Infrastructure Influences Everything

Infrastructure Influences Everything
Digitally Lit #266 – 10/31/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #266.

Thanks for showing up this week. I hope you’re taking the time to recharge your batteries.

This week I worked on the following:

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Make Your Online Streams, Meetings, & Classes Look Incredible

The YouTube algorithms gifted me with this video and the Tom Buck channel this week.

I’ve been slowly building up my home workspace to allow for teaching, research, and meetings. This includes leveling up my camera, lights, and mic. After this video, I’m thinking about adding a second camera to use for different angles in my office.

The other point that Buck makes is around live streaming. I toy with the idea of regularly posting to my YouTube channel. I have been viewing it as “too much work” or “just another thing.” Buck suggests that educators are already live streaming…it’s just being wasted in Zoom calls. Hmmm…


What AI College Exam Proctors Are Really Teaching Our Kids

Universities are digitally spying on students to make sure they don’t cheat on online tests. A whole generation could be learning to tolerate surveillance.

Proctoring software is a symptom of a deeper mistake: Using tech to manage a problem that is fundamentally economic.

Many students are now being asked to use remote-proctoring services like ProctorU, ExamSoft, or Proctorio when taking exams online. While these services were around before the pandemic, they have grown in popularity as the number of students taking classes remotely exploded.

In theory, they provide a useful service, allowing professors or universities to determine whether students are cheating on exams. In practice, these services have been a huge source of stress for students.

Many students who are required per their teacher’s instructions to take tests while being recorded told Mary Retta at Teen Vogue they felt heavily surveilled while doing so.

Surprise! The Section 230 Hearing Wasn’t About Section 230

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Lawmakers hammered the chief executives of Twitter, Facebook, Google, and one another at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, with Republicans claiming the companies were suppressing conservative views while Democrats accused their colleagues of holding a “sham” hearing for political gain.

For nearly four hours, members of the Commerce Committee pelted Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai with more than 120 questions about social media speech and the harm caused by their platforms, often framing their attacks through the lens of next week’s election.

But unlike previous tech hearings, this one put the partisan divide on full display.

Zeynep Tufekci indicates that this should be a discussion about free speech and attention.

High Tech, High Risk: Tech Ethics Lessons for the COVID-19 Pandemic Response

As the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped society around the world, many have looked to machine learning as a technology capable of addressing large problems at scale. Applications of machine learning have been seen as desirable interventions in mitigating the risks of the pandemic.

The challenge is that machine learning, like many tools of technocratic governance, is deeply implicated in the social production and distribution of risk.

Emanuel Moss and Jacob Metcalf on the role of machine learning in the production of risk must be considered as engineers and other technologists develop tools for the current crisis.

Infrastructure Influences Everything

A terrific white paper from the Siegel Family Endowment.

The reality is that the infrastructure reinforcing today’s society is multifaceted and interdependent. Think of this as a three-legged stool: Should any leg falter or be cut off, it will topple the person sitting on it. By recognizing the interconnection of all three dimensions, we can use this new framework to better design infrastructure systems for the future, strengthen communities, and power economic activity in the process.

Take some time to scroll through the white paper and look at the web design. It’s incredible.

Family Device Rules

Doug Belshaw with some great guidance on how to discuss and agree on device rules.

  1. Wrote down (individually) what we think the current rules are. Had a discussion.
  2. Wrote down (individually) what we think the future rules should be. Had another discussion.
  3. Collaboratively come up with rules that everyone could agree to. Signed them, and pinned to the fridge.
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Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile.

Sean Connery

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A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air. The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. This website provides an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure.

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