Technology

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…

A water drop and ripples

Why is YouTube undercutting its most powerful selling point?

By Justin Katz | November 17, 2021 |

This is an amazing incident, in which YouTube cut the streams of several of its most successful, home-grown channels because they were utilizing a public video stream and were overshadowing mainstream media sources: The Rekieta Law channel, which features multiple lawyers doing real-time analysis of the trial, often beat the number of people watching the…

Silhouette over digital background

Here’s how to properly regulate Big Tech in two easy steps.

By Justin Katz | November 8, 2021 |

During a conversation with Blake Masters on a recent episode of his podcast (go to 48:40 at that link), Andrew Klavan mentioned the contra-regulation argument he sometimes hears that government is simply too slow and legislators too old and out of touch to regulate fast-moving technology.  The only response Masters and Klavan offered (per my…

Child on computer in parents' bed

Should we add “media literacy” to the list of must-teach topics for schools?

By Justin Katz | October 25, 2021 |

The perspective of a parent produces a different reaction to URI’s Media Education Lab study of “media literacy” in Rhode Island schools than the perspective of a policy theorist, although they can come together for a conclusion.  An interview with lead researcher Rene Hobbs by Alexa Gagosz in The Boston Globe gives a good overview, but…

Silhouette over digital background

Maybe rediscovering distrust of tech and government was a good thing.

By Justin Katz | October 18, 2021 |

In the amazing advance of our technology comes the possibility of smart watches’ diagnosing health issues before symptoms begin, Steven Reinberg reports for HealthDay News.  Keeping track of your vital stats on an ongoing basis as you go about your day (and sleep at night), you can get an early start on treatment, which can…

A water drop and ripples

William Shatner’s becoming an actual rocket man.

By Justin Katz | September 25, 2021 |

Jeff Bezos has recruited Star Trek legend William Shatner to give PR for his personal space program a boost.  Well, I’ll take any excuse to revisit this classic performance:

A water drop and ripples

Sure does seem Big Tech supports fascism wherever it can be found.

By Justin Katz | September 22, 2021 |

Somehow, this seems at odds with the strong hand Big Tech has brought to bear against people it claims are trying to undermine elections in the United States: Following Russia’s demand that Apple and Google remove the tactical voting app, and then threats of fines, Apple and Google have dropped the “Smart Voting” app in…

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's Facebook page

As in Woonsocket, we’re going to have to figure out the lines of public transparency.

By Justin Katz | August 6, 2021 |

Two Woonsocket residents are suing Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt with the help of the ACLU for deleting their posts on and blocking them from her Facebook page: Greg Duhamel said he was banned last November when he made a post challenging Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s attempt to claim credit for the building of a skate park.…

SpaceX launch

Billionaires’ toys are an encouraging advance, not a travesty of privilege.

By Justin Katz | July 12, 2021 |

In a time of cultivated resentment (and leaving as a separate question whether something in our system is unjustly permitting individuals to collect monopolistic billions), we should take this as a leading edge toward the future: Two billionaires are putting everything on the line this month to ride their own rockets into space. It’s intended…

Google computer start screen

Artificial intelligence could lock in an infant ideology born of hate, and it can happen to students, too.

By Justin Katz | June 18, 2021 |

A central concern about the development of artificial intelligence is that it will depend so heavily (at least for its starting point) on the input of the people who created it.  A Daily Wire article by Luke Rosiak about social-justice turmoil in the Google “Ethical AI” team provides a detail of just how short-sighted a launch…