Doc Searls makes an argument we've heard before but which for some reason needs to be made over and over: "I’m not blocking ads. I’m blocking tracking." He's also blocking viruses and malware. "There is a side for those publishers to take on this thing, and it’s not with adtech. It’s with their own moral backbone, and with the readers who still keep faith in it." Unsurprisingly, from the news media, we see only silence.
Normally I don't write day-to-day university funding coverage, but this post is the exception that proves the rule. Bryan Alexander writes, "The University of Alaska system just learned it will experience a 41% budget cut... This isn’t belt-tightening or even austerity. It’s a strategic redirection, a historic transformation. " Alexander writes that "the case is anomalous" but it's not anomalous. There is a determined political lobby seeking to defund public education. It is going to be successful to a certain degree. It's not clear whether public universities have a response, or have even been planning for one.
I think that my career has been to practice public philosophy, though I'm not sure philosophers (Properly So-Called Professors of) would agree with that. No matter. This article is a nice defense of the concept of public philosophy, and outlines some of the major steps the profession will need to take in order to have this wider impact on the world. And there's some urgency: "the world is in crisis. It’s war, the soul of humanity is at stake, and the discipline that has been in isolation training for 2000 years for this very moment is too busy pointing out tiny errors in each other’s technique to actually join the fight."
On one of Bryan Alexander's webcasts recently I had a brief conversation with the guest - Dorothy Kim - where the subject of decolonizing data came up. For example, who gets to manage and share data about the slave trade? And what about the risk that deploying such data reduces the people involved to mere data points. Well, I was a bit sceptical, but openminded. For me, this article follows up on that line of reasoning. Abigail Echo-Hawk here talks about how data is collected: "When we think about data, and how it's been gathered, is that, from marginalized communities, it was never gathered to help or serve us. It was primarily done to show the deficits in our communities, to show where there are gaps. And it's always done from a deficit-based framework."
If you were on the web before Facebook and Twitter you will remember conversations like this. Notice how you can't just drop in on it and troll it or cover it with spam? Other people can enjoy it, but they don't get to ruin it. This is the sort of web the distributed web is intended to create - one where you can participate in conversations like this, and view the conversations of others, but one where people control their own spaces and keep them clear of clutter and rubbish. Image: what's the difference between a blog and a microblog.
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.