Category Archives: digital culture

When we have new media, we have new powers. Just don’t ask for whom.

I grew up in a time where my grandpa had this sort of safe, a triangular wooden thing with a layer of fabric on top and this upward opening door that produced a particularly memorable high pitched noise. It was brown, maybe pastel, but some people would say it had shades of green; this piece of furniture went well with the beige wall, which is absolutely nothing special, but it was, has always been, will always be my grandparents’ home. The floor is what the architects, designers or whatever call “demolition floor”, consisting of tiles of brownish, reddish rectangles all stacking up and this natural aspect of random patterns of saturation, if you look at it from a more modern perspective. But the rest of the furniture doesn’t matter. The Cross at the wall, the sculpture of Virgin Mary, the big mirror that came later. The border ceiling styled cast. The fact that one day we had a cleaning lady, and decades later, everyone became too pissed off to do a single thing, ending up not doing anything at all. The floor stays dirty, the bathroom is a disgusting mess, with a toilet which used to be perfectly clean, now having these stains at the bottom that we took too long to take out and now look like this crusty dirt patch, but of course it’s not dirt; the objects near the kitchen window, where the washing tank is, next to the gas cylinder and the cleaning products. Ok, nobody needs to know. This isn’t The Sims and I’m pretty sure this home isn’t going to have a user of Oculus Rift. What I wanted to tell you about was that little pastel safe. The newspapers from the entire year were stored there. Grandpa John (his actual name being João, in Portuguese) didn’t buy newspapers every day, but he maybe my dad was the one buying. I honestly don’t remember. I do have some flashes of grandpa trying to hold onto the large pieces and them falling off, because he was not a very delicate man, thick hands worn out and wrinkled, and he was getting even older. He could peel some potatoes, slowly, patiently, singing a song, after going to buy them himself, all that nearing his 80th birthday. He used to work at the port. It was carrying stuff on his back, as we’ve seen on the historical pictures, but also stuff that we don’t really know about. Just that it was at the port. I don’t think anyone would understand that when you fast forward 20 years, or not even that, we have not just all the markets and live analysis of supply and demand, but all media vehicles in the world at the palm of our hand, along with pictures of other people’s homes from different angles, in all kinds of situations, except they’re the protagonists, the main elements in photographic framing. At some point, my dad would buy a subscription of a magazine, and I’d read it carefully. I was actually more interested in reading the gaming reviews, and they had specialized magazines for that. I got every issue. Every time we crossed the newsstand, it was worse than peanut candy at the bakery or popcorn at the movie theater. To be fair, we still share a love of peanuts until this day, and if you make a joke about that I’ll probably giggle and we’ll get along. But have you seen an 8 year old reading magazine reviews and interested in the journalism? Well, because that happened, maybe that’s where we are.

I’m not sure what the 8 year olds are doing. I guess gaming is a phenomenon that we have to approach more seriously, because as an industry it drives billions. I guess we have to talk about children’s shows. I guess we have to talk about the diets. The moderation in language. Someone could probably make up a meme with this or that politician speaking, a child watching them on a flat screen connected to the internet, big Dolby speakers on, and the kid is dressed as a monkey; then the concerned, vigilant mom gently puts the monkey hands over the kid’s ears, so they wouldn’t hear that kind of tone. A wrap up would be the monkey again, this time with emoji-likeness. This would incentivize the use of deaf monkey emojis. Maybe with some brainstorming, you could get the team to work on the mute monkey, this time a lonely boy or girl — and then the team would split in the creative room — sitting in the corner of a couch while a bunch of friends were having drinks, dancing, posing for pictures, talking about people in school. Lonely teen sitting at the corner of the couch. Deaf emoji. “This time we could have something provocative”, the marketing strategist would propose. “Maybe we should explore the positives on this one. We all have people we think are annoying. It’s not about the loneliness, it’s about the choice of being alone. Can you work on that? I’ll leave you to it then.” And so the team would be slightly confused, slightly pressured. The conversation at break would be about how to apply the concept of the monkey with his hands on his mouth to the concept of silencing, but the word was actually “muting”. The feature, soon to be rolled out by the app and website, would allow people to personalize their experience online while still looking as if they were giving each of their follows the same kind of attention. “But then, you’d need to unmute, right? I mean, it’s probably gonna be hard to measure, but if you’re on it; then you wanna focus on something for a while, maybe that could be an entire week. I’ll go newsless for an entire week, focus on my friends, you know? Then you got a tab showing who you’ve muted and you can just unmute when you wanna catch up, maybe show what you’ve missed”. But what about the emoji? This isn’t about the news. This is, indeed, about loneliness. And while some people smoke discussing the features that would be rolled out and how to please consumers and partners, the socially awkward guy is thinking about something else: duct tape, not emoji. If you put duct tape on your mouth, that’s a powerful symbolic concept. But can you imagine people associating it to other related uses? Suddenly, mouth gags, nipple clamps, cock rings. “No, it’s really about the monkey. You can show a kid throwing a banana at the monkey in the zoo, and then the monkey throwing the banana back, and hitting the kid’s eye. The kid starts crying, and the mom is like… it’s okay honey. It’s just a stupid monkey”. Wrapping this up as anecdotal and fictional, not much of a cautionary tale that people seem to think Mad Men was, or The Office was: not everyone is being heard in the media, the social media, and it’s definitely not the case that we’re still reading about what’s happening in the world whenever we read the newspaper. Grandpa wouldn’t be able to handle this; he’s gone, but he has a legacy.

