Beware of Algorithms + Data Privacy

I can’t believe its the end of week one of the Fellowship already and what a week it’s been. I’m exhausted and inspired all at once.

Hasan’s Lecture – Beware of Algorithms

Hasan’s lecture today Beware of Algorithms resonated with me, as it was all about data is used to further capitalism (to sell you more products and services).

This lecture resonated with me, because I’ve worked in Marketing and Communications for the last few years, so I’m also on the other side, but for the greater good – with non-profits, arts organisations and charities.

I’ve been fascinated for a while in how the internet seems to tune into your personal conversations no matter where you decide to have these conversations. All of a sudden you see an advert to sell you those shoes you were looking at last night or a driving school starts following you on Instagram, after you asked for recommendations of driving schools via Instagram DM. Its not by chance. Cookies leave a trail on the internet, so that big companies like Amazon etc can sell you more stuff. There needs to be more a set of universal rules and regulations around data privacy for the whole world, especially if we start to live in outer space in the future. Who will determine the laws in outer space?!

Anyway, so the cookies collect data about you and create an individual ID for each user to identify and follow you on the internet. This ID is then tracked and used to predict what your interests and preferences are, to explore what else they can sell to you by using targeted marketing to create customised audiences.

If you’re not making/paying for the product, YOU ARE the product.

Sebastian (CoLab Fellow)

Tags are used on Netflix to categorise you to predict what you’ll like to watch. We see it everyday in today’s technologically-driven world.

Here are a few more of my notes from the lecture:

  • Models of your habits are stored in the cloud.
  • You can ask for your browsing data, its your right.
  • The house always wins in a casino.
  • Fake news influences society.
  • Will humans and machines be able to tell the difference between the real and the hyperreal? Can we now?
  • How private is Google Incognito? Can google share this data with us?
  • Symptoms of surveillance capitalism get to the next case of privacy.
  • Is this all by accident or design?

I’m very concerned that our society is much more interested in information than wonder, in noise rather than silence…How do we encourage reflection?

Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers)

Today’s Exercise

Today we brought a historical figure of a person close to home who we were inspired by and a quote of something they said. I worked with Upasana and Nayeli and we used Talking Heads software to animate photos of them saying the words they said in the past. It made them come to life! I found it to be a simple and a fun tool, using a variety of inputs, including: audio (your own voice), text (the quote said by them and spoken by AI, eg: Siri) or video (you could capture more natural visual facial expressions, as well as your voice). If you chose to use video, you had to also analyse the way that the person in the portrait sat and how they held themselves, in order to make the animation more realistic.

I chose Margaret McMillan, who was born in New York and later moved to Bradford, UK (where I live). She was an Early Years Education Pioneer, who created the 1906 Provision of School Meals Act, which meant that all children would be fed at school, despite the social deprivation they experienced at home. She believed in equality, in free play, fresh air and active learning from first-hand experiences.

The best classroom and the widest cupboard is roofed only by the sky.

Margaret McMillan

The glories of the past compensated for the imperfections of the present.

Margaret McMillan
My ‘Talking Head’ of Margaret McMillan (using video as the input)

Dialogue Event: Data Privacy

Speakers at Dialogue event

This was an interesting conversation with insights from India and the UK.

My notes from the talk included:

  • There are no data privacy laws in India!
  • How do we control our data?
  • Data is power.
  • How do we regulate data privacy?
  • There needs to be a universal data privacy law, with strict regulations to ensure real privacy for all.
  • What does privacy mean and to who?
  • Equality, discrimination and marginalised communities.
  • ‘Me Too’ Campaign, India.
  • What are artist’s rights as valued workers of society?
  • LGBTQ+ Activism.
  • Civil protests – internet shut downs in India.
  • Activism and policy.
  • The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) are simple agreements in place for data protection in Europe.
  • Lawyers are too isolated and must collaborate with artists, to demonstrate how they raise important questions to create social change.

The poor don’t care for their privacy.

Indian Government

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