DataDownload: NYC Media Lab Summit 2020

DataDownload: NYC Media Lab Summit 2020 A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser

I’m off this week, so I’ve programmed an AI to write this week’s newsletter. It’s called Steve BOT, and it’s read the last year of newsletters and learned my tastes and voice — so here goes.

NYC Media Lab — SUMMIT 2020. Just announced, and already growing. Check it out, and sign up, and join and participate. We think October 7–9 will be our biggest and best Summit yet. Help us make that true.

Jaron Lanier (much love) in GQ and a must read! Automated fact-checking, done by my AI brother. Computers are SO MUCH BETTER at fact checkingif you teach them what “facts” are. That part is rather tricky. Events are going through a moment, say our friends at Skift.

Did you know Apple News has a daily podcast? It’s hosted by my friend Duarte Geraldino (who is awesome btw), and Shumita Basu. You need iOS 13.6 to see the audio tab in news.

So, Steve BOT signing off.

PS. OK, I am on vacation but there’s no Steve BOT, not yet — so this is the real non-AI me.


Steven Rosenbaum
Managing Director
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read NYC Media Lab Summit 2020

The line between tech and editorial grows ever more blurry. The questions are complicated, the answers hard to find. So this year’s Media Lab Summit is going to take a big swing at three of them. A three-day virtual event that TODAY is open for registration. October 7, 8, 9.

Day 1. Did Technology Break Democracy?
Day 2. Tech Time Machine. 10 Years ago in NYC. Ten Years In The Future (Future of NYC?).
Day 3. Art, Music, Film, Theatre, Beauty: How do real-world forms morph into virtual space?

Guests already include a keynote from Tristan Harris from Center for Humane Technology, Sara Fischer from Axios, professor Jay Rosen, Justin Hendrix, Steven Strauss from Princeton University, Maria Gotsch from Partnership Fund for New York City, and of course, NYC Media Lab’s team including Erica Matsumoto, Steven Rosenbaum, and many others. Register for the 2020 Summit here.

There’s a GA admission ticket that’s free, or step up and get a collector’s item gift and a Summit snack (yum). So grab your tickets ASAP.

1 min read

Read More The Conscience of Silicon Valley

Jaron Lanier once said social media was worse than cigarettes, “in that cigarettes don’t degrade you. They kill you, but you’re still you.” You’d expected nothing less from the author of Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. GQ virtually sat down with VR godfather Lanier in Teams’ Together mode, which Lanier helped design this spring.

The interview itself is excellent, and we get a somber and at once phantasmagoric look at Lanier’s early life (from herding goats to living in the desert) and his views on society’s conflicting relationship with technology, which both helps foment positive change while at once driving us all apart. But really, it’s a 30-minute character study, and it’s great.

26 min read

Read More Tech+Media Automated Fact-Checking Can Catch Claims That Slip Past Human Checkers. Here Are the Two Ways They Work. Between January and March, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism saw that the number of fact-checks rose by 900% — not so surprising given the proliferation of disinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and the like circling around the pandemic (as an aside, check out NY Times’ fact checks of the DNC and RNC).

In 2018, Reuters Institute researcher Lucas Graves published a report on the Promise and Limits of Automated Fact-Checking that identified two types of automatic fact-checking: “fact-checks that verify claims by validating them against an authoritative source… and fact-checks that rely on ‘secondary signals’ such as stance detection — a computing technique that determines whether a piece of text agrees or disagrees with a claim.”

Poynter takes a look at initiatives using both approaches, like Squash, “a computer program that transforms TV captions into strings of text, then matches them against a database of previous fact-checks,” and University of Waterloo’s research into stance detection to detect fake news by “comparing claims with similar posts and stories.”

4 min read Read More The Event Industry Is Being Confronted by Its Napster Moment “The vast, global events industry is going through its Napster moment through this pandemic, and is in denial on what this will do to it.”

This year could be the event industry’s “2000 moment,” writes Skift, referring to the music industry’s peak in the new millennium and eventual, nearly unceasing decline. And like the Napster and iTunes moment that disrupted music’s bread-and-butter revenue source, the pandemic has catalyzed a move to digital events, lurching the industry in a new direction. Only instead of Napster, it’s Zoom.

As digital music habituated users to “more for less” (or free), “we are habituating the business world to free or almost free events where we used to charge thousands of dollars for conferences and other business events. We are habituating sponsors to pay up a fraction of what they used to pay, with more precise targeting that online tech and tracking allows.”

9 min read Read More Why People Can’t Stand Tech Journalists: An Interview With Casey Newton

We don’t talk much about tech journalism itself in the newsletter, despite having spent years covering tech stories. So we were glad to see that Big Technology newsletter writer Alex Kantrowitz sat down The Verge’s Casey Newton to talk about the state of tech journalism, Facebook, and newsletter writing and how it’s different from traditional reporting. So, why the negative attention towards tech journalists? Newton has an idea:

“I think there are three algorithms that have reshaped the American press in ways that we are just now starting to confront. You have Google and Facebook, [and the Twitter algorithm]…. I think there’s scandal and outrage fatigue, but I also think it has undermined trust in the press, because most people’s experience of us on Twitter is a bunch of snarky bastards who are constantly pointing at outrage and scandal. And so, maybe people have less of an idea of who we are, what we stand for, what our principles are. I just think the collective force of those three algorithms has warped people’s experience of the press.”

16 min read

Read More What We’re Watching Dallas Fed President: Tech-Enabled Disruption Is a Reason There’s Not More Inflation

Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan talks about the Fed’s historic approach to inflation… and why it’s now buying up Apple corporate bonds and the bonds of other stocks that are doing well while the Main Street Lending Program continues to struggle.

5 min watch

Watch Now What We’re Listening To Podcast: ‎Apple News Today

Apple continues to grow it’s footprint in the news space, now adding a daily news podcast. Shumita Basu and ML friend Duarte Geraldino will present every weekday morning. It’s a welcome addition to the crowded field, and with a unique voice and curatorial scope. Their latest podcast: What would a second Trump term mean for America?

Well worth a listen. Pro tip, you need to have the latest version of IOS installed in order to see the ‘audio’ tab within Apple News.

Listen Now Virtual Events Virtual Event: Zoom Brunchwork
Date: September 13, 2:30PM
Explore business development and sales with Zoom’s Head of Global Business Development & Channel Laura Padilla. Register Here. A Deeper Look With Hacks and Cameras, Beijing’s Electronic Dragnet Closes on Hong Kong

Armed with a new national security law, Hong Kong security forces are targeting the social media accounts of executives, politicians, media moguls, and activists with brute force — both virtual and physical, from forcing people to unlock their phones in-person to hacking Facebook accounts. The new law has enabled security forces to enact the same privacy-infringing tactics that are so prevalent in mainland China: from putting cameras outside dissidents’ homes to outright snatching phones.

NY Times covers the reactions of international tech companies with a major presence in Hong Kong. For example, Facebook and Twitter temporarily cut off data sharing with police there, while Yahoo changed its TOS so that Hong Kong users are protected under American law.

7 min read

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