Internet https://mag.uchicago.edu/tags/internet en A computer science expert on the data privacy crisis https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/computer-science-expert-data-privacy-crisis <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/19_Spring_Allen_Ben-The-New-Panopticon.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="Photo illustration of binary code and a finger print" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/30/2019 - 15:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Companies are collecting more consumer data than ever before, and there’s “no clear line” between what’s normal and what’s invasive, says computer scientist Ben Zhao. (monsitj/iStock)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Spring/19</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Worried about online privacy? So is Ben Zhao.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~ravenben/"><strong>Ben Zhao</strong></a> and <a href="https://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~htzheng/"><strong>Heather Zheng</strong></a> are internet good guys. The Neubauer Professors of Computer Science study security, privacy, and artificial intelligence—research interests that led them to discover security vulnerabilities in popular services including Facebook and the navigation app Waze.</p> <p>When they ran across these slip-ups, in 2009 and 2016, respectively, Zhao and Zheng did what white hats do: they told the companies, and counted on them to make the changes that would keep users safe. Zhao says in his experience, most companies in similar situations were responsible enough to follow through. Crisis averted.</p> <p>Today, in rough-and-tumble 2019, Zhao isn’t opposed to telling companies when they’ve messed up, but he’s no longer sure that alone is enough. The digital landscape has changed and so has his perspective on privacy.</p> <p>The number of internet-enabled devices—not just phones and tablets, but also things like smart fridges—has grown from 12.5 billion to 26.7 billion over the past decade. The firms manufacturing these devices can be so small that “there is no hope of ensuring that they’re responsive” to privacy concerns, “because they have no pressure to do so; they have no public reputation,” Zhao says. Another consequence of the new generation of gadgetry is that more firms are collecting (and potentially losing or abusing) your data than ever before.</p> <p>And collect your data they do. Twenty years ago, believing your phone was monitoring you was strictly tinfoil hat territory. Now we know it’s happening and blithely go about our business. The mechanisms of tracking user behavior have become “ridiculously sophisticated,” Zhao says. In the past five years, “we for sure crossed some line where … data mining went way beyond what normal people might expect.”</p> <p>Take, for example, ultrasonic tracking. Imagine a seemingly innocuous retail app asking for permission to access your phone’s built-in microphone. Without thinking much about it, you hit “allow.” The simple tap of a button allows the app to listen for inaudible, high-pitched beacons emitted from its partner websites in addition to advertisements and storefronts. That means the company can know where you’ve been and what ads you’ve seen, online and offline.</p> <p>Putting these two things together—the proliferation of internet-enabled devices and the rise of data mining–fueled marketing—has brought us to a world where the company that makes your toaster knows you’re a lefty who drives a Honda. (How much this worries you may depend on how many times you’ve seen <em>2001: A Space Odyssey</em>.)</p> <p>Yet awareness of privacy concerns hasn’t provoked large-scale digital disconnection. Users remain on platforms such as Facebook that have a long history of privacy faux pas. They may wish the company would be more conscientious about protecting their information—just not enough to log off.</p> <p>But Zhao thinks we may be in the midst of a sea change, due in part to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the political consulting firm improperly gained access to information from up to 87 million Facebook users. The breach provoked more serious and sustained outrage than Facebook had ever seen before. As <a href="https://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/strahilevitz"><strong>Lior Strahilevitz</strong></a>, Sidley Austin Professor of Law and a fellow privacy scholar, told <em>Chicago </em>magazine, this scandal was different because “it got tied into bitterness over the presidential election. … They haven’t figured out a way to make this story go away.” And the outrage had a cascade effect, sparking a serious and sustained conversation about online privacy beyond Facebook.</p> <p>Zhao is asked—more often than almost anything else, he says—how people can protect themselves in this new age. As a first step, he suggests users limit the companies that have access to their real personal information. Most online retailers don’t need to know (for instance) your birthday, so don’t give it to them, or consider providing inaccurate information.</p> <p>And in the spirit of fighting fire with fire, he’s designing a high-tech workaround for devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, which, Zhao says, are rife with possibilities for hacking and abuse—and are listening to more audio than consumers realize. To combat the risk, he and his graduate students are developing a bracelet that, when activated, emits ultrasonic waves that jam nearby microphones.</p> <p>There’s an early prototype of the bracelet and its components in Zhao’s lab, just down the hall from his office, which looks like a Best Buy after a hurricane. Phones, cables, and batteries are strewn across a large table, and two computer towers are labeled “Groot” and “Baby Groot.” Zhao picks up one of the microphone-disabling components of the bracelet. Around half an inch in diameter, it looks like a tiny round speaker.</p> <p>Until recently it would have been hard to imagine anyone would want such a device. (Of course, until recently it would have been hard to imagine a smart speaker in your living room accidentally recording a personal conversation and sending it to a colleague.) “I think now it is completely believable for there to be a market, maybe even an industry, for privacy-enhancing products,” Zhao says.</p> <p>As he exits his office, Zhao discovers a crucial vulnerability in perhaps the world’s oldest security system—his door, which won’t close. The irony isn’t lost on him. “Privacy!” he says, gesturing to the knob in mock frustration. Whether online or off, you can only do so much.