Pocket Articles

Things I’ve read, worth reading.

I Invented the World Wide Web. Here’s How We Can Fix It.

I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web.

The New York Times • 975 words • 4 minute read

The ‘Silicon Six’ spread propaganda. It’s time to regulate social media sites.

I get it: I’m one of the last people you’d expect to hear warning about the danger of conspiracies and lies. I’ve built a career on pushing the limits of propriety and good taste. I portrayed Borat, the first fake-news journalist, along with satirical characters such as Ali G, a wannabe gangster, and Bruno, a gay fashion reporter from Austria.

The Washington Post • 1847 words • 8 minute read

Contract for the Web

The Web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. It has changed the world for good and improved the lives of billions. Yet, many people are still unable to access its benefits and, for others, the Web comes with too many unacceptable costs.

Contract for the Web • 442 words • 1 minute read

Utopian Overreach — Real Life

In July 2018, I ran a workshop called _What Is Your Utopia_ at SpaceUs Roslindale, an MIT DesignX project that turned empty shopfronts into artist studios. The goal was to not only to demonstrate how utopian thinking can help us imagine new ways to address problems but also to show how anyone’s vision of an ideal world would inevitably impose their personal values as universals.

Real Life • 1835 words • 8 minute read

“He’s F—king Destroyed This Town”: How Mark Zuckerberg Became the Most Reviled Man in Tech

It’s funny how you can leave a place, like your hometown, or the city where you went to college, and when you return, so much is as you left it. The bar where you ordered your first drink with a fake I.D. has barely changed.

Vanity Fair • 1569 words • 7 minute read

Privacy is a collective concern

People often give a personal explanation of whether they protect the privacy of their data. Those who don’t care much about privacy might say that they have nothing to hide. Those who do worry about it might say that keeping their personal data safe protects them from being harmed by hackers or unscrupulous companies. Both positions assume that caring about and protecting one’s privacy is a personal matter. This is a common misunderstanding.

New Statesman • 1136 words • 5 minute read

“What gets measured gets managed”

Out of all received wisdoms “what gets measured gets managed” must be one of the most widely accepted as obvious. After all, how could we ever manage something that isn’t being measured? The quote is usually attributed to Peter Drucker, the brilliant management theorist. A bit of digging reveals, however, two surprising things. First, Drucker—according to the Drucker Institute no less—never said it.

The Centre for Public Impact • 549 words • 2 minute read

A Vision of the Dark Future of Advertising

It’s obvious that in 50 years the amount of data collected about us will be much, much larger than it is now. By the middle of the century, all of us will leave a comprehensive, high-definition, information-rich digital exhaust everywhere we go.

OneZero • 1406 words • 6 minute read

Aaron Sorkin: An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

In 2010, I wrote “The Social Network” and I know you wish I hadn’t. You protested that the film was inaccurate and that Hollywood didn’t understand that some people build things just for the sake of building them. (We do understand that — we do it every day.)

The New York Times • 919 words • 4 minute read

Silicon Valley should take Josh Hawley’s big war on big tech seriously

Tech has become one of the major issues of political debate heading into 2020.

Vox • 3141 words • 14 minute read