All Comes Down to Power

Hello there. Here is Digitally Literate, issue #313.

I hope you took the time to give some gratitude this week. You are appreciated.

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What’s one of the most dangerous toys for kids? The Internet

Everyone knows how tough it may be to shut our social media apps and stroll away from our gadgets. Only one extra scroll, we inform ourselves. Only one extra peek at a hyperlink. After which, abruptly, we’re deep down the rabbit gap of yet one more feed.

Within the Opinion Video above, youngsters inform us what they find out about how the web works (not a lot) and the way a lot they use it (so much).

Learn from machine learning

David Weinberger on machine learning, and how the everyday world may be more accidental than rule-governed. If so, it will be because machine learning gains its epistemological power from its freedom from the sort of generalizations that we humans can understand or apply.

The opacity of machine learning systems raises serious concerns about their trustworthiness and their tendency towards bias. But the brute fact that they work could be bringing us to a new understanding and experience of what the world is and our role in it.

As we grow more and more reliant on machine learning models (MLMs) that we cannot understand, we could start to tell ourselves either of two narratives:

  • The first narrative says that inexplicability is a drawback we often must put up with in order to gain the useful, probabilistic output that MLMs generate.
  • The second says that the inexplicability is not a drawback but a truth: MLMs work because they’re better at reading the world than we are: they result from the statistical interrelating of more and finer-detailed data than other systems can manage, without having to worry about explaining itself to us humans.

People are talking about Web3. Is it the Internet of the future or just a buzzword?

There’s a buzzword that fintech, crypto, and venture-capital types have become infatuated with lately. Blog posts and podcasts are all peppered with the term Web3.

Web3, also known as Web 3.0, is an idea for a version of the Internet that is decentralized and based on public blockchains. Web 1.0 refers roughly to the period from 1991 to 2004, where the vast majority of Internet users were solely consumers of content. The web was seen as a way to democratize access to information, but most websites were static pages that displayed content from the server filesystem rather than a database. Web 2.0 is based around the idea of “the web as platform” as users of the Internet produce content and upload it to social networking services, blogs, or video or image-sharing websites. Web 2.0 is generally considered to have begun around 2004 and continues to the current day.

Many began talking about Web 3.0, or a semantic web after the term was coined by Tim Berners-Lee in 1999.

There is a difference between Web3 and Web 3.0. The main difference is a focus on decentralization. Decentralization is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group. Put simply, instead of putting all of your photos up on Instagram, you might use a decentralized photo-sharing network like PixelFed.


China Looks to Set Up Digital Asset Bourse in Virtual Yuan Push

China has been in process of creating a virtual version of its legal tender since 2014 in an effort to cope with an increasingly digitized economy as well as to fend off potential threats from virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. It banned crypto exchanges in 2017 and stepped up scrutiny this year to ban crypto mining and all related transactions, in tandem with campaigns to promote the digital yuan. 

bourse is a market organized for the purpose of buying and selling securities, commodities, options, and other investments. The term bourse also means purse in French and is synonymous with an exchange in Europe.

In China’s battle against cryptocurrencies (bitcoin and tokens) the idea is to remove ideas about decentralization and open systems. The concepts don’t fit within a centralized, or authoritarian regime. Even with these tensions, China is very much interested in pursuing the digital yuan or digital renminbi.

The usage and flow of digital currency can be controlled and monitored. It could be tied to a person’s social credit score and tied to centralized and government-controlled applications.


How the pandemic pulled Nigerian university students into cybercrime

Absolutely fantastic article from Olatunji Olaigbe on how one Nigerian university student turned to cybercrime during the pandemic to pay his bills, driven by high unemployment, few well-paying jobs, and boredom.

…descent into cybercrime can sound rational given the nightmare of trying to stay afloat amid the pandemic in Nigeria. 

“I needed to do something. I needed to survive,” Kayode said. “I’m not justifying my decision, but there’s something in being at home, doing nothing, but paradoxically doing everything in your capacity to stay alive, yet you are kind of dying, that makes you care less about others.”


Apple plans to replace the iPhone with AR in 10 years

Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality (AR) headset project is set to bear its first fruit late next year with the launch of the first device carrying a pair of processors to support its high-end capabilities, according to a new report from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

(Image credit: Martin Hajek/idropnews)

Kuo says the initial AR headset will be able to operate independently without needing to be tethered to a Mac or iPhone, and Apple is intending it to support a “comprehensive range of applications” with an eye toward replacing the ‌iPhone‌ within ten years.

Apple has been integrating AR tech into its phones for years. ARKit, maps, LIDAR sensors, and ultra-wideband (UWB) chips for accurate location detection. Their AR staff is industry-leading. The groundwork is all there. We often indicate that “it’ll never work” or “I’ll never use that.” I felt the same way about the iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods….

Using these 8 common phrases can ruin your credibility

To sound more credible, remove the following caveats from your speech:

  • To be honest
  • In my opinion
  • You may already know this, but
  • I’m not sure
  • I could be wrong
  • This is probably a stupid question
  • Just a thought
  • If you don’t mind

I chose and my world was shaken
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
The choosing was not.

Steven Sondheim

Thanks to Doug Belshaw, I was alerted to the presence of PixelFed.Social and was able to create an account last week. PixelFed is a decentralized photo-sharing network based on the ActivityPub protocol, the same one that Mastodon uses.

There’s a lot of reasons not to like Instagram, and why PixelFed won’t save us. I use Instagram primarily to share/archive images. All of the content I share is text/quotes. I don’t really spend any time zombie scrolling the app. I am in a continuous process of trying to either own or decentralize the tools I use online.

Say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

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