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  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark Course Content - London Interdisciplinary School November 11, 2020 - 9:13pm
    I'm not sure, Nicolosus. Certainly there would be no need to study for multiple degrees, and the various disciplinary perspectives would be far more integrated than in most programs/courses. There are quite a few degrees that work in the way you...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked Course Content - London Interdisciplinary School November 6, 2020 - 12:24pm
    For those in other parts of the world, some translation may be needed here in order to understand what is novel about the London Interdisciplinary School (LIS): a course in the UK is equivalent to a program in North America, and a module is...
    Comments
    • Hi Jon,

       

      If I am understanding your post and the LIS website correctly, the format being used would be an approach more like "The problom I wish to solve would be the constraints of bio-engineering in todays technical limits", and upon that build out a degree program that includes the areas of study needed to work in that specific field, whereas instead with current institutions one would say have to study for a degree in biology, and then a degree in engineering, and maybe even a third in computer science?

       

      If so, how do they award degrees? Is it a customized title based on your criteria? Or more generic?

      Trevor K November 9, 2020 - 3:13pm

    • I'm not sure, Nicolosus. Certainly there would be no need to study for multiple degrees, and the various disciplinary perspectives would be far more integrated than in most programs/courses. There are quite a few degrees that work in the way you suggest, such as the MSc/MA by Learning Outcomes at the University of Brighton, UK, in which a goal is decided upon, then outcomes are negotiated at the start between student, institution, and employer and modules are chosen to match, but I suspect this is not quite like that.

      If I were designing this then I would most likely identify some fairly broad course (=program) outcomes, addressing things like problem-solving, synthesis, values, and application, then map the specific module (=course) outcomes to those, allowing students to adapt their goals as they learn (unlike the 'by outcomes' approach), but I don't know if that's what LIS are doing here.

      It would be interesting to find out!

      Jon Dron November 11, 2020 - 9:13pm

  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Joyful assessment: beyond high-stakes testing November 4, 2020 - 4:17pm
    Here are my slides from my presentation at the Innovate Learning Summit yesterday. It's not world-shattering stuff - just a brutal attack on proctored, unseen written exams (PUWEs, pronounced 'pooies'), followed by a description of the rationale,...
  • The authors of a recent paywalled article in MIS Quarterly here summarize their findings in another restrictive and normally paywalled site, the Washington Post. At least the latter gives some access - I was able to read it without forking out $15,...
  • Jon Dron published a blog post Asus Flip C234 Chromebook review October 27, 2020 - 6:16pm
    I’ve been thinking for some time that I need to investigate Chromebooks - at least, ever since Chrome OS added the means to run Android and Linux apps alongside Chrome web apps. I decided to get one now because I was going on a camping trip...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked Strange affair of man with the machine October 16, 2020 - 12:03pm
    This stunningly brilliant and passionate essay by my friend, mentor and inspiration, Karamjit Singh Gill (far too formal - he is Ranjit to me) is, sadly, occasioned by the death of his old friend, one of the most insightful, compassionate, humane...
  • This is an extremely fascinating article reporting on a couple of research studies by the author (The Wisdom of Partisan Crowds and Networked collective intelligence improves dissemination of scientific information regarding smoking risks)...
  • Both fascinating and horrific, Gio, thanks for sharing. Your iPhone only stores the data to log you in locally, like PIN and fingerprint data, and it's not your face as such, just a set of data points derived from it: in effect, much the same as a...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark Facebook Conducts 'Mass Censorship' of Climate Activists September 28, 2020 - 12:05pm
    Really interesting - it is particularly disturbing that all of this occurs without transparency!
  • Immediately following its newly announced (and typically self-serving and cynical) initiative to uplift climate science on its site, Facebook showed its dedication to the cause by removing hundreds of climate change activist, indigenous, and social...
    Comments
    • Suspicious...

      There is a worldwide Covid19 self support FB group for Taiwanese overseas (which I am in) that has been operating since March with over 84k members of Taiwanese from all over the world.

      It apparently also happened (posted just 12 hours ago) that 70% of admin's accounts got blocked by Facebook for no reason.  They emailed to Facebook but haven't gotten any replied yet. Some suspected that this is operated internally by certain employee(s) of Facebook but no one really knows what is happening and still waiting for this to be resolved. Whichever cause it is, the fact that this would even happen is pretty bad. 

      screenshot of account

      From Google Translate: 

      "

      Administrator of Taiwan Overseas Covid-19 Self-Help Association

      Admin
      · 12h ·
      Everyone, there is a very serious and heavy question to ask. There are many administrator accounts, which seem to be blocked by FB because of malicious reports. I don’t know if anyone has "experience in retrieving accounts". Please provide Let us have a little information so that we can help these people get it back. Thank you for your help

      Jenny Chun Chi Lien September 26, 2020 - 9:34pm

    • Really interesting - it is particularly disturbing that all of this occurs without transparency!

