“Airbnb Teams up with 23andMe to Recommend Heritage Travel Destinations.” VentureBeat (blog), May 21, 2019. https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/21/airbnb-teams-up-with-23andme-to-recommend-heritage-travel-destinations/
Soon, 23andMe customers will be able to click through to their ancestral populations to find Airbnb stays and experiences located in their ancestral countries. On Airbnb there are even designated pages to this crossover. Should your DNA dictate how companies advertise to you? This is a concerning development that pushed the boundaries of access companies have to your personal data. This is a service that seems unnecessary and a complete invasion of privacy.
Baron, Jessica. “Tech Ethics Issues We Should All Be Thinking About In 2019.” Forbes, December 27, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicabaron/2018/12/27/tech-ethics-issues-we-should-all-be-thinking-about-in-2019/#4877ee0d4b21
This article brought new technologies into questions for their ethical implications. For things such as sideway labs, insect allies, and the datafication of children, how much ar ethe consequences being considered? It provides a nice overview of some new technologies and some things that should be thought about more when seriously considering their implementations.
Barrett, Brian. “How A Professional Gambler Broke Jeopardy!” Wired, April 10, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/jeopardy-record-james-holzhauer-strategy/
A single-player won over one hundred thousand dollars in a single game of Jeopardy. He utilizes a unique strategy to pick the highest-paid questions first and bid all he can at every opportunity. This has been extremely successful so far, so that makes us rethink how players typically play the game. This can be applied to other aspects of life where the current algorithm we use may not be the most effective.
Conger, Kate. “Uber Is Said to Aim for I.P.O. Valuation of Up to $100 Billion.” The New York Times, April 10, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/technology/uber-ipo.html
A sale of 90 or 100 billion would make Uber one of the larget American tech companies to go public in recent years. For a company this is still relatively new in the realm of companies, this is a huge accomplishment. This conveys how much the needs and wants of technologies can fill a niche that we don’t even realize we have yet.
Cordelia. “Projectors Don’t Lie.” Salesforce UX (blog), December 30, 2014. https://medium.com/salesforce-ux/projectors-dont-lie-b85ef628b04
This article presented why causes the disparities between the looks of designs on a designer’s laptop and on a projector. I enjoyed this because the websites that I am helping to improve are most likely going to be displayed on personal computers along with projectors in the classroom. Knowing how to avoid many of the problems will be helpful when designing.
“Describing Visual Resources Toolkit – Describing Visual Resources for Accessibility in Arts & Humanities Publications.” Accessed September 26, 2017. https://describingvisualresources.org/
This article discusses the need for accessibility within digital publications. This applies to what we do directly in this program with attempting to make thoughtful designs to spread scholarly information. This is a great overview for anyone working with digital technologies in all areas.
Dewey, Caitlin. “Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Understand 4chan, the Internet’s Own Bogeyman.” The Washington Post, September 25, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/09/25/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-to-understand-4chan-the-internets-own-bogeyman/?utm_term=.64caff9018d2
A website “4chan” was brought into question about the ethical problems having anonymous users can create. With the forum allowing all users to post whatever they like, it has created an online community with its own method of communication that is hard to decipher to anyone on the outside. The website reaches just around 22 million users, and with little regulation, how much should we worry?
Feingold, Lainey. “ASKING ABOUT COMPLIANCE? YOU MAY BE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION.” Law Office of Lainey Feingold (blog), n.d. https://www.lflegal.com/2018/07/ada-28/
This article presented the law surrounding video captioning and how accurate they have to be. Even with this law established, with a rate of only sixty-five percent required, many of the main information trying to be presented could be lost. This misinformation can lead to people that rely on those captions to receive less and even wrong information. The issues presented in this article fostered a need to explore this topic further.
“Firefox Makers Working on Voice-Controlled Web Browser Called Scout – CNET.” Accessed July 3, 2018. https://www.cnet.com/news/mozilla-working-on-scout-a-voice-controlled-web-browser-project/
I chose this article because the idea of a completely voice-controlled web browser sounds fascinating. Instead of it being designed as an alternative for people that need this feature, it wants to be a browser that everyone uses that is also accessible.
