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  • feedwordpress 00:19:34 on 2018/04/08 Permalink
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    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech 


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    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

    Tech is more important than ever, deeply affecting culture, politics and society. Given all the time we spend with our gadgets and apps, it’s essential to understand the principles that determine how tech affects our lives.

    Understanding technology today

    Technology isn’t an industry, it’s a method of transforming the culture and economics of existing systems and institutions. That can be a little bit hard to understand if we only judge tech as a set of consumer products that we purchase. But tech goes a lot deeper than the phones in our hands, and we must understand some fundamental shifts in society if we’re going to make good decisions about the way tech companies shape our lives—and especially if we want to influence the people who actually make technology.

    Even those of us who have been deeply immersed in the tech world for a long time can miss the driving forces that shape its impact. So here, we’ll identify some key principles that can help us understand technology’s place in culture.

    What you need to know:

    1. Tech is not neutral.

    One of the most important things everybody should know about the apps and services they use is that the values of technology creators are deeply ingrained in every button, every link, and every glowing icon that we see. Choices that software developers make about design, technical architecture or business model can have profound impacts on our privacy, security and even civil rights as users. When software encourages us to take photos that are square instead of rectangular, or to put an always-on microphone in our living rooms, or to be reachable by our bosses at any moment, it changes our behaviors, and it changes our lives.

    All of the changes in our lives that happen when we use new technologies do so according to the priorities and preferences of those who create those technologies.

    2. Tech is not inevitable.

    Popular culture presents consumer technology as a never-ending upward progression that continuously makes things better for everybody. In reality, new tech products usually involve a set of tradeoffs where improvements in areas like usability or design come along with weaknesses in areas like privacy & security. Sometimes new tech is better for one community while making things worse for others. Most importantly, just because a particular technology is “better” in some way doesn’t guarantee it will be widely adopted, or that it will cause other, more popular technologies to improve.
    In reality, technological advances are a lot like evolution in the biological world: there are all kinds of dead-ends or regressions or uneven tradeoffs along the way, even if we see broad progress over time.

    3. Most people in tech sincerely want to do good.

    We can be thoughtfully skeptical and critical of modern tech products and companies without having to believe that most people who create tech are “bad”. Having met tens of thousands of people around the world who create hardware and software, I can attest that the cliché that they want to change the world for the better is a sincere one. Tech creators are very earnest about wanting to have a positive impact. At the same time, it’s important for those who make tech to understand that good intentions don’t absolve them from being responsible for the negative consequences of their work, no matter how well-intentioned.

    It’s useful to acknowledge the good intentions of most people in tech because it lets us follow through on those intentions and reduce the influence of those who don’t have good intentions, and to make sure the stereotype of the thoughtless tech bro doesn’t overshadow the impact that the majority of thoughtful, conscientious people can have. It’s also essential to believe that there is good intention underlying most tech efforts if we’re going to effectively hold everyone accountable for the tech they create.

    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

    4. Tech history is poorly documented and poorly understood.

    People who learn to create tech can usually find out every intimate detail of how their favorite programming language or device was created, but it’s often near impossible to know why certain technologies flourished, or what happened to the ones that didn’t. While we’re still early enough in the computing revolution that many of its pioneers are still alive and working to create technology today, it’s common to find that tech history as recent as a few years ago has already been erased. Why did your favorite app succeed when others didn’t? What failed attempts were made to create such apps before? What problems did those apps encounter — or what problems did they cause? Which creators or innovators got erased from the stories when we created the myths around today’s biggest tech titans?

    All of those questions get glossed over, silenced, or sometimes deliberately answered incorrectly, in favor of building a story of sleek, seamless, inevitable progress in the tech world. Now, that’s hardly unique to technology — nearly every industry can point to similar issues. But that ahistorical view of the tech world can have serious consequences when today’s tech creators are unable to learn from those who came before them, even if they want to.

    5. Most tech education doesn’t include ethical training.

    In mature disciplines like law or medicine, we often see centuries of learning incorporated into the professional curriculum, with explicit requirements for ethical education. Now, that hardly stops ethical transgressions from happening—we can see deeply unethical people in positions of power today who went to top business schools that proudly tout their vaunted ethics programs. But that basic level of familiarity with ethical concerns gives those fields a broad fluency in the concepts of ethics so they can have informed conversations. And more importantly, it ensures that those who want to do the right thing and do their jobs in an ethical way have a firm foundation to build on.

    But until the very recent backlash against some of the worst excesses of the tech world, there had been little progress in increasing the expectation of ethical education being incorporated into technical training. There are still very few programs aimed at upgrading the ethical knowledge of those who are already in the workforce; continuing education is largely focused on acquiring new technical skills rather than social ones. There’s no silver-bullet solution to this issue; it’s overly simplistic to think that simply bringing computer scientists into closer collaboration with liberal arts majors will significantly address these ethics concerns. But it is clear that technologists will have to rapidly become fluent in ethical concerns if they want to continue to have the widespread public support that they currently enjoy.

    6. Tech is often built with surprising ignorance about its users.

    Over the last few decades, society has greatly increased in its respect for the tech industry, but this has often resulted in treating the people who create tech as infallible. Tech creators now regularly get treated as authorities in a wide range of fields like media, labor, transportation, infrastructure and political policy — even if they have no background in those areas. But knowing how to make an iPhone app doesn’t mean you understand an industry you’ve never worked in!

    The best, most thoughtful tech creators engage deeply and sincerely with the communities that they want to help, to ensure they address actual needs rather than indiscriminately “disrupting” the way established systems work. But sometimes, new technologies run roughshod over these communities, and the people making those technologies have enough financial and social resources that the shortcomings of their approaches don’t keep them from disrupting the balance of an ecosystem. Often times, tech creators have enough money funding them that they don’t even notice the negative effects of the flaws in their designs, especially if they’re isolated from the people affected by those flaws. Making all of this worse are the problems with inclusion in the tech industry, which mean that many of the most vulnerable communities will have little or no representation amongst the teams that create new tech, preventing those teams from being aware of concerns that might be of particular importance to those on the margins.

