Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children? | Rowan Davies | Opinion | The Guardian

Research has found a link between ‘technoference’ and poor child behaviour. The need for light relief is very human, but perhaps we can find a happier balance

Fuente: Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children? | Rowan Davies | Opinion | The Guardian

Can data analysis reveal the most bigoted corners of Reddit? | Technology | The Guardian

Can data analysis reveal the most bigoted corners of Reddit? | Technology | The Guardian.

TumblrInAction, TheRedPill and BlackPeopleTwitter seemingly welcome bigoted comments, according to analysis by Ibidon’s Ben Bell

The Reddit front page.
The Reddit front page. Photograph: Reddit

With its decentralised structure, community moderation, and hands-off management, it’s hard to generalise about the social network Reddit. The site is built of thousands of ‘subreddits’ – user-created forums with a focus on specific topics such as the video game Destiny, fitness, a love of maps, or even just drugs.

But each subreddit has different norms, rules and tone, which can make navigating the site an exercise in frustration and nasty surprises. It takes a while to develop a feeling for any particular sub, by which point a hostile community may already have ruined your day.

Ben Bell, a data scientist at text-analytics start up Ibidon, decided to apply his company’s technology to the site to work out which subreddits have communities you would want to be a part of, and which you would be best avoiding.

Bell’s interest was sparked by a post asking Redditors to suggest their nominees for the most “toxic communities” on the site. Suggestions included the parenting subreddit – full of “sanctimommies” – and the community for the game League of Legends, which has “made professional players quit the game”.

He writes: “As I sifted through the thread, my data geek sensibilities tingled as I wondered: ‘Why must we rely upon opinion for such a question? Shouldn’t there be an objective way to measure toxicity?’

“With this in mind, I set out to scientifically measure toxicity and supportiveness in Reddit comments and communities. I then compared Reddit’s own evaluation of its subreddits to see where they were right, where they were wrong, and what they may have missed. While this post is specific to Reddit, our methodology here could be applied to offer an objective score of community health for any data set featuring user comments.”

Bell pulled out a sample of comments from every one of the top 250 subreddits, as well as any forum mentioned in the toxicity thread, and subjected them to a number of tests designed to look for toxicity, which he defined as a combination of ad hominem attacks and overt bigotry.

From there, he used a combination of sentiment analysis and human annotation to code each comment as toxic or non-toxic. The former involves applying Ibidon’s technology to attempt to categorise comments as either positive, negative or neutral in sentiment, which let him narrow down the work required for the human annotators by 96%, only looking at those subreddits which had already been picked as containing a lot of negative comments.

Sentiment analysis is a controversial technology. It allows researchers to automatically process reams of data but it is criticised as an overly simplistic tool. In Bell’s tests, however, it proved its worth. “Using the sentiment model, we selected the 30 most positive and the 30 most negative posts from each subreddit, and then another 40 posts we selected randomly for human annotation,” he said.

Tech-savvy kids, don’t become a digital obsessive like me | Keith Stuart | Comment is free |

Tech-savvy kids, don’t become a digital obsessive like me | Keith Stuart | Comment is free |

I’m glad my sons – aged six and eight – are digitally literate and handy with a tablet. But I don’t want the tablet to use them
Boy with digital tablet
‘My own sons were smearing mashed banana all over iPad screens and Xbox controllers before they could talk.’ Photograph: Alamy

As a “tech-savvy” parent (I write about video games, for heaven’s sake), I was probably slightly less perturbed by the revelation from Ofcom’s consumer survey that six-year-olds understand more about digital technology than 45-year-olds. I actually think that’s incredibly positive. My own sons (aged six and eight) had the latest gadgets to hand from birth, due to my inability to put anything away. Their inquisitive, sticky fingers were smearing mashed banana all over iPad screens and Xbox controllers before they could talk. There have been many occasions where I’ve sat in my home office happily slaughtering enemies in Call of Duty only to turn around and find my boys staring open-mouthed from the doorway (“Daddy, what are you doing?”). Now games like Minecraft and Terraria are part of their daily lives. They text their nan, they download apps, they can take a photo and make it a smartphone wallpaper. That’s all fine; they are going to need that level of digital literacy to survive – that’s what I tell myself.

But there are some elements of my digital lifestyle that I’d rather protect them from; some routines I hope don’t become inveterate to them. I mean, imagine if their daily lives started to work like mine – a digital obsessive with a compulsive need to share everything. They wouldn’t just be able to go out into the garden for a casual kickabout – they’d need to set up a live stream over Twitch, with ongoing commentary – then edit the funny bits into a YouTube video, promoted via Twitter. Playing hide and seek in the park would involve GPS tracking. I’d think I had geo-located one of them, only to find that he’d attached his smartphone to a squirrel. I don’t want to deliver their bedtime stories via a series of Snapchat mimes.

