Big-data hubris makes us lose sight of real people

It was bad enough when workers were first labeled "human resources." It became even more disturbing with the more recent term, "human capital" ... as if the many individuals who work for any one company amount to little more than numerical entries in a vast, digital ledger somewhere. Now, the dizzying advances in big data … Continue reading Big-data hubris makes us lose sight of real people

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Facebook defenders: Is it really OK to mess with people’s heads?

I have a couple of questions for anyone defending the ethics of Facebook's recent "emotional contagion" experiment on nearly 700,000 unsuspecting users: would it be OK to mess with the heads of your closest friends and relatives -- your children, even -- without their knowledge? If you say yes, what if a few of those … Continue reading Facebook defenders: Is it really OK to mess with people’s heads?

This is how you unmask online hoaxers

A PandoDaily article by Jeremy Massler and Adam L. Penenberg provides a brilliant illustration of how online investigative journalism should work. In their March 26, 2014, article, "Busted! How we unmasked the man behind the Internet's cruelest celebrity death hoaxes," Massler and Penenberg describe how persistence and paintstaking research enabled them to identify the man … Continue reading This is how you unmask online hoaxers

Look! A squirrel!

Here's a piece of advice if you're looking to improve your information-retention and critical-thinking skills: stop multitasking. A growing body of research is backing up what Nicholas Carr famously (or infamously) suggested in a 2008 Atlantic article ... that Google is making us stupid. Well, not so much Google itself, but the web's wonderful, infuriating, … Continue reading Look! A squirrel!