‘What Will You Sacrifice for the Truth?’ Maria Ressa Discusses Misinformation and Social Platforms With Prince Harry and Renée DiResta

Maria Ressa urged U.S. voters to think about the kind of information ecosystem they want to live in when they vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election, in a TIME100 Talks discussion with Prince Harry and Renée DiResta.

Ressa, founder of Filipino news site Rappler, which is critical of President Roderigo Duterte, is currently facing six years in jail in the Philippines after a court found her guilty of “cyberlibel” in June. In 2018, she was one of four journalists and one news organization named as TIME’s Person of the Year.

“Every American going into elections, you can’t just think voting is enough,” Ressa told Harry, who was co-hosting the event for TIME. “You’re going to have to sit and ask yourself the same question I ask myself, which is: what will you sacrifice for the truth?”

In the 25-minute conversation, Harry, Ressa and DiResta, the research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, discussed how social media platforms have allowed for the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories while increasing the pressure on professional journalists to cater to an attention economy that often sacrifices nuance for sensationalism.

Ressa and DiResta agreed that the rise of algorithms geared toward increasing “engagement” on social media sites have led to the collapse of shared realities within democracies. “What we see are the things that are curated for us,” DiResta said. “The feed … is algorithmically ranking hierarchically what we are most likely to be receptive to, or want to pay attention to.” The result, Ressa said, is an erosion of democracy. “When you have a democracy, and an algorithm that is meant to exploit your weaknesses to keep you on the platform, when that is what determines the context of the messages that give meaning to your world, you’re really reduced to meaninglessness,” Ressa said. “The designs of the platforms themselves actually encourage ‘us’ against ‘them.’”

Prince Harry, who has been critical of the tabloid press for what he has called “relentless propaganda” targeting his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, agreed, shifting the conversation toward how social media platforms have put new pressures on the news media. “On social media, I don’t know how many characters you’re allowed on most of these things, but of course it’s going to anger people, of course it’s going to cause divisiveness because what should be a story of context … gets shrunk down into …read more

Source:: Time – Technology

      

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Discuss Misinformation With Silicon Valley’s Biggest Critics

Anyone who has watched The Social Dilemma already knows that technology has fundamentally warped the way we see the world. But Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have become invested in holding technology companies accountable for the misinformation spread on platforms like Facebook. For a special TIME100 Talks hosted by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple sat down with two experts Tristan Harris, a Silicon Valley veteran who co-founded the Center of Humane Technology and appeared in The Social Dilemma, and Safiya Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression.

During the discussion, Noble touched on Meghan’s own experience being the target of online hate. Noble explained that if you are part of a community “targeted with hate, disinformation, calls for genocide, calls for racist violence against you, misogyny, as Meghan I know you know so profoundly, the technologies are able to…amplify those kinds of messages and those kinds of harms,” says Noble. “The harms don’t just live in the platform. They often extend to shaping behaviors that people also act upon.”

Harris added that technology companies’ profit imperative thrives on disinformation, controversial opinions or fake news. “They are competing to seduce us with that promise of virality,” he says, citing the hashtags that promise billions of views on a single TikTok video. “But of course that doesn’t reward what’s true, what’s credible, or what is really good for society.”

And though he suggests that people try to take back control of what content they do and don’t choose to consume, ultimately, he argues, individuals simply cannot put down their phones in a world that relies so heavily on tech: “To make it a personal responsibility for a systemic, oppressive issue is what’s inhumane.”

It’s up to the tech companies to self-regulate their content—or, failing that, governments to step in and impose restrictions. When Meghan and Harry asked how the truth might win out over virility, both Noble and Harris cast doubts as to whether the tech companies could be trusted to self police: Noble argues they have failed to do so, calling them “foxes guarding the henhouse”.

…read more

Source:: Time – Technology

      

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Speaks with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex About Building a Better Tech Industry

When Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian decided to take action in support of racial equality and Black Lives Matter this June, he made a surprising move: stepping back to let someone else lead. He resigned his position on the company’s board, and publicly urged the social media platform to replace him with a Black board member.

But while Ohanian hoped that his decision would make room for someone else on Reddit’s board, he says that he hopes his decision is only the first step both for him personally, and for the social media company. In conversation with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex for a special TIME100 Talks on social media and our online lives, Ohanian discussed the importance of considering the role that social media and technology companies play in society—and the importance of having diverse perspectives among the people who build them.

According to Ohanian, his experience as husband to tennis legend Serena Williams and as father to their daughter Olympia, has pushed him to think about his role in the world—and the legacy he’s leaving behind.

“I just can’t help but want to create a world that is just fair to my daughter,” Ohanian said. “And I know that that’s lofty, but it’s a thing worth striving toward. And you know, I’m gonna work every day to get a little better.”

Read the full transcript of the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Ohanian below:

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Hi everyone, I am here with my friend Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, an investor and also a founder of VC Funds 776, Alexis, thanks for being here.

ALEXIS OHANIAN: Well thank you for having me Meghan.

MEGAN: It feels very official, different from our normal chats. I’m glad that you’re here and what we’re talking about today is obviously so important and something that you are so knowledge in obviously as a founder with Reddit.

But I think if you don’t mind we can jump right into it because it made a lot of news and garnered attention when you decided to step back from your board seat at Reddit and instead to ask if they give that seat to a person of color and specifically someone who is black.

And I think you know that resonated with people in a huge way especially because you said you were doing it because you were inspired by your daughter Olympia. Can you tell us …read more

Source:: Time – Technology

      

Star Wars: Squadrons Crams Tons of Fun in a Tiny Cockpit

I’m flying through the Nadiri Dockyards, where the New Republic constructs warships to take on the ever-expanding Galactic Empire. In my X-Wing starfighter, I’m being followed by an enemy TIE Bomber set on turning me into space dust. Hit after hit knocks out my shield until I decide to hide behind an asteroid, kill the engine, and watch as they zoom by, landing right in my sights. “You’re a galactic pain in my ass!” I scream to my silent squadmates when the shot connects, leaving only a shower of sparks and debris as evidence of my deft maneuver. It’s my fifth kill in a row, the final kill of the match, and the last one needed to win the dogfight by a single point. I realize I’m on the edge of my seat and slump back into my chair, basking in the feeling of a job well done, and itching to tell everyone that Star Wars: Squadrons is the most fun you’ll have in a virtual cockpit.

But, like a backyard barbecue or round of paintball in the woods, it’s better with friends.

Squadrons, EA’s multiplayer-focused space combat game (developed by Motive Studios), is one in a long line of Star Wars tie-ins that put you in the pilot’s seat of your own nostalgia-fueled fantasy vehicle. This time, you play as two green pilots on either side of the war between good and evil: the Jedi-loving New Republic Navy’s Anvil Squad, and the Galactic Empire’s Titan Squad. During the game’s single-player campaign you bounce between sides, flying up to eight different ships for both sides.

The game’s story, ostensibly about a turncoat Galactic Empire officer being hunted by the team who trusted him, is short enough to be filled with incredibly exciting set pieces, but long enough to frustrate you with predictable and boring out-of-cockpit scenes. At times I found myself laughing at the bland dialogue, and once audibly groaned when a character’s last ditch effort to take down the Galactic Empire involved—you guessed it—flying through a tiny corridor to shoot some missiles into a hole. Sound familiar?

Also, not a single Jedi or Force user? Come on!

But once you’re in the cockpit, Squadrons does a fantastic job of making you feel like you’re actually, well, flying. To manage your energy levels for systems like weapons and engines, check your radar for enemies, or figure out how many proton torpedos you have …read more

Source:: Time – Technology