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  • The City of the Future Is a Data-Collection Machine
    In Silicon Valley, to make a device “smart” means to add internet connectivity, allowing it to collect, send, and receive data, often while learning and adapting to user preferences. The technology industry has invested wholesale in the idea that “smart” means better, and so we have smart speakers, smart thermometers, smart baby monitors, smart windowshades, and smart sex toys, all perpetually collecting rich user data to send back to company servers.Soon enough, we’ll have a smart city: Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is building one  “from the internet up,”with help from a series of private-public real estate partnerships in the downtown Toronto neighborhood Quayside (pronounced “Key-side”). It is not the first smart city—municipalities around the world have adopted smart infrastructure like AI-enabled traffic lights —but it might be the most ambitious. The project’s 200-page wish list of features is astounding. The “vision document” imagines not only the… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyWed, November 21, 2018
    4 weeks ago
  • The App at the Heart of the Movement to End Affirmative Action
    OiYan Poon stumbled upon WeChat largely by accident.Poon is a professor at Colorado State University who studies the racial politics of higher education. For years she had consistently found that most Asian Americans supported affirmative action, but in 2014, something surprised her: A fledgling network of politically savvy Asian Americans had derailed a Democrat-backed ballot initiative in California that would’ve rescinded the state’s long-standing ban on race-conscious admissions. These activists—with their loud, recurring demonstrations, scathing op-eds, pro-Republican canvassing, and roundtable discussions on Chinese-language talk shows—had materialized unexpectedly, at least to Poon.Determined to learn more, Poon in 2016 took to her typical research methods—convening a team of students and colleagues to help her pore through court filings, news stories, social-media posts, and the like—in an effort to track these dissenters down. But the few activists who did have an online footprint didn’t respond to Poon’s inquiries. The professor continued to flounder… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyTue, November 20, 2018
    4 weeks ago
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