Category Archives: Technology and innovation

Media Consolidation Thwarted Again as Comcast Backs Off Time Warner Deal

Late Thursday, Comcast apparently signaled that they would abort a 14-month bid to purchase Time Warner Cable, in a deal that would have created the nation’s largest cable operator by a wide margin. The FCC was going to recommend a hearing, which is a prelude to cancellation. The spin is that there are more consolidation attempts on the way, but there’s no guarantee that they would be successful either.

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Rajiv Sethi: Spoofing in an Algorithmic Ecosystem

A London trader recently charged with price manipulation appears to have been using a strategy designed to trigger high-frequency trading algorithms. Whether he used an algorithm himself is beside the point: he made money because the market is dominated by computer programs responding rapidly to incoming market data, and he understood the basic logic of their structure.

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Bill Black: How the “Super Crunchers” Became the “Super Torturers” of Finance Data

Many of the concerns about Big Data focus on the surveillance apparatus used to collect it, or on the naive modeling approaches, like attributing causality to mere correlations. Here Black addresses an established problem: that of deliberate abuse of models.

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Can Voter Choice Technology Succeed Where Arab Spring Failed?

Yves here. As much as technology offers great promise as a way to create new routes for organizing, consensus-building, and decision-making, I’m not optimistic about the prospects for democracy in societies with no democratic traditions. Nevertheless, voter choice technology does seem more promising and lower cost than US adventurism as a way to try to build democratic muscles in the Middle East.

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Big Data Is Watching You (at Work)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. There’s been some admiring coverage in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere of UPS’s Orion system of algorithmic route selection (driver reactions), but not much discussion of how electronic monitoring structures the UPS driver’s entire working day (or what we “professional” types are wont to call our “workflow”). A recent […]

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Obama Administration Makes Unverifiable Claim of 545,000 IT Job Openings; H-1B Visa Boosting Likely Culprit

Two stories on Slashdot say a great deal about the reality of the labor market versus the official hype. It’s noteworthy that the comments, which are typically fractious at Slashdot, line up almost uniformly on the “employers are looking for insanely specific and often unrealistic experience.” And why might that be? In the case of tech in particular, to justify bringing in more H-1B visa candidates.

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A Grassroots Win: FCC Approves Net Neutrality

Thanks to those Naked Capitalism readers who supported, through your petition signatures, e-mails, calls, and donations, the push to preserve net neutrality and keep the major telecom and cable incumbents from giving preferential access to content providers with the financial heft to pay for it. Over time, that practice would be certain to drive smaller sites like ours into a death spiral of lower attractiveness, lower visibility, and lower traffic.

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Wolf Richter: In Search of Cheap Labor in Tech – Behind the H1-B Visa Scenes

his post focuses on how the procedures in the H1-B visa process that are meant to protect workers from unfair competition from foreign workers and contractors are a joke. And this is one of the reasons that the calls by disconnected Beltway pundits and technocrats for American students to get more technically oriented education, most of all in STEM fields, is hopelessly misguided. Companies are more and more refusing to supply much if anything in the way of entry-level jobs, sending yeoman’s work in former white collar professions, including accounting and the law, to outsources in India. And the fix of having more specialized training is just as unrealistic. The more specialized the training, the more at risk you are that those skills will prove to be useless. That is why so many mid-career professionals fall far when they lose their perch, since if they can’t use the narrow expertise that they’ve accumulated, they have to fall back on their generalist skills, which means low-level jobs like call center work, retail, or if they are lucky, a position like an office manager in a small business.

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