Innovación a cambio de jugar con sentimientos | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

Innovación a cambio de jugar con sentimientos | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

Facebook seguirá haciendo experimentos con los usuarios


San Francisco 3 JUL 2014 – 11:25 CET


Sheryl Sandberg, número dos de Facebook, ayer durante una conferencia en Nueva Delhi. / Kuni Takahashi (Bloomberg)

Cobayas sin saberlo, Facebook jugó con las emociones de 689.000 usuarios sin previo aviso para un estudio académico dando por hecho que entra dentro de los ambiguos e interminables términos de uso de la red social. A la disculpa inicial de Adam Kramer, analista de datos y responsable del estudio, se han sumado dos voces que dejan claro que no es un error y Facebook pretende seguir por esa misma senda.

Mientras que Kramer insistió en que no se quería crear malestar, sino dar con las claves para saber cómo reaccionan sus suscriptores según lo que le leen, Sheryl Sandberg, la número dos de la red social, ha sido mucho más suave. Achaca el revuelo a un error de comunicación: “Forma parte de la investigación habitual en este tipo de compañías para probar diferentes productos y nada más. Lo hemos contado muy mal. Nos disculpamos por la comunicación porque no queríamos enfadar a nadie”. Su aclaración ha sido desde Nueva Delhi, en una conferencia donde ha anunciado que ya superan 100 millones de usuarios en India.

Monika Bickert, responsable de políticas públicas en la empresa de Mark Zuckerberg, es todavía más laxa: “En el futuro tenemos que asegurarnos de que somos transparentes, tanto con los organismos reguladores como con los que usan nuestro producto. Que sepan exactamente qué estamos haciendo”.

Las respuestas, tanto de Sandberg como de Bickbert, denotan que Facebook piensa seguir explorando el comportamiento de sus usuarios para analizar su posterior reacción. James Grimmelman, profesor de la Universidad de Maryland, mantiene una posición intermedia: “Cuando se hace una investigación, se avisa. Facebook lo pone en los términos de uso, pero no avisó de que alteraría el funcionamiento que hasta entonces era normal solo a algunos usuarios”.

Facebook apologises for psychological experiments on users | Technology |

Facebook apologises for psychological experiments on users | Technology |

The second most powerful executive at the company, Sheryl Sandberg, says experiments were ‘poorly communicated’



Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg apologises for poor communication over psychological experiments. Photograph: Money Sharma/EPA


Facebook’s second most powerful executive, Sheryl Sandberg, has apologised for the conduct of secret psychological tests on nearly 700,000 users in 2012, which prompted outrage from users and experts alike.

The experiment, revealed by a scientific paper published in the March issue of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, hid “a small percentage” of emotional words from peoples’ news feeds, without their knowledge, to test what effect that had on the statuses or “likes” that they then posted or reacted to.

“This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated,” said Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer while in New Delhi. “And for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you.”

The statement by Sandberg, deputy to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, is a marked climbdown from its insistence on Tuesday that the experiment was covered by its terms of service. The secret tests mean that the company faces an inquiry from the UK’s information commissioner, while the publishers of the paper have said they will investigate whether any ethics breach took place. Psychological tests on human subjects have to have “informed consent” from participants – but independent researchers and Facebook have disagreed on whether its terms of service implicitly cover such use.

How does Facebook decide what to show in my news feed? | Technology |

How does Facebook decide what to show in my news feed? | Technology |

Controversial emotion study is a reminder that the social network’s filters are constantly at work in the background

Facebook study breached ethical guidelines – researchers

How does Facebook filter my news feed?



The average Facebook user sees 300 updates a day out of a possible 1,500.
The average Facebook user sees 300 updates a day out of a possible 1,500. Photograph: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS


Facebook is secretly filtering my news feed? I’m outraged!

Not so secretly, actually. There is controversy this week over the social network’s research project manipulating nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds to understand whether it could affect their emotions.

But Facebook has been much more open about its general practice of filtering the status updates and page posts that you see in your feed when logging on from your various devices. In fact, it argues that these filters are essential.

Essential? Why can’t Facebook just show me an unfiltered feed?

Because, it argues, the results would be overwhelming. “Every time someone visits news feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all,” wrote Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom in a blog post in August 2013.

“With so many stories, there is a good chance people would miss something they wanted to see if we displayed a continuous, unranked stream of information.”

Bear in mind that this is just an average. In another blog post, by Facebook advertising executive Brian Boland in June 2014, he explained that for more intensive users, the risk of story overload is greater.

“El amor a la tecnología no debe ser incondicional” | Sociedad | EL PAÍS

“El amor a la tecnología no debe ser incondicional” | Sociedad | EL PAÍS.

