Siren Servers

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By Alice Horrigan, Alice Horrigan: Tech blogger, podcaster, blockchain, and privacy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Many people are asking why computers and tech companies aren't serving us as well as they should. Even many Silicon Valley leaders are concerned. It's time to pause, reassess digital business models and question the algorithms. Toward that end, the Siren Servers podcast features interviews from experts on digital ethics, digital privacy and security, blockchain technology and more. What the heck are "siren servers"? "Siren servers" are what Microsoft computer scientist and philosopher Jaron Lanier calls the central computing servers that tech companies wield in order to dominate advertising, media and other global markets. These companies include Silicon Valley giants Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, and rising global companies such as China's Alibaba. Governments, banks and others have their versions of siren servers too. Owners of siren servers have amassed outsize wealth and political power globally. They rely on business models that turn humans into products. They exert monopoly power over markets. The social media platforms on these servers have grown into behavior-modification empires. Even as they are fun to use, they erode civility, gobble up advertising dollars that previously supported a free press, and are being used to manipulate voters, children and vulnerable populations. In Greek mythology, the Sirens were half-bird, half-human creatures whose sweet song lured sailors to their death on rocky shores. They are usually depicted as female, although the Sirens of tech are decidedly male. Artwork The podcast artwork is part of the 1891 painting by John William Waterhouse titled, "Ulysses and the Sirens." Music The intro music is "Concrete Jungle" by young artist Au/Ra, with permission from RCA Label Group, Sony Music Entertainment. Hosts Alice Horrigan is a writer and content manager specializing in digital technology, with a background in journalism, business and IT communications, and a master's degree in sociology. She also blogs about blockchain, cryptocurrency and other topics on Steemit. Some of our shows are co-hosted by Jim Motavalli and aired on WPKN radio in Bridgeport, CT. Jim is a widely known freelance journalist, speaker, book author, radio personality and expert on all things environmental. He blogs weekly for The New York Times, Mother Nature Network, BNET and The Daily Green, is a regular contributor to The New York Times’ "Automobiles" section, and has a weekly syndicated "Wheels" column. WPKN is a 10,000-watt non-commercial, listener-supported radio station founded in 1963. The station serves a potential listenership of 1.5 million in Connecticut, Long Island, and parts of New York and Massachusetts. Programs include music and alternative information, in an eclectic mix of free-form programming that seeks to serve those whose needs are not met by mainstream media in a unique and vibrant way.

2 episodes