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/privacy" hreflang="en">Privacy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/computer-science" hreflang="en">Computer science</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/computer-science-expert-data-privacy-crisis" data-a2a-title="A computer science expert on the data privacy crisis"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fcomputer-science-expert-data-privacy-crisis&amp;title=A%20computer%20science%20expert%20on%20the%20data%20privacy%20crisis"></a></span> Tue, 30 Apr 2019 20:44:04 +0000 admin 7090 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Ending the privilege wars https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/ending-privilege-wars <span><span lang="" about="/profile/sallen" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sallen</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/28/2017 - 14:03</span> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">08.30.2017</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Fixating on privilege hasn’t helped the fight against injustice, writes Phoebe Maltz Bovy, AB’05. </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>If you’ve spent any time on Twitter or in blog comments, you’ve likely witnessed—or participated in—one of the many skirmishes of the privilege wars. One stranger insists another cannot see a given issue clearly because they have been too fortunate.</p> <p>Writer Phoebe Maltz Bovy, AB’05, began chronicling these online interactions on her blog <em><a href="http://whatwouldphoebedo.blogspot.com">What Would Phoebe Do?</a></em> (an outgrowth of her <em>Maroon</em> <a href="http://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2002/10/25/what-would-phoebe-do-4/">column of the same name</a> from nearly a decade ago). The new and highly charged way of debating issues related to class, gender, and race intrigued her—and troubled her too.</p> <p><em>In The Perils of “Privilege”: Why Injustice Can’t Be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage</em> (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), Bovy explores the turbulent online conversation around the idea. Her comments below have been condensed and edited.</p> <hr /><h2>What are the pros and cons of what you call the “privilege framework”?</h2> <p>There are two big pros. One is people should understand system inequality and injustice are real. On average, a black person will have it harder than a white person in America. This should be better understood, not less understood.</p> <p>Second, there is value in being able to vent about people being oblivious, separate from whether the oblivious party ever changes their ways.</p> <p>One of the disadvantages, though, is that it changes conversations from ones about society and how society is structured to the ultimately trivial and distracting question of whether any individual truly “gets” their own personal place in every hierarchy. This can backfire, because it encourages a sort of defensiveness. Somebody can always say, “Maybe I’m privileged in this one way, but not in this other way.” Then you’re having a conversation about an individual’s privilege, rather than society.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Phoebe Maltz Bovy's The Perils of &quot;Privilege&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="698b487d-0eeb-4d9b-9425-49b797a860bb" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/1708_Allen_Ending-privilege-wars.gif" /><figcaption>(Image courtesy Phoebe Maltz Bovy)</figcaption></figure></div> <h2>Why the fixation on privilege?</h2> <p>This topic started to emerge around 2009. The recession got people thinking about class in a way that Americans hadn’t been so openly discussing before. The recession led the more class-privileged people in the country to be a bit ashamed and to try to hide it. This led also to a phenomenon of rich people trying to seem not rich, in a way that hadn’t been around so much before, at least in America. </p> <p>The internet and social media play a big role. People are having political arguments with others whose identities they just don’t know. You have no sense of who somebody is, whether they’re a have or a have-not in any sort of general sense that would be obvious if you met them. Online, things are very confusing. There’s the new populism, especially the right-wing populism that started with Sarah Palin talking about who is and isn’t American.</p> <p>There’s a conservative version of this conversation as well that involved telling white well-off liberals living in the so-called bubble to check their privilege.</p> <h2>In the book you focus on the phrase “your privilege is showing,” which you abbreviate “YPIS.” Why that phrase in particular?</h2> <p>What I found so fascinating about “your privilege is showing” as an expression is that it includes “your.” Those who defend the privilege callout will say people shouldn’t take it personally. It’s also the fact that it’s not a call to do anything. “Check your privilege” is at least saying “Don’t be obnoxious, don’t be rude.” Whoever you are in the world, that is going to be apparent. With YPIS, it seems like the advice is to pretend you’re not who you are. Which is the opposite of checking your privilege. It seems like it’s asking people to pretend they don’t have the advantages they do. </p> <h2>What’s a better way to talk about privilege?</h2> <p>What matters more than the words used is to step back and ask, “Are you talking about individuals, or are you talking about society?” Having conversations about where any individual stands on their own privilege is a dead end. You can focus on bigger changes, rather than on whether your friends are perfectly self-aware—getting people to do different things rather than getting them to understand themselves on some deeper level.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/blogging" hreflang="en">Blogging</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/social-inequality" hreflang="en">Social inequality</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/interview" hreflang="en">Interview</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“<a href="http://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/princess-and-brain">The Princess and the Brain</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, July/Aug 13)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedlinks field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/tweetertation ">Follow</a></strong> Phoebe Maltz Bovy on Twitter.