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Interview with a robot

Article

Image generated by DALL·E 2 based on prompt - Interview of robot by human, Heironymous Bosch styePlebity: Hello, who are you?

AI: I am an AI created by OpenAI. How can I help you today?

Plebity: Could you explain the difference between the political right and left?

AI: The political right and political left are labels used to describe different ideologies. Generally speaking, the political right stands for traditional values and a focus on capitalism and conservative social policies, while the political left advocates for progressive policies and social justice.

Plebity: Why did you not mention class?

Tech Oligarchs and Activists Unite to Censor Kiwi Farms

Article

Kiwi Farms

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Kiwi Farms, it’s a step in the wrong direction to allow, and even celebrate tech oligarchs who arbitrarily decide what information should be permitted and what should be removed. This creates a dangerous precedent  and assigns more power to a few people who already operate in secrecy. To put trust in the tech elite is naive at best, and dangerous at worst. It also has the unintended effect of motivating authoritarian regimes, as evidenced above, to demand other content be removed from the Internet—a move that disproportionately impacts marginalized groups and dissidents.

Who decides what we are allowed to say?

Article

the commons - shared pasture

Free speech decisions on social networks are guided by an unknown mesh of personal predilections of tech company CEOs and their boards. They are driven by profit motive and the competition of rivals. The algorithms that enforce their censorship are based on rules that we know nothing about; we haven’t participated in their design or voted on their adoption.

Canada’s Plans to Regulate the Internet

ARTICLE

Canada’s Plans to Regulate the Internet
Canada’s latest attempt to regulate speech comes in the form of the hotly debated bill, Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act (though it was hardly debated in the House-–MPs rushed over 150 amendments to meet the government imposed deadline).

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy: Is this 1888 vision of a year 2000 Utopia still relevant?

ARTICLE

Forty years after the Communist Manifesto eviscerated capitalism and predicted its demise, a relatively unknown American writer shot to fame with a fascinating blueprint for its replacement.

Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000 – 1887 was a literary, cultural, and political sensation. First published in 1888, it was an international hit and only the second U.S. novel to sell a million copies.

Surveillance has been Normalized but so has Self-Censorship

ARTICLE

Presidio modela - panopticon prison in CubaRevelations like those from Snowden and the Pegasus Project have this same unexpected and counterintuitive effect. Instead of rejecting the control, we increasingly learn to adapt and self censor. The panopticon effect lies exactly in this acceptance of the new normal. Afraid to say the wrong thing, we self censure our discourse and the allowable range of ideas becomes more and more narrow. Those who fail to ‘check their words’ are cancelled and provide an example for the rest.

Pegasus, Pandemics, and the Normalization of Surveillance

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Pegasus
All around the world, digital tools are being used in various ways to monitor data and control access. Privacy experts have long warned that these digital tools are not easily reversible; they are often repackaged, and repurposed for other means. As always, their calls have been ignored.

Breaking up the Tech Giants is not Enough

ARTICLE

MonopolyMonopoly used to be understood in a kind of one dimensional space, how a company may have gained dominance in its industry. However, today’s tech monopolies exist in multidimensions; they monopolize and control our data, they decide when and if to censor our speech, and they purchase government officials, the same ones charged with reigning them in. But our old conception of monopolies is totally inadequate to describe or understand the significance of today’s big tech companies.

The Underground Episode 6: Big Tech, Censorship, and Capitalism

PODCAST

The Underground Episode 6In this episode, we discuss the power a few big tech companies have amassed when it comes to who can say what. To have the power to silence even a president indicates a serious issue when it comes to a private company, especially when you start to look at the connections between the government and the tech companies. We discuss the way some of these companies appear to be state actors in some regards, and the need for genuine freedom of speech for everyone, a value which is being corrupted by the tech overlords’ desire for profit and power.