    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

    7. There is never just one single genius creator of technology.

    One of the most popular representations of technology innovation in popular culture is the genius in a dorm room or garage, coming up with a breakthrough innovation as a “Eureka!” moment. It feeds the common myth-making around people like Steve Jobs, where one individual gets credit for “inventing the iPhone” when it was the work of thousands of people. In reality, tech is always informed by the insights and values of the community where its creators are based, and nearly every breakthrough moment is preceded by years or decades of others trying to create similar products.

    The “lone creator” myth is particularly destructive because it exacerbates the exclusion problems which plague the tech industry overall; those lone geniuses that are portrayed in media are seldom from backgrounds as diverse as people in real communities. While media outlets may benefit from being able to give awards or recognition to individuals, or educational institutions may be motivated to build up the mythology of individuals in order to bask in their reflected glory, the real creation stories are complicated and involve many people. We should be powerfully skeptical of any narratives that indicate otherwise.

    8. Most tech isn’t from startups or by startups.

    Only about 15% of programmers work at startups, and in many big tech companies, most of the staff aren’t even programmers anyway. So the focus on defining tech by the habits or culture of programmers that work at big-name startups deeply distorts the way that tech is seen in society. Instead, we should consider that the majority of people who create technology work in organizations or institutions that we don’t think of as “tech” at all.
    What’s more, there are lots of independent tech companies — little indie shops or mom-and-pop businesses that make websites, apps, or custom software, and a lot of the most talented programmers prefer the culture or challenges of those organizations over the more famous tech titans. We shouldn’t erase the fact that startups are only a tiny part of tech, and we shouldn’t let the extreme culture of many startups distort the way we think about technology overall.

    9. Most big tech companies make money in just one of three ways.

    It’s important to understand how tech companies make money if you want to understand why tech works the way that it does.

    • Advertising: Google and Facebook make nearly all of their money from selling information about you to advertisers. Almost every product they create is designed to extract as much information from you as possible, so that it can be used to create a more detailed profile of your behaviors and preferences, and the search results and social feeds made by advertising companies are strongly incentivized to push you toward sites or apps that show you more ads from these platforms. It’s a business model built around surveillance, which is particularly striking since it’s the one that most consumer internet businesses rely upon.
    • Big Business: Some of the larger (generally more boring) tech companies like Microsoft and Oracle and Salesforce exist to get money from other big companies that need business software but will pay a premium if it’s easy to manage and easy to lock down the ways that employees use it. Very little of this technology is a delight to use, especially because the customers for it are obsessed with controlling and monitoring their workers, but these are some of the most profitable companies in tech.
    • Individuals: Companies like Apple and Amazon want you to pay them directly for their products, or for the products that others sell in their store. (Although Amazon’s Web Services exist to serve that Big Business market, above.) This is one of the most straightforward business models—you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an iPhone or a Kindle, or when you subscribe to Spotify, and because it doesn’t rely on advertising or cede purchasing control to your employer, companies with this model tend to be the ones where individual people have the most power.

    That’s it. Pretty much every company in tech is trying to do one of those three things, and you can understand why they make their choices by seeing how it connects to these three business models

    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

    10. The economic model of big companies skews all of tech.

    Today’s biggest tech companies follow a simple formula:

    • Make an interesting or useful product that transforms a big market
    • Get lots of money from venture capital investors
    • Try to quickly grow a huge audience of users even if that means losing a lot of money for a while
    • Figure out how to turn that huge audience into a business worth enough to give investors an enormous return
    • Start ferociously fighting (or buying off) other competitive companies in the market

    This model looks very different than how we think of traditional growth companies, which start off as small businesses and primarily grow through attracting customers who directly pay for goods or services. Companies that follow this new model can grow much larger, much more quickly, than older companies that had to rely on revenue growth from paying customers. But these new companies also have much lower accountability to the markets they’re entering because they’re serving their investors’ short-term interests ahead of their users’ or community’s long-term interests.

    The pervasiveness of this kind of business plan can make competition almost impossible for companies without venture capital investment. Regular companies that grow based on earning money from customers can’t afford to lose that much money for that long a time. It’s not a level playing field, which often means that companies are stuck being either little indie efforts or giant monstrous behemoths, with very little in between. The end result looks a lot like the movie industry, where there are tiny indie arthouse films and big superhero blockbusters, and not very much else.

    And the biggest cost for these big new tech companies? Hiring coders. They pump the vast majority of their investment money into hiring and retaining the programmers who’ll build their new tech platforms. Precious little of these enormous piles of money are put into things that will serve a community or build equity for anyone other than the founders or investors in the company. There is no aspiration that making a hugely valuable company should also imply creating lots of jobs for lots of different kinds of people.

    11. Tech is as much about fashion as function.

    To outsiders, creating apps or devices is presented as a hyper-rational process where engineers choose technologies based on which are the most advanced and appropriate to the task. In reality, the choice of things like programming languages or toolkits can be subject to the whims of particular coders or managers, or to whatever’s simply in fashion. Just as often, the process or methodology by which tech is created can follow fads or trends that are in fashion, affecting everything from how meetings are run to how products are developed.

    Sometimes the people creating technology seek novelty, sometimes they want to go back to the staples of their technological wardrobe, but these choices are swayed by social factors in addition to an objective assessment of technical merit. And a more complex technology doesn’t always equal a more valuable end product, so while many companies like to tout how ambitious or cutting-edge their new technologies are, that’s no guarantee that they provide more value for regular users, especially when new technologies inevitably come with new bugs and unexpected side-effects.

    12. No institution has the power to rein in tech’s abuses.

    In most industries, if companies start doing something wrong or exploiting consumers, they’ll be reined in by journalists who will investigate and criticize their actions. Then, if the abuses continue and become serious enough, the companies can be sanctioned by lawmakers at the local, state, governmental or international level.

    Today, though, much of the tech trade press focuses on covering the launch of new products or new versions of existing products, and the tech reporters who do cover the important social impacts of tech are often relegated to being published alongside reviews of new phones, instead of being prominently featured in business or culture coverage. Though this has started to change as tech companies have become absurdly wealthy and powerful, coverage is also still constrained by the culture within media companies. Traditional business reporters often have seniority in major media outlets, but are commonly illiterate in basic tech concepts in a way that would be unthinkable for journalists who cover finance or law. Meanwhile, dedicated tech reporters who may have a better understanding of tech’s impact on culture are often assigned to (or inclined to) cover product announcements instead of broader civic or social concerns.