Flynn, Meagan. “Police Think Alexa May Have Witnessed a New Hampshire Double Homicide. Now They Want Amazon to Turn Her Over.” The Washington Post, November 14, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/14/police-think-alexa-may-have-witnessed-new-hampshire-double-slaying-now-they-want-amazon-turn-her-over/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1dc6685ee4e9
This article asks whether of not Amazon should give the audio recording of a possible murder. Does this violate the First Amendment? With no established laws pertaining to these listening devices, this has happened frequently to other companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Hern, Alex. “Myspace Loses All Content Uploaded before 2016.” The Guardian, March 18, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/18/myspace-loses-all-content-uploaded-before-2016
Faulty server migration blamed for mass deletion of users’ songs, photos, and video. Although Myspace does not have the popularity it once had, this still raises concerns for sites we use the most. People rely on technology for documenting and saving moments more than ever before. This serves as a reminder that not every site or app is immune to technology failures.
https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpostopinions. “Opinion | Machines Can’t Quite Crack Shakespeare. That’s a Relief.” Washington Post. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/machines-cant-quite-crack-shakespeare-thats-a-relief/2019/04/28/bad569ea-6854-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html
People have attempted to program a computer to understand the complexities of the characters in Shakespeare plays. There was a fear that this would take the “human” out of “humanities.” However, it has still yet been able to map the subtle things that make the works so complex. Nothing can currently understand Shakespeare as well as the human reader.
Hunt, Taylor. “The Web Is Made of Edge Cases.” CodePen. Accessed August 15, 2018. https://codepen.io/tigt/post/the-web-is-made-of-edge-cases
This article discusses how many websites are unvisited on the internet. This article was a bit confusing to get the main message because the author seems to jump between topics. I believe it serves as a PSA towards web designers on how to try to be accessible to all users, in order to not exclude people that are trying to use your site and make your site load quickly to avoid timing out. Smart design choices could make the difference toward your site being used or forgotten.
Jesse Hausler. “7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility.” Medium (blog), April 15, 2015. https://medium.com/salesforce-ux/7-things-every-designer-needs-to-know-about-accessibility-64f105f0881b
This article is aimed at the designer to emphasize how incorporating accessible designs into their work should not be seen as a burden. The author conveys that designing for everyone can actually help come up with new ideas, like high contrasting colors for those who are colorblind. They also stress the importance of taking a step back from design to ask if your design can be used by all people. This article will help all web designers to be more aware when they are building new programs.
Johnson, Laura. “Comparing 3 Top Automated Accessibility Testing Tools: WAVE, Tenon.Io, and Google Lighthouse.” Medium (blog), July 24, 2018. https://medium.com/myplanet-musings/comparing-3-top-automated-accessibility-testing-tools-wave-tenon-io-and-google-lighthouse-d3897d7bb311
This article compares the accessibility tools of WAVE, Tenon.io, and Google Lighthouse. This is a great resource for designers looking for which tool to utilize to analyze sites. This could also be used by someone that owns a site that is curious about whether their site is accessible to all users.
Knight, Will. “Google Employees Are Lining up to Trash Google’s AI Ethics Council.” MIT Technology Review, April 1, 2019. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613253/googles-ai-council-faces-blowback-over-a-conservative-member/
Thousands of Google employees are in protest over the new council Google created for AI ethics. The concern is surrounding a member of the council that is in strong support of Google’s aid in US Military drones. Other notable members in the Computer Science ethics community have declined the role in fear that it would lead astray from the ethical matters that are most important to them.
Manjoo, Farhad. “The Problem With Fixing WhatsApp? Human Nature Might Get in the Way.” The New York Times, October 24, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/technology/fixing-whatsapp-disinformation-human-nature.html
WhatsApp is a messaging app used by millions of users that offers end-to-end encryption and the article asks: who should be blamed for actions enacted by WhatsApp messages? One example is the riots surrounding the Brazilian elections and Facebook is claiming minimal responsibility. So should regulation of these technologies be enforced by the company or of the government?
Metz, Cade, and Mike Isaac. “Facebook’s A.I. Whiz Now Faces the Task of Cleaning It Up. Sometimes That Brings Him to Tears.” The New York Times, May 17, 2019, sec. Technology. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/technology/facebook-ai-schroepfer.html
This article follows an executive after Facebook live-streamed a shooter and his attack. The focus on his emotional response translated to a positive outlook on Facebook’s development of an AI. This AI will add to the content moderation of the site. It is unclear if it scans all posts or just posts that are flagged. The big concern brought up about this article was that the AI is still only reacting to posts once they are already in view on the site and not before which still exposes people to potentially triggering posts.
