Remember that the purpose of a thesis is to start a discussion. A thesis is not a conclusion, or a conviction, but an assertion that’s designed to get people talking. It may be right or wrong. In fact sometimes wrong theses are the most productive.
If a Thesis is a clickable link, then it will open an explanatory page. Eventually all theses will have such pages.
27: Social media are double-edged swords – tools for political mobilisation, but also tools for identifying and tracking dissidents
28: Most Internet private fortunes have been built on technology that was funded by taxpayers
29: Algorithms are opinions formalised in code
30: There is no technical fix for human failings, especially credulity and ignorance
31: Surveillance chills
32: The rhetoric of ‘creative destruction’ tends to downplay the destruction
33: The Internet changes the nature of the firm
34: Technopoly is the new secular religion of the West
35: Technocracy is the prevailing ideology of Silicon Valley
36: Joseph Schumpeter is the patron saint of digital technology
37: ‘Solutionism’ is the besetting obsession of the tech industry
38: The tech giants love startups the same way that Orcas love baby seals
39: Companies that are indifferent to democracy have acquired an outsized role in it.
40: Online licence agreements create grotesquely tilted playing fields
41: Much of what is regarded as acceptable in cyberspace would be unthinkable in the physical world
42: Algorithms which affect human lives should be treated (and regulated) like pharmaceutical drugs
43: The only governments capable of controlling the tech giants are authoritarian regimes
44: ‘Don’t be evil’ is a strange motto for an extractive company
45: Google has become a memory prosthesis for humanity. Shouldn’t it then be treated as a public utility?
47: Most dominant digital technology is created by tiny elites with highly skewed ethnic, economic, gender and social demographics
48: The Black Box society is not an acceptable future for humanity
49: Internet companies have social responsibilities that they are neither recognising nor accepting
50: Everyone has a right to a private life
51: ‘If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear’ is a false and unscrupulous argument
52: Privacy is both a private and a public good
54: Privacy and secrecy are different concepts. Don’t confuse them
55: Keeping secrets is the way we preserve our privacy
56: End-to-end encryption of every electronic communication should be mandatory
57: Having a device like Amazon’s Alexa is like welcoming a CCTV camera into your home
58: There is no such thing as a completely secure networked device
59: Forget the threat of ‘superintelligent’ machines. The ‘weak’ AI we have now is problematic enough.
60: ‘Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow’.
61: Our networked world is alarmingly fragile
62: On the Internet, attack is always easier than defence
63: All software has bugs and all computers are therefore hackable
64: The ‘Internet of Things’ is a security and privacy nightmare
65: There are two kinds of companies: those that have been hacked; and those that don’t know yet that they have been hacked
66: Connecting an unprotected computer to the Internet is like driving a car that has had its brakes removed
67: Hacking pays big dividends. Just ask the Russians
68: Only stupid criminals operate offline
69: For most Internet users, convenience trumps everything — except price
70: Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety Rules OK
71: Social media platforms are not politically neutral entities, even when their owners claim that they are.
72: The biggest problem with digital technology is that the pace of its development greatly exceeds society’s capacity to adapt to the changes it brings
74: We always over-estimate the short-term impact of new technologies — and greatly under-estimate their long term effects
75: Apps like Snapchat show that the medium really is the message
76: The Internet is the first machine humans have built that humans don’t understand
77: Social media are performative spaces
78: The Internet is morphing into billion-channel TV
79: For Amazon, books are just commodities — like toothpaste
80: Copying is to digital technology as breathing is to animal life
81: The choice facing our children is: program or be programmed
82: The secret to success in online business is to pay attention not to what your users say but to what they actually do
83: We should learn from the wisdom of Wikipedia
84: The Internet holds up a mirror to human nature. And much that we see in that reflection is troubling
85: Our networked media ecosystem is orders of magnitude more complex than anything that preceded it
86: The language of digital capitalism is Orwellian
87: Silicon Valley is a Reality Distortion Field
88: Internet giants are essentially massive firms that “warp the fabric of economic, political and cultural life to their own advantage”
89: Citizens of our networked world live in a constant state of ‘informed bewilderment’.
90: Digital technology is changing the structure of our brains
91: The Internet has been good for creativity and bad for copyright
92: The Internet may turn out to be just the terminal phase of the ‘Gutenberg Parenthesis’
93: Facebook is many things, but a ‘community’ it ain’t
94: Arguments about whether the Internet is a good or a bad thing are as pointless as arguments about whether or not oxygen is a good thing.
95: We should be aiming for Intelligence Augmentation (IA), not Artificial Intelligence (AI)