Code Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age | Pew Research

, ; Code Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age; 2017-02-08; 87 pages; landing.
Teaser: Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment.

tl;dr → there be dragons; this is an important area; the future is at stake; the alarum has been sounded; there are seers who can show us the way. In their own words.


Future of the Internet, of Pew Research & Elon University.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Themes illuminating concerns and challenges
  • Key experts’ thinking about the future impacts of algorithms
  • About this canvassing of experts
  • Theme 1: Algorithms will continue to spread everywhere
  • Theme 2: Good things lie ahead
  • Theme 3: Humanity and human judgment are lost when data and predictive modeling become paramount
  • Theme 4: Biases exist in algorithmically-organized systems
  • Theme 5: Algorithmic categorizations deepen divides
  • Theme 6: Unemployment will rise
  • Theme 7: The need grows for algorithmic literacy, transparency and oversight
  • Acknowledgments


Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age; , (Pew Research Center); In Their Blog; 2017-02-08.

Teaser: Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment/


  • Pew Research Center of the Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Imagining the Internet Center at Elon Univesity
  • <ahem>the Singularity enthusiasts … .</ahem>


  1. Algorithms will continue to spread everywhere
  2. Good things lie ahead
  3. Humanity adn human judgement are lost wwhen data nad predictive modeling become paramount
  4. Biases exist in algorithymically-organized systems
  5. algorithmic categorizations deepen divides
  6. Unemployment will rise
  7. The need grows for algorithmic literacy, transparency and oversight.


  • <snicker>Artificial Intelligence (AI)</snicker>
  • algocratic governance
  • surveillance capitalism
  • information capitalism
  • topsight
  • black-box nature [of]
  • digital scientism
  • obedience score


  • Aneesh Aneesh, Stanford University.
  • Peter Diamandis, CEO, XPrize Foundation.
  • Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard.
  • Jim Warren, activist.
  • Terry Langendoen, expert, U.S. National Science Foundation.
  • Patrick Tucker technology editor at Defense One,.
  • Paul Jones, clinical professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and director of
  • David Krieger, director of the Institute for Communication & Leadership IKF,.
  • Galen Hunt, partner research manager at Microsoft Research NExT,.
  • Alf Rehn, professor and chair of management and organization at Åbo Akademi University in Finland,.
  • Andrew Nachison, founder at We Media,.
  • Luis Lach, president of the Sociedad Mexicana de Computación en la Educación, A.C.
  • Frank Pasquale, professor of law, University of Maryland.
  • Jeff Jarvis, reporter.
  • Cindy Cohn, executive director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation,.
  • Bernardo A. Huberman, senior fellow and director of the Mechanisms and Design Lab at HPE Labs, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
  • Marcel bullinga, expert.
  • Michael Rogers, principal, Practical Futurist.
  • Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths.
  • David Gelertner.
  • Deloitte Global (anonymous contributors).
  • Barry Chudakov, founder and principal at Sertain Research and StreamFuzion Corp.
  • Stephen Downes, staff, National Research Council of Canada,.
  • Bart Knijnenburg, assistant professor in human-centered computing at Clemson University.
  • Justin Reich, executive director at the MIT Teaching Systems Lab.
  • Dudley Irish, tradesman (a coder).
  • Ryan Hayes, owner of Fit to Tweet,.
  • Adam Gismondi, a visiting scholar at Boston College.
  • Susan Etlinger, staff, Altimeter Group.
  • Chris Kutarna, fellow, Oxford Martin School.
  • Vintno Cert, Internet Hall of Fame, vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google:.
  • Cory Doctorow, writer, computer science activist-in-residence at MIT Media Lab and co-owner of Boing Boing.
  • Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft.
  • Doc Searls, director, Project VRM, Berkman Center, Harvard University,.
  • Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
  • Richard Stallman, Internet Hall of Fame, president of the Free Software Foundation.
  • David Clark, Internet Hall of Fame, senior research scientist at MIT,.
  • Baratunde Thurston, Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab, ex-digital director of The Onion.
  • Anil Dash, pundit.
  • John Markoff, New York Times.
  • Danah Boyd (“danah boyd”), founder, Data & Society, an advocacy group.
  • Henning Schulzrinne, Internet Hall of Fame, professor at Columbia University,.
  • Amy Webb, futurist and CEO at the Future Today Institute.
  • Jamais Cascio, distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future.
  • Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future,.
  • Ben Shneiderman, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland,.
  • David Weinberger, senior researcher at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.


