How the Soviets invented the internet and why it didn't work - "Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet." [more inside]
Freedom of speech in the digital age - "Speech that disseminates ideas is more valuable than speech whose purpose is to intimidate others." [more inside]
From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
Are internet populists ruining democracy for the rest of us? by Vyacheslav W. Polonski, Network scientist, University of Oxford
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
PDI is a policy-agnostic political party that does not have, nor will ever have, a political ideology. It has a single and radical proposal: PDI elected representatives will vote in congress according to what the people have previously voted through the internet using Agora.
Is SEO killing America? Clay Johnson about how media gives us what we want, not what we need, and how it's destroying democracy. If you don't have time or can't watch a 17 minute video, read this article discussing and summarizing the video.
Politics, the Press, and the Public. Bill Moyers speaks with Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen about the role of the establishment press in America’s dysfunctional political system.
Time Capsule: the internet and E-democracy. “Peoples’ lives now are as dependent on the Internet as they are on the basics like roads, energy supplies and running water. We can no longer take that for granted and we must advocate for the Internet politically, and support its vitality personally.” - Susan Crawford, University of Michigan School of Law. In recognition and memory of the beginning and continuation of the political internet, they have organized a Time Capsule of e-democracy's beginnings - everything from using e-mail to plead your friends to vote to flash animations that set the web alight. It is to be sealed on September 22. Help tell the story of internet politics.
The Great Firewall of China (previously), the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, athlete bloggers (allowed for the first time by the IOC), visitors, and freedom in Beijing, 2008. [more inside]
Opencongress.org is a website for keeping track of the U.S. Congress. (previously) But, now it also a social network. So, sign-up and see what your favourite Senator has been doing, track bills and, follow important issues. Then, share that information with your friends or write about it on your blog.
MITV: A how to for internet video production, from the friendly people at the Participatory Culture Foundation (makers of the Democracy Player).
The web won't topple tyranny. "The myth that the Internet will utterly transform capitalism has died. The myth that the Web will destroy tyranny should perish as well." [Via /.]
Saving the Net isn't just really about saving the net: the article is a great point of confluence on the issues of Intellectual Property, Property and Success as American values, as well as the future of the Internet as a true commons. Especially interesting is the observation that Presidential candidate Howard Dean's campaign contribution lead – raised via the Internet – is owed to a huge number of small donations, not to a small number of large special interests. If he's being bought, it's by his voters." [via Slashdot]
New book talks about democracy and the web. The student newspaper that I work for reviewed the new book Republic.com, which talks about the potential problems that the Internet poses to democracy. Contrary the ideal of free information and exposure to new ideas on the Internet, the author concludes that in online communities, people choose to associate with people who share similiar opinions, which subsequently radicalizes their opinions and shuts them out to opposing voices. Food for thought.