Communication in the 21st century has become increasingly multimodal," says Professor Carmen Lee, co-author of Language Online: Investigating Digital Texts and Practices. While the text-based Craigslist may still look the way it did in the late ’90s, the rest of the web now relies on images, both moving and still, to convey much of its information. MIT social scientist Sherry Turkle worries, however, that this is coming at the cost of literary fiction and conversations, which "deepen our empathic skills, the ability to identify with characters, and put yourself in the place of others." The web of today is full of stories, both fictional and real, but moving from reading "to a world where we share memes does not guarantee the same results. A life of visual memes is not enough.

What happens to literacy when the internet turns into a giant TV station? | The Verge

The study had four participants, aged between 28 and 50. One participant was assigned to the brain-computer interface to transmit the thought, while the other three were assigned to the computer-brain interface to receive the thought. At the BCI end, the words “Ciao” and “Hola” were translated into binary. This was then shown to the emitter subject, who was instructed to envision actions for each piece of information: moving their hands for a 1 or their feet for a 0. An EEG then captured the electrical information in the sender’s brain as they thought of these actions, which resulted in a sort of neural code for the binary symbols — which in turn was code for the words. This information was then sent to the three recipient subjects via TMS headsets, stimulating the visual cortex so that the recipient, with ears and eyes covered, saw the binary string as a series of bright lights in their peripheral vision: if the light appeared in one location, it was a 1, and the second location denoted a 0. This information was received successfully and decoded as the transmitted words. This experiment, the researchers said, represents an important first step in exploring the feasibility of complementing or bypassing traditional means of communication, despite its current limitations — the bit rates were, for example, quite low at two bits per minute. Potential applications, however, include communicating with stroke patients, for example.

Brain-to-brain verbal communication in humans achieved for the first time - CNET

Even without active use, the presence of mobile technologies has the potential to divert individuals from face-to-face exchanges, thereby undermining the character and depth of these connections. Individuals are more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner’s voice, and have less eye contact.

Presence of a Smartphone Lowers Quality of Conversations - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

The fundamental problem with the copyright monopoly today is that it can’t coexist with private communications as a concept. Our sharing of culture and knowledge happens as part of the private correspondence that leaves our computer, and therefore, the monopoly cannot be enforced as long as private correspondence exists.

The Copyright Monopoly’s Fundamental Problem Remains The Same… | TorrentFreak

The ability to reach everyone I know in one place is no longer a novelty. We don’t want to see daily updates from everyone we meet in perpetuity.

Facebook’s friend problem | The Verge

Ellis Hamburger on why the social network can’t adapt to how we make (and lose) friends

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(via thisistheverge)

According to a paper titled “Digital Language Death,” just published in PLOS One, less than five percent of the 7,000 languages spoken today will ascend to the digital realm. Granted, languages have been dying as long as they’ve been spoken, but the Endangered Languages Project reports that “the pace at which languages are disappearing today has no precedent and is alarming.” András Kornai, author of the new paper, blames the internet for why we’re more likely to be speaking French than, say, Mandinka, in the future.

The Internet Is Killing Most Languages | Motherboard

It is well known that America’s military dominates both the air and the sea. What’s less celebrated is that the US has also dominated the spectrum, a feat that is just as critical to the success of operations. Communications, navigation, battlefield logistics, precision munitions—all of these depend on complete and unfettered access to the spectrum, territory that must be vigilantly defended from enemy combatants. Having command of electromagnetic waves allows US forces to operate drones from a hemisphere away, guide cruise missiles inland from the sea, and alert patrols to danger on the road ahead. Just as important, blocking enemies from using the spectrum is critical to hindering their ability to cause mayhem, from detonating roadside bombs to organizing ambushes. As tablet computers and semiautonomous robots proliferate on battlefields in the years to come, spectrum dominance will only become more critical. Without clear and reliable access to the electromagnetic realm, many of America’s most effective weapons simply won’t work.

Inside the New Arms Race to Control Bandwidth on the Battlefield | Threat Level | Wired.com

You can make a strong argument that Tim Berners-Lee and the dozen people who were involved at various critical stages of the development of the web did more good than all the foreign aid workers and all the liberal military interventions over the past 50 years.

Nick Denton
http://playboysfw.kinja.com/the-playboy-interview-a-candid-conversation-with-gawke-1527302145 (via fred-wilson)

Books themselves are perhaps the first chatbots: long-winded and poor listeners, they nonetheless have the power to make the reader feel known, understood, challenged, spurred to greatness, not alone. On the other hand, we might notice that writing, the medium of literature and the Turing Test, leaves out much of what makes language tick: timing, prosody, emphasis, tone. Language is more than libretto; we shouldn’t settle for the sheet music when we can have the performance.

Brian Christian on Spike Jonze’s “Her” and the digital world’s intimacy: http://nyr.kr/1drVhOz (via newyorker)

(via newyorker)

"We have seen so many privacy-oriented companies come and go," he says. "And I am not talking about a handful; I’m talking about hundreds of companies that offered services like, you could shop confidentially, you could ship confidentially. Not a single one has succeeded in the market." Until now — with Snapchat.

Teens Dig Digital Privacy, If Snapchat Is Any Indication : All Tech Considered : NPR