Newman, Lily Hay. “The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed.” Wired, April 7, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/robocalls-spam-fix-stir-shaken/
The number of unwanted calls that are reached to a mass of people is still not under control. Despite this increasing number of robocalls, there is hope that it has reached a plateau. The FCC is implementing changes making it harder for robocall to access numbers. Also, the number of technologies that offering free ways to prevent robocalls is also increasing.
Roose, Kevin. “In Andrew Yang, the Internet Finds a Meme-Worthy Candidate.” The New York Times, March 20, 2019
This article discusses the surge of online politicians and, in particular, Andrew Yang. The popularity for his 2020 presidential campaign has been grown exclusively through the internet. It raises the question of how much technology should play in politics and how much should we be concerned?
Satariano, Adam. “Britain Proposes Broad New Powers to Regulate Internet Content.” The New York Times, April 7, 2019
Britain is seeking to ban extremist and violent content from the internet. Certain sites such as Facebook and Google are being targeted in particular. This follows a trend of governments putting more restrictions on technologies and their content and enforcing them on companies. This may lead to a shift in the power of how all content, not just the extremes, is controlled within the internet.
Sutton, Marcy. “Accessibility Wins, Curated by Marcy Sutton.” Accessed August 15, 2018. https://a11ywins.tumblr.com/
This blog post highlights the various features in major websites that are accessible: such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Expedia, and more niche ones like Nerdery. This can be used as a tool for designers to get inspiration on where accessibility could have been overlooked, but did not. The tools features range over many aspects of front-end in various applications.
“The Cost of Access,” July 7, 2018. https://laurakalbag.com/the-cost-of-access/
This blog asks what is the cost of technology regarding people that need additional assistance. For example, with technologies like Alexa that utilize voice recognition, the demand has increased for those technologies, and people that actually need to use them now have to pay more. I don’t know how much I agreed with this article and because this information is presented in a blog, it raises the question of how bias these options are and how well supported they are with facts so further research on these issues is required.
Tufekci, Zeynep. “We Are Tenants on Our Own Devices.” Wired, May 20, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/right-to-repair-tenants-on-our-own-devices/
After an incident where Amazon mass deleted copies of “1984” from individuals’ kindles, a concern of a transformation into a tenet society was brought up. Many companies are putting in more complex computer systems into their products that assert their right to fix and upgrade people cannot understand the complexities on their own. People are becoming more and more reliant on devices that they cannot have fully as their own.
“What Happened to the Uber-for-X Companies – The Atlantic.” Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/what-happened-uber-x-companies/584236/
Uber started a chain of companies that serve as platforms for sets of people to serve the other. This idea that companies call themselves the “Uber-of” anything conveys their influence. This article brought up the social dynamics that bring back more into popular culture of the servant economy. The people that work for Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, etc seem to work for a multiple of these companies and their livelihood depends on them. The continued expansion of these “Uber-of” seems improbable as the labor needed to fulfill these platforms are not increasing as the demands.
Wilson, Mark. “Pinterest Just Redesigned Its App For Blind People.” Co.Design, April 25, 2018. https://www.fastcodesign.com/90169317/pinterest-just-redesigned-its-app-for-blind-people
Pinterest tested their app to see how people with visual impairments could interact with this app and discovered that almost all of them couldn’t get past the sign-in page. They tried to incorporate read-aloud features but had problems leaving out critical information in things like recipes and users had trouble navigating between pins. They improved the read-aloud features and made it easier for people without mouses to navigate the site. I admire Pinterest for recognizing that changes needed to be made and actually implementing those changes.
Thank you to my mentors for making this a year of growth and learning. I also want to thank my fellow interns for sharing their knowledge in our weekly meetings and hearing their thoughts on ethical issues. I am honored to have been able to combine my love of Computer Science with Digital Humanities to improve the user experience of the websites. This internship sparked a passion for ethics and accessibility that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career. I hope to continue these studies here at Carleton, and possibly in graduate school later on.