    The problem is far more serious when we consider regulators and elected officials, who often brag about their illiteracy about tech. Having political leaders who can’t even install an app on their smartphones makes it impossible to understand technology well enough to regulate it appropriately, or to assign legal accountability when tech‘s creators violate the law. Even as technology opens up new challenges for society, lawmakers lag tremendously behind the state of the art when creating appropriate laws.

    Without the corrective force of journalistic and legislative accountability, tech companies often run as if they’re completely unregulated, and the consequences of that reality usually fall on those outside of tech. Worse, traditional activists who rely on conventional methods such as boycotts or protests often find themselves ineffective due to the indirect business model of giant tech companies, which can rely on advertising or surveillance (“gathering user data”) or venture capital investment to continue operations even if activists are effective in identifying problems.

    This lack of systems of accountability is one of the biggest challenges facing tech today.


    If we understand these things, we can change tech for the better.

    If everything is so complicated, and so many important points about tech aren’t obvious, should we just give up hope? No.

    Once we know the forces that shape technology, we can start to drive change. If we know that the biggest cost for the tech giants is attracting and hiring programmers, we can encourage programmers to collectively advocate for ethical and social advances from their employers. If we know that the investors who power big companies respond to potential risks in the market, we can emphasize that their investment risk increases if they bet on companies that act in ways that are bad for society.

    If we understand that most in tech mean well, but lack the historic or cultural context to ensure that their impact is as good as their intentions, we can ensure that they get the knowledge they need to prevent harm before it happens.

    So many of us who create technology, or who love the ways it empowers us and improves our lives, are struggling with the many negative effects that some of these same technologies are having on society. But perhaps if we start from a set of common principles that help us understand how tech truly works, we can start to tackle technology’s biggest problems.

    12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

     
  • feedwordpress 23:52:41 on 2017/11/01 Permalink
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    Speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit 


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    I've been fortunate enough to get to speak at a lot of events over the years, in front of an amazing variety of audiences around the world. But I can honestly say I've never been more impressed by the reaction of an audience member than in the panel I hosted earlier today.

    We had an amazing discussion about the tactics and impacts of misinformation in social media, with Joan Donovan of Data & Society and Nabiha Syed of BuzzFeed speaking to the social responsibility of the major platforms.

    But the standout moment was when Barack Obama quietly joined our room, and sat in for half an hour, even taking notes on the discussion. Most of the room didn't even notice he was there until he had to leave a bit before the end, and paused to share a few thoughts with us.

    I encouraged him to look into the work published by experts like Joan and Nabiha, and to truly get a deep understanding of the dynamics in play, since so much of the political conversation around these serious issues devolves into glib and trite discussions of "fake news". Just knowing that a voice of such influence and power is willing to hear what these experts has to say gives me a little bit of hope that we might be able to make things a bit better.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:52:41 on 2017/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of,   

    Speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit 


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    Speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit

    I’ve been fortunate enough to get to speak at a lot of events over the years, in front of an amazing variety of audiences around the world. But I can honestly say I’ve never been more impressed by the reaction of an audience member than in the panel I hosted earlier today.

    We had an amazing discussion about the tactics and impacts of misinformation in social media, with Joan Donovan of Data & Society and Nabiha Syed of BuzzFeed speaking to the social responsibility of the major platforms.

    But the standout moment was when Barack Obama quietly joined our room, and sat in for half an hour, even taking notes on the discussion. Most of the room didn’t even notice he was there until he had to leave a bit before the end, and paused to share a few thoughts with us.

    I encouraged him to look into the work published by experts like Joan and Nabiha, and to truly get a deep understanding of the dynamics in play, since so much of the political conversation around these serious issues devolves into glib and trite discussions of “fake news”. Just knowing that a voice of such influence and power is willing to hear what these experts has to say gives me a little bit of hope that we might be able to make things a bit better.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:33:44 on 2017/03/01 Permalink
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    Tech and the Fake Market tactic 


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    In one generation, the Internet went from opening up new free markets to creating a series of Fake Markets that exploit society, without most media or politicians even noticing.

    1. The open internet markets

    American culture loves to use the ideal of competitive free markets as the solution to all kinds of social problems. Though the vaunted Free Market has no incentives to, say, take care of babies with cancer, a well-functioning market can definitely be a great way to see which provider offers the cheapest price for a roll of toilet paper or a bushel of apples.

    Given that cultural predilection, some of the first things people made in the early days of the web were new markets. Perhaps the canonical example was eBay; anybody (well, almost anybody) could list their ceramic figurines for sale on eBay and participate in a relatively fair market. On one side, a gaggle of figurine aficionados, enthusiastically searching for the best deals. On the other, a bunch of figurine vendors, competing on price, quality and service. In the middle, a neutral market that just helps connect buyers and sellers through instantly updated information. Everybody’s happy!

    Fake Markets: Open

    Later, a seller could buy preferred positioning for their products in eBay’s search results, and some product categories started to be dominated by wholesale suppliers, but it still remained a relatively open system. Everybody’s mostly happy!

    Not long after eBay started, Google launched, as a sort of market of content, with its PageRank system choosing which pages show up in our search results, ranked by the number of inbound links. On one side were readers, and on the other side we had publishers, and in between was Google using a mysterious but still kind of comprehensible algorithm to create a market where almost everybody felt like they could participate.

    But before long, those rankings started to be tainted by spammers, due to the fact that higher ranking in those listings suddenly had monetary value, and making spam links was cheaper than paying for Google’s advertising products. What was an open market to do?

    2. The rise of rigged markets

    The inevitable automated gaming of the early open digital markets inadvertently catalyzed the start of the next era: rigged markets. Google got concerned about nefarious search engine optimization tricks, and kept changing their algorithm, meaning that pretty soon the only web publishers that could thrive were those who could afford to keep tweaking their technology to keep up in this new arms race. After just a few years, this became a rich-get-richer economy, and incentivized every smaller publisher to standardize on one of a few publishing tools in order to keep up with Google’s demands. Only the biggest content providers could afford to build their own tools while simultaneously following the demands of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

    The problem inevitably became most pronounced in the most valuable markets. Eventually, in lucrative vertical markets like travel, Google started showing its own flight booking tools ahead of the third-party results from travel booking sites, based on the idea that their experience was better for consumers than the confusing and inconsistent results from third parties. This was true, but it was also pretty damn convenient for Google, which now started to make more money on those links.

