Weaponised psychology and centralised corruption a tale of two internets?

Public Service Internet
Imagine two sides of a tree. One is private and the other one is public. You have the choice to move freely between both, now thats a park I think is fair to everyone

I was a little disappointed in the discussion I heard during the PsychTech Podcast titled A Digital Attention Crisis? I was expecting a little more in-depth criticism of the digital system. But they seemed to turn against Tristan Harris and the time well spent movement.

Don’t get me wrong some of it did make sense but I felt like they were shooting the messenger not listening to the message. Now to be fair I was listening in the shower and getting ready; so may have missed some key parts while washing my hair. But by the end I was shouting out loud, have they never heard of the Quantified Self?

The point of time well spent isn’t about Tristan dictating some rules from on high. Its meant for us to question our relationship with ubiquitous  connected technology and the way the companies behind them influences our lives.

Ironically a few days before I read Tim Berners-Lee’s rallying call to regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web. Its a pretty good read but I feel slightly muted because thats what Tim is like. I’m much more aggressive about the whole issue, and to be fair Kelli and Josue at the very start say, well its just capitalism, what you going to do about it?

I reject this notion but this is also why my focus isn’t on fixing the over reach of capitalism on our attention, thoughts, relationships with each other and beyond.

What happened to diversity? Just have a look at the apps we all use and whos behind each one

Instead its time to double down on the public sector. This is why I find any discussion related to this from an American point of view slightly painful to hear and lacking of the mention of serious alternatives.

Berners-Lee warned of “two myths” that “limit our collective imagination” when looking for solutions to the problems facing the web: “The myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points we need to be a little more creative,” he said.

“I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions,” he said.

He’s absolutely right… Even the concept of a decentralised dating site, gets blank or weird looks. We have hood winked into the centralised model and its not always the best way. I was going say sleep walked but that wouldn’t do justice to the massive influence of the silicon valley tech firms. This is also the part I think the PsychTech podcast misses, this is weaponised psychology not just a happy accident solved by installing an app.

Berners-Lee has always maintained that his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, his vision to create an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged as the web has become more centralised.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Its very much why I was interested in space wrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest last year. Centralised power corrupts I maintain. Tim is right we need a better vision but rather than spend all that effort trying to reform a horribly broken system of corruption, greed and power. Make an viable alternative which makes the existing model obsolete… (love Buckminster for this great quote)

Its time to build a public service internet which maintains its values, diversity and distributed nature of the public; as an alternative to whats currently seen as the whole internet… We don’t need a new internet, we need competing services with different business models which can talk to each other and give options to the people.

You want a private park which is nicely maintained and don’t mind paying for the privilege? Fine. But if you want a park which is public and has a lively community because its free to the public due to taxes. Fine too. Similar to health care, libraries, transport in Europe, you can pay but there is a baseline.

Critical when thinking about the digital divide and the next 1 billion people.

This still leaves a gaping “digital divide” that exacerbates existing inequalities: you are more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country.

“To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate,” Berners-Lee said. “If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That’s an entire generation left behind.”

Two years ago, the UN declared internet access to be a basic human right on par with clean water, shelter, food and electricity. However, in many places, getting online is prohibitively expensive – the cost of 1GB of mobile broadband in Malawi is more than 20% of the average monthly income. In Zimbabwe, it is nearly 45%.

Tipping, who gets it right?

£4 tip?

My second post for the Single Black Males just went up and its one of those subjects some tell you can cause all out flame wars.

I wrote…

A Cornell professor has written a lot of papers about tipping, with some interesting results for the urban male.

Now I know living in the United Kingdom we don’t tip, anywhere as much as Americans. Not only that, the percentage we tip is far below the scale of the U.S. But I’ve spent a lot of time in the states and understand how much waiters, waitresses, attendants, etc get paid and how they really rely on tips.

However, it’s worth remembering the definition of tipping… Paying a optional gratuity for services rendered

What is interesting from the papers and many surveys is that two things stick out for SBM readers…

Black customers tend to payless when tipping especially to a black server.

White servers on average are more likely to get a decent tip than a black server.

Tipping is optional in the UK but most people find it customary to pay roughly 10% as a tip unless you really enjoy or hate the service. You also generally only tip at restaurants and bars. Most would be offended if you handed over extra money for a tip when holding a door or doing there job.

I then later in the post talk about my experience working in Equinox Discotheque with women from all over Europe, fighting for tips to stay alive, well I would have been if it was America.

I worked in a discotheque in Leicester Square (equivalent to Times square in New York) between jobs while studying at university. It was hard going and work ran from 8pm – 4am on the weekend. I was the only male and also the only black in a all European line up. We worked on the bar serving drinks till 3am.

Because of its location, we use to get a lot of Americans through the door and they would tip well. On an average night, the woman around me would get £140 ($210) in tips and I once witnessed a woman get £170 ($270) in a night. I, on the other hand, was over the moon one night when I made £20 ($30). As you can imagine, I said screw it by the 3rd week. It simply wasn’t worth it and got a nice cinema job where I didn’t have to work for tips.

Luckily the minimum payment rules meant I didn’t go home with the equivalent of £2.50 per hour. I went home with £3.70 per hour and a extra £20 for my hard work. I didn’t want to launch into an attack about the minimum payment system in the states, because I could imagine the burning comments and forever flames. But you have to wonder…

Digging through the data (there is a lot of it too) I really started to wonder if it wasn’t just because I was the only male? Could it be my race too? Could it be a double wammy? Am I doomed as a bar tender forever more? *smile* The data doesn’t lie, and although I like to think it might be wrong, there’s simply too much to just ignore it. Well I’m glad I decided to drop my bar job and join the Odeon!

Is Tipping Discriminatory? (original title of the post by the way…) and I’m not the only one asking questions, as I recently found out… but although these guys take it to the next level, you got to agree with some of the arguments against tipping.

Gratuities, by definition, are voluntary, and can not, and should not, ever be automatically included into a bill for any reason. Period. Patrons should reserve the right to report such venues to authorities and they should be fined appropriately. And most of all, be educated on your rights as a consumer.  One should never be socially pressured to leave a tip!

Jon Stewart Live in London for only one night

And even more book signing

I posted a entry about a evening with Jon Stewart a while ago. And just got back from a fantastic evening. Jon was on top form and had everyone clapping and cheering on a lot of sadly amusing blunders and failings of the American government, Mainstream media and people generally. I wont go into too much detail except to say after the performance my wife Sarah had a chance meeting with Jon Stewart while I was in the toilet. All I can say is that she was glowing all the way home afterwards. Bless…

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