There are two basic truths of social science that technologists scanning the news in recent weeks may appreciate. First, despite arguments about the rise and fall of the state, most countries are considerably less orderly and cohesive on the inside than they look at first glance. In other words, the "monopoly of force" and the "Westphalian state" are convenient fictions. … [Read more...] about From Crowdsourced Militias to Dread Bitcoin Pirates
Eminent network scientist Laszlo Barabasi recently penned an op-ed calling on fellow scientists to spearhead the ethical use of big data. Comparing big data to the atom bomb, Barabasi persuasively argued that the technology and methodologies he and other social network theorists had created had far outstripped societal controls on its use. Barabasi's op-ed is part of a growing … [Read more...] about Big Data = Dropping the Big One?
On Twitter, Mike Olson of Cloudera asked me and Alex Olesker what we thought about the use of social media in the latest dustup between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He linked me to an article taking a broader look at the role of social media in terrorism and extremism. The following is some thoughts on how to think about the relationship of social media to social movements, … [Read more...] about Social Media and Extremism: Sideshow or Center Stage?
I can already hear the chuckling. "Cyber warfare? Balanced? And I'd like partisanship in Washington to end, a double date with Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson, and some fries with that!" Yes, my desire is utopian, but the fact that I would have to qualify it with a self-deprecating remark suggests the distance that we have yet to travel before we can get more value out of our … [Read more...] about My Infosec Wish for 2013: A Balanced Cyberwarfare Debate
Are we too connected to our gadgets? Many journalists and social thinkers seem to think so. Are we all too fixated on emailing, tweeting, just plain staring at our screens to participate in the world around us? The answer may be more complex than that, but you won't find it in posts like this recent effort from TechCrunch: [O]ur obsession with technology, the right and wrong … [Read more...] about What Does It Mean to Disconnect?