The Reddit Protests and China’s Control of American Culture

The “front page of the Internet” is the latest battle ground in the fight over control of global culture. Chinese tech giant Tencent recently invested $150m in Reddit. This investment sparked virtual protests and outrage across the social platform, with images of Tiananmen Square flooding Reddit’s front page. The threat of Chinese censorship was feeling all too real on a site that had historically embraced the extremes of free speech.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman assured users that “Our governance didn’t change during this round, which means we didn’t add anyone to the board, and our policies won’t be changing either.”. That is likely true…for “this round”. The truth is, to really understand China’s influence over U.S. culture, Silicon Valley just needs to look south.

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#KaraJack Quick Take: 4 takeaways from the Jack Dorsey and Kara Swisher Twitter Interview

Recode wonder woman Kara Swisher interviewed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Twitter last night. It was, unsurprisingly, a terrible medium to conduct an interview. Recode republished the interview in order, which misses some of the nuance, but is the best place to catch up.

Jack has been on a strange media tour during past few weeks, including stops on both Joe Rogan’s and Sam Harris’ podcasts. All of these interviews have the same empty, passionless quality. The interviewers wanted concrete examples about what Twitter is doing, Jack only musters vague responses like “we’re better at prioritizing impact now”. The responses have all felt… slippery. And if you are going to be slippery (even if for good reason) why do a media tour?

Here are my top four takeaways from #Karajack.

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Regulating Deep Fakes

There is an ocean of data on the Internet, growing every second from both humans and bots. Most of this data is meaningless and harmless. It’s noise. But some of the data is harmful, intended to influence and misdirect public opinion. This harmful data appears authentic (fake news) which is why it’s so effective. Deep fakes are about to make the problem much worse.

For a politician, deep fakes might be one of the most terrifying technologies to emerge since the nuclear bomb. The AI-based technology can create illusions that seem as real as the nightly news. In fact, they could recreate the news with a completely fabricated narrative. It is no surprise that Congress has introduced a bill to regulate deep fakes.

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Generating Instagram Posts Through Machine Learning

Feeding the social media beast. Ask any marketer and they’ll lament at the time spent on every Instagram post, only to have the vast majority of them underperform.

Having spent a lifetime on trying to solve this problem the old fashion way (IE put in more time) I decided to find a better way.

I have been working to create a tool that leverages machine learning to generate Instagram posts. This project was inspired by my desire to explore how to build with AI, and my frustration from having to continually feed the social media beast.

There must be a better way!

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VR Trivia Battle

It has been a long journey for our crazy VR game show, from the mad dash in 2017 that earned us a spot at GDC and SIGGRAPH, to bootstrapping the company with Azin for nearly two years, then bringing on HTC as our exclusive development and launch partner.  

Finally, VR Trivia Battle (formerly known as Kiss or Kill) is available, exclusively on Viveport!

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