    Fake Markets: Skewed

    This was the start of a subtle but critically important pattern on the web: A short-term improvement in user experience helped a single dominant tech company to take over a legacy market in the long term.

    Amazon went through a similar process, when it started putting its thumb on the scale, showing its own products first when doing a product search, even if they weren’t the cheapest. We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

    We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

    This shift to rigged markets was perfected in the app stores, where the major players like Apple and Google choose which apps get featured and promoted, and prevent the creation of any apps that would displace or threaten their market dominance. Even if an app does succeed, the app stores promote an ad-supported model that makes app creators dependent on the tech company’s platform for distribution, instead of an app deriving revenues directly from its users.

    But even today’s rigged markets have some ways that new players can compete. You could release a new photo-sharing app and theoretically try to compete with Instagram or Snapchat on Apple’s app store. An ordinary shopper could search for “bedsheets” on Amazon’s website and expect to get a list of linens to purchase, both from independent manufacturers and from Amazon’s own Pinzon brand. Even if these markets are skewed, they’re still markets, and that leaves some opportunity.

    That’s not to say these systems are fair: the big companies can pick which players in the market get to compete, and issues of network inequality mean people or companies that are privileged enough to be early adopters get unfair advantages. But even with these inequities, we could muddle through and new products or competitors could sometimes emerge.

    This has been the status quo for most of the last decade. But the next rising wave of tech innovators twist the definition of “market” even further, to a point where they aren’t actually markets at all.

    3. Now: The Fake Markets

    Uber‘s promise is simple: you use their app to hail a car, and one driver from a pool of independent drivers agrees to pick you up, and everybody’s happy. In their formulation, they’re a neutral marketplace connecting customers and service providers — kinda like eBay!

    But unlike competitive sellers on eBay, Uber drivers can’t set their prices. In fact, prices can be (and regularly have been) changed unilaterally by Uber. And passengers can’t make informed choices about selecting a driver: The algorithm by which a passenger and driver are matched is opaque—to both the passenger and driver. In fact, as Data & Society’s research has shown, Uber has at times deliberately misrepresented the market of available cars by showing “ghost” cars to users in the Uber app.

    Fake Markets: Fake

    It seems this “market” has some awfully weird traits.

    1. Consumers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a purchasing decision.
    2. A single opaque algorithm defines which buyers are matched with which sellers.
    3. Sellers have no control over their own pricing or profit margins.
    4. Regulators see the genuine short-term consumer benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.

    This is, by any reasonable definition, no market at all. One might even call Uber a “Fake Market”. Yet, by carefully describing drivers in their system as “entrepreneurs” and appropriating the language of true markets, Uber has been welcomed by communities and policymakers as if they were creating a new marketplace. That has serious implications for policy, regulation and even civil rights. For example, we can sincerely laud Uber for making it easier for African American passengers to reliably hail a car when they need a ride, but if persistent patterns of bias from drivers arise again in the Uber era, we’ll have a harder time regulating those abuses because Uber doesn’t usually follow the same policies as licensed taxis.

    These pseudo-market patterns also mask patterns of subsidy, like the fact that Uber’s current operations are subsidized by investors to the tune of $2 billion per year. That’s a cost that will be immediately passed along to consumers as soon as Uber succeeds in displacing conventional taxis.

    Uber subsidy

    The Financial Times states the implications of this economic arrangement very clearly:

    [A]ll this equates to is an economic transfer from the working class over to urban metropolitan elites, which benefits one particular corporation over others. This is plainly crazy.

    These new False Markets only resemble true markets just enough to pull the wool over the eyes of regulators and media, whose enthusiasm for high tech solutions is boundless, and whose understanding of markets on the Internet is still stuck in the early eBay era of 20 years ago.

    Fake markets don’t just happen in traditional products and services — they’re coming to the world of content and publishing, too. Publishers are increasingly being incentivized to use platforms like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP format. Like Uber’s temporarily-subsidized cheaper prices and broader access to ride hailing, these new publishing formats do offer some short-term consumer benefits, in the form of faster loading times and a cleaner reading experience.

    But the technical mechanism by which Facebook and Google provide that faster reading experience happens to incidentally displace most of the third-party advertising platforms — the ones that aren’t provided by Facebook and Google themselves. Facebook publishers who use these new distribution channels are incentivized to use Facebook’s advertising platform, where payment rates and profit margins can be unilaterally changed at any time. Just as Uber subsidizes fares during the phase when they’re displacing regulated taxis, Facebook subsidizes publishers’ ad rates during the phase when they’re displacing third-party advertising networks.

    In addition to making publishers even more dependent on the two tech titans for revenues, there’s the issue of the algorithms used to discover content. Almost everyone who uses Facebook has become aware that its algorithm for showing content is opaque, to both publishers and readers. As a result, there are fewer understandable tricks that publishers can use to ensure that readers will see their content — and publishing in the Instant Articles format is one of the few that’s known to work. It also happens to require a publisher to invest scarce resources in supporting the Facebook format, with the result of that publisher becoming even more dependent on Facebook for distribution.

    So: Neither readers nor publishers know why Facebook shows a particular story in a feed. And media regulators and policymakers can’t see past the short-term benefit of faster-loading stories.

    The Fake Market for content looks like this:

    1. Readers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a content decision.
    2. A single opaque algorithm defines which readers are matched with which publishers.
    3. Publishers have no control over their own ad rates or profit margins.
    4. Regulators see the genuine short-term reader benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.

    4. After Markets: Self-Driving News

    But wait, it gets worse. Next we replace the sellers in the market.

    What we have in ride sharing or content publishing is a rapid move to locked-down systems controlled by one, or at most two, privately-held corporate players. But even in these fake markets, there are currently multiple providers offering their services within the ecosystem. The providers are those Uber drivers or Facebook publishers being lauded as independent entrepreneurs thriving on the platform.