Some people are more focused on visuals than others. Despite the fact, unknown the many, that reading can foster a creative mind that allows you to “see the world” when you’re reading a text, that spanning to decades before, and experiencing it through image, whether it’s an art installation or a painting (unless they’re splattered with tomato sauce, but I’m sure you could get a copy in the public domain), the consumption of video has made all of us expect something else from our internet experience. TV didn’t wanna die. And so it strived but it didn’t, but their influence is even bigger than you’d imagine. Think for a second: you want to go live on Instagram, but you realize you only have your microphone from the earbud set. When you went on Twitter, you had a highlighted trend which was the presidential debate being exhibited live. They weren’t doing it from their phones. They had professional cameras, audio quality and everything just as if they were on TV, but even better. A better signal, a better coverage, since their time wasn’t restricted to the schedule of the network, but the topic instead, which could in turn be explored in the conversations people were having about it as of right now; a better view on the themes for anyone who was interested. But then you look at independent journalism. They’ve learned to Zoom, and to broadcast showing diverse sets of media pieces, which in fact meant not a lot more than displaying different tabs on the screen. It seems very simple, until you realize maybe it’s not — and until you try to do it yourself, especially if you’re thinking, like me, that Substack will be your source of income. Will you keep doing it, after the bad reviews? This is one aspect, for every writer. Another is the undeniable appeal that certain hosts of images and videos have. Instagram is sexy, but nobody’s supposed to talk about it — and in fact, that came with time, and personally, I’m convinced that was a particularly tense atmosphere for the people who wanted to be viewed as ethical rocks, and who would always have the data to show that they’re the ones who invested the most in research, and that their research was the most relevant, given the userbase and what they knew about them. But that, in itself, is an ethical problem, and of course we’ve heard the nutrition whistle and we’re all still acting like the big dogs do. Putting this one platform aside, and taking a step back before approaching the new trend of algorithm-fed quick videos on demand from multiple people who you’re dying to meet and we’re going to introduce to you (an offer you can’t refuse), we have the word sexy. Nobody starts a conversation with “hey, sexy”. They should go to prison if they do. Well, of course not, but they might wanna know that’s pretty lame. I just think there’s a weird fluctuation, or rather, a volatile environment of digital trade, when it comes to the sexy categories. Because if you cut the “why”, you’re left with raw material. Some people have no idea what to do with it. You could tell someone that everything you need to know about any given subject is on Wikipedia; they might get lazy, and close their eyes on it. You might tell someone at school: “guess what, I found her OF”. The monkey emoji, closing his eyes, would slightly move its fingers to the sides in order to see, but pretend not to care — or in fact, to pretend that not to be looking. But we know that the “raw material” can be a lot different than what the emoji represents.

We’re not thinking about marketing for kids. Some “kids” are actually doing the thinking for us. Whenever a conversation ends too suddenly, we’re faced with the question: “what did I say?” — but that comes after a number of interactions, and you’re still trying to get it right. Practice makes perfect. But don’t you wanna focus on something else? And who said that this perfect model would be scaled up, and applied to everyone, involving masses of people in contact with your displays of emotion? In contact with your rawness, which includes a spectrum of things which you can’t label or categorize, describe, begin to talk about. But since practice makes perfect, they’re quick to say: “you look like an actor from Stranger Things”. And so we start to think: how big is streaming for younger audiences? But we’re suddenly stopped on our tracks, inevitably, out of someone else’s greed, out of someone else’s desire to know everything about anything, and win the argument at all times: “What do you mean with ‘younger audiences’? I’m old enough”. Labelling is interesting because it involves a lot of linguistic knowledge, when it’s done properly. For example, a fruit like a banana, before it’s ready to be consumed, is called “green”; when it’s already easy to peel, not yet smelling, which should mean you’re supposed to eat them before they rot, and just good to put in your mouth, you call it “mature”. Now consider the difference between “mature content” and “adult content”. For example, this blog contains mature content, but not adult content — despite some slight references to this world, which is not represented here at all, and that’s obvious to anyone who knows what adult content looks like, sounds like, and what it feels like to watch it one time, then lose count — and also lose touch with yourself, sometimes. Once, I was around 10 and I was playing a videogame where the narrative is some really fucked up dystopia or futuristic, while being mixed up with a tribal, origin of civilization period, and you have to save the world, basically. It’s called Turok. I didn’t play the first game, which is all about a Native-American hunting dinosaurs; I played the second one, which had this weird, kind of terrifying iguana’s red eye staring at you at the cover, with the tagline: “seeds of evil”. You’d get lost in some kind of narrative where these organized groups of other species were taking control of everything good, putting kids in cages and all. Dystopian narratives tend to get something right, but I could totally be talking about Star Fox and my comments would all be about how sexual the conversation between pilots are. “Incoming enemy from the rear. Drop altitude”: of course the horny rabbit is telling you to bend over cause there’s a machine behind you (and what do you know, people take it literally these days! “Your father helped me like that too”: like what? Did you guys, uh… But back to Turok, one of your final missions would be to “purify the river of souls”, all the while shooting plasma bullets at the center of some alien’s big belly, and it was particularly explicit — but there was, in their defense, an option to make the red blood look green. But there’s an interesting part of the story I don’t wanna miss. Back here, over 20 years ago, I was very entertained and actually thrilled to be figuring out what I had to do in the game all by myself, without the help of the magazine “walkthrough” — but it was time for lunch. My grandpa called me once, twice, and then I went to the living room, slightly pissed off, I suppose, and said I was playing a game and it was important, but they were bothering me with something less worthy of attention, absolutely meaningless. “I’m here trying to save the world from all these scary monsters and you want me to go eat spaghetti, are you out of your minds?” I’m not sure what words I said, and this was obviously not the actual conversation, but when I refused to obey and come to the lunch table at the time I was called, my grandpa reacted grabbing me by the neck, looking straight at me and I think he slightly pressed it even though I was just a 10 year old. My grandma told him to stop. I think I went back to the game, but cried about it.

Now, back to the real world of right now, always and forever: the metaverse is a billionaire investment. So is Twitter, though it’s a little less. Nobody will stop talking about Twitter, and I’m trying to figure out why, exactly. The new policy is “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach”. That means, as briefly explained by the buyer, that you can write what you want, but that will always go through moderation, and they’ll keep track of everything and rank your participation. That means to say we can totally start a conspiracy theory that the Japanese are all shamelessly horny, and another person will suggest they’re horny, yeah, but always filled with shame (I personally believe this profoundly, but in the one opportunity I had to say this to my American coworker who’s not here anymore, I kept my mouth shut). We can show an image and put a hashtag on it, but how much do you think people search for hashtags? You can try to make a new hashtag on your own. But do you even have a following? That won’t work. You can try to say what’s on your mind (see what Mastodon did?) and have people react to it, but will they, ever? You can build on and on, and it’ll be torn down. You don’t know the right words, you don’t have the right tone, you don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about, and you’re ugly, and you’re lame, and you smell. Look at where you live. It’s a fucking demolition floor, filled with crusts of dirt in the living room. And I’ll never go into that bathroom, I’m pretty sure that’s where the pandemic started. You’ll have to do something about the drains, all that spit that somehow goes brown on the sink won’t be cleaning itself and you have to take out the hairs. I won’t touch it. Look at your ridiculous beige wall. At least if you had a black wall, you’d be cool. Then you could take pictures in front of the mirror, but not showing your hideous face. From the rear, babe. At least the bedroom’s fine. But you know we could cut the electricity any time, right? One neighbor monitors for the Church, another monitors trade, this guy monitors the power, this other one monitors the drugs. It’s a beautiful community effort. You see… that’s what’s up, and you’re all thinking “oh no, icons are disappearing from my favorite social media platform! It’s the end of the world!” Nobody talks about fireworks resembling gun shots. Nobody talks about sex workers being invisible to society, but the most sought for at a specific time of someone’s day — and man, there’s always someone. They can’t talk about work, and they can’t talk about sex — imagine sex work? Actually, Twitter and Meta became exactly that: places where you can’t talk about sex and you can’t talk about work. People are dead because of shit policy. Twitter wants you to believe your ideas are brilliant, while they exploit you in real time. Meta wants you to see everyone’s brilliance, while they all want to see you get abused, which is in their power to do and to organize for. Maybe it’s all the same. Maybe it’s not the sex. Maybe it’s not the emoji. Maybe we’re supposed to sleep: not to see, not to hear, not to speak. No freedom of reach, except for my big dick built by Space X. “Sorry, wrong name. You’re not supposed to talk about your dick on Spaces? Okay, my bad”. And we believe in the free market…