Daniel Sieberg, periodista y ejecutivo de Google, es autor de ‘La dieta digital’, un plan para desintoxicarnos de los excesos con la tecnología

Daniel Sieberg, periodista y ejecutivo de Google. / KIKE PARA

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Fue en un encuentro de Navidad de 2009. Daniel Sieberg, que se había forjado una carrera sólida como corresponsal de tecnología para las cadenas estadounidenses CNN y CBS, se reunía con su familia en la costa oeste de Canadá. “Probaba todas las innovaciones, estaba en las redes sociales, pensaba que vivía muy conectado con los míos y con el resto del mundo”, explica el ahora director de Relación con los Medios de Comunicación de Google de visita de trabajo en Madrid, y para su intervención en la celebración del aniversario de la empresa GMV. Sin embargo, cuando los parientes conversaron sobre las noticias de bodas, nacimientos o divorcios de aquel año, él se dio cuenta de que no se había enterado de ninguna de ellas. Y el momento navideño se transformó en otro “de Epifanía” para Sieberg. “Me había convertido en un gran presentador, pero un pésimo comunicador, era socialmente incompetente. Continuamente miraba algún tipo de aparato… ¡Mi mujer me llamaba ‘luciérnaga’ porque en la cama mi cara siempre estaba iluminada por la luz de algún tipo de pantalla!”.

De ese momento nació La dieta digitalun plan de cuatro pasos para romper con la adicción a la tecnología y llegar a un equilibrio, publicado en Estados Unidos en 2011. Con la proliferación del uso de los teléfonos inteligentes en los últimos 10 años, de perfiles en redes sociales o la presencia del wi-fi, Sieberg piensa que tiene aún más relevancia lo que propone: dar un paso atrás y pensar en nuestra relación con los aparatos que nos rodean, y, con eso, mejorar la salud de nuestros lazos familiares, ser más productivo en el trabajo, y hacer que la tecnología trabaje para el individuo, en lugar de lo contrario.

New TV satire pokes fun at Silicon Valley 'weirdos' | Television & radio | The Observer

New TV satire pokes fun at Silicon Valley ‘weirdos’ | Television & radio | The Observer.

Show parodies software geeks, setting California’s two major industries – film and tech – against each other
Silicon Valley

A scene from HBO’s Silicon Valley.

If the aim of satire is to make its target smart with irritation, a new sitcom about Silicon Valley has hit the bull’s eye. Wealthy hi-tech tycoons, powerful entrepreneurs and geeky engineers are all lampooned without restraint in HBO’s show set in Palo Alto, the global business hub inCalifornia.

The sitcom, called Silicon Valley, is broadcast in America Sunday and will be seen by British audiences this summer on Sky Atlantic, but it has already been hailed by critics as the boldest attempt so far to skewer the absurd side of the influences shaping the modern world.

Last week reporters spotted an angry Elon Musk, founder of tech companies Tesla and SpaceX, criticising its barbed portrayal after a preview screening, and some of those whose careers are parodied have gone so far as to declare war between California’s two major industries – Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

“None of those characters were software engineers,” Musk said, attacking the accuracy of the show. “Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They’re weird, but not in the same way.”

The show was created by Mike Judge, the man behind the 1990s cartoon hit Beavis & Butt-head, and the Emmy award-winning King of the Hill, and it tells of the launch of a start-up business, Pied Piper, born almost by accident, as Twitter was, as a side project of another failing IT venture. Actor Thomas Middleditch, star of the American version of The Office, plays Richard, a shy programmer who works at Hooli, a tech company, reminiscent of Google, where slogans such as “It takes change to make change” and “No fear, no failure”are part of the decor.

Just how much pain the show will inflict is already in dispute. Rather as the British Olympic supremo Lord Coe removed the potential sting of the BBC’s satirical sitcom 2012 when he agreed to appear in it, so Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, makes a guest appearance in Silicon Valley during a party scene in which the boss of a new company climbs on a stage and shouts: “We’re making the world a better place … through constructing elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and ostensibility.” Schmidt said he would appear in the scene because “I’ve been to that party”.

Judge, who also made the cult film Office Space, had been planning a television comedy about the Palo Alto world of “geeks” for 14 years but decided that the fruit was now ripe for picking. “There are a lot of people getting rich very quickly now and it has become more of a zeitgeist thing,” he told an audience at a public event in Los Angeles last week.

“If these web developers had been born 100 years ago, or even less, I don’t think they would be the richest people in the world. They would be well-paid engineers or something like that. They are introverted and socially awkward and nobody is telling them ‘no’. It’s kind of perfect for comedy.”

¿Buscas pareja? Conoce las aplicaciones para tener citas que cada día captan más adherentes – BioBioChile

¿Buscas pareja? Conoce las aplicaciones para tener citas que cada día captan más adherentes – BioBioChile.

