Hot takes on the bottom stories of the day, on the latest episode of Steve Green’s Lightning Round.
The best “Florida Man” story ever.
Tim Berners-Lee is building a new version of the World Wide Web where you — not Google or Facebook — controls your personal data.
The Trump administration proposes to grab your photo anytime you enter or leave the USA. This new power comes at a time when China builds facial profiles from DNA samples to target ‘dangerous’ minorities, your phone makes a 3-D map of your face, and Edward Snowden’s new book — Permanent Record — shows how the NSA sweeps up all data and stores it forever.
The IRS grants the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper nonprofit status, setting a precedent for the survival of journalism in the 21st century. Will donors who crave fairness and accuracy make tax-free donations to the Tribune, or The New York Times? Does abandoning the pursuit of profit free journalists to tell the unvarnished truth without taint of opinion.
China expands its system of tracking a citizen’s behavior with a social credit score, and limiting his freedoms if it goes negative. Your neighbor reports you smoking a cigarette at your house, and when you try to fly to Hong Kong the flight attendant says, your score is too low, get off the plane. Is this just a dystopian nightmare spawned by communism, or could measures taken by American companies to nudge consumer behavior lead to such a scenario in the land of the free?
Are man-made climate change warriors blind to the obscene optics of 100+ private jets — bearing aloft the children of privilege and celebrity — flying in to Google’s Camp where they can decry the evils of the carbon emissions which doom the planet? Apparently, they are. Bill Whittle, Stephen Green and Scott Ott consider the motives — and tone deafness — of people who claim to care about a cause as they do exactly that which maximizes the problem they’re fighting.
The FTC fines Facebook $5 billion, and forces several changes on the social media giant to protect the privacy and security of its users. But many see the settlement as a slap on the wrist because founder Mark Zuckerberg stays on his throne, pays nothing personally, and his organization doesn’t admit to any wrongdoing. Should the government have gone further to send a clear signal to the industry?
The Boston Globe reports that the FBI and ICE sweep photo databases at state departments of motor vehicles (DMV) to run criminal searches unauthorized by state or federal law. You didn’t sign off, granting the feds permission to access your image and information without probable cause. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle complain that the law enforcement agencies have done this on their own initiative, turning the land of the Fourth Amendment — the Republic of “innocent until proven guilty” — into suspect nation.
Will smartphones and other technology make your grandchild look like ‘Mindy’ — a tech-driven dsytopian vision of species devolution with a pronounced hunch, thickened skull, extra eyelid, ‘tech claw’ and other adaptations that conjure a creature which might be called Darwin’s demon. Some say Mindy already walks among us.
Stephen Green finds a way to talk about one of Google’s forbidden topics without going broke. He’s forced to refer to certain companion robots as “knitting” bots to avoid getting flagged and demonetized for appealing to prurient interests. Together with Bill Whittle and Scott Ott, Steve examines the benefits and drawbacks of these high-tech “knitting bots” while trying to avoid Google and YouTube’s secret defamation.
Bill Whittle finds three reasons to break up Google, YouTube, Facebook and other social media companies that use algorithms to suppress free speech. This is not merely the revenge of the Right over demonetization. Bias without consent, practical monopoly status, and the distinction between carriers and publishers all lead to the conclusion that even conservatives should cheer the dissolution of these “private” businesses.
If the Progressives who run Facebook, Twitter, Google and the rest get stripped of their power by a bipartisan movement to breakup these monopolies, can you imagine your future on a truly free internet? After the breakup of Ma Facebook, when hand-crafted algorithms no longer control what you see, what you don’t see, and which content creators can thrive or survive, how will that change politics in the United States?
Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant default female voices reinforce sexist notions that women are docile, servile, non-confrontational and easy to please, according to a new United Nations report. The report recommends genderless default voices so these female caricatures don’t discourage girls from pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.).