The evolution of media is hard to track. Video on demand? YouTube “pivoted”, but so did Netflix, and then Amazon, Disney, Apple, among cable and services like Hulu. Then, maybe after observing engagement with video consumption on Twitter and Tumblr, the latter more spicy then the former (which everyone thought was a problem, until they realized they pretty much broke the internet), TikTok came to be the equivalent of McDonalds for media, expect coming from China. The real story is we have Critical Literacy goals to be met in the Educational Common Core established across countries, and while these involve creation of relevant media themes, they’re failing to show how that’s really done, and so the arbiters live in one bubble while the creators, or aspiring creators, live in another. That last point alone could lead to intense debate: “why is that content getting attention while mine is not?” Money, silly. And now think about the policy again. The platform is definitely not a source for good; it’s a source for income through the exploration of your personal information, which you chose to disclose and, believe it or not, their legal argument is a tick box that you clicked on. So much for Semiotics. A click is not approval; it can mean many things. And now we’re facing a “depolarization effort”. This will ultimately result in user growth, but another round of public scrutiny that will most likely exhaust the already exhausted, who will in turn show scorn and bitterness, along with a complete (but carefully veiled) disregard for your social condition and your efforts, let alone empathy transformed in support that is concrete. we’ll hear the talk, but never see a path to be walked, only tall buildings where things are happening and cars going somewhere we’re fucking not. It’s not about video, and it’s not about Discourse Analysis: it’s about human relationships, Social Work and Psychology. Education plays a role, but the educator who doesn’t even talk to his or her students to learn what they’re dealing with is never going to even scratch the surface of their many layers of protection against invasion of privacy. But we shouldn’t be paranoid and assume they know everything — they do not. There needs to be guidance, and the role of the current media is absolutely bridging generational gaps; but when you’re getting an opinion from 70 year olds about how the world should work, maybe it’s time you realize you don’t like your grandpa’s opinions — let alone being grabbed in the throat because you wanted to enjoy yourself. Politicians need to stop playing with personal narratives immediately. They say they represent us, but they don’t even talk to us. They can’t possibly be the solution for media policy when they’re not choosing personal storytelling in order to reach those people who are desperate to see that these people running for office are maybe just like us, but they happen to have a plan to fix stuff. And if you choose to go along the way, you’ll meet the media industry: profiting from falsehoods, producing to preserve their reach and relevance, and seldom hinting at something good happening in the sphere of public debate, but never mentioning names except of those who are controlling the whole process. That needs to change. Musk is a fraction of so called internet debate. Zuckerberg is a lunatic — nobody can ever explain how investing in augmented reality with billions of dollars was the chosen path when you had a row of social initiatives to fund, about the real world and real struggles. Not even a feature. And the people who actually run things, the investors and venture capitalists, along with institutions and universities, will ask for better performance while stopping you at your tiniest attempt to think for yourself, then later making a sarcastic comment that they think you won’t be able to respond — and if you are, they’ll hunt you down and crush you with a story about something completely irrelevant that they’ll try to convince you is the new thing, without a fucking apology, let alone a payment for moral damage — while they retain the data now and in the future. It’s time to defund big tech. The knowledge is built with existing tools. If you want better wages, you’ll have to be content with working less hours while they hire more people, because that’s what diversification means. And when people think together about how to fund the creators, it’s gonna be too late: financial markets will dominate discussions, just because we inputted our information, again — this time, our banking, not our contact. And who says we even got a call in the first place?

Brazil breathes in relief. But who was suffocating us?

As I saw the live transmission of recently established CNN Brasil on a recently bought platform, Twitter under Elon Musk, waking up from a particularly hot day in Santos with a sun that made my eyes hurt and my sight blur even more when I went outside, around lunchtime, the numbers were showing a two percent margin for a man whose name I struggle to pronounce. I’ve learned many names of cities and people in the English language, and also other foreign regions, but this name annoys me. I feel dirty uttering it. And the reasons are many. From torture enthusiast to pick-pocketer of the Republic, JMB, in short, was a man who said things no media company would allow you to say without penalty. That’s how we know some things need to change, and maybe they will. Investigations can take some time to be developed, and the facts of the law need to be clear enough to argue in a case that could lead to conviction. His supporters don’t think that’s the case. As I’ve mentioned earlier, with no need to tag a post, especially when the entire mainstream media covered it, the city of Guarujá, located in a small margin of water that separates it from Santos, the biggest port in Latin America, took stage in an effort to convince the population that Lula, now president again, would be accepting an apartment as a bribe. He merely visited it, and from this I can tell you a personal story.

In 2013, the company where I worked at installed cameras inside our classrooms. We were seeing the popularization of the smartphone, but some people were already living in a separate reality, and I thought I’d been really lucky to be part of it. The benefits of life with technology were many, not just on videocalls with strangers, something I talk about to my students, obviously without mentioning details of interactions with a few particular people, but on the experience of having an alarm on the phone, a calendar, a note-taking app, social media as it grew, easy communication across countries, music and a camera to register my favorite moments. But in the classroom, I was being evaluated. And this one time, I decided to approach a class with a discussion on piracy and online sex, because it had something to do with the topic proposed in the book, called “classes for advanced learners”. What I didn’t know, and would learn later, was that Sao Paulo was developing intense marketing strategies that would culminate in an effort to analyze private conversation in order to get to know clients better and to offer better service. That was what made my conscience heavy, all these years. And seeing that the president of the country had a conversation wiretapped and broadcast on national TV, as I pointed out on my previous blog, made it seem like something bigger was going on. I lived in a more fast-paced reality, and I’d already lost a number of contacts for not being aware of how fast communications are these days. But what they did was to use this speed potential to disseminate false information.

