Working as a computer

My first job was working at General Dynamics in San Diego. My job was as a #computer. I had a Monroe calculator and the guy would give me tables of numbers. I would grind out more tables of numbers. Jim … Mehr…

the only downside

[In the 1960s] #technology had a fairly positive connotation. People were concerned that it was going to eliminate #jobs and therefore create unemployment, but that was about the only thing that people could see as being a downside. Jim Gray … Mehr…

Sputnik comparision

I would compare September 11th to Sputnik. It just had this galvanizing effect on people. Jim Gray 2002


Key analyses, even decisions about where to deploy resources, are automated, which means that “no human need ever look at the actual raw data.” Biology,behavior,culture,history,and environment are thus reduced to dots on a map. Mattern2008

Predictive Policing

Courts and police make decisions based on proprietary technologies with severe vulnerabilities: incomplete datasets, high error rates, demographic bias, opaque algorithms, and discrepancies in administration. Mattern 2018


What’s more, the blind faith that ubiquitous #data collection will lead to “discoveries that benefit everyone” deserves skepticism. Mattern 2018


#Facebook has approached hospitals about matching anonymized patient #data with social media profiles to find patterns that might inform medical treatment. Plans were “paused”, as the #CambridgeAnalytica scandal came to light. Mattern 2018

data harvesting

Seemingly everyone is trying to break into the risky but lucrative health tech market, which offers ample opportunities for #data harvesting. And many medical providers are happy to cooperate. Mattern 2018


PlacePulse project at the MIT Media Lab, which invites participants to vote on which of two paired Street View scenes appears “livelier,” “safer,” “wealthier,” “more boring,” “more depressing,” or “more beautiful.” Mattern 2018

Even anthropologists

A promotional video boasts that the Human Project has brought together technologists, lawyers, ethicists, and “anthropologists, even!” to ask big questions. Even anthropologists! Mattern 2018