The Tech Coup

Book by Marietje Schaake: “Over the past decades, under the cover of “innovation,” technology companies have successfully resisted regulation and have even begun to seize power from governments themselves. Facial recognition firms track citizens for police surveillance. Cryptocurrency has wiped out the personal savings of millions and threatens the stability of the global financial system. Spyware companies sell digital intelligence tools to anyone who can afford them. This new reality—where unregulated technology has become a forceful instrument for autocrats around the world—is terrible news for democracies and citizens.
In The Tech Coup, Marietje Schaake offers a behind-the-scenes account of how technology companies crept into nearly every corner of our lives and our governments. She takes us beyond the headlines to high-stakes meetings with human rights defenders, business leaders, computer scientists, and politicians to show how technologies—from social media to artificial intelligence—have gone from being heralded as utopian to undermining the pillars of our democracies. To reverse this existential power imbalance, Schaake outlines game-changing solutions to empower elected officials and citizens alike. Democratic leaders can—and must—resist the influence of corporate lobbying and reinvent themselves as dynamic, flexible guardians of our digital world.

Drawing on her experiences in the halls of the European Parliament and among Silicon Valley insiders, Schaake offers a frightening look at our modern tech-obsessed world—and a clear-eyed view of how democracies can build a better future before it is too late…(More)”.

Digitally Invisible: How the Internet is Creating the New Underclass

Book by Nicol Turner Lee: “President Joe Biden has repeatedly said that the United States would close the digital divide under his leadership. However, the divide still affects people and communities across the country. The complex and persistent reality is that millions of residents live in digital deserts, and many more face disproportionate difficulties when it comes to getting and staying online, especially people of color, seniors, rural residents, and farmers in remote areas.

Economic and health disparities are worsening in rural communities without available internet access. Students living in urban digital deserts with little technology exposure are ill prepared to compete for emerging occupations. Even seniors struggle to navigate the aging process without access to online information and remote care.

In this book, Nicol Turner Lee, a leading expert on the American digital divide, uses personal stories from individuals around the country to show how the emerging digital underclass is navigating the spiraling online economy, while sharing their joys and hopes for an equitable and just future.

Turner Lee argues that achieving digital equity is crucial for the future of America’s global competitiveness and requires radical responses to offset the unintended consequences of increasing digitization. In the end, “Digitally Invisible” proposes a pathway to more equitable access to existing and emerging technologies, while encouraging readers to weigh in on this shared goal…(More)”.

Digital Ethology

Book edited by Tomáš Paus and Hye-Chung Kum: “Countless permutations of physical, built, and social environments surround us in space and time, influencing the air we breathe, how hot or cold we are, how many steps we take, and with whom we interact as we go about our daily lives. Assessing the dynamic processes that play out between humans and the environment is challenging. explores how aggregate area-level data, produced at multiple locations and points in time, can reveal bidirectional—and iterative—relationships between human behavior and the environment through their digital footprints.

Experts from geospatial and data science, behavioral and brain science, epidemiology and public health, ethics, law, and urban planning consider how humans transform their environments and how environments shape human behavior…(More)”.

The Economy of Algorithms

Book by Marek Kowalkiewicz: “Welcome to the economy of algorithms. It’s here and it’s growing. In the past few years, we have been flooded with examples of impressive technology. Algorithms have been around for hundreds of years, but they have only recently begun to ‘escape’ our understanding. When algorithms perform certain tasks, they’re not just as good as us, they’re becoming infinitely better, and, at the same time, massively more surprising. We are so impressed by what they can do that we give them a lot of agency. But because they are so hard to comprehend, this leads to all kinds of unintended consequences.

In the 20th century, things were simple: we had the economy of corporations. In the first two decades of the 21st century, we saw the emergence of the economy of people, otherwise known as the digital economy, enabled by the internet. Now we’re seeing a new economy take shape: the economy of algorithms…(More)”.

Taking [A]part: The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in Experience-Centered Design

Book by John McCarthy and Peter Wright: “…consider a series of boundary-pushing research projects in human-computer interaction (HCI) in which the design of digital technology is used to inquire into participative experience. McCarthy and Wright view all of these projects—which range from the public and performative to the private and interpersonal—through the critical lens of participation. Taking participation, in all its variety, as the generative and critical concept allows them to examine the projects as a part of a coherent, responsive movement, allied with other emerging movements in DIY culture and participatory art. Their investigation leads them to rethink such traditional HCI categories as designer and user, maker and developer, researcher and participant, characterizing these relationships instead as mutually responsive and dialogical.

McCarthy and Wright explore four genres of participation—understanding the other, building relationships, belonging in community, and participating in publics—and they examine participatory projects that exemplify each genre. These include the Humanaquarium, a participatory musical performance; the Personhood project, in which a researcher and a couple explored the experience of living with dementia; the Prayer Companion project, which developed a technology to inform the prayer life of cloistered nuns; and the development of social media to support participatory publics in settings that range from reality game show fans to on-line deliberative democracies…(More)”

Assembling Tomorrow

Book by Stanford “…explores how to use readily accessible tools of design to both mend the mistakes of our past and shape our future for the better. It explores the intangibles, the mysterious forces that contribute to the off-kilter feelings of today, and follows up with actionables to help you alter your perspective and find opportunities in these turbulent times. Mixed throughout are histories of the future, short pieces of speculative fiction that illustrate how things go haywire and what might be in store if we don’t set them straight…(More)”.