    But Uber has already plainly announced its roadmap: Self-driving cars. The much-lauded independent driver-entrepreneurs will be replaced by completely automated service providers as quickly as possible, and not only will those new self-driving cars not have drivers who need to be paid, they will all be owned by Uber itself. When this transition happens over the next decade, we’ll have entire markets of independent contractors displaced by the transition, precisely at the point when the social safety net is being dismantled. In the meantime, politicians across the political spectrum have been presenting these “gig economy” non-jobs as the future of work.

    Fake Markets: Closed

    Self-driving cars are hard, though. Making a robot that can navigate through a city and deliver a passenger safely and reliably to their destination is an incredibly hard problem that will take a long time to get exactly right.

    By contrast, what are the barriers to self-driving news? We’ve already seen that a lot of news consumers aren’t interested in being safely and reliably delivered to accurate news. Success in this case will be much easier: A robotic publisher only has to deliver content that’s emotionally engaging enough to earn a person’s readership for a few moments. That’s even easier to do if the publisher or distributor of the content doesn’t care if the story is true or not. Peter Thiel is on Facebook’s board of directors.

    And remember, Facebook tends to subsidize publishers taking advantage of its new platform features just until the point at which those publishers become dependent on them. Publishers are already struggling with overall media industry economics; Facebook’s promised payouts may be an offer they don’t feel like they can refuse.

    So what do we do?

    Most of the people building these features at these companies don’t mean to undermine markets. The coders and designers at companies like Uber and Facebook and all the others are usually well-intentioned and genuinely see their work as benefiting users. In the immediate term, they’re not even wrong; being able to easily hail a cab or quickly read a story is a real benefit. But most tech workers, including at the biggest tech companies, are blind to the radical political and social agendas of their companies’ owners and investors.

    Worse, we’ve lost the ability to discern that a short-term benefit for some users that’s subsidized by an unsustainable investment model will lead to terrible long-term consequences for society. We’re hooked on the temporary infusion of venture capital dollars into vulnerable markets that we know are about to be remade by technological transformation and automation. The only social force empowered to anticipate or prevent these disruptions are policymakers who are often too illiterate to understand how these technologies work, and who too desperately want the halo of appearing to be associated with “high tech”, the secular religion of America.


    It’s essential we develop a vocabulary for talking about these issues, and perhaps the single most effective action we can take is to educate our elected officials about the changes that are happening. This stuff is complex, and it’s going to take time to teach all our representatives about why all the changes wrought by these new high-tech apps aren’t necessarily the best thing for our communities in the long term.

    But there’s still time to get it right. It’s not inevitable that we have to give over our open markets to new Fake Markets dominated by one or two giant tech companies. And perhaps the single biggest thing we can do is both the hardest and the easiest: We can change our own behaviors. Look at the apps on your phone right now. Are you sure you are comfortable with what’s going to happen when everyone’s running the same apps that you are?

    Fake Markets: End

     
  • feedwordpress 12:33:44 on 2017/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of, ,   

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic 


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    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

    In one generation, the Internet went from opening up new free markets to creating a series of Fake Markets that exploit society, without most media or politicians even noticing.

    1. The open internet markets

    American culture loves to use the ideal of competitive free markets as the solution to all kinds of social problems. Though the vaunted Free Market has no incentives to, say, take care of babies with cancer, a well-functioning market can definitely be a great way to see which provider offers the cheapest price for a roll of toilet paper or a bushel of apples.

    Given that cultural predilection, some of the first things people made in the early days of the web were new markets. Perhaps the canonical example was eBay; anybody (well, almost anybody) could list their ceramic figurines for sale on eBay and participate in a relatively fair market. On one side, a gaggle of figurine aficionados, enthusiastically searching for the best deals. On the other, a bunch of figurine vendors, competing on price, quality and service. In the middle, a neutral market that just helps connect buyers and sellers through instantly updated information. Everybody’s happy!

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

    Later, a seller could buy preferred positioning for their products in eBay’s search results, and some product categories started to be dominated by wholesale suppliers, but it still remained a relatively open system. Everybody’s mostly happy!

    Not long after eBay started, Google launched, as a sort of market of content, with its PageRank system choosing which pages show up in our search results, ranked by the number of inbound links. On one side were readers, and on the other side we had publishers, and in between was Google using a mysterious but still kind of comprehensible algorithm to create a market where almost everybody felt like they could participate.

    But before long, those rankings started to be tainted by spammers, due to the fact that higher ranking in those listings suddenly had monetary value, and making spam links was cheaper than paying for Google’s advertising products. What was an open market to do?

    2. The rise of rigged markets

    The inevitable automated gaming of the early open digital markets inadvertently catalyzed the start of the next era: rigged markets. Google got concerned about nefarious search engine optimization tricks, and kept changing their algorithm, meaning that pretty soon the only web publishers that could thrive were those who could afford to keep tweaking their technology to keep up in this new arms race. After just a few years, this became a rich-get-richer economy, and incentivized every smaller publisher to standardize on one of a few publishing tools in order to keep up with Google’s demands. Only the biggest content providers could afford to build their own tools while simultaneously following the demands of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

    The problem inevitably became most pronounced in the most valuable markets. Eventually, in lucrative vertical markets like travel, Google started showing its own flight booking tools ahead of the third-party results from travel booking sites, based on the idea that their experience was better for consumers than the confusing and inconsistent results from third parties. This was true, but it was also pretty damn convenient for Google, which now started to make more money on those links.

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

    This was the start of a subtle but critically important pattern on the web: A short-term improvement in user experience helped a single dominant tech company to take over a legacy market in the long term.

    Amazon went through a similar process, when it started putting its thumb on the scale, showing its own products first when doing a product search, even if they weren’t the cheapest. We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

    We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

    This shift to rigged markets was perfected in the app stores, where the major players like Apple and Google choose which apps get featured and promoted, and prevent the creation of any apps that would displace or threaten their market dominance. Even if an app does succeed, the app stores promote an ad-supported model that makes app creators dependent on the tech company’s platform for distribution, instead of an app deriving revenues directly from its users.

