HSS 371

Professor D. Schmüdde

Spring Semester 2018

Atari Mega STE
February 12, 2018

Creation and Consumption in Computing

The New York Times and the Guardian have recently published articles citing concerns raised by former employees of Google and Facebook. Guillaume Chaslot, formerly of YouTube, raises concerns related to the platform's recommendation algorithm in 'Fiction is outperforming reality': how YouTube's algorithm distorts truth . Similarly, the Center for Humane Technology, a new organization formed by a broad alliance of concerned Silicon Valley alumns, plans to take on a number of similar issues: Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built.

My quick take: the priorities of Silicon Valley have broadly changed in the ~thirty years since Steve Jobs proclaimed "the computer is a bicycle for the mind." The industry is no longer prioritizing tools for creation, but rather platforms for consumption. This conceptual pivot is monetized by advertising. The issues addressed above are fundamentally entrenched in the technology sector, and nothing will change significantly as long the cycle of consumption and advertising drive the bottom line.

Tags: contemporary issues history