Everyone became a specialist. Everyone had a voice. And that means speech freedoms were working, but soon enough, companies would realize they’d made mistakes. By allowing everyone to speak at the same time, with no control over what they were saying, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, then Instagram, saw a wide range of offenses and hostility, which they seemed to ignore when introducing the DMs. Messenger was a platform of its own, but few decided to exchange messages on there, worried about security, and WhatsApp promised end-to-end encryption. In the midst of that, Snapchat became an alternative, but massively, people turned their attention to whatever was going viral. And politics became viral, at a point where people were trying to meet people, because that, ideally, was fun and engaging, not enduring and frustrating. Suddenly, they didn’t see the positive side of technology, but rather, the negative ones. It was a burden, not a thrill. It was a perilous effort, not a collaborative process. Technology, in sum, explains our relationship with politics a lot, but in my case, it went even further.

I saw myself as a homeless person, not able to agree with my dad’s rules at home. My brother, of course, played his role. And I remember walking across town with all my belongings, after getting fired from a job for being constantly late, regardless of the lack of leadership and organization they presented themselves. I’d been in a big company and a big university. Also, a big home. All of that faded. And so my dreams became callouses on my feet, pain in my articulations, cuts and bruises all over my body. Trauma was more prevalent than the fact that I had to count coins to smoke cigarettes and buy a ticket for the popular restaurant who served food for one Brazilian real. I would walk around the neighborhood asking smokers I found to give me a cigarette, please. And I’d been abandoned. What kept me away from the streets was a rent my ex girlfriend paid me, and eventual shopping from my more recent ex, who thought our relationship was unsustainable, but basically, I didn’t deserve to die. She thought I had cheated on her, and I was surrounded by people who were very well off, in this hostel where I spent six months of my life, which was supposed to be paid by my ex’s family, but wasn’t. I left with a debt and a bunch of people who thought I’d taken advantage of them, adding up to the narrative of the two-time cheater, but little knowledge that I could’ve been a two-time father. And so I went back home.

What I learned was that, during the years I spent away from internet discussions, events unfolded a lot faster. Every click counted. Every minute spent watching a video, every tweet, every like, every follow. They made a system where technology was supposed to take care of ourselves, telling us what we were doing could be improved, in experience terms. But they lied. For every like in a piece of opinion posted online, they shared data with the opposing side. This was called their audience, or potential customers. If you already liked something, you were only speaking to your bubble, and the point was to reach out to the people who didn’t know you. So they offered content. And that’s how I learned about some of the vehicles and personalities I keep on following today. That also led me to find incredible artists. But these artists had a life that wasn’t easy, and getting in touch with them was something I knew wasn’t possible. At least that I had learned from my first contact with emergent technologies. If I say I lost 20 pounds in 2015 because I was hungry, they’ll say I contacted a thousand people over Kik. One of them, in the following year, told me, when I asked to see more of her: “Die”. So who’s the other side again? And are we even focusing on the right thing? Does politics influence us so much that it’s the only thing we can talk about, or are there more topics to be approached, in retrospect, so we fix the mistakes from the past, apologize for possible misfortunes and bad words, but also, reconstruct our reputation?

Lula is a man who’s trying to do more or less that. I don’t see Lula talking about reputation, especially on the internet. I see him talking about hunger. I see him talking about hope, curbing hate, protecting the natural environment, incentivizing the small business owners, boosting culture by all means, protecting social security programs, giving value to education. He’s a humanitarian. If we compare, the other side wanted to silence or gun down opponents. These were words uttered in public. Can you imagine what was said in private? The pandemic, which spewed controversy in countries all over the planet, was a public health question; but wasn’t it revealed, at the same time, that major technology companies had impacts on mental health, as was the case for Instagram, with detailed data and top ranking specialists blowing the whistle, like Frances Haugen? Wasn’t Mudge recently warning us that Twitter had low security? And wasn’t Snowden telling us that what we do online needs to be looked at with more caution, because institutions are watching? They wanted to say our country, our family and our God were the biggest symbols of who we are; with that, they devalued diversity, closed the door on possible life-changing interactions between people across cultures and mocked existing ones; imposed a moral agenda in countries with an immense disparity on how things are seen when it comes to sex and relationships in general. The government, just like the tech companies, lied to us.

The government said it created radical innovation for fintech during the pandemic, where you only needed an email or phone number to send a payment. When asked about it, the incumbent (a suggestion of vocabulary) tentatively spoke about how it would bring advancements in aviation. The Federal Bank, Caixa, suffered with massive technology failures, delaying of payments and false information not checked by federal agencies. Services like the Digital Work Register, at least for me, were not synched with the registries on paper. A major technology gap arguably favored the rich and strangled the poor, who waited in long lines to receive the news that their payments, extremely low at the beginning (250 Brazilian real), would only be made a month later. Meanwhile, everybody in the top financial analysis sectors wanted to talk about so called “cryptocurrencies”. The value of Bitcoin reached 42 thousand dollars. In other words, 1 Bitcoin would feed 840 Brazilian families. They used to say “that’s the marvel of money”. Now they ask you to give them your data before you change the world. When the world was already exhausted of talking about death every single day, and the markets went “back to normal”, although life didn’t, a military conflict was made the new topic of conversation. Grains exports were concerning, as well as the natural gas economy and nuclear energy. We’d rather believe the Europeans could handle this in a more precise way, but it seemed, the world of Left versus Right was capable of defending Russian war crimes in favor of anti-imperialism, using manufacture as an excuse for how we’re supposed to view the world. Relationships, obviously, didn’t matter. If a government official lied about an American girl, it also didn’t matter. What if Americans lied about many, and an entire industry they lead?

The anxiety to know what was happening only grew, but so did our discontentment with the world, our own relationships and our lives, fixed routines and dead ends. We looked for contact, but saw that communications platforms were enforcing censorship. As I’ve said many times, at a time when the entire world was bored, the hashtag bored was blocked on Instagram. Policy, they said. In fact, we know that to in order the handle the amount of accounts created every day and the activity in them, artificial intelligence was developed to better address issues like language barriers and standards, security and other data-related stuff. They didn’t put a less xenophobic robot in charge. They didn’t fix racist algorithms. Technology, all the time, was lying to us. And so we expected, desperately, for someone to tell us the truth. What was really happening, and how would we get away from it, back to the projections we saw when those early services were adopted, and society wanted to gather and participate more actively in the city and help build more projects, but because they had work and because they wanted more people around them?