</p> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/ending-privilege-wars" data-a2a-title="Ending the privilege wars"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fending-privilege-wars&amp;title=Ending%20the%20privilege%20wars"></a></span> Mon, 28 Aug 2017 19:03:41 +0000 sallen 6632 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Start her up https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/start-her <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1605_Zulkey_Start-her-up.jpg" width="1600" height="743" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/29/2016 - 10:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Depledge stresses the hard work of running a start-up: “If what [you] like are friends and holidays and having some sort of balance, then entrepreneurship is not for you.” (<a href="https://stocksnap.io/photo/DOT1T5II2J" target="_blank">Startup Stock Photos</a>)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/claire-zulkey"> <a href="/author/claire-zulkey"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Claire Zulkey</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/dialogo" hreflang="en">Dialogo</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Spring/Summer 2016</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">A journey from international relations to the shared economy.</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>After earning her degree in the <a href="https://socialsciences.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Division</a>’s <a href="http://cir.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Committee on International Relations</a> in order to pursue an interest in politics, British entrepreneur Alex Depledge, AM’05, returned to the United Kingdom to work as a consultant for Accenture. In 2013 she entered the start-up world by cofounding <a href="https://hassle.com" target="_blank">Hassle.com</a>, a site that matches consumers with house cleaners. That year, the group Silicon Valley Comes to the UK included Depledge on its “Scale-Up Top 100,” a list highlighting British entrepreneurs expected to lead their firms to £100 million in revenue in three to five years.</p> <p align="center"><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/hr.png" width="450" /></p> <h2><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/1605_Zulkey_Start-her-up_spotA.jpg" align="right">What are the differences between US and UK start-ups?</h2> <p>We’re still a ways behind Silicon Valley. Our financial markets are not that deep, and we don’t have access to the same big, ready-made talent pool. But we’ve made some strides forward.</p> <p>I don’t think London should become the next Silicon Valley, but we have unique opportunities because of our geography: we are positioned between the East and West, making it geographically easier to do business. Our historical position as the center of finance gives us a unique opportunity in financial technology. Plus, we are an island, so we have to look internationally from day one.</p> <h2>What should aspiring entrepreneurs know about start-up life?</h2> <p>Every entrepreneur I’ve met has not been in it for the money; they wanted to build something tangible. The money is just a happy by-product. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to take a hard look at what they like in their lives. If what they like are friends and holidays and having some sort of balance, then entrepreneurship is not for you. It’s a freaking slog.</p> <h2>You’re described as being outspoken on women in technology and the shared economy.</h2> <p>You must have seen the stereotypes about British people being reserved. The best thing about being in the US is that it knocked it out of me. You either speak up or you die. I really embrace that. I credit my success over here with that.</p> <h2>You announced earlier this year that you and one of your cofounders will step into advisory roles at Hassle. What are your plans?</h2> <p>Jules Coleman and I both need to get perspective. Whatever we see, we’ll do it together. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be another business. I’m concentrating on my daughter and taking a cooking course. It’s a phenomenally exciting time that I don’t think I’ll get again, but it’s really hard when people keep coming to me with exciting opportunities and I have to say no</p> <h2>Any plans to pursue your original dream to work in politics?</h2> <p>My husband made me sign a piece of paper that said I’d never go into politics. He might be disappointed at some point. I think there’s so much that needs fixing.</p> <p align="center"><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/hr.png" width="450" /></p> <p><em>Interview edited and adapted.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/start-ups" hreflang="en">Start-ups</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/entrepreneurship" hreflang="en">Entrepreneurship</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/interview" hreflang="en">Interview</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedlinks field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Follow @<a href="http://twitter.com/uchicagossd" target="_blank">UChicagoSSD</a>.</p> <p>Visit the Division of the Social Sciences <a href="https://socialsciences.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/2016_Summer_Dialogo-cover.png" /></p> <h5>This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of <em>Dialogo</em>, the biannual publication for University of Chicago Division of the Social Sciences alumni.</h5> <div class="issue-link"><a href="../dialogo-archive" target="_self">VIEW ALL <em>DIALOGO</em> STORIES</a></div> <div class="issue-link"><a href="http://socialsciences.uchicago.edu/alumni" target="_blank">READ ADDITIONAL SSD NEWS</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/start-her" data-a2a-title="Start her up"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fstart-her&amp;title=Start%20her%20up"></a></span> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:39:16 +0000 jmiller 5600 at https://mag.uchicago.edu How one UChicago alum turned LOLs into $$$ https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/how-one-uchicago-alum-turned-lols <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1508_Gitlin_Clickhole.jpg" width="725" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/11/2015 - 12:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">(Photo collage by Joy Olivia Miller)</div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/hannah-gitlin-ab16"> <a href="/author/hannah-gitlin-ab16"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Hannah Gitlin, AB’16</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item"><p>08.11.2015</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">Adam Levine, AB’12, AM’13, goes down the <em>ClickHole</em>.