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…

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: