As promised (at least via Twitter), I’m finally posting new shows for the winter quarter of 2016. First up: Show # 247, January 15, 2016, my interview with Nato Thompson, author of Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century. Nato is an atypical but completely appropriate Hearsay Culture guest: an art curator. In Nato’s book (and broader work), he studies the use of art as a social and political force in a world infused with easy and transformative communication technologies. In our discussion, we explored the challenges and opportunities presented to and by our creative activists, and how consumers can interact with and react to this demonstration of power. Given the power of images and physical structure in our world, Nato’s focus is both highly relevant and largely unique. I greatly enjoyed chatting with Nato, and hope that you find the discussion enlightening!
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I’m pleased to post Show # 246, November 6, my interview with Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake on democracy and technology in Europe. Recommended by former Hearsay Culture guest Lousewies van der Laan of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Marietje is a leading EU public official focusing on technology policy and the impact of technology on democracy. Her work is a perfect fit for Hearsay Culture, as it spans issues including Internet freedom, dual use technology, copyright policy, international trade agreements like the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the EU’s Digital Single Market. In our wide-ranging interview, we covered all of these topics, and even got into a discussion about EU-US relations and the impact of Edward Snowden’s revelations on that relationship. Marietje was an outstanding guest, and we had a terrific discussion. I look forward to having her back on the show in the future.
I’m pleased to post Show # 245, October 9, my interview with author David Brin, on transparency, reciprocal accountability, cyber-utopianism and the preservation of excitement in an age of cynicism. David was an early guest on Hearsay Culture, having been on show # 30 back in early 2007 discussing his now-classic Transparent Society. In the intervening eight years, our sense of utopianism has continued to wane, even as technology’s ability to positively confront the world’s ills has improved. David’s prolific writings on this and other topics was the subject of our far-ranging discussion, from transparency today to how to teach children to maintain energy and optimism despite life’s seemingly hyper-complex challenges. As in 2007, David was a fascinating and engaging guest, and I greatly enjoyed our talk.
This has been a crazy semester. Thus, I am delinquent in posting shows from this quarter. I am about to update the record.
Let’s start with Show # 244, October 2, my interview with Prof. Andrea Matwyshyn of Northeastern University Law School, on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Volkwagen fraud scandal. Andrea has been doing outstanding work focusing on how copyright law can impede the ability of computer security researchers to conduct their research. On behalf of several academic security researchers, she submitted a request for an exemption under the DMCA for such research, and found success in late October. In our interview, we discussed the nature of computer security research, the law around it, and its implications for issues like research around the still-unfolding Volkswagen scandal. I am a big fan of Andrea’s work, and was delighted to have her on the show. I hope that you enjoy the interview.
For the final of the July shows, I’m thrilled to post Show # 243, July 31, my interview with Prof. Jacqueline Lipton of The University of Akron Law School, author of Rethinking Cyberlaw: A New Vision for Internet Law. Jacqui’s work is well known to Internet and intellectual property law scholars, and she makes a wonderful contribution with her take on the state of Internet Law as a field today. Focusing primarily on copyright, trademark and speech caselaw and doctrine, Jacqui suggests that Internet Law’s primary focus is now information and intermediaries (think Google or Facebook). As I’m going to be teaching Internet Law again starting in a few weeks, I’m integrating Jacqui’s insights into my materials. We discussed the state of the field and where its headed in our discussion, which was a lot of fun.
The third show for today’s salvo of new shows is Show # 242, July 24, my interview with Prof. Natasha Schüll of MIT, author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Natasha’s ground-breaking book is an eye-opening study of the ways that technology can and is used to stoke the human predilection for addiction. Focusing on Las Vegas, Natasha’s deep dive into the world of addicted gamblers exposes the capabilities (and some limitations) of an industry’s efforts to reap profits. Moreover, the ease with which programmers can alter games in order to increase gambling (and the resulting losses) is startling. As Natasha points out, people are in the game not just for money; we discussed that dynamic as well as the future of gaming and addiction in our fascinating interview.
I’m pleased to post Show # 241, July 17, my interview with Prof. Jason Arnold of Virginia Commonwealth University, author of Secrecy in the Sunshine Era: The Promise and Failures of U.S. Open Government Laws. Jason has written a foundational book describing the many ways that secrecy plays a role in information flow today. From secrecy in government operations to science, Jason’s study allows the reader to become familiar with the permutations of information control as well as the limitations of existing sunshine laws. Because secrecy is a surprisingly nascent field, it warrants much more attention than it has historically received. Hence my interest in Jason’s work, and his efforts made for great radio!
The barrage begins. Today I’ll be posting four shows from July 2015. Then, because of a pincer attack of classes, my own writing projects and an attempt to remain a husband and father known to his family, I will be on a Hearsay Culture hiatus until October (other than recording a few new shows in September for airing in October, as well as setting the Fall schedule).
Let’s begin with Show # 240, July 10, my interview with ethicist Wendell Wallach, author of A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control. Wendell’s primary concern is the haphazard introduction of technology into our everyday lives. While not skeptical about technology, he cautions against the “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to technology and disruption that he sees in areas ranging from drones to the algorithms within them. We had a broad discussion of the challenges and reality of emerging technology and the choices that we face (whether we want to face them or not), as well as the administrative state’s ability to grapple with these complex policy decisions. It was a fun and illuminating discussion.
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The Summer 2015 schedule is posted! It’s a terrific group of guests, discussing topics ranging from legislative decision-making to control over robots. I look forward to chatting with them!
Note: because I have several writing deadlines coming up this summer (on issues like trade secrecy in start-ups and transparency in trade negotiations), there’s a a slightly lighter schedule than normal. Apologies; alas, articles do not write themselves — yet.