    But even today’s rigged markets have some ways that new players can compete. You could release a new photo-sharing app and theoretically try to compete with Instagram or Snapchat on Apple’s app store. An ordinary shopper could search for “bedsheets” on Amazon’s website and expect to get a list of linens to purchase, both from independent manufacturers and from Amazon’s own Pinzon brand. Even if these markets are skewed, they’re still markets, and that leaves some opportunity.

    That’s not to say these systems are fair: the big companies can pick which players in the market get to compete, and issues of network inequality mean people or companies that are privileged enough to be early adopters get unfair advantages. But even with these inequities, we could muddle through and new products or competitors could sometimes emerge.

    This has been the status quo for most of the last decade. But the next rising wave of tech innovators twist the definition of “market” even further, to a point where they aren’t actually markets at all.

    3. Now: The Fake Markets

    Uber‘s promise is simple: you use their app to hail a car, and one driver from a pool of independent drivers agrees to pick you up, and everybody’s happy. In their formulation, they’re a neutral marketplace connecting customers and service providers — kinda like eBay!

    But unlike competitive sellers on eBay, Uber drivers can’t set their prices. In fact, prices can be (and regularly have been) changed unilaterally by Uber. And passengers can’t make informed choices about selecting a driver: The algorithm by which a passenger and driver are matched is opaque—to both the passenger and driver. In fact, as Data & Society’s research has shown, Uber has at times deliberately misrepresented the market of available cars by showing “ghost” cars to users in the Uber app.

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

    It seems this “market” has some awfully weird traits.

    1. Consumers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a purchasing decision.
    2. A single opaque algorithm defines which buyers are matched with which sellers.
    3. Sellers have no control over their own pricing or profit margins.
    4. Regulators see the genuine short-term consumer benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.

    This is, by any reasonable definition, no market at all. One might even call Uber a “Fake Market”. Yet, by carefully describing drivers in their system as “entrepreneurs” and appropriating the language of true markets, Uber has been welcomed by communities and policymakers as if they were creating a new marketplace. That has serious implications for policy, regulation and even civil rights. For example, we can sincerely laud Uber for making it easier for African American passengers to reliably hail a car when they need a ride, but if persistent patterns of bias from drivers arise again in the Uber era, we’ll have a harder time regulating those abuses because Uber doesn’t usually follow the same policies as licensed taxis.

    These pseudo-market patterns also mask patterns of subsidy, like the fact that Uber’s current operations are subsidized by investors to the tune of $2 billion per year. That’s a cost that will be immediately passed along to consumers as soon as Uber succeeds in displacing conventional taxis.

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic
    The Financial Times states the implications of this economic arrangement very clearly:

    [A]ll this equates to is an economic transfer from the working class over to urban metropolitan elites, which benefits one particular corporation over others. This is plainly crazy.

    These new False Markets only resemble true markets just enough to pull the wool over the eyes of regulators and media, whose enthusiasm for high tech solutions is boundless, and whose understanding of markets on the Internet is still stuck in the early eBay era of 20 years ago.

    Fake markets don’t just happen in traditional products and services — they’re coming to the world of content and publishing, too. Publishers are increasingly being incentivized to use platforms like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP format. Like Uber’s temporarily-subsidized cheaper prices and broader access to ride hailing, these new publishing formats do offer some short-term consumer benefits, in the form of faster loading times and a cleaner reading experience.

    But the technical mechanism by which Facebook and Google provide that faster reading experience happens to incidentally displace most of the third-party advertising platforms — the ones that aren’t provided by Facebook and Google themselves. Facebook publishers who use these new distribution channels are incentivized to use Facebook’s advertising platform, where payment rates and profit margins can be unilaterally changed at any time. Just as Uber subsidizes fares during the phase when they’re displacing regulated taxis, Facebook subsidizes publishers’ ad rates during the phase when they’re displacing third-party advertising networks.

    In addition to making publishers even more dependent on the two tech titans for revenues, there’s the issue of the algorithms used to discover content. Almost everyone who uses Facebook has become aware that its algorithm for showing content is opaque, to both publishers and readers. As a result, there are fewer understandable tricks that publishers can use to ensure that readers will see their content — and publishing in the Instant Articles format is one of the few that’s known to work. It also happens to require a publisher to invest scarce resources in supporting the Facebook format, with the result of that publisher becoming even more dependent on Facebook for distribution.

    So: Neither readers nor publishers know why Facebook shows a particular story in a feed. And media regulators and policymakers can’t see past the short-term benefit of faster-loading stories.
    The Fake Market for content looks like this:

    1. Readers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a content decision.
    2. A single opaque algorithm defines which readers are matched with which publishers.
    3. Publishers have no control over their own ad rates or profit margins.
    4. Regulators see the genuine short-term reader benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.

    4. After Markets: Self-Driving News

    But wait, it gets worse. Next we replace the sellers in the market.

    What we have in ride sharing or content publishing is a rapid move to locked-down systems controlled by one, or at most two, privately-held corporate players. But even in these fake markets, there are currently multiple providers offering their services within the ecosystem. The providers are those Uber drivers or Facebook publishers being lauded as independent entrepreneurs thriving on the platform.

    But Uber has already plainly announced its roadmap: Self-driving cars. The much-lauded independent driver-entrepreneurs will be replaced by completely automated service providers as quickly as possible, and not only will those new self-driving cars not have drivers who need to be paid, they will all be owned by Uber itself. When this transition happens over the next decade, we’ll have entire markets of independent contractors displaced by the transition, precisely at the point when the social safety net is being dismantled. In the meantime, politicians across the political spectrum have been presenting these “gig economy” non-jobs as the future of work.

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

    Self-driving cars are hard, though. Making a robot that can navigate through a city and deliver a passenger safely and reliably to their destination is an incredibly hard problem that will take a long time to get exactly right.

    By contrast, what are the barriers to self-driving news? We’ve already seen that a lot of news consumers aren’t interested in being safely and reliably delivered to accurate news. Success in this case will be much easier: A robotic publisher only has to deliver content that’s emotionally engaging enough to earn a person’s readership for a few moments. That’s even easier to do if the publisher or distributor of the content doesn’t care if the story is true or not. Peter Thiel is on Facebook’s board of directors.

