Show # 259 — Prof. Shannon Vallor, author of Technology and the Virtues — posted

As you may have noticed (even in the barrage of election coverage), I’ve been silent since the end of July. The reason is rather simple: since July, I’ve taught five classes (Contracts, Intellectual Property Survey, two sections of Internet Law, and a new course (for me), Employment Discrimination Law). To do that well, along with being a present husband and father to my two young sons, and maintain forward motion with my scholarship, Hearsay Culture gives way. I don’t like that effect, but its unavoidable so long as I continue to do the show gratis (which is not a complaint; its a reality).

So, on this momentous and nerve-wracking Election Day afternoon, I’m pleased to post one new show, Show # 259, September 16, my interview with the amazing Prof. Shannon Vallor of Santa Clara University, author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting. Shannon has written an exceptionally important and unique work focusing on what personal virtues should guide our integration of new technologies into society. Defining the contours of what she calls “technonormal virtues,” Shannon calls on informed citizens to become “moral experts” in a collective effort to create “a future worth wanting” (or, even better, demand for “useful tools that do not debilitate us.”) Because Shannon writes about philosophy and virtue as an applicable construct rather than an abstraction, her book should be required reading for anyone seeking better understanding of how we might achieve the best social and moral results from our technological advancements.

I very much enjoyed the interview, and hope that you find it valuable and gripping. Indeed, with so much left to discuss, look for part two of the interview in December!

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Show # 242 — Prof. Natasha Schüll, author of Addiction By Design — posted

The third show for today’s salvo of new shows is Show # 242, July 24, my interview with Prof. Natasha Schüll of MIT, author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Natasha’s ground-breaking book is an eye-opening study of the ways that technology can and is used to stoke the human predilection for addiction. Focusing on Las Vegas, Natasha’s deep dive into the world of addicted gamblers exposes the capabilities (and some limitations) of an industry’s efforts to reap profits. Moreover, the ease with which programmers can alter games in order to increase gambling (and the resulting losses) is startling. As Natasha points out, people are in the game not just for money; we discussed that dynamic as well as the future of gaming and addiction in our fascinating interview.

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Show # 225 — Prof. Ed Felten on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and data privacy — posted

I am delighted to post Show # 225, November 20, my interview with Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (“CITP”). I’ve been visiting at CITP this year, and one of my main goals for my time there has been to meet and/or interview some of the amazing array of scholars resident at Princeton. There was no better way to begin that effort than by interviewing Ed.

Ed’s work is undoubtedly well-known to many Hearsay Culture listeners, so the challenge was to find a few topics to discuss. We were able to drill down on two current foci: data privacy, through Ed’s recent testimony before the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and the challenges associated with security around cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Both issues require delving into the nature of information access and sharing in a society where technology remains both largely undisclosed and not well-understood. Ed is among the leaders in efforts to clearly and accurately convey complex technology information to policymakers, and this interview reflected that skill. I hope that you enjoy our discussion!


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Show # 216 — Prof. David Schanzer on Edward Snowden — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 216, July 9, my interview with Prof. David Schanzer of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency (NSA). It was a bit over a year ago that Edward Snowden appeared on the scene as the source of a seemingly-endless array of information about the NSA’s legal and illegal spying. Snowden has since become a household name for his willingness to expose this behavior despite significant personal risk, which has caused scholars, policymakers and others to weigh in on how Snowden should be viewed. In my interview with David, we discussed David’s views on Snowden as a felon, and whether the “whistleblower” label is appropriate. In the process, we also discussed some of the NSA’s activities and how policymakers might approach reform of the NSA. David’s experience in the counter-terrorism and law enforcement world is vast, and I greatly enjoyed the discussion.


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Show # 214 — Prof. Evan Selinger — on outsourcing our humanity to technology

As I finalize the schedule for the summer quarter (to be posted on July 4th!), I’m pleased to post Show # 214, May 28, my interview with Prof. Evan Selinger of Rochester Institute of Technology on technology and the human experience. Evan’s work spans the range of technology, ethics and philosophy, an unusual but critical intersection as we consider the ramifications of algorithms, robotics, drones, 3D printers and social media, among many other innovations, on our lives. In our discussion, we focused on Evan’s concern about “outsourcing” our humanity to computers and technology and how it has and will impact our humanity. Evan is an insightful and original commentator and scholar, and I greatly enjoyed our discussion!


