Technology

A water drop and ripples

Relying on tech for your health is a risky proposition.

By Justin Katz | February 23, 2022 |

Not long ago, technology was beginning to allow the blind to see.  Beware the need for maintenance and software support: These three patients, and more than 350 other blind people around the world with Second Sight’s implants in their eyes, find themselves in a world in which the technology that transformed their lives is just…

A dark net

Social media and COVID are in symbiosis.

By Justin Katz | February 7, 2022 |

Something clicked as I listened to the podcast version of the Megyn Kelly episode embedded from YouTube below. Her primary guest was Tristan Harris, a Silicon Valley player who’s been warning about the manipulative dangers of social media.  He’s taken the Stanford classes on “persuasive technology” along with the tech entrepreneurs and knows how it…

Child on computer in parents' bed

Be careful about assuming causation.

By Justin Katz | February 3, 2022 |

That advice has been coming to mind a lot recently. For instance, defending his support for the child-grooming bill, Democrat Representative Brandon Potter (Cranston), asserts that about one-quarter of youth suicides are sexual minorities.  He doesn’t provide a source for his claim, but let’s stipulate that the statistic might be true.  It still doesn’t tell…

Facebook spying through computer

Is Meta moving in on blogs?

By Justin Katz | January 27, 2022 |

A few weeks ago, I received a disconcerting email from the team at Facebook/Meta requesting detailed instructions and credentials to access areas in which a Facebook-related app is functioning.  I’ve written about my concerns on Accuracy in Media: Where this request might fit in Meta’s schemes is impossible to say. Maybe it is as innocent as…

A toilet made into a face

Your bathroom is changing.

By John Loughlin | January 22, 2022 |

Ed Del Grande describes the bathroom of the future.

A water drop and ripples

If it’s being honest, artificial intelligence would tell us not to create it.

By Justin Katz | January 17, 2022 |

A little bit of understanding of how artificial intelligence actually works makes these sorts of things much less significant than they seem at first review, but it’s humorous, at least: When given the motion “This house believes that AI will never be ethical”, the AI came back with some surprisingly coherent views, if a little…

Silhouette over digital background

To grow, we have to be able to pay attention, but maybe it doesn’t have to be boring.

By Justin Katz | December 30, 2021 |

Handling kids’ devices has become one of the most difficult challenges for parents, and the COVID lockdowns made it nearly impossible.  This isn’t just restricting the amount of time a kid sits in front of a television watching shows.  Modern devices are tools of social connection and legitimate information collection.  Add in the need to…

A blurry Google logo

Watching Big Tech is like watching a trap close.

By Justin Katz | December 20, 2021 |

The evolution of online information technology companies is a lesson in the importance of first principles. Only recently has the convenience of cloud technology become so overwhelming in some activities that I’ve been giving in to it in a more-general way, and the temptation is always there to make it central.  The idea, which has…

A water drop and ripples

A mandate for algorithm-free social media might not be the answer.

By Justin Katz | November 19, 2021 |

I’m not sure this is the way to a solution: A bipartisan collective of House lawmakers introduced legislation on Nov. 9 that would require Big Tech providers such as Facebook and Google to allow users to opt-out of content selected by algorithms, providing additional transparency regarding content. The measure, dubbed the Filter Bubble Transparency Act…

A water drop and ripples

An unsurprising finding that social media is bad for your mental health.

By Justin Katz | November 18, 2021 |

Cal Newport describes an interesting natural experiment created by the way Facebook rolled out from one campus to the next: The authors of this paper connect a dataset containing the dates when Facebook was introduced to 775 different colleges with answers from seventeen consecutive waves of the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a comprehensive and longstanding…