    And remember, Facebook tends to subsidize publishers taking advantage of its new platform features just until the point at which those publishers become dependent on them. Publishers are already struggling with overall media industry economics; Facebook’s promised payouts may be an offer they don’t feel like they can refuse.

    So what do we do?

    Most of the people building these features at these companies don’t mean to undermine markets. The coders and designers at companies like Uber and Facebook and all the others are usually well-intentioned and genuinely see their work as benefiting users. In the immediate term, they’re not even wrong; being able to easily hail a cab or quickly read a story is a real benefit. But most tech workers, including at the biggest tech companies, are blind to the radical political and social agendas of their companies’ owners and investors.

    Worse, we’ve lost the ability to discern that a short-term benefit for some users that’s subsidized by an unsustainable investment model will lead to terrible long-term consequences for society. We’re hooked on the temporary infusion of venture capital dollars into vulnerable markets that we know are about to be remade by technological transformation and automation. The only social force empowered to anticipate or prevent these disruptions are policymakers who are often too illiterate to understand how these technologies work, and who too desperately want the halo of appearing to be associated with “high tech”, the secular religion of America.


    It’s essential we develop a vocabulary for talking about these issues, and perhaps the single most effective action we can take is to educate our elected officials about the changes that are happening. This stuff is complex, and it’s going to take time to teach all our representatives about why all the changes wrought by these new high-tech apps aren’t necessarily the best thing for our communities in the long term.

    But there’s still time to get it right. It’s not inevitable that we have to give over our open markets to new Fake Markets dominated by one or two giant tech companies. And perhaps the single biggest thing we can do is both the hardest and the easiest: We can change our own behaviors. Look at the apps on your phone right now. Are you sure you are comfortable with what’s going to happen when everyone’s running the same apps that you are?

    Tech and the Fake Market tactic

     
  • feedwordpress 11:53:20 on 2017/02/12 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of, ,   

    It’s time to discover Prince 


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    It's time to discover Prince

    With the return of Prince’s classic 80s and 90s catalog to the most popular streaming services, now’s a great time to (re?)discover the breadth of Prince’s incredible body of work.

    The full scale of Prince’s music is probably too much for any unfamiliar listener to just dive into; he released nearly 40 albums under his own name(s), regularly enhanced his single releases with extended versions, remixes that could sometimes comprise an entire EP on their own, and legendary B-sides that were often as strong as the single being released to radio. That’s not even counting the literally hundreds of songs he wrote (and often performed on) for others.

    So, here’s an easier way to dive into his catalog, broken down by the type of listener you are, and what genres of music you prefer. I’m assuming little to no familiarity with Prince’s catalog here, beyond staples like the song Purple Rain. The nice thing about Prince’s work is that there are no bad starting points; if you don’t like what you hear at first, he almost certainly made a song in the complete opposite style as well.


    The basics

    If you’ve never really listened to Prince’s work, there’s a reason his 80s albums are revered. They hold up favorably against the very best albums in pop music.

    Purple Rain (1984)

    Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Tidal

    It really is that good. Half the songs on the album became hit singles, and the other half would have except they were too sexy.

    1999 (1982)

    Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Tidal

    This one will surprise you. Though Purple Rain has more, bigger hits, this is the album that shaped the sound of 80s radio. And, well, a lot of the Top 40 to this day. The songs really stretch out, and this is the album that turned a lot of casual Prince fans into diehards.

    Sign O’ The Times (1987)

    Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Tidal

    If you want to hear Prince at his experimental best, this is almost every hardcore Prince fan’s favorite album.

    The greatest hits

    There are a number of Greatest Hits collections for Prince’s work. None of them are terrible, but all of them ignore the second half of his career which, while uneven, still had dozens of truly great songs.

    Ultimate (2006)

    Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Tidal

    The best overall collection of Prince’s work, this includes a number of his best b-sides and extended versions, amply demonstrating why those non-album tracks were essential to understanding his range. And if you like big hits like Little Red Corvette, it shows up here in the full 8-and-a-half-minute glory of its 12″ Dance Mix.

    The Hits/The B-Sides (1993)

    Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Tidal

    The first compilation of Prince’s work is still the only one to collect a large number of his b-side recordings. Even if you’ve heard most of his 80s albums, there are almost certainly songs here that you missed.


    Specially-crafted starting points

    I made a number of playlists that are specifically aimed at people who feel like they’ve never really gotten Prince. I often hear people say, “I know he’s supposed to be super talented, but I never saw him live, and I don’t know what song of his I would love.” This is especially poignant for those of us who were fans because his live shows were amazing, often radically recasting his recorded material, and because his hit pop singles, while brilliant and unique, often didn’t resemble the more obscure works that won us over.

    These playlists are necessarily incomplete, because of the inconsistent way Prince’s catalog is made available. Tidal comes closest to including all of these songs, though even at its peak Tidal still omitted hundreds of Prince’s songs from its service. I’ve included Spotify versions of the playlists if most of the songs are available from the service.

    Discover Prince

    Spotify | Apple Music | Tidal 
    This is a playlist of the most “Prince-sounding” tracks in his catalog, a great way to hear work that a lot of serious fans would say could only have come from Prince.

    Prince: Guitar Pop

    Spotify | Tidal
    Prince’s most riff-driven rock tracks, showing off both his pop songcraft and his predilection for shredding. This list shows off how his work became more conventionally guitar heavy in this century.

    Prince: Electronic

    Spotify | Tidal
    The signature sound Prince was known for was his extraordinary and cutting-edge adoption of the latest electronic technologies like drum machines, synthesizers, samplers and sequencers. By bringing all these tools to bear, he changed the sound of popular music. These are some of the songs that caused that change, and some showing off how he kept evolving.

    Prince: Piano

    Spotify | Tidal
    In his final tour, Prince performed solo at the piano, reaffirming his raw showmanship and the strength of his songwriting. But throughout his career, he showed off his skills on the keys, as these songs amply demonstrate.


    More to come

    There are, of course, a nearly infinite number of ways to slice and dice a catalog that comprises over a thousand songs. None of these playlists even includes the work that Prince created for other artists. And it’s easy to imagine playlists like “Here are the Prince songs you’ll like if you love Hendrix” or “These are the Prince tracks that Justin Timberlake clearly loved the most”.

