Most tech are frustratingly incapable of predicting the future, and 2006's 2.0 is no exception. But it holds up better than many, and identifies four key themes still relevant today: - by states, and by code - competing , and latent ambiguity.

Next book is "Thinking in Systems", by Donella H. Meadows, because eventually I'll have to back up all my mutterings about "self-reinforcing behaviors".

Next book is "Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can", edited by Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti of the Sunrise Movement. A collection of essays by environmentalists and policy folks.

Next read is "Concrete Economics" by Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong.

First book from the reading list.

I finished "The Power" by Naomi Alderman today.

I didn't enjoy the read, but it was thought provoking. The central thesis of the book seemed to be, "our society is based on power, and if women were stronger than men we would see the same oppressive dynamics we see now, reversed."

That's a grim thought.

Next book is The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato.

I'm going to try not to overdo it with the social notes. It's a library book due back soon, and I'm not sure writing down everything helps me absorb the content.

Still, I'm excited to dive into another book.

This pretty little number is my next read, the Verso Book of Dissent.

Thanks to @mayel for the recommendation. I think I have a different edition, but it still looks good.

I didn't realize when i bought it that the book was written 2006, but I'm still pretty interested to read "Producing Open Source Software," by Karl Fogel.

I just joined an software company and I have a lot to learn.

Next read: I've got the audiobook of Margaret Atwood's "The Testaments". Figured I'd intersperse the heavy stuff with *some* fiction.

Next (current) read: if Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin

Just finished the Tombs of Atuan by . The whole thing, cover to cover, on . The Internet rules.

The book starts with a story of how the author, a *, femme-presenting non-binary person, is typically stopped and searched at the airport because her body "deviates" from the pattern expected by the millimeter scan.

This is an example how "larger systems - including norms, values, and assumptions - are encoded in and reproduced through the design of sociotechnical systems."

Strap in.

Arturo Escobar sees as an "ethical praxis for world-making."

How can one develop an ethical, inclusive design process from a continent away and no opportunities for in-person interaction? No observation, no participatory design.

"People experience and resort on three levels: the level of personal biography; the group or community level of the cultural context created by race, class, and gender; and the systemic level of social institutions. Black thoughts emphasizes all three levels as sites of domination and as potential sites of ." - Patricia Hill Collins

"More broadly, allocation has always been an algorithm, one designed according to the political priorities of power holders. It's an algorithm that has long privileged whiteness, hetero- and cis-normativity, wealth, and higher socioeconomic status."

"Yet [] remain niche services, used by ony a relatively tiny group of professionalized campaigners. They typcially cost money to use, often based on the number of ocntacts in the campaign database, and they require a significant investment of time and energy to learn. They will in all likelihood never be widely adopted by the vast majority of people who participate in social movements."

"Instead, most people, including social movement , organizers, and participants, use the most popular corporate social network sites and hosted services as tools to advance our goals. We work within the addordances of these sites and work around their limitations. We do this even when these tools are a poor fit for the specific task at hand, and even when their use exposes movement participants to a range of real harms."

in a nutshell.

Follow

"Why do the most popular platforms provide such limited affordances for the important work of community organizing and movement building? Why is the time, energy, and brilliance of so many designers, software devlopers, product managers, and others who work on platforms focused on optimizing our digital world to capture and monetize our attention, over other potential goals (e.g. maximizing civic engagement, making environmentally sustainable choices, buiding empathy ... ?)"

"Put another way, why do we continue to design technologies that reporduce existing systems of power when it is so clear to so many that we urgently need to dismantle those systems?"

"'The Design of Everyday Things' is a canonical text. It's full of useful insights and compelling examples. However, it almost entirely ignores race, class, gender, disability, and other axes of . Norman very briefly states that capialism has shaped the design of objects, but says it in passing and never relates it to the key concepts of the book. Race and racism appear nowehere. He uses the term "women" only once..."

"Norman describes the problems designers face in designing for left-handed people and urges ths reader to 'consider the special problems of the aged and infirm, the handicapped, the blind or near-blind, the deaf or hard of hearing, the very short or very tall, or the foreign.'"

"He thus firmly subscribes to the individual/medical model of disability that locates in 'defective' bodies and as a problem' to be solved, rather than the social/relational model (that recognizes how society actively disables people with physical or psychological differencces, functional limitations, or impairments through unnecessary exclusion, rather than taking action to meet their access needs)..."

"..., let alone the disability justice model, created by Disabled B/I/PoC as they fight to dismante able-bodied supremacy as a key axis of power within the ."

"In other words, the book is a compendium of designed objects that are difficult to use that provides key principes for better design, but it almost entirely ignores questions of how , , , , and other aspects of the matrix of domination shape and constrain access to affordances. is an approach that asks us to focus sustained attention on thes questions, benning with "how does the matrix of domination shape afforance perceptibility and availability?"

This is just the worst. If I quote every important thing in this book I'm going to type out the whole damn thing.