      Jon Dron September 28, 2020 - 12:05pm

  • Jon Dron bookmarked We still need to unlock the web in the group COMP 650: Social Computing September 26, 2020 - 11:20am
    This is a bit of brainstorming by the ever wonderful and utterly brilliant Ben Werdmüller von Elgg (one of the originators of the Elgg social media framework that sits under the Landing) on methods and standards for setting up payments for...
  • I mentioned this in a reply I recently made to a post by Gio (and comments by Jenny), but it occurs to me that it deserves a more prominent place in a course on social computing so here it is. I consider this very short talk given by Postman to be...
    Comments
    • For all my years in information technology, it seemed that the solutions we come up are supposed to make thinigs better, faster, easier, etc.  The byproduct of such efficiencies are that workload could be reduced and make organizational positions redundant.  Luckily, I have been in good companies, where people that lose their jobs to technological solutions are repurposed into other value-added activites for the company.  I suspect that that is not always the case.  When the question about whether IT is making things better than they were, this situation from earlier in the year came into my mind regaring Clearview AI facial recognition software.  After watching this video, I was creeped out and felt like wearing a hood over anything I do in the public space (I will not really do this....).  To think that any public imagine can be mined by this software and stored for easy retrieval within the app.  If you consider every place where there is a potential image that could be billions of images that are structured (social media sites) and unstructured (street cameras).  The easy access to my likeness is why I don't use the facial recogition feature on my iphone since I am fearful that sombody could reconstruct my imgaine and possibly even create a realistic image of me somewhere that I have never been.  

      https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2020/02/12/facial-recognition-clearview-ai-shorter-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-artificial-intelligence/

      This next website has a list of facial recognition apps and their main use cases.  I found it interesting to review them and think about whether we are better off as a society with each of them or not.  Which ones do you think are really an asset to society and which ones "creep" you out?

      Gio

      Giovanni Tricarico October 8, 2020 - 11:39am

    • Both fascinating and horrific, Gio, thanks for sharing. Your iPhone only stores the data to log you in locally, like PIN and fingerprint data, and it's not your face as such, just a set of data points derived from it: in effect, much the same as a PIN. It's a piece of information that is only held in one physical place that, with luck, you are in complete control of. Apple go to great pains to try to prevent any possible access to it, even by determined professionals with access to the device. But, if they have that, then you have much bigger problems than facial recognition :-) The local secure storage is what makes it relatively secure, and it is why you need to set it up again independently on all your devices. Not *too* worrying! At least, not as worrying as passwords, the hash of which is stored on a server and thus, in principle, hackable even without physical access.

      But those public face recognition systems certainly are very worrying indeed: interesting to reflect on how your behaviour might change if you know you are in a panopticon (note that behavioural change was exactly the point of Bentham's original dystopic invention), especially one in which the perceivers are incredibly fallible and prone to error. There are lots of counter-technologies, of course - e.g. see https://www.wired.co.uk/article/avoid-facial-recognition-software for a top-down overview with some examples. Knowing your enemy is important - these are not intelligent systems, in the sense of being human-like in their perceptions of you! And, like the iPhone (or equivalents in Android, Windoze, etc), not all are evil. It would be interesting to reflect on precisely what it is about the others that makes them more or less evil - I suspect it might help to get to the heart of understanding how social media (and computers in general) have changed the conversation about privacy, and rights of individuals to it.

      Jon

      Jon Dron October 8, 2020 - 12:30pm

    • Those face recognition systems can go very wrong...

      Here are deepfake videos of Mark Zukerburg/ Obama. It can be extremely difficult for the general public to tell it’s fake ( I myself can't tell it's fake)

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/11/tech/zuckerberg-deepfake/index.html

      and even if some of the companies might not have bad intentions when collecting the data, their systems can be hacked and our data can be used on some evil things. Not only facial data, voice data can potentially also be used on restricting our voice to do some unethical/illegal activities.

      I once got a call on my office number earlier this year, and it was strange that I felt the caller keep asking me weird questions ( like, he was asking me a bunch of questions like if I can confirm my email address, and wanted me to answer yes) I just felt wield so while on the phone I decided to google if this was some kind of scam and then I saw this. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/can-you-hear-me-phone-scam-warning-bbb-1.3970312

      Thank goodness I don't usually say the word "yes" but respond to questions with "yeah" ( which really frustrated the scammer that I wouldn't say the "yes" word ...).

