.e.s (Paris, June 21). Drop me a line if you happen to be at one of them!
As you might infer from the title of my blockchain column, I am not a big fan of distributed ledgers as a solution to every problem of the world. To me, it’s 70% just another technocentric dream. Misplaced ledgers sexiness. Under the excuse of a pretended efficiency, relationships that don’t need to be operated as transactions have become big experimental fields for this extreme form of determinism.  This is one of the best articles I have read recently on the topic, an excerpt below:
The blockchain is what we call a “trustless” architecture. It stands in for trust in the absence of more traditional mechanisms like social networks and co-location. It allows cooperation without trust, in other words—something that is quite different from fostering or building trust. As the founding Bitcoin document details, proof-of-work is not a new form of trust, but the abdication of trust altogether as social confidence and judgment in favor of an algorithmic regulation. With a blockchain, it maybe doesn’t matter so much whether I believe in or trust my fellow peers just so long as I trust in the technical efficiency of the protocol. The claim being made is not that we can engineer greater levels of cooperation or trust in friends, institutions, or governments, but that we might dispense with social institutions altogether in favor of an elegant technical solution.
This assumption is naïve, it’s true, but it also betrays a worrying politics—or rather a drive to replace politics (as debate and dispute and things that produce connection and difference) with economics.

And now, let’s go with the good reads.
Marta

Blockchain ta mère
 One chip to rule them all: the silent rise of a monopoly in crypto mining hardware.
… And the best subtitle of the week goes toooo … the Financial Times: “Mark Zuckerberg flirts with decentralisation of his very centralised social network” (about Facebook experimenting with blockchain).
Let’s destroy bitcoin. 
How Chinese companies are circumventing the ban on crypto and ICOs.
Reading list
Lost in GDPR? A very effective survival checklist
“Prazer! Sou uma robô feminista até o último código. 🤖❤️"In May 2017 I started a conversation on Facebook with Betânia (Beta, for friends), a lovely feminist chatbot. Among the latest battles it supported, the approval at the first round of 5 proposals out of 6 of Marielle Franco (the Brasilian feminist activist killed last March). More than 13000 people put pressure via email on Rio’s municipal council members.
The Church of Tech is now giving rise to a new sect of apostates, feverishly confessing their own sins. Richard Stallman, Ellen Pao, Tristan Harris and other 10 key people for the internet and social media apologise and explain what went wrong in 15 steps.
Although YouTube is less romantic than a boat, pirate radio stations are back in full swing. The channels occupy a precarious space between YouTube’s algorithm and its copyright policing. 
My AI is better than yours: a US study downplays China’s efforts. 
The most lifelike AI yet: Google’s Assistant.
Meanwhile, 12 Google’s employees resigned to protest against the company involvement in the development of artificial intelligence software for a Defense Department drone program called Project Maven.
Why universities must stay at the heart of the AI revolution, accordingly to Nick Jennings, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise), Imperial College London. 
We lack civic institutions for technology design that increase equality.
Glitch Capitalism: how cheating AIs explain our glitchy society.
Difficult questions will be raised as models of the human brain get closer to replicating its functions: the ethics of experimenting with human brain tissue.
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That’s all! Spread the word on social media and at aperitivo time. Meet you soon, maybe!
Aloha,
Marta
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