Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

How Secrecy Fuels Tech Paranoia

John Herrman, New York Times:

The biggest internet platforms are businesses built on asymmetric information. They know far more about their advertising, labor and commerce marketplaces than do any of the parties participating in them. We can guess, but can’t know, why we were shown a friend’s Facebook post about a divorce, instead of another’s about a child’s birth. We can theorize, but won’t be told, why YouTube thinks we want to see a right-wing polemic about Islam in Europe after watching a video about travel destinations in France. Everything that takes place within the platform kingdoms is enabled by systems we’re told must be kept private in order to function. We’re living in worlds governed by trade secrets. No wonder they’re making us all paranoid.

This was published a day after an op-ed in Wired theorized that the “2009 vs 2019” comparison really exists to teach artificial intelligence how human ageing works. I think that piece is utter nonsense, but I get where that sentiment comes from.