It seems hard to unite the country again. Some believe that technology reveals what people won’t say in public. These people consume illegal content, that they haven’t even realized is illegal. When they do, maybe they’ll start wondering why they were so impassioned when engaging with it. Laughable leaks were the new normal; serious journalism was deemed trash. And curiously, the people who wanted to create alternative channels were already organized: their agenda was to defend political parties and ideologies like Brazilian Liberal Party and the free tax for sailboats, along with consecutive billionaire cuts on education and health, while ministers got payments in literal bars of gold. If we touch upon crime, a cult of violence was observed all through the incumbent’s illegitimate mandate, but people forgot that legitimacy was supposed to be questioned in the first place. The confusion between public opinion and a need to control narratives was the cost that we all paid, and generated conflicts that go beyond the refusal to wash the dishes in the kitchen sink, and look a little more like a purple eye for rising numbers of women living with their partners, with little to no concern from the government on how to handle that situation, and a death toll among supporters and campaign staffers from the other side. We won, but blood was spilled, and that can’t be forgotten.

What I expect for Brazil is a scenario where technology is used to showcase the best in us. It’s hard to imagine people learning Portuguese, but if you’d excuse me, it’s actually very easy to think that the first person associated with Brazil would not be Neymar, the soccer player. The Brazilian icons like Milton Nascimento, Raul Seixas, Lenine, Djavan, Chico Buarque or Tim Maia, on a more or less traditional end, or even Legião Urbana, Titãs, Paralamas and other rock bands, they’re not mentioned. For the female singers, few people remember Marisa Monte, Daniela Mercury or even Ivete Sangalo. Among media personalities, nobody really knows who Pedro Bial is, or Marcelo Tas, or William Bonner. Like the cult to Larry King, few point to Antonio Abujamra’s interviews, and nobody knows who Ricardo Boechat was. In comedy, Fábio Forchat, Gregório Duvivier, Marcelo Adnet or even Hélio de la Peña are probably never going to get as much of an audience as a John Oliver or SNL. Anitta will not be Ariana. Apnea, a local band I like a lot, will not be the new Red Fang. So the role of Brazil is to reposition itself as a world player. We don’t necessarily need to look back to the past and show people what we’ve learned, but when people ask us, the references will be different. They’ll certainly ask about the elections. And so we can tell people that we witnessed the attempt to use technology with authority to control people’s actions, and not let them speak their minds unless protecting the government’s actions. These actions, it seems, reveal that the purpose of the internet, for them, was never to educate. Entertainment with criticism is a dogma for them. They don’t respect the LGBT, they don’t respect the Black and Indigenous, they don’t respect the poor. And they will keep expecting criticism from us that doesn’t generate any effects on their specters of influence. The difference is that we don’t care, because we won. And now it’s up to us to pave the way communications will happen in the next four years and the legacy to come after that.

Most people see blocking as a tool. But for what?

I have a class where the theme is “rights, duties and perceptions”, on my course. Those 300 pages are starting to make sense: I paid an effort because I cared. But let’s look at all the people who didn’t, for a bit. One of the questions I’ve asked a student is what kind of thing he used to hear at home and he thought was just a dumb rule. I’ve repeated this question on a video about web policy. And here we are, debating nudes on Instagram, 10 years after its creation. Except… we’re not. I haven’t read any stories, just the news it was developing AI. I didn’t hear anybody in favor or against; I didn’t hear any personal stories; I didn’t hear moms, dads and teenagers; I didn’t hear employees and HR departments, I didn’t hear old ladies. But there was this piece on the media this week. The dumb rule, in my not-so-modest opinion, is not sending nudes on Instagram. At a minimum, the company doesn’t know how to set policy. And I could go on and on about how they’ve lied to the public in terms of advertising data, but every site has done so with the cookie policy, and I’m one of the people who felt a need to include one on mine — nobody instructed me to. I say: partfluency uses that to understand visibility. So let’s talk about visibility.

The dumb rule my student mentioned was not wearing a hat at the lunch table. We both didn’t really understand it. Maybe taking off your hat was a sign of respect, and in fact, until this day I see people tipping their hats when someone says something funny — like they’re really saying “I agree”. It makes no sense. Maybe if someone said: “don’t wear red in the hospital”, that would make more sense. Of course, that could make people think someone’s badly injured and needing urgent care, in a place where people come and go, metaphorically, literally. But back to social media. When I started making public comments on my potential girlfriend’s profile, I got blocked. I can’t guess what happened. I remember one of our interactions, block lifted, where she said she was cooking something, and I said “meanwhile, chicken at the lunch table”. She’s a vegetarian, but she liked it. I mean, that’s the opposite of what you wanna do. If she was honest, she’d be replying with “ew”. But no, she “liked” it. And I have many examples of occassions where I posted on Facebook: “feeling like shit today” and people would literally give me a thumbs up. Sorry, that makes you happy? Are you trying to control the robots to make me even more unhappy and teaching them that when I’m unhappy, the world is in the path to improvement? What’s the plan? And for most, it’s the guy who sends dick pics. I mean, most teens, of course. But no, I don’t mean that, because I talk to teens and what they’re doing now is they’re asking everyone and recording everything. For what reason? That is a mystery. I’m not investigating sex trafficking rings, that is a job for the FBI, I believe. If they’re aware that what they save has an origin which is traceable and their passwords and contacts are too, then maybe they’re just smarter than us (and the FBI? Hmm…) and doing it on purpose. But the blocking thing? I don’t think so.

