At the start of 2021 I made four big predictions for the year about digital currencies, the transition to a sustainable economy, geopolitics and social media. How did I score? (Hint: I got to grade myself.)
The Capitol Insurrection, #wallstreetbets and Facebook’s brief war with Australia demonstrate the power of social media to change how we believe – and behave.
At the end of this decade, could social media drive us all into our own private worlds of fantasy, conspiracy, and fakery?
Social media has been weaponised and is now used against nations as a tool of war – invisible, subtle, and dangerously destabilising. John Robb has spent over a decade studying how these new networks represent the new powers – and the new engines of war.
Some of John’s best writing goes to his Patreon supporters…
John writes the amazing Global Guerrillas blog – you should check it out.
John’s book Brave New War is quite good, too.
Social media created a new openness in political discourse – for a brief moment. How can governments, social media and democracy co-exist?
These are hard questions – ones that Micah Sifry has spent years working to answer. As co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, he’s gathered together the best minds (and best politicians) working across the intersection of politics and social technologies to help map and shape the future of the civic sphere.
Social media promised a voice for the marginalised and powerless. Danah Boyd shows us how our voices – amplified – redefined power.
Wonderful links from points mentioned in our conversation, courtesy of Danah:
- Madeleine Elish / Moral Crumple Zones:
- Becca Lewis / Alternative Influence Network:
- Whitney Phillips / Oxygen of Amplification:
- Francesca Tripodi / Searching for Alternative Facts:
- Danah on Strategic Amplification:
- Data voids:
- Alex Rosenblat / Uberland:
- Adam Kalai / bias in gender search:
Here is Danah’s incredible RE:PUBLICA talk from May 2018. Trust me, you will not regret taking the 50 minutes to watch this.
And Richard Metzger’s funny, poignant and farseeing opening of DISINFOCON, back in February 2000:
Back in July 2016, Pokémon Go opened the doors to the brave new world of augmented reality – an overnight success fifty years in the making. With companies like Magic Leap and Facebook working hard to create augmented reality ‘spectacles’, the next billion seconds will see us put our smartphones down — instead placing the screen over our eyes. We’ll like what we see in our new, “improved” reality – but who’s creating and controlling that reality? That’s a question confronting all of us at the dawn of “The Last Days of Reality”.
Here’s a taste:
Or listen to the whole episode here:
(May not work outside of Australia and New Zealand)
Here’s all of the media and links mentioned in the episode:
First, video of Pokémon Go players in Ryde – as the situation was tipping out of control:
The article from the Sydney Morning Herald about Niantic removing the ‘Pokestops’ from Ryde in a game update – pleasing the local residents.
Here’s some early footage of the ‘Sword of Damocles’ – the very first augmented reality system:
Sega’s VirtuaVR system – which I helped design:
Which led to the Magic Leap One AR spectacles – being released in September 2018. Here’s an video about that:
Mark Zuckerberg’s 2017 keynote at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, where he talks about how important augmented reality is to the future of Facebook:
Here’s that 2014 article from The Guardian about that infamous experiment where Facebook manipulated the emotions of 689,000 of its users – without telling them.
Finally, here’s HYPER-REALITY. You really want to watch all six minutes. It’s gold.
For two and a half thousand years, cities and politicians have grown together. The city gives politicians a platform, a stage – and a demanding public. Always economic powerhouses, our cities also hold the key to an urban future where city-states like Singapore rise in prominence.
We talk to Sydney City Councillor Jess Scully about how best to grow a ‘world city’ like Sydney over the next billion seconds – and what it means to have a political career in a time when every citizen has social media to amplify their voice, their beliefs – and their anger.
The future is here – and it’s local. In this clip, Jess talks about the importance of Sydney to Australia’s economy:
In our interview, Jess mentions the DECODE Project – designed to give people rights over the data collected about them. Read about DECODE here.
The City of Sydney wants to increase the housing supply – and this article explains why that’s more difficult than it might appear.