Four short links: 22 January 2018

Corporate Surveillance, Crowds and Decisions, Crawling Robot Infant, and Personal Data Representatives

By Nat Torkington
January 22, 2018
  1. Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life — a quite detailed report on how thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in today’s digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data? (via BoingBoing)
  2. Smaller Crowds Outperform Larger Crowds and Individuals in Realistic Task ConditionsWe derive this nonmonotonic relationship between group size and accuracy from the Condorcet jury theorem and use simulations and further analyses to show that it holds under a variety of assumptions. We further show that situations favoring moderately sized groups occur in a variety of real-life situations, including political, medical, and financial decisions and general knowledge tests. These results have implications for the design of decision-making bodies at all levels of policy. Take with the usual kilogram-sized pinch of social science salt. (via Marginal Revolution)
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  4. Robotic Crawling Infant — the least-cute infant robot I’ve seen this year. Research is on what the babies collect from the carpet/ground as they walk. (via IEEE Spectrum)
  5. Personal Data Representatives: An Idea (Tom Steinberg) — it is time to allow people to nominate trusted representatives who can make decisions about our personal data for us, so that we can get on with our lives.
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