Because every time a person has blocked me, it was to escape debate. I’ve never threatened to punch anyone on the face (all I did was being on Twitter writing a reply about spitting on Donald Trump when he was the president, nothing absurd or nonsensical). It seems to me that there’s modes of interaction. If you exist online, people already know you exist. Let’s use a bad comparison: it’s like the Pornhub online user search: it’s there, and you know they’re lying to you. But who? Maybe back in the day, when Orkut still had the feature of seeing who visited your profile, we should’ve figured shit out — or rather, people should’ve explained it to us, because these were products being sold. The apps for that today are paid. Or maybe let’s say the reason you got locked out of Twitter was your use of VPN. You see, because people stealing your identity here was fine; in another country, you pay the price. Does that make sense? Of course it does not. Maybe they knew who these people were, and they were trying to help you out of a situation, but here you’re stuck with a bunch of gangsters and that’s good for business, since you can’t do shit? Anyway, back to blocking. You’re online, let’s suppose. The algorithm, oh almighty gore, oh deadskin on my dick wanting to play, alerts people that you’re online — or rather, alerts the Facebook database. And so your activity (like it used to by design) is shown on the “heart” icon. Instead of seeing what happened on *your* account, you see what happens on everybody else’s. Does anyone remember what excuse they had for overturning that policy? I surely don’t. But now, if you don’t have activity, you’re drowned in ads and other people’s activity (posts and accounts you may like). The same is happening on Twitter. Why? Can’t they at least go back to basics and make you pick an interest? No, they can’t. Cause they fucking suck at their jobs, that’s the truth. Alright, fine, it’s more profitable or whatever. But we know there’s a tricky side to that.

When I make a profile with a music distributor (let’s suppose it’s Bandcamp), if I make a dollar, 30 cents go to Bandcamp. That means my profile is, in essence, monetized. It means not only that I can make money, but other people can, too. And it’s not just a tiny fraction, you see. Let’s talk about money systems. If I input my password wrongly with my debit card, the bank blocks it, at least on ATMs and for most online transactions. That means I have the money, but I can’t access it, because of the many factors that could’ve led me to forget it. Now let’s suppose you’re a woman, and the guy said he had chicken on the table. Your friend turns to you and says: “aren’t you a vegetarian? that’s harrassment, block him”. And *to everyone’s surprise* she says “yeah, you’re right!” — and never looks back. Now remember what I said about monetized accounts? Remember what I said about people teaching the robots? Exactly: you can “teach social media” who deserves money and who does not. Except they make fake profiles to manipulate the algorithm all the freaking time. As it turns out, money is a big thing on social media, not just likes. One time, I asked my friend for a dollar to smoke. She blocked me. Yesterday, I was stretching my back, and I emmitted the most painful, deathbed-sounding noises of my life, trying to relieve some chest and lung pains, but I think part of that was muscular and the result of sedentarianism. She giggled and asked “sir, are you alright?” — of course she was also high on drugs and I sounded like an dying alien from a videogame, but that doesn’t really matter.

Why people block other people is simple: it’s more conveninent. They also think they’re making improvements. But they think, at some point, they have an entire system for their lives that’s going to favor them at all times, and they won’t let it go. Then insist on keeping you blocked. They don’t realize that maybe they were fucking wrong. Maybe they don’t have a reason anymore. And maybe, in case they were still stalking, your messages were not for them! They keep blocking. Which makes me think: if I block a billionaire on Twitter, I’m literally taking away his influence and that means I’ll have more of a chance to become the new billionaire, right? I mean, I’m teaching the algorithm. Maybe if I wanna be CEO, I can start by blocking the CEO. I’m just not sure what’s gonna happen when I see them. Are we going to live an alternate realities? Wait, is this what the Metaverse is really about? And if it is, wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of looking back at your memories, you had the option to review, just like your privacy settings that Google and Microsoft tell you to look at from time to time, your block list? What kinds of questions would they ask? “Are they still bothering you?” or “you’re not over this yet, are you?” — maybe even “it sucks there’s nothing else you can do about it, right?”

They don’t make children’s shows like before. But what are actual children doing?

Representation matters. That’s why the BBC made a TV show with main characters resembling babies: the parents weren’t there even to say hi to their children, so they had to project the sun into a screen, with a baby face in it, so they could learn that it was really fun to interact with their peers and stuff. Multi color, super progressive. Except if you fast forward to 2022, you’ll see the NYT reporting on tweens having 5 hours of screen time. And these are not “kids”. It seems, though, that for every hint of maturity that you may want to inject into a teenager’s mind and behavior, they either abandon the notion of living in society, often dispelling the morals they’ve learned on sped up edited videos on YouTube (try to talk to them and you’ll see they don’t have a lot to say), or they’ll come to you with the classic “I’m a minor”. The importance of music is not to be understated, because it might be good for your “child” to learn what major and minor notes and chords are. The ability to interpret art is counterposed by the ability is pretend you understand it, just because it rhymed (and I’m not conservative at all, just realistic, when needed). The teens? They listen to music, for sure, but overall spend 8 hours behind the screen (on average!) and that should be the conversation we’re having. But we’re not. And the adults are wondering what Meta is trying to do, suddenly very puzzled.

Maybe marketing will refocus. With these age groups in mind (particularly tweens) and the result of their products’ maturing process (I think the teenager who vapes and snaps doesn’t give a damn about the avatar emoji, but maybe it’s to remind them they’re still young and not on LinkedIn), we’re going to see not just more Disney Plus, but edutainment. My bets are here, and that’s part of what I try to do with this blog, breaking away from “traditional blog writing”: watching an informative video, while consuming YouTube specific formats (fast cuts, heavy editing, informal text read out loud to save time, bloopers and so on), may serve a bigger purpose, which is repurposing the media. That is not our job alone, but then we have to talk about what we’ve learned (including from TikTok, which is a work in progress); and if you can’t admit that a teenager spending 8 hours behind the screen instead of talking to you, as a parent, is a sign of the times, then either take the careful approach or the libertarian approach: watch over them or let them do what they want. It’s particularly hard to say this, but I personally believe you’ve got to have conversations about the internet more often that don’t involve what the parents want to show you (I’m 33 now, but I absolutely disdain my dad’s favorite YouTube channels), but what the “kids” want to show you; and if they have a new relationship and they feel like sharing with you is gonna help, congrats, you’re doing a good job. Otherwise, you’re probably not, and that’s the entire role of the person in the family who asks, during Sunday lunch, when someone younger is gonna get married, or the Brazilian uncle who says “what about those little girlfriends, huh?” — between siblings, there’s competition to see who’s doing a better job, and when that involves how you raise a child, you might finally learn why kids are called kids and adults are what they are: nosey, arrogant and self-righteous by nature. But babies? Babies wanna cuddle! Look at Teletubbies.

Let’s be real: what the hell is happening with internet security?

It seems nobody wants to talk about the ongoing disputes between Microsoft and Google. While the former never ventured on social networking and only decided to develop mobile applications very recently, thought we remember Lumia, the cloud is an interesting point to analyze: having your documents stored somewhere in the scope of the company is suddenly the best thing to do, but apparently, keeping your stuff to yourself is very inconveninent — in fact, if you want more than 5Gbs of storage with One Drive, there’s a fee. Google Drive, on the other hand, is an app used by many by choice, but not so much for Authenticator, a security essential that circumvents the problem of ISPs having developed autonomous regulating operations where the user keeps being monitored, but a systems failure makes the data inaccurate and you might have a different name, a different job or a different income. How do I know this? Of course, it happened to me.

