Filter Bubbles

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Mr. Eli Pariser on TED discusses the importance of having equal and uncensored or controlled access of information on the internet, nad the danger of letting comapnies like Google, facebook, yahoo, and many more control and tailor the information passed to us on our web. Please find below the link to the video:

Mr. Elie calls those tailored Web searches and information as Filter Bubbles. This is a very interesting way of percieving all those complicated algorithms that help individuals today customize their search, flow of information, and their internet habbits and lifestyle.

Today Google for example studies what kind of search you make, and what do you usually find interesting to filter out your search resuts for what they think “you want to see” or “you are looking for”. Is this a good or a bad move? is it really isolating us from all of the other information that we do not know about? is this disconnecting us from what is really going on? are we getting only part of the truth out there?

Mr. Praiser also states the importance of improving such algorithms to consider other factor that what we usually like to see. For example what is important, what is uncomfortable, what is challenging and many more perspectives. It also should have some kind of ethical understanding embedded in it. If this can be implemented then such algorithms can be come as intelligent as a human or even maybe more. Such intelligent Robots may solve the problem Mr. Praiser is discussing, but wouldn’t this raise a new problem? A problem that we have seen many times in movie and read about in Novels, where machines become much more intelligent than the human race and they start controlling our world? Is this possible? and if it is, is it a good or a bad thing?

Categories: From Articles

Facebook Banning Google+ Advertisement

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Based in this Article: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/15/google-ad-on-facebook-is-banned/, Facebook is banning Google+ advertisements. Many people are complaining about that which makes you wonder, doesn’t Facebook has the right to do that? You never see advertisements on CBS for NBC, Adidas advertising Nike, or Coca-Cola promoting Pepsi. So why should Facebook be treated any differently? Google + explicitly declared that its challenging Facebook, which means the previous examples fit in the same category as Facebook vs. Google+.

In the class blog we are discussing if this is a net neutrality issue. Is it? Facebook is not blocking or deleting messages or wall posts sent by Facebook users to each other about Google+. People are even using Facebook to ask for Google+ invitations. If Facebook blocked or deleted such messages you would wonder if it is a net neutrality issue. Even if they do want to delete such messages, do you blame them? How would you feel if others are using your product to use another. This reminds me of a Banned commercial for Pepsi and Coca-Cola: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAP2yVsgI6c

Is this a proper use of ones product to get another? should we enable this or stop it?

Categories: From Articles

Please Rob Me

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

In the Class, we were given an example of a website that gathers information from twitter posts about people outside of their homes and posts them to the website for everyone to see. The website is called “Please Rob Me”. The creators of this website declare that they have created it for awareness purposes. Should we respect their purpose and thank them for the awareness or should they be punished for publishing information about people without their permission? Or wait a minute! if someone tweets something that is accessible by anyone, can he declare later that it is private information?

Today many individuals share they current locations whether using phone GPS and services like “Latitude” from google, snapping pictures with their locations tagged to it, facebook updated, or tweets. There are many more ways they share such information. When someone creates a website like “Please Rob Me”, what is the propoer action to take?

Rules, regulations, rights, law, and morals are becoming more vague and mixed together every day. It is not easy to differentiate between what you are ought and not ought to do, what is legal and what is not, what are the rights of an individual and where it stops. So how can we improve this and help define it clearly? What is every individuals role in making our world a better and more secure place to live in?

Categories: From Class Lectures

Big Brother and Privacy Today

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Ann Cavoukian, in her interview in the book (Page 297-300), she mentioned that if “emerging technologies” are not properly used we will be living an “Orwellian nightmare”. in 1948 George Orwell discussed in his book “1984” that in the near future that all individiuals in the world will be under full surveillance. He represented this prediction with a character called “Big Brother” who is the main dectator having full control over all individuals.

Today, with technology monitoring any individual or finding detailed information about him and his whole life history became very easy and constantly updated. Especially that not only the government tries to gather information, but not every individual constantly and willingly provides detailed information about their lives. For example using facebook to update your location, pictures, status, etc…

Do we still have privacy? do we still want privacy? Are we living in an age where we are being monitored by the “elite” or “Big Brother”? Shouldn’t we set the line to where this stops? or are we happy enabling it?

Categories: From The Book

Mark Zukerberg and Facebook Phenomena

July 4, 2011 Leave a comment

After reading this long article about Facebook’s History (http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=32656944&site=ehost-live), I just started wondering about how ethical were Mark’s actions which got him to here? Would he have become as big, rich and famous as he is now if he has done things differently? if he has not broken into Harvard’s databases, created Face Mash and caused all this fuzz between Harvard’s students, would he have succeeded as well in launching Facebook?

I truly believe he would have been as popular if not more, because Mark’s previous actions may have offended a large number of his target market who would have been interested in Facebook from the beginning if they did not have any negative opinions about him and his actions.

Mark’s actions can be considered ethical from a Utilitarian perspective, yet unethical from a Kantian one. From a Utilitarian perspective, he did not do anything wrong at the end, because although he may have offended some students from Harvard (harm), and has managed to provoke the University by using their resources without authorization (harm), he gave millions of people the pleasure of sharing their everyday life, pictures and news (benefit), keep people connected (benefit), and even help legal authorities have one of the biggest most up to date data about citizens from all over the world, which can help them track criminals much faster and easier than before (benefit).

From a Kantian perspective his action is wrong, because his intentions were wrong, and he started to build his success with an intention to hurt an ex-girlfriend and humiliate many students out of fun and to release his anger towards his ex-girlfriend.

In conclusion, ethical evaluation to Mark’s action can be perceived differently by different people, and people’s definition to what is right or wrong to do to be able to succeed means different things to different groups of people. But I personally think you do not have to do something possibly controversial or unethical to be able to succeed at what you plan to do.

Categories: From Articles