Tag Archives: tech

Algorithms destroy reputations. Ban them.

The mass scale of social media made its creators think first about the investor’s returns and profit margins and only then address usability and features. Everyone would post what they wanted, but some basic rules should be followed: sex and violence, treated as equally dangerous “violations” could not be depicted. When it comes to violence, everyone agrees. We’re not here to defend that mass shootings be exhibited on Instagram live. There couldn’t be a more opposed stance for this blog. But when it comes to sex, I’m not watching it live on camera either. I’ve touched upon the world of cam models, which is different, but nobody seemed to listen. Nevertheless, it’s still a violation, but these models have profiles on Instagram and Twitter.

Violence is never the answer. Moderation needs to be there. But when you fail to convince people that you’re right about something, and you realize they’re trying to control you, then you might change your behavior. That’s how most teenagers end up using drugs. The effects on their bodies causes a desired sense of otherness and presents an alternative. When it comes to sex, everyone is online and nobody does that anymore, since we found out that we could be easily identified.

But the question isn’t that. The main problem is everything we do, whether the cam is on or not, is being tracked. The time spent reading a news story is counterposed with the time spent watching cam models. So there is a reputational system. They don’t realize that all the reasons one could have for seeking pleasure, tackling addiction from the equation, aren’t being mapped out. The algorithm doesn’t say: “this user is lonely”. The algorithm says: “this user spent 4 hours watching cams”. And that repeats itself every single day.

If we don’t change the way that we think about social media maintenance, we won’t have a say when it comes to our jobs. Imagine trying to convince people that what you really care about is gender equality, when all you do is watch Pornhub. That doesn’t stick anymore. And they think they’re really smart. They don’t say who’s paying for ads on the site, and they don’t say what’s being done with our data. But they will, inevitably, judge based on that same data. Who convinced people this was fair?

Algorithms might make our experience better, but in the end, even when they’re excelling, we’ll have a feeling that we’re being shown “more of the same”. The need for new experiences is what drives creativity and discovery. We’ll always have that. The recent developments on AI technology invading conversations, lesson plans, customer service and other areas are moving in an astonishingly wrong direction. Algorithms are a form of control. But we control what we do and choose what to say, because that’s the stuff we want. Don’t be convinced of the opposite.

So many holes: why is my computer like that?

I found myself having a conversation with my dad the other day. He’s a photographer. So he needed his SD card to be identifiable, somehow. Don’t ask why the desktop computer I bought online didn’t come with an SD reader. Our printer was bought almost 15 years ago, and was still working until two weeks ago (thanks, HP). I remember printing college essays on it, and I felt really good about myself. But you see, hardware evolves. As smartphones became more en vogue (and please excuse my French), you’d find out years later, because you kept the old devices, that 32Mbs was nothing for something the size of your two thumbs. As of 2022, you get 256GBs on an Angelbird product for 300 dollars. But of course, that comes with things I can understand superficially, like 4K resolution quality, and things I cannot, like “fast sustained write performance of 260MB/s”. Sorry, 260 MBs per second? I’m still waiting for Instagram to upload my 15 second stories for as long as an hour sometimes — and I checked, by the way: that’s 18Mbs on a file that, in case everything’s working, takes about a minute to upload, often more than that. Connection problem? Probably, man. Because I just found out my IP is not my IP, really. So there’s a myriad of things we need to discuss… I told my dad he needed to be updated, because every security newsletter told you to do so to stay away from (guess what) viruses and other harmful stuff for your digital well-being. Of course, they talk about device health, not your own, because regardless of how many captchas it takes to prove that, we are not robots. But the thing is: despite the fact my dad takes amazing pictures, he’s still using a 2GBs SD card. Even the cheapest micro SDs, which sell in Brazil for as little as 8 dollars, have 16GBs storage. So come on, dad.

Well, alright. My phone sucks, my dad’s computer savviness isn’t the best, but we’re both trying to work online. And these things, apparently, matter a lot. I remember when I was writing this academic project, and I only had my old HP Mini (thanks again, HP) bought in 2011, I think. But then you started the thing, and a message showed (before BIOS and those things nobody ever talks about) saying “American Megatrends”. I’d been a Zelda fan for a long time, so the logo intrigued me; until I noticed that the version of that build was from the early 2000s. So even though I bought the computer in 2011, it was almost 10 years outdated. And 10 years after buying it, I was still trying to work with that. It was pretty much like using Windows XP when they were releasing 10 (of course, now there’s 11), and I mean that literally, not as a bad comparison. With my 8GBs mini SD, I actually installed Windows 10 on that computer. The result was… not good. So I think there’s a few things we need to learn early on, because now, everyone knows how smartphones dominate content consumption, communications and digital lives in general. We should be able to pinpoint a problem (like a camera that doesn’t work, for example) and know what to do. Who says we are? That mini SD, for example, was then “corrupt”, because the file I downloaded from the Windows website was squeezed in there and then nothing else could be written, not even after formatting. Not t mention that most apps can be transferred and run from the mini SDs, these days. But there’s more things that come to play, for example a webcam that freezes perfectly updated computers and gives them a blue screen of death. Driver issue? Compatibility? I could understand if I plugged the red, yellow and white cables in the wrong holes and the TV was noisy, but this? Help me out here.

Well, it turns out that now we don’t even need the chips in our bank cards, which took a while to come to the market. And of course, the number of cards that got “swallowed” by ATMs is pretty high (considering that happened with me at least twice and I’m one person; maybe I just had bad luck, but maybe not), so the number of people witnessing some kind of faulty system management on the palm of their hands might be pretty high as well — did your bank ask for your password twice, did the app crash or did it ask you to go to a physical branch to unblock it? Today, there’s this thing called crypto. And many would talk endlessly about the future of money, the whole decentralization debate, the taxes, the people-powered initiative; maybe they’d bump into some energy consumption issues, but defend themselves with the ease of transfer, process registration and safety arguments. But let’s be honest: who’s heard of Ledger? Apparently, they make USB flash drives used for storing crypto, and it’s interesting that they’re not 300 dollars; you can get a Nano S Plus for 79, actually. I’m just thinking: you put a little thing in a hole on your computer and then you get… money? I mean, how far is this thing gonna go, man? Call the hotline. Poor computers, don’t bother them!

Image: Pexels