</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item">Adam Levine, AB’12, AM’13, has been interested in comedy writing pretty much since he can remember. But before he started work as one of the original staff writers at <em><a href="http://www.clickhole.com/" target="_blank">ClickHole</a></em>, a division of the satirical news publication the <em><a href="http://www.theonion.com" target="_blank">Onion</a></em>, he considered other paths. At one point, doubting the professional viability of an English degree, he thought he might become a scientist. “And then I tried science, and I realized that if I became a scientist, um, I would kill everyone. Because I was very bad at just squirting things into other things.” With science out of the picture, Levine set his sights on a literature PhD program. “That was the path that I was on before <em>ClickHole</em>. I think some of my professors at <a href="http://www.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">UChicago</a> think I’m in grad school right now. I sent them emails thanking them for helping out [with PhD program applications], so if they read the web exclusives for the <em>Magazine</em>, they should know that I didn’t go to grad school, but I was about to.” Instead, in the summer of 2013, Levine—who had long been involved in UChicago’s comedy scene as a member of the improv troupe <a href="http://occam.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Occam’s Razor</a>—submitted an application for the <em>Onion</em>’s fellows program. The <em>Onion</em> editors liked his stuff enough that they asked him to continue submitting headline ideas, and then, when they were about to launch their new website, <em>ClickHole</em>, they encouraged him to apply. When the <em>Onion</em> originally pitched <em>ClickHole</em>, which launched in June 2014, to its potential writers, the vision was to satirize clickbait—the kind of cloying, hyper-exaggerated Internet headlines that lure users into clicking on the link. <em>ClickHole</em>’s version of this bait can be seen in such headlines as “<a href="http://www.clickhole.com/article/they-said-hed-never-walk-again-who-were-they-and-w-1322" target="_blank">They Said He’d Never Walk Again. But Who Were They, and Why Were They Saying Stuff about Him?</a>” The editors and writers quickly widened their plan to include more Internet formats: lists, quizzes, blog posts, you name it. Now <em>ClickHole</em> presents itself as “this content aggregator that is very cynically vying for traffic all the time,” Levine says. People on the Internet love cute sloths? Great! <em>ClickHole</em> gives them “<a href="http://www.clickhole.com/article/7-sloths-who-are-almost-too-adorable-throw-top-chr-2642" target="_blank">7 Sloths Who Are Almost Too Adorable to Throw Off the Top of the Chrysler Building</a>.” The Internet loves personality quizzes, so <em>ClickHole</em> gives it “<a href="http://www.clickhole.com/quiz/which-one-my-garbage-sons-are-you-1458" target="_blank">Which One of My Garbage Sons Are You?</a>” The thing that all <em>ClickHole</em> content has in common—its unifying comedic voice—is that it presumes that everything it posts is exactly what the Internet wants to see. Within this Internet-parody format that <em>ClickHole</em> offers, Levine and the rest of the <em>ClickHole</em> writers share an affinity for a brand of humor that simultaneously points a finger at the often toxic, often amusing tendencies of the Internet while being … well, really funny. <em>ClickHole </em>writers’ first priority isn’t “sticking it to <em><a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a></em>,” he says, or creating ironic clickbait; it’s producing the kind of humor they all laugh at. From <em><a href="http://www.montypython.com" target="_blank">Monty Python</a></em> to <em><a href="http://nicktoons.nick.com/shows/invader-zim/" target="_blank">Invader Zim</a></em> to ’90s British comedy to the <em><a href="http://www.adultswim.com/videos/tim-and-eric-awesome-show-great-job/" target="_blank">Tim &amp; Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!</a></em> to the online comic <em><a href="http://www.achewood.com" target="_blank">Achewood</a></em>, Levine’s comedy tastes tend toward the absurd. Recently, he wrote about a visit to <a href="https://www.google.com/about/careers/locations/mountain-view/" target="_blank">Google headquarters</a>, a piece that “felt very similar," he says, "to the kind of comedy I loved growing up.” As for what kind of comedy that is, Levine says that even joking around with his childhood and <a href="https://college.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">College</a> friends "wasn’t just joking around; it was joking around with the intent of getting funnier all the time. I tended to hang out with people who really took comedy seriously, and so we were all trying to make each other laugh, but also trying to make each other laugh harder and in newer ways every time we hung out.” According to Levine, the comedy he likes may on the surface appear “random,” but upon closer examination, you begin to notice its structure and rules. Levine’s favorite comedy establishes an absurd logic, and its funniness lives in the escalation of that absurdity. “I wasn’t, like, going around when I was 12 saying, ‘I’m really into wacky worlds that stick to their own internal logic,’” clarifies Levine. But when you’re forced to think about something every day, its hidden intricacies reveal themselves. <em>ClickHole</em> writers take humor seriously. Many writers show up as early as 8 a.m. to prepare for the 10 a.m. headline pitch meeting, and Levine describes being a <em>ClickHole</em> writer as an “around-the-clock job.” The writers have deadlines they have to stick to, and if they don’t finish their work at the office, it’s common for them to go home and keep writing. A UChicago education, according to Levine, was good preparation for a career in comedy. He learned that “your work is done when it’s finished, and not when the clock says a certain time." “[The work] can be very fulfilling; when you write a thing that people respond well to, it’s amazing," says Levine. But being a comedy writer isn’t always a laugh a minute. "There’s the downside of, you work really hard on a thing and either nobody reads it, or people outright say that they don’t like it, which is extremely crushing. So there’s high highs, low lows, but overall, incredibly fun.” As for how long he plans to be a comedy writer, Levine says, “as long as I can not be terrible at it."