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UTS logoThis morning I delivered version six of my now-regular guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Here are the references and further reading.

The links over the fold start off with some background material that sets out my worldview, and then things are in roughly the same order as presented in the lecture — with the order becoming less coherent further down the page. There’s more material linked here than I mentioned in the lecture itself. Enjoy.

A recording of the lecture will be made available in roughly one week on Wednesday 23 September on Friday 25 September, as the change in Prime Minister has triggered the demand for some of my commentary. This page may be updated with further links at that time.

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ABC logoOn Tuesday night I spoke about the state of the art of targeted advertising on ABC Local Radio across NSW.

Presenter Dom Knight ended up talking with me for 25 minutes, covering the issues I wrote about for Crikey in Every step you take: how advertisers are monitoring your every move, plus The Atlantic’s story on how Facebook tracks the spread of political symbols.

I neglected to record the segment off the live steam, but I’ve obtained a recording made off-air. So rather than the full studio sound, you’ll hear the glory that is AM radio, with hiss and crackle and all that stuff. If a better-quality recording turns up, I’ll update this page.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The View from Level 16My week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 June 2015 was yet another reasonably productive one, though the cold weather meant that I spent more time than ever before in the warmth of the Blue Mountains City Library in Katoomba.

This week also saw a significant reduction in my stress levels, for a variety of reasons. I’ll write more about that later in the week.

Articles

Podcasts

  • The 9pm Planet of Fascist Delusions, being The 9pm Edict episode 45. I think that podcast production expands to fill the time available for it. This episode soaked up 17 hours, spread over two days.

5at5

There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s more than 25 things for you to read! To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

My week will begin with the Winter Solstice — sorry, I’m running late — the week began with the Winter Solstice, which happened at 0238 AEST on Monday morning. I celebrated the Solstice as I often do, by reflecting on many things overnight, so Monday is a bit slow. Household chores, administrivia, some research, and the like. In the evening I’ll plan my writing for ZDNet.

Tuesday to Thursday will be writing days, with a couple of stories for ZDNet, as well as that goddam ebook. Friday will be devoted to certain activities related to the end of the financial year. The weekend will see the production of another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, interspersed with a modest social life. That episode will be completed and posted on Monday 29 June.

That seems a bit thin. But my ponderings over the Solstice will trigger further actions, trust me. There is much that I want to change in the coming months.

[Photo: The View from Level 16, being the UBS offices on level 16 of Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, photographed on 19 June 2015.]

FIVEaa logoInteresting news today that Facebook will start using Google’s browsing history data to better target their advertising. It triggered an equally interesting conversation just now on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide.

According to the USA Today report run on Fairfax mastheads, Facebook is looking to ramp up revenue as it competes with Google for advertising dollars.

“Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV,” the company said.

Afternoon presenter Will Goodings wanted to chat about the privacy implications. But then I showed him the recent Bloomberg report which described how researchers could use smart meters — the electricity kind — to figure out what TV programs you were watching by analysing the TV’s power consumption patterns.

Here’s the full interview, plus the subsequent conversation with lawyer Paul Gordon from Finlayson’s Lawyers, who called in while we were chatting.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

[Update 5 April 2015: There is a more recent version of this lecture, presented in September 2014, but it has not been posted yet.]

Title card for "Algorithms and the Filter Bubble"On Monday 7 April, I delivered an updated version of my guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. And here it is.

What’s it about? It’s about what we now call — this year at least — “big data” and how that’s changing how the media works, just like it’s changing every other part of society.

I cruise through what all this data is, where it’s coming from, who’s collecting it and where it’s going; what advertisers and media companies and others can do with this data; and some speculation about how this might unfold in the future.

There’s links to all the references over the fold, and you can follow along with the slides (PDF). The recording picks up immediately after I was introduced by the course coordinator, Dr Belinda Middleweek. A transcript may or may not follow at some point in the future.