The Essential Principle for Appropriate Data Policy of Citizen Science Projects

Chapter by Takeshi Osawa: “Citizen science is one of new paradigms of science. This concept features various project forms, participants, and motivations and implies the need for attention to ethical issues for every participant, which frequently includes nonacademics. In this chapter, I address ethical issues associated with citizen science projects that focus on the data treatment rule and demonstrate a concept on appropriate data policy for these projects. First, I demonstrate that citizen science projects tend to include different types of collaboration, which may lead to certain conflicts among participants in terms of data sharing. Second, I propose an idea that could integrate different types of collaboration according to the theory transcend. Third, I take a case of a citizen science project through which transcend occurred and elucidate the difference between ordinal research and citizen science projects, specifically in terms of the goals of these projects and the goals and motivations of participants, which may change. Finally, I proposed one conceptual idea on how the principal investigator (PI) of a citizen science project can establish data policy after assessing the rights of participants. The basic idea is the division and organization of the data policy in a hierarchy for the project and for the participants. Data policy is one of the important items for establishing the appropriate methods for citizen science as new style of science. As such, practice and framing related to data policy must be carefully monitored and reflected on…(More)”.

Mission Driven Bureaucrats: Empowering People To Help Government Do Better

Book by Dan Honig: “…argues that the performance of our governments can be transformed by managing bureaucrats for their empowerment rather than for compliance. Aimed at public sector workers, leaders, academics, and citizens alike, it contends that public sectors too often rely on a managerial approach that seeks to tightly monitor and control employees, and thus demotivates and repels the mission-motivated. The book suggests that better performance can in many cases come from a more empowerment-oriented managerial approach—which allows autonomy, cultivates feelings of competence, and creates connection to peers and purpose—which allows the mission-motivated to thrive. Arguing against conventional wisdom, the volume argues that compliance often thwarts, rather than enhances, public value—and that we can often get less corruption and malfeasance with less monitoring. It provides a handbook of strategies for managers to introduce empowerment-oriented strategies into their agency. It also describes what everyday citizens can do to support the empowerment of bureaucrats in their governments. Interspersed throughout this book are featured profiles of real-life Mission Driven Bureaucrats, who exemplify the dedication and motivation that is typical of many civil servants. Drawing on original empirical data from a number of countries and the prior work of other scholars from around the globe, the volume argues that empowerment-oriented management and how to cultivate, support, attract, and retain Mission Driven Bureaucrats should have a larger place in our thinking and practice…(More)”.

The Character of Consent

Book by Meg Leta Jones about The History of Cookies and the Future of Technology Policy: “Consent pop-ups continually ask us to download cookies to our computers, but is this all-too-familiar form of privacy protection effective? No, Meg Leta Jones explains in The Character of Consent, rather than promote functionality, privacy, and decentralization, cookie technology has instead made the internet invasive, limited, and clunky. Good thing, then, that the cookie is set for retirement in 2024. In this eye-opening book, Jones tells the little-known story of this broken consent arrangement, tracing it back to the major transnational conflicts around digital consent over the last twenty-five years. What she finds is that the policy controversy is not, in fact, an information crisis—it’s an identity crisis.

Instead of asking how people consent, Jones asks who exactly is consenting and to what. Packed into those cookie pop-ups, she explains, are three distinct areas of law with three different characters who can consent. Within (mainly European) data protection law, the data subject consents. Within communication privacy law, the user consents. And within consumer protection law, the privacy consumer consents. These areas of law have very different histories, motivations, institutional structures, expertise, and strategies, so consent—and the characters who can consent—plays a unique role in those areas of law….(More)”.

Can Artificial Intelligence Bring Deliberation to the Masses?

Chapter by Hélène Landemore: “A core problem in deliberative democracy is the tension between two seemingly equally important conditions of democratic legitimacy: deliberation, on the one hand, and mass participation, on the other. Might artificial intelligence help bring quality deliberation to the masses? The answer is a qualified yes. The chapter first examines the conundrum in deliberative democracy around the trade-off between deliberation and mass participation by returning to the seminal debate between Joshua Cohen and Jürgen Habermas. It then turns to an analysis of the 2019 French Great National Debate, a low-tech attempt to involve millions of French citizens in a two-month-long structured exercise of collective deliberation. Building on the shortcomings of this process, the chapter then considers two different visions for an algorithm-powered form of mass deliberation—Mass Online Deliberation (MOD), on the one hand, and Many Rotating Mini-publics (MRMs), on the other—theorizing various ways artificial intelligence could play a role in them. To the extent that artificial intelligence makes the possibility of either vision more likely to come to fruition, it carries with it the promise of deliberation at the very large scale….(More)”