      However, if they can deep fake my voice, they can create the word “yes” themselves without me saying it. Here are some more articles on scammers potentially be using deep fakes voice technologies. A CEO in UK was scammed $243,000:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jessedamiani/2019/09/03/a-voice-deepfake-was-used-to-scam-a-ceo-out-of-243000/#7fb95fe92241

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/fraudsters-use-ai-to-mimic-ceos-voice-in-unusual-cybercrime-case-11567157402

      https://www.pandasecurity.com/mediacenter/news/deepfake-voice-fraud/

      Jenny Chun Chi Lien October 8, 2020 - 12:58pm

  • And thanks for this, Jenny. As a long-time Reddit lurker (and very occasional contributor) I had not realized that it was funded by Chinese investors, nor did I know about that backlash. Having visited both Taiwan and China I know which system I...
  • This CBC report is one of many dozens of articles in the world's press highlighting one rather small but startling assertion in a recent OECD report on the effects of Covid-19 on education - that the 'lost' third of a year of schooling in many...
  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Snippet from OECD report on covid-19 and education September 11, 2020 - 10:05pm
  • This is a terrifying article on the all-powerful (in China) WeChat app, revealing some fascinating insights into the ways it is organized and policed - very literally - by Chinese authorities. As one source puts it, "The filter bubbles on WeChat...
    Comments
    • Thank you very much professor Jon for sharing this topic.

      I stay away from using any technologies developed by companies in China since they are China government controlled - wechat, tiktok, huawei, alibaba...etc.

      I grew up in Taiwan where the government and most Taiwanese citizens value basic human rights especially in the areas of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, LGBTQ equality, women rights...etc. Many people there have been actively fighting against being influenced or potentially controlled by China mainly because they do not want to lose their basic human rights. They know China too well to not trust China. 

      Since 2019, Reddit- the most popular forum and the 5th largest website in the world (right after Google, Youtube, Facebook, and Amazon), is funded by Chinese investors, which resulted in a large backlash as people worried about potentially censorship that can happen in America [1].

      China's controls of technologies and their growing influences these years are scary, but part of me is happy that finally the rest of the world are starting to see the problems and threads China is bringing to all human beings in the entire world- and we have to do something about it, or one day we can lose our freedom right here in Canada as well. 

       

      [1]  "Reddit: Censorship fears spark criticism of Tencent funding reports". BBC News. February 11, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.

       

      Jenny Chun Chi Lien September 12, 2020 - 7:07pm

    • And thanks for this, Jenny. As a long-time Reddit lurker (and very occasional contributor) I had not realized that it was funded by Chinese investors, nor did I know about that backlash. Having visited both Taiwan and China I know which system I prefer! Even walking on the street in Beijing last year I was hastily silenced by a local when I (without directly expressing an opinion or offering a critique) alluded to the troubles in Hong Kong. Quite scary. I loved Taiwan - wonderful place, so much to be proud of.

      Jon Dron September 13, 2020 - 2:52pm

    • I do feel I am very lucky to be born in Taiwan and to be living in Canada! :D 

      China is so big with 20 percent of the human population so I truly hope one day their political system would change!

      I also use Reddit a lot to read information - I find opinions posts on Reddit tend to be more honest and reliable compared to other sites (at least for now) . I don't think any censorship has happened on Reddit yet but Tecent - the Chinese company invested in Reddit is the owner of WeChat, so I think reddit users' worries are very legit!

       

      Jenny Chun Chi Lien September 18, 2020 - 11:30pm

  • Jon Dron posted to the wire September 4, 2020 - 11:29am
    Every comment has a name attached - I just type/copy that. Not automated, but it works. The default is that, if you have made a comment, you will be notified of follow ups, so it should normally be seen
  • This article from teachonline.ca draws from a report by JISC (the UK academic network organization) to provide 5 'principles' for assessment. I put the scare quotes around 'principles' because they are mostly descriptive labels for trends and they...
  • A simple article on a simple idea, which is to introduce brakes and/or circuit breakers to popular social media platforms in order to slow down viral posts to a speed that sysadmins can handle. Such posts can have deadly consequences and are often...
  • This is a commentary by Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing on a New York Times article describing how the far-right is exploiting Facebook with ruthless efficiency. At least, that's one way to look at it. Another, as Beschizza notes, is: "...that...