</div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/humor" hreflang="en">Humor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/writing" hreflang="en">Writing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/pop-culture" hreflang="en">Pop Culture</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">“<a href="../law-policy-society/you-wont-believe-what-editors-buzzfeed-gawker-and-vice-said-institute-politics" target="_self">You Won’t Believe What the Editors of <em>BuzzFeed</em>, <em>Gawker</em>, and <em>VICE</em> Said at the Institute of Politics</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, web exclusive, 3.20.2015)</div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/how-one-uchicago-alum-turned-lols" data-a2a-title="How one UChicago alum turned LOLs into $$$"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fhow-one-uchicago-alum-turned-lols&amp;title=How%20one%20UChicago%20alum%20turned%20LOLs%20into%20%24%24%24"></a></span> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:50:58 +0000 jmiller 4912 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Mega data https://mag.uchicago.edu/economics-business/mega-data <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1504_Kelly_Gentzkow.jpg" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:18</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Economist Matthew Gentzkow. (Photography by Drew Reynolds)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/jason-kelly"> <a href="/author/jason-kelly"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Jason Kelly</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Mar–Apr/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Chicago Booth economist Matthew Gentzkow sifts insights about the media from massive amounts of digital information.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Economist <a href="http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/g/matthew-gentzkow" target="_blank">Matthew Gentzkow</a>’s <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/04/18/chicago-booth-s-gentzkow-awarded-2014-clark-medal" target="_blank">award-winning work</a> could not have been done 20 years ago. His analysis of media bias and the perceived ideological echo chamber of online news, to name two of his more prominent research topics, required what <a href="http://www.chicagobooth.edu" target="_blank">Chicago Booth</a> colleague <a href="http://mag.uchicago.edu/economics-business/economy-words" target="_blank">Austan Goolsbee</a> called the “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/business/media/university-of-chicago-economist-who-studies-media-receives-clark-medal.html" target="_blank">unfathomable data sets</a>” that Gentzkow gathered.</p> <p>His generation of economists is the first to have access to such a wealth of media information, both from increasingly digitized historical records and real-time contemporary data on what people read, watch, think, and buy. Few of his peers have put the raw material to more productive use.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/home/honors_awards/bios/Matthew_Gentzkow.php" target="_blank">2014 recipient</a> of the <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/honors_awards/clark_medal.php" target="_blank">John Bates Clark Medal</a>, presented annually to the top American economist under age 40, Gentzkow demurs. To hear him tell it, his graduate school experience at <a href="http://www.harvard.edu" target="_blank">Harvard</a>, where he completed his PhD in 2004, merely steered him toward an opportune intersection of this vast information and his own interests. “Most things, if they’re super interesting, either someone’s answered them already,” Gentzkow says, “or if they haven’t, there’s a reason they haven’t.”</p> <p>His curiosity about media—from journalism to advertising, in print, on television, and online—provided potential research topics. Increasing data accessibility paved a broad new avenue to pursue them. “I’ve been able to look at some questions that people have thought about for a long time and maybe make more progress on them,” Gentzkow says, “because now the scale at which you can do things is much bigger.”</p> <p>Still. Try searching for relics of his postundergraduate year with a Maine theater company and it’s clear that the mere existence of the internet doesn’t necessarily yield information conducive to fruitful research.</p> <p>Digital archaeological digging turns up nothing from those days, only a fragment from his college directorial career. A 1997 review in the <em>Theater Mirror</em>—“New England’s LIVE Theater Guide”—of the Gentzkow-directed <em>Goose and Tomtom</em> at the Harvard-Radcliffe Summer Theatre commends him as an “<a href="http://www.theatermirror.com/goose.htm" target="_blank">excellent referee</a>” for a strong cast and script. That’s about it—and probably the right amount.</p> <p>Before and since his theatrical dabbling, Gentzkow has been an economist at his core. He arrived at Harvard as an undergrad with a vague interest in social science, particularly as it applied to the problems of poverty and development. Economics, he discovered, offered a means to study a wide range of questions relevant to those issues while applying his interest in mathematics.</p> <p>In retrospect Gentzkow’s professional path seemed set with that choice of concentration. Only his extracurricular excursions into theater varied his course. And as he reflects on that diversion from nearly two decades removed, he finds that theater and research really involve overlapping synapses.</p> <p>“They’re both entrepreneurial. You’re making them up as you go along.” Economics, like theater, is not a programmatic application of learned skills, he says, but a constant act of innovation, whether the framework is a script or a data set.</p> <p>Announcing Gentzkow’s Clark Medal last year, the citation from the American Economic Association sounded not unlike a review, complete with blurbs worthy of being exclaimed from a theater marquee: “Great data hustle!” “Frontier methods!” “Creative without sacrificing quality!”