Some people mentioned that last time it was difficult to follow some of the slides, as the PDF file didn’t show how the builds happened, so I may add a video slideshow version at some point too.

The audience was primarily first and second year students at the beginning of their media studies degrees.

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[If a transcript ever becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

What was left out at the end

I didn’t keep a close enough eye on the time, which is most unprofessional of me, so I had to drop a couple of things at the end of the lecture. So what did we miss?

My planned closing was to speculate a little more about the implications of all this technology — essentially the material covered in references 26 through 30 below.

When advertisers and newsmakers know all about you, including where you are and what you’re interested in, and when robots become so good that they’re able to tailor news and advertising precisely for your interests and current state of mind — what does that mean for political persuasion, and other kinds of persuasion?

Watch the videos of the robots from the US Naval Research Laboratory responding to everyday human speech. Consider Apple founder Steve Job’s comment that the iTunes Store gives you “freedom from pornography”. Consider than in a world of filter bubbles, some news outlets with a political agenda might want to give you “freedom from confusing thoughts”. After all, Apple has already blocked from their App Store an app that provided information on US military drone strikes.

Just where might this go? As I told the media students at the start of the lecture, they are the ones who will be creating this future for themselves and their descendants, not those of us in the second half of our lives.

Licensing and Re-Use

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

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Title slide for Algorithms and the Filter BubbleAnd here’s the second version of my guest lecture at the University of Technology Sydney from Monday afternoon.

Pretty much everything I said about the morning lecture applies to this one, including the link to the slides

All of the references mentioned in this lecture are listed in the previous post.

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[When the transcript becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

[Update 29 August 2013: Fixed broken link to the slides.]

Title slide for Algorithms and the Filter BubbleAs foreshadowed, on Monday I delivered an updated version of my guest lecture at the University of Technology Sydney, “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. And here it is.

There’s quite a few changes from the lecture I gave in March, because I wanted to update some key examples.

In fact there’s two versions of the lecture, because I presented it twice — once at 0900 and once at 1300 — and some of the content was improvised around my moderately detailed notes. So I’ll bring you both versions. This is the first, with full audio and the slides.

The repeat of the lecture later in the day was slightly different.

There’s links to all the references over the fold.

As previously, the recording picks up immediately after I was introduced by lecturer, Dr Belinda Middleweek. A transcript may or may not follow at some point in the future.

The audience was primarily first and second year students at the beginning of their media studies degrees. Again, it seems that almost all of this material was brand new to them.

Play

[If a transcript ever becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

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University of Technology Sydney logoApparently I’m not scary enough for the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). My guest lecture earlier this year, Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, is now a regular fixture.

I was rather chuffed to be told a few weeks ago that the students had voted it the best lecture of the semester, and their course feedback said the material had to remain in the course. So I’ll now be delivering a similar lecture once a semester.

Well, twice this semester, because high student numbers mean that I have to give two performances, at 0900 and 1300 on Monday 26 August.

ABC logoIs Facebook on the decline? For some reason or other, I ended up talking about that on the radio on Monday afternoon.

The reason was actually this story in The Australian about “Facebook fatigue”. While I’m not sure that Facebook fatigue is a thing, I had a pleasant chat with journalist and presenter Raf Epstein — and here’s the audio.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else.

Title slide: Algorithms and the Filter BubbleHere’s the guest lecture I delivered at the University of Technology Sydney on 25 March 2012, “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Full audio and slides for now, a transcript to follow in the next few days.

You might want to read the background material first. You’ll definitely want to look at the slides while listening to the audio.

The recording picks up immediately after I was introduced by lecturer, Dr Belinda Middleweek, using the opening paragraphs of my about page.

The audience was primarily first and second year students at the beginning of their media studies degrees. It seems that almost all of this material was brand new to them — though I did notice one geeky-looking lad nodding enthusiastically at mention of some of the more pervasive tracking techniques.

Play

[When the transcript becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

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