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

Grant Potter

Grant Potter

Grant Potter "The freedom of speech is an important democratic value, but it’s not the only one. In the liberal tradition, free speech is usually understood as a vehicle—a necessary condition for achieving certain other societal ideals: for creating a knowledgeable public; for engendering healthy, rational, and informed debate; for holding powerful people and institutions accountable; for keeping communities lively and vibrant. What we are seeing now is that when free speech is treated as an end and not a means, it is all too possible to thwart and distort everything it is supposed to deliver."

"Creating a knowledgeable public requires at least some workable signals that distinguish truth from falsehood. Fostering a healthy, rational, and informed debate in a mass society requires mechanisms that elevate opposing viewpoints, preferably their best versions. To be clear, no public sphere has ever fully achieved these ideal conditions—but at least they were ideals to fail from. Today’s engagement algorithms, by contrast, espouse no ideals about a healthy public sphere."

"By this point, we’ve already seen enough to recognize that the core business model underlying the Big Tech platforms—harvesting attention with a massive surveillance infrastructure to allow for targeted, mostly automated advertising at very large scale—is far too compatible with authoritarianism, propaganda, misinformation, and polarization. The institutional antibodies that humanity has developed to protect against censorship and propaganda thus far—laws, journalistic codes of ethics, independent watchdogs, mass education—all evolved for a world in which choking a few gatekeepers and threatening a few individuals was an effective means to block speech. They are no longer sufficient."

Grant Potter via: @benwerd "There has never been a clearer argument for building new kinds of platforms that have all the virality and human beauty of social media, but protect society from being gamed. Technologists, artists, journalists, academics, open source activists and sociologists need to come together to build something new — or better yet, lots of new things."

Grant Potter

via @amcollier ' should teach students what underlies the web, who owns, controls, and gains privilege from that. How the web enacts and exacerbates social practices and privileges. And how to resist. Digital literacy as resistance is my new favorite thing. '

Grant Potter "Innovative cooperative structures, pool-and-share projects, self-managed digital platforms, and collaborative global networks are changing the topography for pursuing social change."

Grant Potter "Problems get solved quicker, new solutions are more suitable for end-users and stakeholder collaboration is enhanced."

Grant Potter "Platforms are, in a sense, capitalism distilled to its essence. They are proudly experimental and maximally consequential, prone to creating externalities and especially disinclined to address or even acknowledge what happens beyond their rising walls. And accordingly, platforms are the underlying trend that ties together popular narratives about technology and the economy in general."

Grant Potter

"Platforms aren’t just software applications and the companies that administer them. What gives a platform value, in most cases, is the community of users that employ the platform, along with the networks, data, and ideas they create. In other words, what makes platforms so valuable is what we put into them. Second, platforms don’t need to be treated as commodities."

Grant Potter

via: @benwerd "Cooperatives might be a solution. Decentralized networks might be a solution. might be a solution. Design thinking can help us test these assumptions, and figure out if they’re real problems, or if we’re simply projecting what we want users to want.

I believe academia may have a role here — although not to design and build software itself. I don’t think the incentives are right in an institutional software to build and maintain large-scale platforms, and there’s a danger of a kind of vanguardism here, too. But potentially, they could provide an environment where new models could be nurtured.