Alberto Cairo (April 3, 2019)
The English word “trumpery” means worthless nonsense, something that is showy and deceitful at the same time. Trumpery can occur in text, verbally, or visually. This non-partisan talk focuses on the visual, examining misleading charts, graphs, and data maps designed by individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum. Alberto Cairo uses these examples to equip you with a solid understanding of “graphicacy,” the term he uses to refer to visual literacy. He believes a literate, numerate, and graphicate citizenry is the best antidote for a world where trumpery runs rampant. (Learn more about Alberto Cairo @ http://www.thefunctionalart.com/)
Geomedia, Mining, and Mobility Justice: The Matter of Cloud Computing and Bitcoin (October 23, 2018)
Technology never operates on its own, but is always about how people use it, how we put things together and make them work. The “material turn” in media studies and mobilities research highlights the geopolitical and socioecological power relations behind technologies like cloud computing and cryptocurrencies. There is a transnational material and ecological basis for communication infrastructures and virtual media geographies which pose crucial problems of mobility justice. Every historical period involves specific assemblages of transport, logistics, communication, and energy infrastructures, from the coal-fired steam train to the caffeine-fueled WiFi café, along with the pollution and waste these systems leave behind: “the materiality of information technology starts from the soil, and underground” in metals such as cobalt and gallium, tantalum and germanium, bauxite and aluminum (Parikka 2012). This talk introduced the new interdisciplinary fields of Mobilities Research and Geomedia Studies and reveal the politics of infrastructure through examples such as cloud computing, e-waste, and Bitcoin. Watch the video.
Mimi Sheller, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and founding Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She is founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities, Associate Editor of Transfers: Journal of Mobility Studies, and past President of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility. Her recent books include Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes (Verso, 2018), Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity (MIT Press, 2014), and forthcoming Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene (Duke University Press). She has been awarded Visiting Fellowships at the Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University; Media@McGill, in Montreal, Canada; Center for Mobility and Urban Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark; and the Penn Humanities Forum. In 2016 she was inaugural Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
Co-sponsored by LITS and the Miller Worley Center for the Environment.
Hoaxes, Memes & Bots: Learning How to Navigate Our Polluted Information Streams (December 5, 2017)
In 2016 the world woke up to the severity of the polluted information environment. This lecture explained why we need to consider the whole spectrum of the misinformation ecosystem, what we learned from monitoring disinformation in the French, UK, and German elections, and why we have to stop using the term “fake news.” Most importantly, it included practical tips so you can make sure you don't get fooled by the hoaxes, misattributed, and manipulated content that surfaces online. Nic Dias is a senior research fellow at First Draft News, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting truth and trust on the internet. He has a background in computational journalism and social science. Nic's recent research interests include the use of bots to boost hyperpartisan perspectives, misinformation and disinformation on social media. In this avenue, he has studied the use of social bots to amplify misinformation in the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany -- particularly during elections. Other curiosities of his include the psychological principles dictating the correction of false beliefs. Watch the video. See Nic's list of verification links.
Breaking the Black Box (January 31, 2017)
Algorithms are everywhere, sifting through information to determine the curated news we read, the prices we pay for goods and services, and even which people are most compatible for us to date. But often we don’t know how, exactly, machines are making these decisions. WNYC's Manoush Zomorodi joins forces with ProPublica to talk about their recent investigation, "Breaking the Black Box", and launch Note to Self's own latest project: "The Privacy Paradox", a five-part podcast and audience engagement series designed to take the mystery out of digital privacy. Hear about how to protect your personal data, the hidden biases in algorithms, and ways we can peek inside black boxes and hold actual people accountable. With ProPublica senior reporter Julia Angwin, entrepreneur and writer Anil Dash and Microsoft researcher Solon Barocas. On January 31, 2017 LITS held a Watch Party of this WNYC livestream at The Green Space in New York. Watch the video.
DIY Cybersecurity: Solidarity Through Technology (December 8, 2016)
Noah Kelley is creator of the DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity and is the founder of HACK*BLOSSOM, an activist organization fighting for the safety and autonomy of marginalized users in digital spaces. In this talk, Noah explores how personal relationships to technology can cultivate a culture that values safety and autonomy in digital spaces, especially in respect to threats of political oppression and personal harassment, as well as how technology can inform both institutional and personal activism. He discusses the current legal and cultural issues surrounding privacy, how cybersecurity plays a role in the addressing those issues, and how cybersecurity can be a launching point for creating enduring and resilient communities over the next few years. There are two versions of this video available. The first provides closed captioning, the second does not. A text transcript of the presentation is also available for download. Watch the video.