</p> <p>The Clark Medal also brings Nobel buzz. Past UChicago winners include eventual laureates <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1976/" target="_blank">Milton Friedman</a>, AM’33; <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1992/becker-bio.html" target="_blank">Gary Becker</a>, AM’53, PhD’55; and <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/2000/heckman-bio.html" target="_blank">James Heckman</a>, and there’s more than just an anecdotal correlation. A 2009 <a href="http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2009/Volume29/EB-09-V29-I2-P58.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Economics Bulletin</em> study</a> presented “the first statistical evidence that John Bates Clark medalists and individuals affiliated with the University of Chicago have a higher chance of winning the Prize.”</p> <p>Gentzkow prefers not to think about that. In an <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/04/qa-clark-medal-winner-matthew-gentzkow-says-the-internet-hasnt-changed-news-as-much-as-we-think/" target="_blank">interview with Harvard’s Neiman Foundation</a>, he noted the uneasy idea of winning the Clark Medal, by definition at a young age, and then not producing work worthy of the Nobel. Leaning back on the couch in his <a href="http://www.chicagobooth.edu/about/campuses/hyde-park" target="_blank">Harper Center</a> office, feet up on a coffee table, he seems most comfortable in the weeds of his research, which includes the theory of persuasion, consumer brand preferences, and health care spending.</p> <p>Originally growing out of the brand studies, the health care spending work has led him “a little distant from what I’ve done in the past,” Gentzkow says, but in a way that hews to his sense of innovative inquiry. His celebrated research on the impact of emerging media—including how the introduction of television affected test scores and voting habits, and the internet’s effect on political divisions—likewise came from a thought process he considers similar to a playwright’s. “You wake up in the morning and you have to ask yourself, ‘What am I going to try and create?’”</p> <p><strong>For Gentzkow, the Richard O. Ryan Professor of Economics and a Neubauer Family Fellow,</strong> the creative aspect of economics refers more to the process than the outcome. It’s not about the answers produced, but the questions asked. Graduate school taught him that. Classwork offers a necessary foundation to understand the discipline, but “the really hard skill is, how do you identify good research questions?”</p> <p>He has a formula of sorts. The subject has to be personally interesting—“you’re going to spend most of your life thinking about it”—important to the field, and with the potential for meaningful progress. American media offered all of that.</p> <p>For 150 years, Gentzkow notes, newspaper, radio, and television companies have conducted private market studies because of the value to advertisers of detailed audience information. “There’s a tremendous amount of measurement that this industry had done,” he says, “not for research reasons but for commercial reasons.”</p> <p>The data exists and technology has made it increasingly available to researchers. But what to do with it? One question among many that occurred to Gentzkow and <a href="http://www.brown.edu/Research/Shapiro/" target="_blank">Jesse Shapiro</a>, a former Chicago Booth colleague and frequent collaborator, involved the impact of the internet on how people got their news. Was it true that new media had splintered the long-standing edifice of “mainstream” reporting and amplified more polarized views, drawing audiences away from traditional outlets and driving Americans apart politically?</p> <p>“We were really playing directly off of a hypothesis that other people had put out there,” Gentzkow says, specifically that the availability of more information sources led people to segregate their media consumption into ideological camps. Liberals watched MSNBC, conservatives Fox News, and they lived in distinct and strident online media universes, tuning out anything contradictory. This sorting, the argument goes, creates an “echo chamber” with a potentially pernicious effect on civic life. <a href="http://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10871/Sunstein" target="_blank">Cass Sunstein</a>, a former Law School professor now at Harvard, wrote about the subject in <em><a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7014.html" target="_blank">Republic.com</a></em> (Princeton University Press, 2001). Online echo chambers, he argued, limited the exposure to conflicting points of view that are “central to democracy itself.”</p> <p>Survey evidence that Gentzkow and Shapiro had seen indicated that the perceived effect did not exist. When they mentioned those surveys, though, skeptics pointed out that the results were based on self-reporting, suggesting that the subjects exaggerated or lied about their habits.</p> <p>Online data made more precise research possible. In addition to sheer volume, digital information offers another advantage to the study of media consumption: it reduces the inaccuracies that self-reported surveys permit. Internet browsing leaves a data trail that cancels out the effect of misleading answers that could skew results, and that’s where Gentzkow and Shapiro went searching for empirical answers.</p> <p>They found that those self-reported surveys were actually pretty accurate. Increased media segregation was not happening. If anything, Gentzkow says, the trend is drifting in the other direction, although he emphasizes the difficulty of making comparisons across years.</p> <p>They did find more partisan segregation in online news readership than among television viewers or readers of local papers, but not as much as in national newspapers. The <em>New York Times</em>, the study shows, has a significantly more liberal readership than <em>USA Today</em> or the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>. Overall the data did not support the idea that the internet created the echo chambers that have been a common cause for concern in both academic studies and popular commentary.</p> <p>Partisan sites accounted for only a small proportion of online readership, which by and large is “concentrated in a small number of relatively centrist sites.” And readers of online outlets on the ideological poles were more promiscuous browsers. “Visitors of extreme conservative sites such as rushlimbaugh.com and glennbeck.com are more likely than a typical online news reader to have visited nytimes.com,” the study reported. “Visitors of extreme liberal sites such as thinkprogress.org and moveon.org are more likely than a typical online news reader to have visited foxnews.com.”