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Show # 212 — Larry Downes, author of Big Bang Disruption — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 212, May 14, my interview with three-time Hearsay Culture guest Larry Downes, co-author of Big Bang Disruption, on disruptive technology and business strategies. Larry and his co-author Paul Nunes (who was not on the show) have written an insightful and enjoyable book looking at both the causes of and reaction to disruptive technologies by new and traditional businesses alike. Like the book, which is bifurcated between descriptive and proscriptive analysis of rapidly-disruptive technologies, we talked about the meaning and impact of “big bang” distruptive technologies and how companies can both react to and create environments that create disruptive technology. As always, I greatly enjoyed our discussion!


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Show # 209 — Lousewies van der Laan on liberal and e-democracy — posted

I am thrilled to post Show #209, April 15, Dutch politician and former European Parliament member Lousewies van der Laan on promoting democracy and technology. I met Lousewies at a conference on innovating justice at The Hague in 2012. Lousewies is a leading voice on democracy and human rights in the EU, and I was delighted to have her on the show to discuss a wide range of issues involving the operation of democracies in 2014. From the rise of the far right to the role of the public in policymaking, we had a terrific discussion that I greatly enjoyed. I look forward to chatting with Lousewies’ colleagues on upcoming shows!


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Shows 182-186 — Prof. Dan Trottier, Oliver Day, Derek Khanna, Virginia Crisp and Prof. Vance Ricks — posted

The summer brings five (5) new shows (and a welcome effort to catch up on two months of backlogged emails and other work). So, here they are.

The first show, Show #182, April 17, is my interview with Daniel Trottier of the University of Westminster, author of Social Media as Surveillance. Dan’s book, which is now particularly timely given the PRISM and other NSA/governmental surveillance revelations over the past several weeks, looks at social media as a surveillance technology. Using a variety of angles and insights, Dan examines the impacts and implications of social media as users volunteer to interact (knowingly and unknowingly) with other users and the technology itself.

The second show, Show #183, May 8, is my interview with Derek Khanna of the Yale Information Society Project on copyright reform, jailbreaking cell phones and CISPA. Derek’s name became known after he wrote a controversial memorandum for the Republican Study Committee (RSC) urging reform of existing US copyright law. Since he left the RSC, he’s written on a variety of topics including cell phone jailbreaking. We discussed his current work, as well as his perspective on his experience at the RSC and insights derived from the political response to the memorandum.

Third is Show #184, May 15, my interview with Oliver Day of the new non-profit Securing Change. Oliver is a repeat guest on Hearsay Culture as well as the wonderful volunteer who has helped me combat the endless attempts at hacking of Hearsay Culture by spammers. Oliver has founded an organization designed to offer the same services that Hearsay Culture has received to a wider audience of non-profits [disclaimer: I’m a huge and grateful fan of Oliver’s efforts and am on the Board of Securing Change]. We discussed his efforts and Securing Change’s goals, as well as the nature of hacking and website security threats today. [Note: the email address to use to request help from Securing Change is request@help.securingchange.org, not the email address mentioned in the show].

The fourth show, Show #185, May 23, is my interview with Dr. Virginia Crisp, Lecturer at Middlesex University, on Kim Dotcom and copyright infringement. I met Virginia at a conference at MIT in May and found her presentation on the implications of Kim Dotcom’s activities and behavior insightful. On the show, Virginia discusses her research and perspectives on Kim Dotcom, as well as the larger issues involving the social and regulatory aspects of copyright infringement en masse and in New Zealand, where Kim Dotcom has rebranded himself.

Finally, and at long last, the last show for the spring quarter is Show #186, June 13, my interview with Prof. Vance Ricks of Guilford College. Vance has written an insightful article about the nature of gossip online, drawing on sociological and philosophical views of gossip and rumor-mongering applied to social media. We discussed the nature of gossip and reputation in the social and online spheres, as well as the role that technology plays in both amplifying and diminishing these age-old practices. As a bonus, this show was recorded in KZSU’s East Coast Studios, my euphemism for a live recording in my basement studio!

I am in the process of setting the schedule for the summer quarter, which commences in the first week of July. Stay tuned, and look for the schedule to be posted by the end of June. Thanks as always for listening!

