Author: John Biggs

Tap tap tap

 We are now walking through a media desert. While access to content is astronomically high, the content that we read is dead, lifeless, and derivative. Yes, I see the irony in posting my criticism of the state of online media on, well, online media, but I want to explore how we got here and what we can do about it. We begin in about 1983. The education necessary to interact with media of that… Read More

PornHub uses computer vision to ID actors, acts in its videos

 They say porn adopts new technologies first and PornHub [NSFW], a site that is as NSFW as it sounds, is proving that old adage true. The site – which receives 80 million visitors a day – found that its old, antiquated methods of tagging videos by hand was not sufficient. Rather than hire someone to go through the hundreds of thousands of videos and tag them by hand, the team at… Read More

Angry young men

 I used to build bombs in my basement. My friend, a guy who called himself Damage Inc. on the BBSes, built pipe bombs and made a rocket launcher that shot small Estes rockets tipped with razors. We set them off in abandoned fields and fired rockets into trees. We lived in Columbus, Ohio, where there were wide stretches of open field and wide vistas of open time and we were bored and we made and… Read More

The sorrow of Biz Stone

 A friend of mine wakes up every morning and reports every single instance of crass, homophobic, and racist behavior she sees on Twitter. She sees it as her duty, an ordering of things in an unordered stream. Her efforts are quixotic at best because when she wakes up and rubs the sleep out of her eyes the firehose still rages. Why does she have to do this? Because of Twitter’s success… Read More

Researcher Emilio Ferrara talks about the rise of fake news and botnets

 Emilio Ferrara has been thinking about botnets for over a decade. As the first social networks climbed out of the mire, he noticed that they were very easy to game. Now, it seems, all of those early tools have finally been weaponized. I spoke to Ferrara about his research work as well as his fascinating study that found that Twitter bots can be used for good. In this episode of Technopia we… Read More

Researchers find that Twitter bots can be used for good

 According to Emilio Ferrara, a USC Information Sciences Institute researcher, not all Twitter bots are born bad. He should know. Ferrara created a “large-scale experiment designed to analyze the spread of information on social networks” and found that “good” Tweets spread just as quickly as bad Tweets. Further, they confirmed something the we already know: that… Read More

Zoe Quinn talks about online abuse and her new book, Crash Override

 Zoe Quinn went to the heart of Gamergate and has come back with a new book, Crash Override, a meditation on online communities and making the Internet safer. Quinn spoke with me for a few minutes about her new book and how we can help prevent kids from going down the Gamergate path. Her ultimate solution? Talking to people who harass her. By putting a voice to the name she was able to defuse… Read More