Publicado por Alejandra Jara

Para conocer chicas, Leland, un estudiante estadounidense de 20 años, recurrió a “Tinder”, una nueva aplicación de teléfonos móviles que le permitió contactar a más de 400 mujeres en más de un año, aunque solo conoció a dos, y con una todo resultó “incómodo”.

“Probé esta aplicación para romper el hielo y como herramienta de seducción, en ese aspecto era bastante divertido”, contó Leland, un universitario que pidió no ser identificado.

Como el estudiante, cada vez más personas en Estados Unidos usan aplicaciones para conseguir citas amorosas, una tendencia en aumento dado el creciente protagonismo de los teléfonos móviles para organizar la vida cotidiana.

“La gente dedica mucho tiempo a ver sus e-mails o Facebook; es lo primero que hace cuando se levanta, de modo que se comprende perfectamente que busquen amigos o (traten de conseguir) citas con estas aplicaciones”, dijo a la AFP Julie Spira, autora de un libro y un blog sobre las ciber-citas.

The iParadox: how our smartphones are blocking our path to wisdom | Arianna Huffington | Media Network | Guardian Professional

The iParadox: how our smartphones are blocking our path to wisdom | Arianna Huffington | Media Network | Guardian Professional.

Our generation is one addicted to technology, bloated with information and starved of wisdom, writes Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington

Big data and our growing reliance on technology are conspiring to create a noisy traffic jam between us and our place of insight and peace. Photograph: Sebasti O Moreira/EPA

What leading executives need more than anything today is wisdom. And one of the things that makes it harder and harder to connect with our wisdom is our increasing dependence on technology. Our hyper-connectedness is the snake lurking in our digital Garden of Eden.

“People have a pathological relationship with their devices,” said Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist who studies the science of self-control at Stanford’s School of Medicine. “People feel not just addicted, but trapped.” We are finding it harder and harder to unplug and renew ourselves.

Professor Mark Williams summed up the damage we’re doing to ourselves: “What we know from the neuroscience – from looking at the brain scans of people that are always rushing around, who never taste their food, who are always going from one task to another without actually realising what they’re doing – is that the emotional part of the brain that drives people is on high alert all the time…

“So, when people think: ‘I’m rushing around to get things done,’ it’s almost like, biologically, they’re rushing around just as if they were escaping from a predator. That’s the part of the brain that’s active. But nobody can run fast enough to escape their own worries.”

Mindfulness, on the other hand, “cultivates our ability to do things knowing that we’re doing them”. In other words, we become aware that we’re aware. It’s an incredibly important tool – and one that we can’t farm out to technology.

I've avoided getting a smartphone thus far – but now I'm losing my nerve | Andrew Martin | Comment is free | The Guardian

I’ve avoided getting a smartphone thus far – but now I’m losing my nerve | Andrew Martin | Comment is free | The Guardian.

My primitive pay-as-you-go mobile is now eccentric enough to mark me out as different – besides it making modern life more and more difficult. So now I intend to catch up
Not everyone has embraced smartphones

Not everyone has embraced smartphones. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

This year Father Christmas emulated that other bearded moralist, Moses, in that he came bearing tablets. I was quite surprised at how many people still hadn’t got one until now. I hadn’t got one, and still haven’t, but everyone else on the early morning train from Edinburgh to London this week appeared to have one. Admittedly it was a first-class carriage (I was on a press ticket) so you’d expect all the onboard executives to be tooled up with electronics. Most had two smartphonesand a laptop as well as the tablet.

The chap opposite me was evidently receiving a string of vexing emails on his tablet, interspersed with the occasional, more soothing one. But he was becoming increasingly angry. I thought: “Even though it’s barely breakfast time, this man is engaged in perilous negotiation. Perhaps his whole business is on the line.” When I got up to go to the loo, I glanced over his shoulder, and saw that he was playing a game where you had to balance one virtual ball on top of another.

The train was late into King’s Cross, and as the man opposite rounded up his gizmos, he said: “You’ll be putting in for a 50% refund on your ticket, I assume? There’s an app for it.” I nodded non-committally. Inside my jacket pocket nestled my shameful secret: a primitive, pay-as-you-go mobile that is a stranger to all apps. Like a drug dealer, I have owned a string of disposable phones. I sometimes think the ones I buy are not so much for sale, as displayed in shops to represent the evolutionary starting point of mobile phones. My present phone was a reasonably good buy considering it was free (on the condition that I bought £10 of top-up credit). The features of this phone include the ability to make phone calls; it also sends and receives text messages, or so I assume, but I never do that; and it has a torch or, as the menu irritatingly has it, “flashlight”.