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shows 178-181 — Eran Kahana, Prof. Gabriella Coleman, Dean Anne Balsamo and David Seubert — posted

At long last, I’m posting four new shows. Thanks for your patience — teaching nine credits (for a law professor, that’s a lot) on top of writing, advocacy and administrative duties = slow to post shows! The good news: I should have more time (and timeliness) to devote to the show beginning in May, which will nicely coincide with the early part of the spring quarter.

On to the new content: the first show, Show #178, January 31, is my interview with Eran Kahana of the Maslon law firm, on artificial intelligence. Eran focuses on how the law should react as artificial intelligence becomes commonplace in the everyday lives of consumers. Because this technology is awash with speculation about its potential and risks, Eran was a great guest with whom to cut through much of the debate, especially as he has the practical perspective of a practicing attorney. I enjoyed the conversation.

Next, Show #179, February 14, is my interview with Prof. Gabriella Coleman, author of Coding Freedom: The Aesthetics and the Ethics of Hacking. Biella has written a groundbreaking anthropological study of free software hackers. Immersing herself in that community over the course of several years, Biella was able to unmask many morees and practices within the community that have received scant (if any) attention. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the demographics of the community, particularly the notable absence of a significant female presence, and I greatly enjoyed our discussion. Her’s is a wonderful contribution to our understanding of anthropological study and method.

My third show, Show #180, March 7, is my interview with Dean Anne Balsamo of the New School for Public Engagement, author of Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work. Focusing on culture as an iterative process, Anne has written a first-hand account of the creation of digital media through the eyes of a scholar and “maker.” Drawing on extensive experience in the field, Anne outlines how innovation occurs in a field that seems loose in organization and structure. Anne’s book dispels that notion (and others), and I greatly enjoyed the depth of our discussion and Anne’s probing insights. I look forward to her return to the show.

The last show for the winter quarter, Show #181, March 14, is my interview with Dave Seubert, head of the University of California Santa Barbara’s Cylinder Digitization and Preservation Project. I have been a fan of David’s cylinder project — the effort to digitize thousands of recordings made on cylinders between roughly 1890-1920s — since its inception several years ago (I’m not just a fan; I have cylinders on my iPod). David’s efforts, which include not just digitizing cylinders but preserving the legacy of Victor recordings, places his projects among the world’s most important recording preservation efforts. A huge fan of David and his work, we discussed these projects interspersed with recordings from UCSB’s collection. Lots of fun!

I am in the process of setting the schedule for the spring quarter, and will post it by the end of the second week in April. As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions at dave@hearsayculture.com. Thanks, as always, for listening!

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Shows #175-177 — Amardeep Singh, Stefan Larsson, Marcin de Kaminski and Prof. Tom Streeter — posted

A semester of much administrative and other work left little time for posting new shows, even though they were “in the can” and even aired on KZSU-FM, Hearsay Culture’s home station. So, as a holiday gift, I’m now posting the last three shows of the fall quarter.

The first show, Show #175, October 17, is my interview with Amardeep Singh, Director of National Programs at the Sikh Coalition. Amar is one of the co-founders of the main organizations representing the Sikh community in the United States. A classmate of mine from Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Amar was class of 1997; I was class of 1998), Amar has focused on increasing awareness and understanding of the Sikh community. In our discussion, we discussed hate speech on the Internet, cyberbullying and other challenges facing the Sikh community post 9/11.

Show #176, November 6, is my interview with Stefan Larsson and Marcin de Kaminski of Lund University. We discussed their work on copyright infringement/piracy and Pirate Bay in Sweden. Marcin and Stefan are two of Sweden’s highly-active scholars examining Sweden’s copyright and technology culture, and their work is unique in its empirical scope and depth. We had a wide ranging discussion and I look forward to more interaction with these dynamic thinkers.

Finally, Show #177, November 20, is my interview with Prof. Tom Streeter of the University of Vermont, author of the book The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism and the Internet. Tom’s book is a phenomenal social history of the development of the Internet, from its well-known inception at DARPA to its lesser-known incarnations in World War II policymaking. Tom’s does a terrific job melding this social history into a highly-readable and thoroughly-researched assessment of what the Internet is, and what it isn’t. I highly enjoyed both Tom’s book and the interview, and I hope that you find Tom and our interview as illuminating as I have.

The schedule for the winter quarter 2013 will be posted soon; look for new shows beginning the week of January 14. Happy new year!

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