Getting Hooked on Tech

Communications of the ACM, June 2018, Vol. 61 No. 6, Pages 18-19
By Logan Kugler

“Facebook and Google lead the way in this arena. Facebook allows users to customize their personal profile to their liking and indicate their interests by engaging with content. Every reaction a user has to a post teaches Facebook’s algorithms his/her preferences; these algorithms then serve more content that even better matches the user’s preferences.

The result? The user visits and revisits the site, staying for longer, making them a richer target for advertising.”

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Alexa, I Want Answers

Amazon Alexa and the Search for the One Perfect Answer

Wired.com, February 18, 2019
By James Vlahos

“Reaching position zero requires a wholly different strategy than conventional SEO. The importance of putting just the right keywords on a web page, for instance, is declining. Instead, SEO gurus try to think of the natural-language phrases that users might say—like “What are the top-rated hybrid cars?”—and incorporate them, along with concise answers, on sites. The hope is to produce the perfect bit of content that the AI will extract and read aloud.”

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What Went Wrong? Facebook and ‘Sharing’ Data with Cambridge Analytica

Communications of the ACM, June 2018
By Susan Landau

“The road to the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal is strewn with failures. There’s the failure to protect users’ privacy, the failure to protect voters, and the failure to uncover the actions and violations of laws that may well have affected the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election.”

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Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion (2nd Edition)

Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion (2nd Edition)

By Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis, & Wendy Seltzer

“Blown to Bits, Second Edition is the brilliant, plain-English guide to digital technology, how it’s changing the world, and what you need to know to survive in tomorrow’s digital world. A best-seller when it was first published in 2010, the issues it addresses are more crucial than ever. ”

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Dawn of the Code War

Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat

“The inside story of how America’s enemies launched a cyber war against us-and how we’ve learned to fight back…”

Includes links to:

  • “The Lawfare Podcast: John Carlin on ‘Dawn of the Code War’“ by Jen Patja Howell. Saturday, November 24, 2018.

  • A discussion on responses to national security threats in cyberspace from the Department of Justice, featuring John P. Carlin, Former Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division; and John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

  • John Carlin on “Stay Tuned with Preet” Dec. 4, 2018.

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Hey Google, What’s a Moonshot?: How Silicon Valley Mocks Apollo

Communications of the ACM, January 2019
By Thomas Haigh

“Letting Silicon Valley steal the term “moonshot” for projects with quite different management styles, success criteria, scales, and styles of innovation hurts our collective ability to understand just what NASA achieved 50 years ago and why nothing remotely comparable is actually under way today at Google, or anywhere else.”

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Google Tech Talks

Hiding In Plain Sight – The Secret History of Silicon Valley

Presentation by Steve Blank, Dec. 2007 & Nov. 2008

Premise of “The Secret History of Silicon Valley” is that WWII was the First Electronic War and it was the wartime urgency combined with required secrecy to create systems to counter the threat of Nazi Germany that primarily lead to the development of what is known today as Silicon Valley. The point being that popular culture and history does not include this aspect in the history of Silicon Valley, but it is nonetheless important to know this history. Further, the projects that Mr. Blank outlines were conducted in plain sight.

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