</p> <p>Although evidence shows most people gravitate to relatively few common sources, the real-life political conflicts that have given rise to the internet echo chamber hypothesis do exist. Gentzkow refuted online fragmentation as a potential cause, but his paper raised new questions that he seems to relish asking. “Is it that people are interpreting what they see differently? Is it that even though they’re seeing similar stuff, they’re paying attention differently to it? Is it that everybody’s views are fixed and [their partisan response] depends on who they talk to and who their friends are?”</p> <p>Gentzkow’s data hints that the answers to those questions could well be yes. More than any form of media, areas that showed the highest rates of political self-segregation included the workplace, family relationships, and the most by a significant amount, networks of trusted friends. The <a href="http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/" target="_blank">General Social Survey</a>, conducted every two years by <a href="http://www.norc.org/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">NORC at the University of Chicago</a>, provided the information about personal interactions in Gentzkow’s study, drawn from respondents answers to questions about the political leanings of those in their social orbits.</p> <p>One potential interpretive filter that the echo chamber paper did not address was social media. When Gentzkow and Shapiro published their research in 2010, Facebook and Twitter didn’t have the cultural traction they do now.</p> <p>He hasn’t studied the subject himself, but several researchers reported their results at a <a href="https://bfi.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Becker Friedman Institute</a> panel last spring. Gentzkow was left with the impression that social media is highly polarized but a minor part of the bigger picture. “Most of the political stuff that’s consumed through social media is opinion, not news stories,” he notes, “and the opinion that gets passed around by conservatives is very different from opinion that’s passed around by liberals, but that’s still a very small share of a broad diet.”</p> <p>Gentzkow has a simple explanation for the persistence of traditional outlets atop the media food chain: it’s expensive to produce news and few companies have the resources to reach an audience wide enough to support firsthand reporting. Technology has transformed the methods of delivery, but media economics dating back at least to the 19th century remains a barrier to entry.</p> <p>“One of the big underlying insights for me from that echo chambers paper is the internet actually isn’t very different from traditional media,” Gentzkow says. Because sites with only niche appeal typically cannot afford to cover the news, major outlets remain most people’s predominant source of information. “Writing the Buddhist vegetarian perspective on the Iraq war, and the Buddhist vegetarian perspective on what’s happening in Ukraine, and sending reporters over there to write that, that would be a lot of cost for a very small audience.”</p> <p><strong>Television has always attracted mass audiences,</strong> although it too has now grown and fragmented into a dizzying array of options, its established business practices suffering from internet-driven pressure. Not so long ago, though, TV was new media, and the era of its piecemeal introduction in the United States offered Gentzkow a foothold on complicated research questions.</p> <p>Disentangling viewing habits from other personal circumstances makes studying the effect of television on, say, student test scores tricky at best. “Because kids who watch six hours of TV are different in all kinds of ways,” Gentzkow says. “You can bet that their parents have different levels of education, you can bet that they have different levels of income, you can bet that the environment they are living in is different.”</p> <p>One point in time offered insight into the effect of increased television viewing that could be distinguished, to some degree, from those other factors: the introduction of TV into American homes. The process did not follow an obvious geographic pattern, creating randomness conducive to research. Although major markets like New York and Los Angeles were predictably at the forefront, because of the regulatory system “there was a lot of variation mixed in that was pretty random,” Gentzkow says. “That seemed like a good kind of natural experiment to look at the effect of TV.”</p> <p>There’s an assumed negative correlation between the amount of television children watch and their results on standardized tests: more TV, it appears, equals lower scores. But like the perceived ideological segregation of news sources, that connection turned out to be false, according to Gentzkow’s analysis in a 2008 paper coauthored with Shapiro—with whom Gentzkow has said his Clark Medal should be shared. “What we found was, one, there’s no effect that television reduced the kids’ test scores, and two, there’s some evidence that it actually had a positive effect, especially for more disadvantaged kids.” Those whose parents did not speak English, for example, showed benefits from the exposure to the language.</p> <p>At issue, Gentzkow argues, is not whether watching television itself is a positive or negative, but what children might be doing otherwise. The impression he gets is that people perceive the alternatives to be mentally enriching, like reading or reviewing homework with a parent. In fact, he says, for many kids “TV could be relatively more rich educationally” than their other options. He notes that many people view television’s impact through the lens of what their own family might do instead: visiting museums, for example. Children who are not exposed to those options might otherwise play with friends or toys, activities that provide less intellectual stimulation than they could find on TV.</p> <p>The importance of gauging television’s impact in the context of what it replaces really registered for Gentzkow in a 2006 paper on voting patterns. There was a sense in the early days of the medium that TV might increase political participation. Its efficiency in delivering information, many thought, would reach more people and translate to higher turnout at the polls. The opposite happened. Especially in local elections, he found, lower turnout could be attributed to television’s introduction.