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Educator, instructional technologist, tinkerer, musicmaker, hauler of bootstraps

Grant Potter "After all, authoritarianism and extremism don’t arise in prosperous societies — but in troubled ones, which are growing impoverished, like America is today."

What happens in societies where poverty is growing? Authoritarianism rises, as people lose faith in democracy, which can’t seem to offer them working social contracts. Authoritarian soon enough becomes fascism — “this country, this land, its harvest — it is only for the true volk!”, the cry goes up, when there is not enough to go around. And the rest of the dark and grim story of the fall into the abyss you should know well enough by now. It ends in words we do not say.

Grant Potter "It’s just a matter of making explicit the determinations that already go into credit scores—of binding together the data brokerages that even now siphon up public records, social-media profiles, web searches, and similar digital traces of life here in the West, and making our rights and privileges as city dwellers and citizens contingent on what they infer from our behavior."

Grant Potter

Grant Potter “The real source of robot anxiety isn’t the android’s uncanny mimicry of human movement. It’s American capitalism, which forces workers to experience employment as a zero-sum conflict. (When Americans aren’t afraid robots will take our jobs, we’re afraid immigrants will.) We fight hard to keep our jobs because we know that if we’re out of work, we’ll have no way to provide for ourselves or earn social respect. That’s been true for much longer than we have been dreaming of automated production.”

Grant Potter “the backbone of Estonia’s digital security is a technology called K.S.I.”

“I asked Kaevats what he saw when he looked at the U.S. Two things, he said. First, a technical mess. Data architecture was too centralized. Citizens didn’t control their own data; it was sold, instead, by brokers. Basic security was lax. “For example, I can tell you my I.D. number—I don’t fucking care,” he said. “You have a Social Security number, which is, like, a big secret.” He laughed. “This does not work!” The U.S. had backward notions of protection, he said, and the result was a bigger problem: a systemic loss of community and trust. “Snowden things and whatnot have done a lot of damage. But they have also proved that these fears are justified.”

Grant Potter “hybrids of music, drama, and several other strains, including essay, journalism, anthropology, ethics, social commentary, [and] contemporary history”

Grant Potter why should “democratic” politics be thought of as “above” the forces and powers of fantasy, enchantment, passionate sentiments, and drama when these characteristics are so fundamental to the workings of social life?

Grant Potter "You have machine learning — which loves short and simple feedback loops — and you have social media, which has a business model and interface built around those loops."

Grant Potter "It's not simply a moral panic. It's a proxy panic. We don't know how to talk about failings of financialized capitalism. We don't know how to talk about failings of our political infrastructure. We don't know how to talk about massive polarization in our public."

"Part of what is really collapsing here is that the networks have become too fragmented and too polarized. Technology doesn’t help; it simply magnifies the poles. This is dangerous and cyclical. Polarization leads to distrust and tribalism which leads to more polarization."

"I think there's a lot that the tech sector can and should do around this. No one has a better model of the networks of America than those tech companies. No one understands better where the disconnects are. What would it mean to actually understand and seek to remedy the divisions? But I don't know that that can be done in a financialized way. Actually, I know it can't be done in a financialized way. I want regulators to work toward rebuilding the networks of America. Not regulate toward fixing an ad."

Grant Potter "Countries with strong public broadcasters have higher levels of social trust, and the people who live in them are less likely to hold extremist political views."

"Our new era is marked by the multitude of people and institutions with the capacity to broadcast, each with different normative standards – and some with no concerns about accuracy even as a standard that is not always upheld – with a polarized public with little trust in any intermediary, and drawn to information that confirms preexisting biases. The result is a frayed, incoherent and polarized public sphere."

"Public broadcasters were designed to elevate the societies in which they operated: to help them be smarter, better informed, healthily pluralistic and successful. For decades they did exactly that. Their impact faded because of technological and public policy changes: we cut their funding, we deregulated their industry, and we didn't make the kind of policy interventions in the digital world that we had been making for decades in conventional radio and TV. Today, we're in a mess. Our societies are fractured and fragile, and we need to heal the rift between the people and the institutions intended to serve them. I believe that calls for a reinvestment in public institutions, including public broadcasters, and for those institutions to recenter themselves on public service."