As I changed my recovery email from the throwaway account I knew had been hacked, ransomware included but not paid, to the one I was using for nothing but banking, but still thought it sounded better than keeping clients from a decade ago with the company I worked at on my personal contact list, I noticed something, and I didn’t even tweet at Marissa Mayer, though I probably should have: it’s not the device prompt, or the SMS confirmation; it’s not Authenticator, which Microsoft apparently replicated, or the PIN; it’s not the screen pattern or the selfie verification. It’s all of these things together, and the fact that you have more than one account. And when you do, terms will make sure that the possibility of you being condemned by perpetrating ideological falsehood floats around your head, while you were simply trying to have fun — really, I was on Snap and Google Play Games, messing with a rated 10 MMORPG. I have to get back to it, cause Astre sounds very sad when she moans “don’t wake me up!” All the love to Singapore. It’s fun that a game creator (Lords Mobile Tower Defense, in this case) is in Southeast Asia, because today you can talk to anyone you want. Actually, you can be anywhere you want: just use a VPN. Internet speed will suck, but since you can’t pay for the premium, be happy with what you have. And next time you Google something, notice that your location is not accurate. Neither are your Facebook log ins. But Snapchat’s still got it! Funny, isn’t it? And let’s not even talk about Bluetooth.

They made instant payments possible for everyone via email or phone, and what’s more interesting, even social security, which you are now required to share on a random app. On the other hand, you have a 2017 story from Digital Trends citing comments from verification’s first massive implementation tests, and users saying: “if you don’t understand the basics of computer security, you shouldn’t be allowed to bank on the internet.” I wonder how people would replace this to fit today’s reality. “If you’re ugly, you shouldn’t go on cam”. How’s that for kindergarden classroom material? They’d love the debate. “Yeah, this one time I talked to a guy and he had like 3 chins. I was like ‘EW! GET AWAY FROM ME YOU PERV!’ I swear, you could stick a pencil in each fold of his neck.” And then you’d have to explain and tease, also: “but babe, have you thought about your own angles?” — of course, you’d be fired for saying ‘babe’. How do I know it? Cause it’s happened to me.

Image: Pexels

Reputation: more than credit scores and impressions

I remember exactly the moment I thought I’d been hacked. I had smoked weed, not for the first time, after having gone through college with a number of experiences to remember vividly and a busy worklife, plus a relationship of mutual trust and a band that was a reason for joy and moments that made everything matter. But it’s not about my story. This story isn’t about my story, and if I ever do this again, you can totally cancel my blog. I just wanna start there because we, adults, tend to think a cautionary tale might not work anymore; so instead of talking about the girl who never disobeyed her parents and played in the rain so she never knew what it was to get wet all of a sudden (which, to be honest, is not even so plausible these days), we tell something that happened to us so that they’ll remember. And at that moment, the daddy is the daddy; a mom is a mom. Anyway, I think I got hacked in June 2013. That was precisely when The Guardian covered the NSA bulk collection of data from American citizens and abroad. The story includes the classification of the documents as “top secret” and the term “telephony metadata”, maybe a first admission that internet service providers were “managing” the web based on inferred indentity, but were still able to operate with addresses and physical identification, including location trackers, to make a list of all the accounts you’ve ever made and do whatever they wanted with that information — from selling you a better pillow to advising you to start couple’s therapy. My first reaction, when I learned about it, was to delete my Pornhub account; but that wasn’t a series of events I ever looked at in more detail: I’d made very close contacts with a lot of people from Gifyo, one or two in particular, a site prior to Instagram and Snapchat, where you made gifs of yourself and had a social-network-like profile, including private messaging. The slogan was: “your life in motion”. My conflicting interests, especially having found out about the site on Pornhub, quickly became an issue; but not for me, because I can’t remember ever enjoying myself as much as back then. Of course, I didn’t know what people already knew, and then came the suspiscion that one of the “random contacts” was actually leading a hate group, full of leaks and sensitive information. I deleted my Gmail and all the apps associated with it, then started over. That’s when the adult account was finally gone, but nobody even knows I met this person, who very likely threatened me with every word she ever spoke, including this one time when I lost the last bus from Sao Paulo to Santos and stayed at the bus station overnight, Skype on my tiny Samsung Pocket Android. Internet speeds were terrible, so the service provider wasn’t very helpful, and they sure didn’t show me a notification for free Uber, because in case you don’t remember, it didn’t exist yet. The girl’s name was Jessica, apparently.

Jessica didn’t know a lot about my life. But she went as far as visiting my university, despite not being a student, to meet some people. Who were they? I have no idea. The campus was big. Including post-graduation, almost 50 thousand people gather at the University of São Paulo’s biggest campus in Butantã, West Sao Paulo neighborhood, according to data from a 2018 story promoting research on student well-being, that starts with an open question: “what does well-being mean to you?” For me, it used to be music, beer, a good class, good sex and fun trips. Is that confusing? Maybe for some. You could just replace your area of work. Instead of a good class, which is what I tried to do from 7am to 11pm, you could say taking care of families in distress was your thing, or injecting medicine in a patient’s arm to heal his or her pain, getting creative with copy, serving all tables and seeing everyone likes the restaurant or bar where you work. For me, it was my measure of control: I had a schedule, tried not to get lost, but I really thought I had mastered the art of going through the day changing subjects and contexts rarely mentioning what else was going on in my life. Until I had to. That was for students who seemed friendly enough, and I somehow trusted — because, even at work (and especially there), it’s all about human bonds and deals. How this surveillance narrative affected not just my job but America’s reputation and my entire personal life is a theme to be debated more extensively — but I believe it has. You don’t wanna read another story on how people spy on you, right? In 2022, you’ve probably heard Shoshanna Zuboff talk about Pokémon Go. She says a few other things too:

Prediction continues to evolve and competition continues to intensify. Pretty soon, there’s a new realization: the most predictive data comes from intervening in your behavior and in the state of play, in order to nudge, coax, herd it in the direction of the outcomes that we are guaranteeing to our business customers; herding your behavior in the direction of our revenues and, ultimately, our profits. What is new here is that at no other time in history have the wealthiest private corporations had at their disposal a pervasive global architechture of ubiquitous computation able to amass unparalleled concentrations of information about individuals, groups and populations, sufficient to mobilize the pivot from the monitoring to the actuation of behavior, remotely and at scale.