Previously filled.

A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction | Jill Lepore

A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction; Jill Lepore; In The New Yorker; 2017-06-02.
Teaser: What to make of our new literature of radical pessimism.

Jill Lepore
  • staff, New Yorker
  • David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and Harvard College Professor, Harvard, Opera.
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman, a book, in promotion now.

Gregory Claeys, Dystopia: A Natural History; Oxford University Press; 2017-02-01; 576 pages; Amazon:0198785682: Kindle: no, paper: $110+SHT.

tl;dr → she’s not up for the dystopia genre, not for long. See her summation.


  • dystopian
  • apocalyptic
Eras of Popularity
  • Atlas Shrugged → 2008 of Obama.
  • 1984 → 2016 of Trump.

The Young Adult Genre

  • <quote>But the genre only really took off in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, when distrust of adult institutions and adult authority flourished, and the publishing industry began producing fiction packaged for “young adults,” ages twelve to eighteen.</quote>
  • <quote>All of them are characterized by a withering contempt for adults and by an unshakable suspicion of authority.</quote>
  • <quote>it’s also addressed to readers who feel betrayed by a world that looked so much better to them when they were just a bit younger.</quote>
  • <quote>Lately, even dystopian fiction marketed to adults has an adolescent sensibility, pouty and hostile</quote>


In archaeological order

  • Lidia Yuknavitch, The Book of Joan, Harper, 2017.
  • Ben H. Winters, Underground Airlines, Little, Brown, 2017.
    tl;dr → <quote>early-twenty-first-century United States in which slavery abides, made crueller, and more inescapable, by the giant, unregulated slave-owning corporations that deploy the surveillance powers of modern technology, so that even escaping to the North (on underground airlines) hardly offers much hope, since free blacks in cities like Chicago live in segregated neighborhoods with no decent housing or schooling or work and it’s the very poverty in which they live that defeats arguments for abolition by hardening ideas about race.</quote>
  • Omar El Akkad, American War, Knopf, 2017.
  • Cory Doctorow, Walkaway, 2016?
    endorsed by Edward Snowden, from exile in Russia.
    “My father spies on me,” the novel’s young heroie complains.
    tl;dr → <quote>Doctorow pounds the same nails with the same bludgeon <snip/> his walkaways are trying to turn a dystopia into a utopia by writing better computer code than their enemies.</quote>
  • Cory Doctorow, Little Brother, WHEN? (earlier than Walkaway)?
    tl;dr → four teen-agers and their fight for Internet privacy rights.
  • Ernest Cline, Ready Player One, 2011.
    <quote>“I grew up a little, and I gradually began to figure out that pretty much everyone had been lying to me about pretty much everything,” the high-school-age narrator opines</quote>
  • WHO?, The Hunger Games, a trilogy, 2008.
  • M. T. Anderson, Feed, 2002.
    tl;dr → <quote>a smart and fierce answer to the “Don’t Be Evil” utopianism of Google, founded in 1996</quote>
  • Black Mirror, 2011; a serialized drama, for television
  • Barack Obama, some speech, 2008-01.
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale,, WHEN?
    patterned after Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • The Moral Majority, a movement & organization, founded in 1979
  • WHO? The Camp of the Saints, 1973; French.
    favorited by Steve Bannon.
  • Chad Walsh, opined in 1962.
  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
  • WHO?, The Lord of the Flies, 1954.
  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, 1953.
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano, 1952.
  • John Updike, opined in 1954.
  • George Orwell, 1984, 1949, themed: (anti-)fascist.
  • Ayn Rand, Anthem, 1937, themed: (anti-)fascist.
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1935; themed: eugenicists
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin, We, 1924; themed communist.
  • Michael Tolkin, Some Novel, Atlantic, WHEN?
  • H. G. Wells, When the Sleeper Awakes, 1899.
  • H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895.
  • Anna Bowman Dodd, The Republic of the Future, 1887.
  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 1888.
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1861.
    tl;dr → same plot as The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Mary Shelley, The Last Man, 1826.
  • Thomas Paine, Rights of Man circa 1792.
  • Thomas Moore, Trip to the Island of Equality, 1792.
  • Christine de Pisan, The Song of Joan of Arc, 1429.
  • Christine de Pisan, Book of the City of Ladies, 1405.


