Mary L. Gray on Re-assembling the Assembly Line: Digital Labor Economies and Demands for an Ambient Workforce

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Crowdwork — “the process of taking tasks that would normally be delegated to an employee and distributing them to a large pool of online workers, the ‘crowd,’ in the form of an open call” — has become an entire category of global employment we could never have imagined existing a few short years ago.

In this talk, Mary L. Gray — Senior Researcher at Microsoft Social Research — presents results of a two-year ethnographic and qualitative study of the cultural meaning, political implications, and ethical demands of crowdwork in India and the United States.

The study examines the emergence of an Ambient Workforce — a distributed, always-on, at-the-ready, expansive labor market, dependent on a mix of intense bursts of activity AND a “long tail” of idling — and how society might help shape this explosively growing sector.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Mary L. Gray on Re-assembling the Assembly Line: Digital Labor Economies and Demands for an Ambient Workforce [AUDIO]

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Crowdwork — “the process of taking tasks that would normally be delegated to an employee and distributing them to a large pool of online workers, the ‘crowd,’ in the form of an open call” — has become an entire category of global employment we could never have imagined existing a few short years ago.

In this talk, Mary L. Gray — Senior Researcher at Microsoft Social Research — presents results of a two-year ethnographic and qualitative study of the cultural meaning, political implications, and ethical demands of crowdwork in India and the United States.

The study examines the emergence of an Ambient Workforce — a distributed, always-on, at-the-ready, expansive labor market, dependent on a mix of intense bursts of activity AND a “long tail” of idling — and how society might help shape this explosively growing sector.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Sarah Jeong on The Internet of Garbage

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Women are disparately impacted by harassment on the Internet. Harassment can be framed as a civil rights problem, with legal solutions proposed and vitriol directed towards platforms for failing to protect female users. But, as Sarah Jeong — a lawyer and journalist who covered the Silk Road trial for Forbes — suggests, the Internet has figured out interesting ways to deal with other kinds of online speech — like spam and malware. And using this lens could inform the fight against online harassment.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Sarah Jeong on The Internet of Garbage [AUDIO]

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Women are disparately impacted by harassment on the Internet. Harassment can be framed as a civil rights problem, with legal solutions proposed and vitriol directed towards platforms for failing to protect female users. But, as Sarah Jeong — a lawyer and journalist who covered the Silk Road trial for Forbes — suggests, the Internet has figured out interesting ways to deal with other kinds of online speech — like spam and malware. And using this lens could inform the fight against online harassment.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 230: What We Choose to Censor

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Listen:or download | …also in Ogg

Facebook has had a lot of trouble with misogynistic speech. A few years ago, several women’s groups joined together to petition Facebook to work harder to block misogynistic pages, posts, and replies. At the time Facebook had strict standards against hate speech that was racist or anti-semitic — such speech would be blocked or take down. These groups simply asked that gendered hate speech receive the same treatment.

It was ironic, people said, that Facebook would commonly take down photos of women breastfeeding in response to complaints. Such content was deemed pornographic. But when Facebook users complained about comments that were misogynistic or harassing women, Facebook defended their decisions not to take them down. Their reasoning was one of semantics: Comments that described gendered violence didn’t actually threaten violence, they would argue. But — campaigners pointed out — misogynistic content actually is threatening, and creates an unsafe environment for speech.

The campaigners won. But this isn’t the first time Facebook’s policies on censorship have been questioned by the public. And it won’t be the last.

Right now, many European countries are asking Facebook to more strictly police hate speech on the platform.

Jillian York is a writer and the director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She joined us to talk about the most recent debates about online speech, and why she questions whether these kinds of decisions should be left up to Facebook at all.

Reference Section
Jillian’s recent post “On Facebook’s Ideology”

Photo courtesy of zubrow
Music courtesy of

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Cory Doctorow: Kill All DRM in the World Forever, Within a Decade

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In this conversation with Jonathan Zittrain, Cory Doctorow — author and EFF Special Advisor — explains how he plans to kill all DRM in the world forever, within a decade.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Cory Doctorow: Kill All DRM in the World Forever, Within a Decade [AUDIO]

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In this conversation with Jonathan Zittrain, Cory Doctorow — author and EFF Special Advisor — explains how he plans to kill all DRM in the world forever, within a decade.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Patrick Murck on Property Law and the Blockchain

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Confusion abounds about Bitcoin, and the market technology that helps keep the alternative currency market transparent and stable: Blockchain. Compounding this confusion is the reliance on insufficient analogies used to describe aspects of these systems like “wallets”, “coins,” and “miners.” These abstractions gloss over important nuances in how the bitcoin system actually works, and creates a hazard for regulators, policymakers and academics who use these analogies to shape law and policy decisions.

In this talk Patrick Murck — Berkman Fellow and Co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation — unpacks Blockchain and some of the complicated property law issues that it poses.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Patrick Murck on Property Law and the Blockchain [AUDIO]

0

Confusion abounds about Bitcoin, and the market technology that helps keep the alternative currency market transparent and stable: Blockchain. Compounding this confusion is the reliance on insufficient analogies used to describe aspects of these systems like “wallets”, “coins,” and “miners.” These abstractions gloss over important nuances in how the bitcoin system actually works, and creates a hazard for regulators, policymakers and academics who use these analogies to shape law and policy decisions.

In this talk Patrick Murck — Berkman Fellow and Co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation — unpacks Blockchain and some of the complicated property law issues that it poses.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 229: The Ad Block Wars

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screamingListen:or download | …also in Ogg

A recent New York Times survey of the top 50 news sites showed that blocking ads while surfing their mobile news sites could save up to 14 megabytes per page loaded. 14 megabytes adds up to 30 seconds over 4G, and, if you’re on a restricted data plan, it would cost you 30 cents per page, all of that money going to your mobile provider, not to the content publisher.

But for content publishers, and the ad providers that keep them alive, ad blocking poses a huge problem. Most of the commercial web as we know it exists because of advertising. When web users aren’t loading ads on their favorite ad-supported site, or otherwise paying the site – by subscribing, sponsoring, buying merchandise – the site is losing out on cash.

And we’re talking serious cash. Digital ad spending is expected to reach $170.17 billion in 2015, with $69 billion – 40% of ad spending – in the mobile space.

That’s a lot of money to spend on ads that might not even be seen. Ad block software is now in use by 200 million people around the globe.

Doc Searls is a journalist and author who worked in the ad industry years ago. He has referred to ad blocking as “the biggest boycott in human history.”

Radio Berkman producer Elizabeth Gillis spoke with Searls about what’s going on in the Ad Block Wars, and the part played by users, like you.

Reference Section

Doc’s Ad Block Wars series
Photo courtesy of Flickr user piratechikan
Creative commons music from Neurowaxx and Podington Bear

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

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