"An object's affordances are never equally *perceptible* to all, and never equally *availabe* to all; a given affordance is always more perceptible, more available, or both, to some kinds of people. brings this insight to the fore and calls for designers' ongoing attention to the ways these differences are shaped by the matrix of domination."

"Most designers, most of the time, do not think of themselves as sexists, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, ableist, or settler-colonialist. Some may consider themselves to be capitalist, but few identify as part of the ruling class. Many feel themselves to be in tension with , and many even identify as socialist. However, is not about intentionality; it is about process and outcomes."

" asks whether the affordances of a designed object or system disproportionately reduce opportunities for already oppressed groups of people while enhancing the life opportunities of dominant groups, independently of whether designers intend this outcome."

"As Chemaly notes: 'The underlying design assumption behind many of these errors is that girls and women are not 'normal' human beings in their own right. Rather, they are perceived as defective, sick, more needy, or 'wrong sized,' versions of men and boys. When it comes to , male-centeredness isn't just annoying --- it results in very real needs being ignored, erased, or classified as 'extra' or unecessary...'"

"'...To give another, more tangible example, one advance artificaial heart was design to fit 86% of men's chest cavities, but only 20% of women's... the device's French maniifacturer Carmat explained that the company had no plans to develop a more female-friendly model as it 'would entaill significant investment and resources over multiple years.'"

"What's more, although design that discriminates based on race and/or gender is often seen as problematic, social norms under do support systems design that intentionaly reproduces class-based discrimination. For example, the intended purpose of a predictive algorithm used by the credit industry to determine home loan eligibility is to afford the loan officer a heightened ability to descriminate between those who are likely to be able to make loan payments..."

"...Such a tool, by definition, promotes class-based discrimination, and when it does so, it is seen to be doing its job. However, when it disiriminates based on a single-axis characteristic (race OR gender OR disability) that is explicitly protected by the law, then it is said to be biased."

"In preexisting bias, bias that exists in a broader society, culture, and/or institutions is reproduced in the computer system, either intentionally or unintentionally, by systems developers. For example, graphical user interfaces typically embody a preexisting bias against vision-impaired people because the designers do not consider their existence at all, not because they consciously decide to exlude them."

"In technical bias, some underlying aspect of the technology reproduces bias; for example, the poor management of optical sensors on darker-skinned people."

"In emergent bias, a system that may not have been biased given its original context shifts or when new users arrive -- for example, Tay, the Microsoft chatboot that was trained to be sexist and racist by Twitter users."

"[Value-sensitive design] does not believe that most designers are intentionally racist, sexist, or malicious. Instead, this approach emphasizes that many mechanisms that introduce unintentional bias are at play. These include "unmarked" end users, biased assumptions, universalist benchmarks, lack of bias testing, limited feedback loops, and, most recently, the used of systematically biased data sets to train using techniques.

"After ... began to leave [] for startup competitor , Facebook implemented some modifications to its real name flagging and dispute process and instituted a new set of options for users to display gender pronouns and gender identity, as well as more fine-grained control over who is able to see these changes. However, as scholar ... Anna Lauren Hoffman notes, the diverse gender options only apply to display; on the back end, Facebook still codes users as male or female."

Show newer

@Argus
The ignorance of vulnerable road users from vehicle detection algorithms, too. When automated driving tech started to emerge I was optimistic that finally, I would not have my life endangered every time I use the road. To my dismay it seems that the safety of such groups has taken a back seat.

@Argus
That...just wow. When was this? I'm flabbergasted that anyone could conceive of uttering such a phrase. Was there more context?

@Argus If there was some nuance that could have explained these examples of bias I could well have excused them but these are all flagrant failures and all of them are phenomenons that have frequent mainstream media coverage. Surely even a roomful of men would have had a thought. Do none of them have girlfriends, wives, daughters, sisters? Do they pay no real attention or have no truck with such issues?

@pasco I think the issue the author is highlighting is that people who are aren't deliberately [thing]ist can still create a system that perpetuates bias unless they actively seek to design otherwise.

@Argus
Doncha' think its how it functions? A public library with ac's and the internet vs. Mar-el-Lago.

@Argus Because the "we" who build [or pay for the building of] systems is not the "we" who feel that need for change.

@Argus short answer, because there's no money in it.

I have an ongoing project to create, essentially, a niche anarchist community organizing platform... but I'm likely never going to get paid for it so it's always a third or fifth priority in my time and energy.

@Argus
We were talking about #Fediverse recently again.

Most people are surprised that something like Fedi exists. They love hearing that the #timeline is chronological.

One simply reprlies with "Does it make #money?"

Can't win em all.

We explained that, "It won't chew up and spit out #smallBusinesses like #bigTech appears to do these days."

@Argus Those platforms are advertising businesses. It's not typically the purpose of an advertising business to promote empathy or civic engagement, unless it's for the purpose of getting you to buy something.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!