Aral Balkan @aral@mastodon.ar.al

Speaking at Nesta FutureFest in July

I’ll be talking about how we can move beyond surveillance capitalism in Europe to fund and create alternative ethical technological infrastructure that’s not mired in Silicon Valley’s toxic business model.

futurefest.org mastodon.ar.al/media/Cg_JlQs1d mastodon.ar.al/media/a8JRnZF27

Smart Citizens, not Smart Cities

Tune in tomorrow at 14:15 CEST for the Eurocities meeting livestream to watch my keynote titled “Smart Citizens, not Smart Cities” and learn about the work we’re doing with The City of Ghent.

channel.royalcast.com/stadgent

(And here are a few slides to whet your appetites…) ;) mastodon.ar.al/media/5nV-FfmN_ mastodon.ar.al/media/0pq30jj1m mastodon.ar.al/media/hcm74DyVk mastodon.ar.al/media/_1_qlPOpi

Smart Citizens not Smart Cities

On Tuesday, I’m presenting a keynote at the Eurocities Knowledge Society Meeting in Ghent on our work with The City of Ghent in Belgium that aims to empower the citizens of Ghent with free and open, federated, and interoperable technology that they own and control.

Whenever you hear the “smart” prefix, ask “who is getting smarter about whom?”

Our work with The City of Ghent aims to enable citizens to become smarter about themselves.

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Our work with the City of Ghent on our Indienet project (indienet.info) gets a shout out in this month’s New Scientist, in Jacob Aron’s article titled “Stop being the product.”

“On the face of it, [it] sounds a lot like the old web, where people created simple pages hosted on computers they controlled. The crucial difference is that it used to be difficult to put things online without technical know-how – which is partly why easy-to-use services like Facebook are popular.”

The Universal Declaration of Cyborg Rights (cyborgrights.eu) gets a shout out in Cosmos Magazine:

cosmosmagazine.com/society/rou

(Although the focus of the article is on the traditional/sci-fi definition of cyborg that’s limited to people with implanted technology whereas I argue that anyone who uses modern technology today is a cyborg. That distinction has important implications for personhood in the digital and networked age. See: ar.al/notes/the-nature-of-the-)

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Reasons To Be Cheerful

Had a lovely conversation over the weekend on surveillance capitalism (and what we can do about it) with Ed Miliband, Geoff Lloyd, and Mathew Lawrence for Ed and Geoff’s Reasons To Be Cheerful podcast. Shoshana Zuboff was also interviewed for the episode.

You can listen to it from podnews.net/podcast/1287081706

(Or find it on iTunes, etc.)

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Don't waste the Cambridge Analytica scandal: it's a chance to take control of our data

Excellent article by Scott Ludlam in the @guardian that cuts to the heart of the matter:

“What has been exposed here is not some unforceeable aberration, but an ordinary consequence of what Shoshana Zuboff calls ’surveillance capitalism’“

theguardian.com/commentisfree/

“‘Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have the same business model,’ says Balkan. ‘If Cambridge Analytica can sway elections and referenda with a relatively small subset of Facebook’s data, imagine what Facebook can and does do with the full set.’”

wired.co.uk/article/facebook-c
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Was just experimenting with stuff in the fridge for a stir-fry for lunch and I can confirm that olive oil + onions + jalapeños (w some of the water from the bottle) + proper maple syrup + New York deli-style mustard makes a scorching + yummy glaze (in this case for a chickenesque vege protein thingamabob called Mifu and potatoes) :)
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“Kurdish Afrin is democratic and LGBT-friendly. Turkey is crushing it with Britain’s help. Northern Syria’s Kurds are establishing direct democracy and a gender revolution. Why are we arming jihadist-linked Turkey?”

theguardian.com/commentisfree/

I have Turkish parents and I was a Turkish citizen. I strongly urge you to read this, take notice, and – if you can – take action to get our representatives in Europe and elsewhere to put an end to this gross injustice.

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

fastcompany.com/40439316/are-y

“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 mastodon.ar.al/media/Phy8AeeCk

Should Data Scientists Adhere to a Hippocratic Oath?

wired.com/story/should-data-sc

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…” mastodon.ar.al/media/NnSLeFSy5

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

balsamiq.com

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“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.

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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: theguardian.com/technology/aud mastodon.ar.al/media/5lbsWINH9

“In a new project, the RSA and DeepMind are creating space for citizens to consider trade-offs in the use of AI” (thersa.org/discover/publicatio)

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 . mastodon.ar.al/media/DLpOYZB7I

I want to make one thing very clear regarding

A conference on freedom-and-human-rights-respecting technology should not have a titan of like Google as sponsor. The good people in our community shouldn’t have to choose between having a platform to meet up at and having their legitimacy usurped by association to whitewash such companies. I’m attending under protest to meet and chat to some lovely members of the community.

Google doesn’t belong there.

The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants

Today, in The Guardian: theguardian.com/technology/201

“I got into the web because I liked the democracy of it,” says Kalbag, who has just published a book titled Accessibility for Everyone… “I want to be able to be in a society where I have control over my information, and other people do as well … I think we have to have technology that serves everybody – not just rich, straight, white guys.”

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