On Regulation

Last week Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon is preparing draft legislation to present to the US Congress on how to regulate its own facial recognition software. Thanks to the work of numerous academics and activists, issues around surveillance technology are increasingly infiltrating the mainstream political debate. Too often however, the fallback approach of politicians is […]

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The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The prisoner’s dilemma is a standard example of game theory. It shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. The following example was formalised by Albert W. Tucker, who coined the term the “prisoner’s dilemma”, presenting the game as follows: Two criminals are arrested and imprisoned. […]

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A User’s Guide to ‘Discussing Gilets Jaunes’

To help visualize our recent podcast on the Gilets Jaunes – here are some photos and videos that I took from the experience: pic.twitter.com/MbNNF3o6tk — Aaron White (@aaronwolfwhite) January 11, 2019 ‘2008: We Don’t Forget. Give us our money back’#GiletJaunes #ActeIX #YellowVest #Paris pic.twitter.com/tu6P5wpxBp — The Junction (@tweetthejunc) January 12, 2019 Tax Evasion + Financing […]

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The Overton Window

‘The Overton Window’ is a concept named after its originator Joseph Overton, a former member of the US based free-market Think Tank the Mackinac Centre for Public Policy. It describes the acceptable parameters of public discourse within a particular society. Overton contended that the viability of a public policy depended on its position within or […]

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An Era of Mass Automation

A report from Price Waterhouse and Coopers (PWC) divides the impact of modern technology on the labour market into three distinct temporal sections. Firstly, the Algorithmic Wave, between our current moment and the ‘early 2020s’. This will see the ‘automation of simple computational tasks’ and will mainly impact ‘data-driven sectors such as financial services’ . […]

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The Jolly Roger

Marcus Rediker, in conversation with Fiona Jeffries in Nothing To Lose But Our Fear, deconstructs the symbolism behind the Jolly Roger pirate flag. The conventional narrative concerning the flag maintains that it was used to send: “a clear message: surrender or die. The symbolism worked. When the Jolly Roger went up, the men on the […]

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Are you living in a computer simulation?

In 2003 Nick Bostrom published a thought-provoking paper in Philosophical Quarterly entitled ‘Are you living in a computer simulation?’ The premise of the paper was that any one of the following statements must be correct. 1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage. 2) any posthuman civilisation is extremely unlikely […]

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Perfunctory Cover-Ups

Sometimes a memory hits you, triggered by a momentary sensation. Today, while washing my hands in a small public sink, where you have to have one hand constantly pressed down on the faucet to keep the water running, I was reminded of a visit to the former Nazi ghetto and concentration camp in the Czech […]

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Spatial and Temporal Capital

As the rate of return on capital increases at a faster rate than income, inequality increases. This leads to centralisation of wealth and comparative diminution in the financial power of the consumer. We are seeing this take place today, as small businesses are ripped off the high-street by multi-national corporations. As these corporations expand, they […]

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