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Designer Biases

When new technology comes into being, there are often two radical beliefs that spring up:

  1. That new technology will corrupt our youth and irreversibly damage our society
  2. That new technology will create a utopian society of equality and opportunity for all

The two beliefs are reflected as far back in time as Socrate’s day, when he feared that writing would erode memory (it has, in part) and ruin society (it hasn’t, I personally believe). It is mirrored in reactions to the industrial revolution, the telegraph and then the telephone, and most recently, the Internet.

While we hear a lot about the first belief, brought mostly out of fear, today I’m more interested in the second: Utopianism via technology. Continue Reading

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Privacy in Public Spaces

I recently began reading danah boyd’s book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and it has me thinking about privacy.

I’ve written before about security and the illusion of security. Many internet users who do not have a background in online security feel more secure when the illusion of security exists than when following actual steps to ensure security. Privacy can be similarly difficult to navigate, for the same reason: the illusion of privacy online is not the same as actually being private. Continue Reading