  • <quote>Dystopias follow utopias the way thunder follows lightning.</quote>
  • <quote>Pick your present-day dilemma; there’s a new dystopian novel to match it.</quote>
  • <quote>Dystopia used to be a fiction of resistance; it’s become a fiction of submission, the fiction of an untrusting, lonely, and sullen twenty-first century, the fiction of fake news and infowars, the fiction of helplessness and hopelessness. It cannot imagine a better future, and it doesn’t ask anyone to bother to make one. It nurses grievances and indulges resentments; it doesn’t call for courage; it finds that cowardice suffices. Its only admonition is: Despair more. It appeals to both the left and the right, because, in the end, it requires so little by way of literary, political, or moral imagination, asking only that you enjoy the company of people whose fear of the future aligns comfortably with your own. Left or right, the radical pessimism of an unremitting dystopianism has itself contributed to the unravelling of the liberal state and the weakening of a commitment to political pluralism. <snip/> Wreckage is romantic. But a politics of ruin is doomed.<quote>, opined by Jill Lepore, she as herself, in summation.


meta-theoretically about dystopian literature

  • <quote>It’s a sad commentary on our age that we find dystopias a lot easier to believe in than utopias,” Utopias we can only imagine; dystopias we’ve already had <quote>, attributed to Margaret Atwood “in the nineteen-eighties.”

Previously filled.

LANGSEC (Language-Theoretic Security) from 2011-2016 | Meredith Patterson

Meredith L Patterson — LANGSEC (from) 2011 to 2016; At CONFidence; On YouTube; 2013-07-25; 40:10.

Meredith Patterson; LANGSEC 2011-2016; 2013-05-29. (seems busted).


  • Zed Shaw
  • Exemplars
    • Twitter (Rails-era)
    • Rails, generally
    • Heroku
    • Github
  • Instances
    • Protocol Buffers
    • Unicorn
    • Puma
  • James Coglan, 2013
    • think they something like that
    • WebSocket driver
  • Flash
    • runs bad malformed files
    • who cares?
    • Use case: ads
    • redirect
    • 3rd party content
  •, Recurity Labs
  • Processing Fluency
    • a concept from psychology about working memory
  • X.509 parsers
    • Dan Kaminsky
    • Moxie Marlinspike
    • Exploits
      • CSR with \0 in the 1st byte
        • Get a signed cert.
        • Cert is 0-length.
        • Use it, the browser accepts it
      • CSR with multiple CN in it
        • Get a signed cert
      • OID parsing in ASN.1
        • OpenSSL treats it as a bignum.
        • IE treats it as a smallnum.
  • Cory Doctorow; Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing; Chaos Computer Congress; 2011-12.
  • Travis Goodspeed; “packet-in-packet” PHY-layer injection (ZigBee)
    • an escape-code problem.
    • A packet is wherever a SYNC occurs.
  • James Oakley, Sergey Somebodysomebody, DWARF arbitrary code execution
  • Marshall Beddoe
  • Robert David Graham, 10M Connections
  • Ragel
    • state machine compiler
  • Hammer Parser Generator
    • Disambiguation
    • Concept
      • Beyond Ragel
        • like Antlr but different.
        • like Protocol Buffers, but different.
      • Inline Domains-Specific Languages
      • Like for Haskell & Scala
        • Parser Combinators from Haskell & Scala
      • Something about bitwise parsing is handled (and nobody else does).
      • UpstandingHackers/hammer
      • the future: Sickle
        • standard library
        • file formats
        • encodings
        • codecs
  • Emscripten
  • Idris
    • Dependent Types
    • Proving security properties
    • Composable properties (subroutines?)
    • Compiles to JavaScript
      • Something about Node.js applicability
    • Like these somehow
      • Coq
      • Agda
  • Future
    • Mareitje Schaake, Dutch MEP; quoted.
    • Something about infinite war, infinite cyberwar.
    • Something about the relevance to this body of work to “preventing war.”