Totalitarian power, according to Harvard scholar Shoshana Zuboff (on YouTube).

Why mention that this lecture was given in Amsterdam? That doesn’t seem relevant. But one of the interesting things Zuboff says (I mean every word) is that “human future markets should be illegal” because “the illegitimate, secret, unilateral taking of human experience for translating into data should be illegal”. This extends to finance and to social media as we all know it: an opportunity land. In reality, as the scholar mentions, we came to believe knowledge was offered to us, but in fact, it was being offered to the companies all the time. Besides the theoretical point, there are many aspects where we remain in the dark: how does a fintech assess my credit, and what is the number on that “score”? How do I know who’s actually accessing my content, and why do I not trust that my “impressions” are actually real? There are many points I want to discuss, but I’ll go further on two of these sections, for readership ease and maybe (at ths point, I really don’t know) pedagogical purposes.

1) What’s legitimate?

Let’s suppose internet influencers are now listed in job seeking sites as it’s become a standard, very common profession. Let’s compare two people. Hannah is a 21 year old who barely posts on Instagram, but is smart enough to say hello more than 2 days a week. Her stories are rare, but she always finds cool things in the videos she took from the algorithm. When she gets bored from trying to find the one that’s more likely to cause impact, she spends 20 minutes with her make up, rehearses a few poses in front of the mirror, tests the camera (which works perfectly and is high definition, by the way), and then takes 10 pictures, the famous carroussel, to post on her account with a number of hashtags. The result? 1k likes and 100 more followers every time, repeat until she’s at the 100k mark. Eventually, people start approaching her for collaborations. She starts to make money to post her body on a social network that expressly bans sexual content and sexual interactions. Bob, on the other hand, is a guy who’s not very fond of social media. Socially anxious, he stumbles from one network to another, always finding the same kinds of recommendations, and nobody really worth his time. Bob isn’t bad-looking, but he doesn’t know how to act in real-life gatherings. His thoughts are often intense, a result of his year-long relationship with pornography and some of the meetings on camera he’s had. He doesn’t take selfies. He hates the idea of intentionally making everyone look at him, because he knows when he was the most vulnerable, the ones looking at him were his enemies, who eventually hacked his account and saved his videos online using a remote screen recorder, which he can’t prove, but the thought of it makes him want to delete one account after another, in fear of what might happen next. For some reason, Bob posts interesting things, not particularly mainstream and definitely not following the algorithm’s recommendations, but promotes the work of his favorite people and organizations, including journalism, art, projects of public interest, politics and motivational phrases, as well as memes. But it’s not every day. He gets on the platform Instagram 2 days a week: literally, Saturday and Sunday, because the other days are for cleaning the house, taking care of his sick dad, doing the laundry, shopping for food, playing with the pets and listening to music or some other leisure activity. He’s struggling to find work, but tries every day, looking at the available opportunities on at least 5 different websites.

It’s important to understand that Bob’s work isn’t legitimate, according to the platform. He looks for work, but he’s not working. Actually, if you want to post on “social issues” on Facebook (yeah, I know, Meta), you have to send in your ID and get approved, then tag all of them. Surprinsingly, it’s also possible, and very easy in fact, to say you’re releasing a paid promotion (saying a company gave you money to talk about them), and regardless of that being absolutely false, get your post published. Is that legitimate? By definition, it’s the opposite of it; but what matters is that Bob doesn’t have a nice booty, and he doesn’t go to the gym. He doesn’t take full body pictures, and he’s always by himself, not with some hot chick, because his friends are many, but all of them seem to be models. Hannah, though, takes the work seriously. 20 minutes of make up is real work. And she has a routine. Hell, she even has a business model: the use of hashtags, the conversations with people interested in her work, the constant presence, the study of social media paradigms to convey the most impressionable appearance standard: all of this is rewarded, and although she can’t put that in her resume, her bank account is doing fine and she doesn’t have to see ads for delivery food, because she’s a faithful customer. Legitimate? Of course not, that’s sexist.

2) What is secret?

They say personal life and professional lives don’t mix. Then they make LinkedIn, Slack, and even before this particular app, Facebook Workplace, a thing literally nobody talks about. The company email has more features than Google, but private communication has been the center of the story in a number of media scandals involving people of power, from Nixon to Lula; from Johnny Depp to Rihanna. Who decides on the future of the programs that keep a nation’s fortune and well-being glued together and distributed responsibly are people with a lot of scrutiny from the media and society in general, but when you make their private conversations a case for an ever-expanding annihilation of the concept of privacy, then you have to take a few steps back and say: “sorry, what?” Johnny Depp was accused of sexual harrassment; RIhanna supported the porn industry and has been in relationships with men involved in serious criminal charges. Do you wanna hang out with them? Do an interview? Are you waiting anxiously for the new work where they’re featured or do you wanna talk about them on the internet based on a story you didn’t even click on? Though these questions are never answered because people just post and run (which applies to politics as well, considering that sometimes they’re banned because the profile was made from a secret marketing operations team in what many journalists call digital militias), actually answering them depends on public sentiment: if one perceives that taking a stance against a particular public person or giving a say on any given topic will negatively impact work reputation, they just might keep their mouth shut. And that is not a very warming sign of the connectivity promise coming to fruition.

If we look at relationships, there’s certainly a lot to be debated, but it heats up a bit. From your number of followers, mentioned here, to how many messages you send every day, to whom, why and where, platforms rank your so-called “engagement”. I wonder if there’s a line of code saying: “if single, DM is positive; if commited, DM is negative”. At the same time, if you get a message from work and you can’t finish the reply to your girlfriend on what you’re supposed to buy at the supermarket, you’re 10 times more likely to lose your job; but if you’re distracted, exhausted from work, and your girlfriend is studying, let’s say, then you want to look at some tiddies, this well-being app, which tracks how much you’re sitting behind a computer, by the way, sends a notification, in the middle of work: “babe is cheating on you!” Of course, artificial intelligence thinks like a war machine, so the very idea that a straight person is experimenting with another sexual orientation or experience is a system error. Imagine the bot conversation about the fact you were just wondering how nipples other than hers looked like: puffy, rosey, bigger, thick aureolas, perky, tiny? Babe might just think you’re unhappy, but maybe she’ll get a surprise by the end of the night. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s looking at different sizes of vegetables, cause she takes care of all the cooking and does so for her entire family.