Comment on In the Algorithm We Trust (But Should We????) by Cog.Dog

Maybe the biggest challenge that is beyond just being literate or a bit critical is how do we know all these things being done that we cannot see directly? It’s rather ghostly. And I doubt there will ever be any means by which it will be always revealed. So we accept the panopticon.

And short of a meteor hitting the planet, it’s hard to see any undoing of this. It’s not impossible, but it looks near so. Just plain resignation does not seem satisfying.

You do such a great job of weaving and connecting, and not only the topics we do in class but out of class.

We are sorry it seems like the work at the end was lopped on. Part of it was the schedule where we ended class w/o a chance to wrap up. We will try better to make it clear what is on the table for the week. But really, don’t think of it as homework, where there are points. What counts is the reflection you do as you did here, not how many assignments turned in.

Very much appreciate the criticism.


Do Algorithms Get Scared?

The e-lit piece from last semester, called ScareMail Generator, is a prime example of how to cover your tracks on the Internet. Since I did not choose to talk about it back then, I assume it’s fair to do it for this particular post. ScareMail Generator is basically a program that adds “a narrative containing a collection of probable NSA search terms” at the end of an e-mail “in order to disrupt [their] surveillance”. In our last class, we were asked to come up with a way to fight back the algorithmic systems that collect personal information. Figuring out a way to confuse the algorithm is the best approach for the time being. Although this particular program, ScareMail Generator, is somewhat limited and specific, the concept of it is worth noting. Perhaps, another type of program with the same concept could be created for a wider online platform (twitter, maybe?).

I’m still not sure about the structure (or expectation) of our final project for this class, which is supposed to be a collaborative field guide of some sort. So, I do not know how effective something like the program above would be for it. Though, I believe it’s still relevant in terms of concept. As far as the optimism rating goes, I’d probably give it a 7.5 out of 10. The uncertainty of its impact drops the score little bit. If you wish to give it a try, here’s the link for it: