Is Your Digital Assistant Manipulating You?

This week on Frankly Speaking I went “wide” instead of deep.  Many of the articles are “personal” kinds ranging from interesting fabrics, to new ideas about home and a big trend in housing sizes, to one young woman’s judicial adventure in freezing her body.  For good measure, I added a post about the media, politics and my personal favorite, digital assistants.
One of the things I’ve been reading a great deal about lately and thinking about for my own personal needs is how I’m using my electronics and what they’re doing to my brain.  It’s already clear from research that as little as 20 minutes a day on a computer will change your brain from a text-based organization to a graphical organization. Your brain no longer thinks in “words” but in “pictures of words”  (That’s the simplest way I can describe it)  Researchers seem divided about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Another thing that seems to be involved is attention span.  Nicholas Carr wrote a fine book about this called The Shallows.  (Amazon)  And I’ve found it to be true that my attention span for longer text reading is reduced.  I’m so used to skimming a great many articles on my various feeds or app (Flipboard and Apple News) that it’s damnable difficult to sit down with a serious book and focus.  I found that this week when I started reading a highly recommended book (got it at a library sale for $2.) about the future of computing and the effect all the networks would have on our society.  Talk about tough slogging!
I’m still at the beginning stages of reviewing my online consumption so I’m going to have to get back to you.  But for the moment, I hope you find these of interest.
Go Ahead, Get Sweaty. Microparticles Can Cool You Down

Garments with microscopic natural carbon particles can evaporate sweat more efficiently and help an athlete’s body manage heat.

Nobody is home

From the footloose networker to the exiled migrant, home has been displaced by an idea that’s both elusive and contested

These Wearables Detect Health Issues Before They Happen

Technologies created by the federally funded MD2K project could lead to consumer devices that offer health guidance in real time.

This Incredible Floating House Is Not For the Seasick

When can we move in?  This is a video that autoplays so make sure your volume is turned down before you get there.

14 Year Old Wins Right to Have Her Body Cryogenically Preserved

Would you be cryo-preserved, knowing that if you survived, you would wake up hundreds of years later?

Fake News Isn’t the Problem. The Media’s Credibility Is

Why do people believe fake news? It’s not because it gets shared all over Facebook; it’s because they don’t trust mainstream news. And Snopes agrees with them.

Is liberal democracy in trouble? “Warning signs are flashing red.”

Political scientists Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa have been doing research on the stability of contemporary liberal democracies, looking in particular at the assumption a country becomes a democracy, it will stay that way. Their conclusion? We may be in trouble:

The Subtle Ways Your Digital Assistant Might Manipulate You

Opinion: Sure, smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home can learn your preferences. But as they learn to serve us, the more power they’ll have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *