Aral Balkan

Welcoming film and TV director and social justice advocate @Lexialex to the fediverse. She just made a principled move away from Twitter after they banned someone’s account for cussing a Nazi (

Welcome, Lexi!

CC @Gargron

Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

“People want health care and education to be social goods, not market commodities, so we can choose to put public goods back in public hands. People want the fruits of production and the yields of our generous planet to benefit everyone, rather than being siphoned up by the super-rich, so we can change tax laws… None of this is actually radical.”

Excellent article by Dr. Jason Hickel

@Gargron Correct me if I’m wrong but from what I’m seeing, unless I implement WebFinger, my ActivityPub server cannot federate with Mastodon. Is that correct/as designed?

e.g., I search for my server’s URL. Without WebFinger, nothing is found. With WebFinger, the account is found. Mastodon doesn’t seem to ask for the actor – at least via a search – unless WebFinger exists.

It’s not AI vs people
It’s not Big Data vs people
It’s not robots vs people

It’s corporations vs people.

Aral Balkan boosted

@aral Corporations don't need a code of ethics. They need democratic governments holding guns to their heads, ready to shut them down at the first sign of malfeasance.

Getting there, of course, is the hard part.

Aral Balkan boosted

@aral Actually, there already exists such an oath (see Archimedean Oath here [1]). I guess it is more or less well known depending on the country, but when I finished my MSc, my former university proposed us to signed it.


Should Data Scientists Adhere to a Hippocratic Oath?

A growing amount of my time is being spent countering Silicon Valley spin:

Aral Balkan argues that an ethics code like that drafted this week could actually worsen societal harms caused by technology. He fears it will be used by corporations as a signal of virtue, while they continue business as usual. “What we should be exploring is how we can stop this mass farming of human data for profit…”

Aral Balkan boosted

many kurdish accounts on #twitter get suspended. Twitter is by that supporting fascism in this very crucial situation

You can help with:

- giving more visability to this issue through joining a twitter storm
- presenting an alternative

This would bring a benefit to the kurdish struggle and be on the same supportive for the fediverse

If you'd be into joining a twitterstorm pls boost this post (follow for updates)

Time and # announced if enough interest is there. suggestions welcome

Aral Balkan boosted
> AI analog of asking women to smile: editing faces to make them look more/less smiling also made them look more feminine/masculine because of the correlations in the training data.


from tweet

A little reminder that @balsamiq are an indie outfit, wonderful people (<3 @peldi), and make a kick-ass low-fidelity wireframing tool :)

The Difference Between Free/Libre and Open Source

“Free/Libre = Open Source + Ethics
Open Source = Free/Libre - Ethics”

—Christophe Lafon-Roudier, @Framasoft

Learning about

“NetHood is about bridging the digital with the physical space; sharing ideas and experiences, affirming differences; building together local solutions for local needs, including: DIY networking, social infrastructures, complementary currencies, cooperative housing, and community-supported agriculture.”

(Projects include,, …)

“If 90% of what’s in your fridge comes from your garden, to the blockchain, your fridge is empty. Technology comes with cultural assumptions.” – @how

Hacking EU funding to benefit non-bullshit decentralisation projects

What @how is working on is very important. A means to make at least some of the EU Commission funding around “Next Generation Internet” available for non-bullshit decentralisation projects focused on preserving human rights.

Aral Balkan boosted

@Gargron If you can, tune in to

The topic might sound uninteresting to you, but you'll see how it articulates with Mastodon.

I walk into a talk on HTML5 video. Look up the speaker’s company. In their privacy policy, they state that they share personal data for advertising, do not honour Do Not Track, etc. I think I was just confused about because they mention “free software” and “libré” alongside “open source”. The love affair with I’m seeing makes sense if they’re just an “open source” conference. So, my bad, it’s just not what I thought it was based on how it brands itself.

“cornerstone sponsor” is people farmer and titan of , Google.

Their business model is to track you on their own services and devices, across the web, and beyond and then use this intimate insight into you, your family, and your loved ones to manipulate your behaviour for profit.

Can someone remind me what principles stands for again? Maybe Greenpeace is missing a trick by not having Exxon Mobil as a sponsor.

The last episode of the four-part The Guardian podcast I took part in titled “Digital dystopia: taking back control” is now out.

Listen online at:

“In a new project, the RSA and DeepMind are creating space for citizens to consider trade-offs in the use of AI” (

Here’s the letter I sent the RSA, both as a fellow and as someone who has presented an RSA talk on the subject, on how their partnership with Google/DeepMind/Alphabet, Inc. and this framing legitimises the false dichotomy at the heart of that there is a necessary tradeoff between modern technology and .