Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

1

Introduction—The Need to Know

1
terms
3
notes

ways of achieving opacity: “real” (technical) secrecy, legal (regulatory) secrecy, and obfuscation

Pasquale, F. (2015). Introduction—The Need to Know. In Pasquale, F. The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information. Harvard University Press, pp. 1-18

2

The challenge of the “knowledge problem” is just one example of a general truth: What we do and don’t know about the social (as opposed to the natural) world is not inherent in its nature, but is itself a function of social constructs. Much of what we can find out about companies, governments, or even one another, is governed by law. Laws of privacy, trade secrecy, the so-called Freedom of Information Act— all set limits to inquiry. They rule certain investigations out of the question before they can even begin. We need to ask: To whose benefit?

—p.2 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago

The challenge of the “knowledge problem” is just one example of a general truth: What we do and don’t know about the social (as opposed to the natural) world is not inherent in its nature, but is itself a function of social constructs. Much of what we can find out about companies, governments, or even one another, is governed by law. Laws of privacy, trade secrecy, the so-called Freedom of Information Act— all set limits to inquiry. They rule certain investigations out of the question before they can even begin. We need to ask: To whose benefit?

—p.2 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago
5

More benignly, perhaps, these companies influence the choices we make ourselves. Recommendation engines at Amazon and YouTube affect an automated familiarity, gently suggesting offerings they think we’ll like. But don’t discount the significance of that “perhaps.” The economic, political, and cultural agendas behind their suggestions are hard to unravel. As middlemen, they specialize in shifting alliances, sometimes advancing the interests of customers, sometimes suppliers: all to orchestrate an online world that maximizes their own profits.

—p.5 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago

More benignly, perhaps, these companies influence the choices we make ourselves. Recommendation engines at Amazon and YouTube affect an automated familiarity, gently suggesting offerings they think we’ll like. But don’t discount the significance of that “perhaps.” The economic, political, and cultural agendas behind their suggestions are hard to unravel. As middlemen, they specialize in shifting alliances, sometimes advancing the interests of customers, sometimes suppliers: all to orchestrate an online world that maximizes their own profits.

—p.5 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago
8

So why does this all matter? It matters because authority is increasingly expressed algorithmically. Decisions that used to be based on human reflection are now made automatically. [...]

[...] In their race for the most profitable methods of mapping social reality, the data scientists of Silicon Valley and Wall Street tend to treat recommendations as purely technical problems. The values and prerogatives that the encoded rules enact are hidden within black boxes.

—p.8 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago

So why does this all matter? It matters because authority is increasingly expressed algorithmically. Decisions that used to be based on human reflection are now made automatically. [...]

[...] In their race for the most profitable methods of mapping social reality, the data scientists of Silicon Valley and Wall Street tend to treat recommendations as purely technical problems. The values and prerogatives that the encoded rules enact are hidden within black boxes.

—p.8 by Frank Pasquale 3 years, 11 months ago

(verb) to make faulty or defective; impair / (verb) to debase in moral or aesthetic status / (verb) to make ineffective

13

While neoliberals were vitiating the regulatory state’s ability to expose (or even understand) rapidly changing business practices,

—p.13 by Frank Pasquale
notable
3 years, 11 months ago

While neoliberals were vitiating the regulatory state’s ability to expose (or even understand) rapidly changing business practices,

—p.13 by Frank Pasquale
notable
3 years, 11 months ago