FROM Jaron Lanier
Should Facebook’s users “like” the company again? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being grilled by Congress Tuesday and Wednesday about political consulting group Cambridge Analytica and its harvesting of the data of tens of millions of unwitting Facebook users. The social network has already been in trouble for allowing fake news to spread on its pages. Now Facebook has made some tweaks to its design to give users clearer control over their information. But can these changes help the social media giant become “friends” again with its users? Jaron Lanier, author of the forthcoming book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” says that while a lot of “what goes on in social media is beautiful,” Facebook’s business model -- and that of related apps like Instagram and WhatsApp -- has led to “behavior modification empires” that are “absolutely not survivable,” that had been “foreseen in science fiction but never existed before.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo credit: Anthony Quintano.
Should Digital Networks Pay Us for Our Info? Jaron Lanier was a pioneer of virtual reality. He sold a start-up to Google and helped Walmart, Fannie Mae, banks and hedge funds learn to use computerized information. He's now working on several projects for Microsoft. All that has made him a uniquely authoritative critic of the digital economy he has helped to create. Last year in Who Owns the Future he argued that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be paying all their users for making those companies rich. Since then, we've learned more about the downside of "Big Data." Who Owns the Future is now out in paperback and Lanier joins us in our studios in Santa Monica. Jaron Lanier will be at Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach tonight, April 23, at 7pm.
In the Age of Big Data, Is Privacy No Big Deal? Last year two US Senators who couldn't provide details said, "most Americans would be stunned" if they knew the extent of government surveillance. Now people know more, and a recent poll shows they're not "stunned" after all. Sixty percent are ready to sacrifice privacy in the interests of security. But others claim the government's gathering much more than it needs to know, accessing the Big Data of Internet giants like Google and Apple. As the companies make big money on what users give them for free, is the government amassing power that could weaken Democracy?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.