Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: ethics

Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?

“Good guy/bad guy narratives might not possess any moral sophistication, but they do promote social stability, and they’re useful for getting people to sign up for armies and fight in wars with other nations. Their values feel like morality, and the association with folklore and mythology lends them a patina of legitimacy, but still, they don’t arise from a moral vision. They are rooted instead in a political vision, which is why they don’t help us deliberate, or think more deeply about the meanings of our actions. Like the original Grimm stories, they’re a political tool designed to bind nations together.” [c/o LinkMachineGo#link

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Maciej Cegłowski on how to ‘build a better monster’

“This year especially there’s an uncomfortable feeling in the tech industry that we did something wrong, that in following our credo of ‘move fast and break things’, some of what we knocked down were the load-bearing walls of our democracy.” The collateral damage of building for the reality we hope to create, rather than the one we live in, to paraphrase my previous link. But Cegłowski goes a lot deeper that that in this tech conference talk from earlier in the year. And it doesn’t get more damning, more cyberpunk dystopian than this: “The algorithms have learned that users interested in politics respond more if they’re provoked more, so they provoke.” #link

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Mat Honan for Buzzfeed on Facebook’s ‘reality hole’

“The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes.” That’s it right there. I don’t subscribe to the notion that people in general are fundamentally decent; there’s too much evidence to the contrary. Social media — in ushering in an era where everyone is online, not just a self-selecting proportion — reveals that much. Does Facebook care about that? It’s a different kind of caring, to be charitable; rooted in head-in-the-sand techno-utopianism that strives for solutions to problems no one really has, while ignoring the actual problems people have right now. As Mat Honan writes: “You have to build for the reality we live in, not the one we hope to create.” #link

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