    But what’s most exciting is the idea that a new wave of listeners can find their own gems in a body of work that offers enough surprises and delights to last for decades to come. If you’re just getting into Prince, I hope these lists form a good starting point, and don’t hesitate to reply to me at @anildash if you’ve got questions or want suggestions of how to get started.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:11:28 on 2017/01/15 Permalink
    Tags: , Best Of, kristatippett, , onbeing,   

    On Being and Tech’s Moral Reckoning 


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    Back in November, I got to sit down with the amazing Krista Tippett for a lengthy interview in front of an incredibly warm crowd in Easton, MD. Now, that interview has been edited down and is available as the latest episode of Krista's hugely popular show, On Being.
    I hope you'll take a listen — we cover the contemporary tech industry, the social impact of the major social networks, and even the bigger reckoning with how tech is changing our families and or kids and our relationships. I'm really proud of how this came out, and can't wait to hear what you think. And, of course, if you're interested in more on the topic, you can check out my Humane Tech series on Medium.

    If you are interested, there's also a full, 90-minute unedited version of the conversation. With Krista and her team coming from Minneapolis, the Prince mentions you might expect from me are in the uncut version.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:02:03 on 2016/01/26 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of   

    Another Round on me! 


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    OMG I can’t believe it! I got to be on my very favorite podcast, BuzzFeed’s “Another Round”. I can verify that Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu are every bit as amazing in real life as they seem to be when you listen to the show.

    We talked about race and identity, we talked about what we need to reform in tech, and we talked about mangoes. Basically, everything that matters. Please do give it a listen!

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:38 on 2015/10/10 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of, , , quincyjones, rockwithyou, rodtemperton   

    A little less rocking with you… 


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    After talking to a friend about how Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" is so romantic if you just focus on the strings, bass and vocals, I was inspired to mix down the tracks to feature just those elements.

    Obviously the original is a perfect masterpiece, but there's a lot you can hear more clearly without the drums and (most of) the guitars. I also lowered the lead vocals so you can more clearly hear the harmonies. One of the biggest things that stands out is that Rod Temperton is kind of amazing and that Quincy Jones is a complete genius. Nothing else sounds like this.

    These songs hold up because there's so much substance, and that's why I, and so many others, love this song so much.

     
  • feedwordpress 01:00:10 on 2015/07/01 Permalink
    Tags: Best Of   

    Why, Bobby Jindal? 


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    Presidential candidate Piyush "Bobby" Jindal has said he'll take questions over social media today. I've got some questions, but let's start first with some background.

    As is probably obvious, I disagree with most of Jindal's policies. I genuinely have no issue with the tiny minority of South Asian Americans who hold conservative views. (Only 3% of Indian Americans are Republican, a lower percentage than African Americans. There are more independent Desis than Republican ones.)

    Indian American party affiliation

    But I do have an issue with undermining the South Asian community. How is it possible the highest-profile Indian politician in U.S. history won't even let his oldest friends wear Indian clothes at his events?

    There's a line of argument that says we should take any visibility as progress, and follow Jindal simply because of his ethnicity. (Naturally, it's the conservatives who claim to be color blind who are advancing that idea.) I'd even joked about this, saying, "I hope Jindal gets nominated. It'd legitimize Indian American candidates while showing how everyone hates his stupid-ass platform."

    The core issue here is what compromises are acceptable for a politician to make when they come from a community that has such a tenuous grasp on "Americanness" in the first place. I suspect it may be hard for many to understand why every Indian American they know is so vehemently offended by Bobby Jindal. The answer is simple: We are pressured everyday to erase and censor ourselves, to reject our parents and our culture. It's constant. That's why, even 8 years ago, I was already very skeptical of Bobby Jindal and his intentions.

    From the folks at a TSA checkpoint to the coworker who refuses to learn how to pronounce our names, we are always fighting to be ourselves. And what Bobby Jindal represents is complete capitulation in that battle for self. The worst fear of any community reckoning with assimilation is confirmed—giving up all traces of one's own identity will be rewarded.

    So the visceral rejection of everything about Jindal is a simple assertion that our identities and values matter, and they shouldn't be compromised. It's only after this, almost incidentally, that the overwhelming majority of us also arrive at the inescapable conclusion that Jindal is a clown with terrible policies. (With one notable exception, his uncomplicated and astoundingly reasonable support for vaccination.)

    Bobby Jindal is not white

    I was delighted to see that the immediate response from almost every part of the Indian diaspora when we heard of Bobby Jindal announcing his presidential campaign was unabashed mockery. An unserious candidate deserves an unserious response, and if we can use such an occasion to demonstrate how fantastically funny we are, even better.

    But I was disappointed that the bulk of the responses organized around the theme of "Bobby Jindal is so white", even though I'm proud of my friend Hari Kondabolu for having had such an impact.

    Because honestly, I don't think we should say "Bobby Jindal is so white", even as a joke. He has a specifically Indian American pathology. Most white folks in the United States don't have occasion to ponder Indian American identity at all, because there just aren't that many of us, and we so seldom have any real power. So, Jindal acting the way he does is definitely not him being "white". There's a deeper issue: He wants to erase us.

    It's not just that Bobby Jindal left his parents' faith. (Hell, I did that, too.) But rather, Jindal thinks no one should be of his parents' faith. It's not that Bobby Jindal doesn't identify as Indian American, it's that he doesn't want anyone to identify that way.

    So, while I'm happy to make jokes about Jindal, the reason he is truly toxic is because he would eliminate the very community that made him, that gave him all the opportunities he's had. I can mock that Bobby Jindal turned his back on his name, Piyush. But what's sad is he'd prefer there be no boys named Piyush in America.

    My name is Anil Dash. That's what my parents named me. They're Indian Americans, and I'm proud to be of them. I'm proud of my community.

    So my question to Bobby Jindal, about not just his candidacy but his entire career, is why? Why do you think the world would be better off without the unique and beautiful culture created by yours parents and mine, and lived by me and millions of others? Why don't you love us, and yourself, and your country enough to think we should be part of it?

     
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