</p> <p>What did it displace in people’s media diet? Newspapers or radio with more local coverage. “You’re switching from reading your local Santa Fe newspaper … to national NBC programming,” Gentzkow says. “So a lot of the effects on voting seem to relate to what it’s crowding out.”</p> <p>Beyond the nature of the information, television also altered the American entertainment universe and people started “spending a lot more time watching <em>I Love Lucy</em>.” Time devoted to such expanding entertainment options, he notes, might have previously been spent in a more thorough reading of the local newspaper.</p> <p>His findings present a mixed media message. Television might not have been the educational bane for children it has been thought to be, but it also wasn’t a path to increased civic engagement. Likewise with the internet, the gateway to instantaneous information from anywhere in the world—and also cat videos.</p> <p>“I think it’s pretty hard to argue that it’s not an improvement,” Gentzkow says of the access the internet offers to a diverse and global array of sources. “So you might think therefore everyone must be much more informed now than they were before. Well, it depends.”</p> <p>As evolving media has increased the flow of information and entertainment, and improved the means of education and distraction, studies about how informed the public is have held relatively steady over time. Technology makes access to everything easier, Gentzkow says, but it’s as if two competing forces are “balancing out,” changing the way in which people consume news and find amusement, but not necessarily for better or worse.</p> <p>The <em>Economist</em>, in fact, <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21601289-young-economist-wins-prize-his-work-economics-news-and" target="_blank">found his body of work heartening</a>. The theme running through Gentzkow’s research, the magazine said, “reinforces the simple but reassuring point that what readers want most is to be informed.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/economics-business" hreflang="en">Economics &amp; Business</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/data" hreflang="en">Data</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/journalism" hreflang="en">Journalism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/advertising" hreflang="en">Advertising</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/chicago-booth" hreflang="en">Chicago Booth</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/economics-business/mega-data" data-a2a-title="Mega data"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Feconomics-business%2Fmega-data&amp;title=Mega%20data"></a></span> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:18:42 +0000 jmiller 4469 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Sign language https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/sign-language <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1408_Brogan_Emoji_0.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/10/2014 - 15:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Emoji/smartphone text bubble illustrations by Laura Lorenz)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/taylor-brogan-ab14"> <a href="/author/taylor-brogan-ab14"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Taylor Brogan, AB’14</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">July–Aug/14</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Do you speak emoji?</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The pictographs from Japan known as emojis, downloadable to your smartphone, add visual pizzazz to your text messages—or make them into tiny rebus-like puzzles.</p> <p>What would the autumn 2014 course catalog look like, we wondered, rendered as emojis? Here’s a peek at the cryptic results. See if you can match the emojified course offerings listed in white with the actual course titles in green. Answers are below.</p> <p><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot01.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotA.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot02.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotB.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot03_0.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotC.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot04.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotD.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot05.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotE.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot06.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotF.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot07.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotG.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot08.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotH.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot09.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotI.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spot10.png" /><img src="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1408/1408_Brogan_Sign-language_spotJ.png" /></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/university-news" hreflang="en">University News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/pop-culture" hreflang="en">Pop Culture</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/lite-mind" hreflang="en">Lite of the Mind</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/sign-language" data-a2a-title="Sign language"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Funiversity-news%2Fsign-language&amp;title=Sign%20language"></a></span> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:50:17 +0000 jmiller 3730 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Her LEVEL best https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/her-level-best <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1407_Vandervalk_LEVEL.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/07/2014 - 12:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Alexa Martin, AB’04, describes what makes LEVEL a worthwhile project in its Kickstarter fundraising video. (Images courtesy LEVEL)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/kathryn-vandervalk-ab16"> <a href="/author/kathryn-vandervalk-ab16"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Kathryn Vandervalk, AB’16</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">07.07.2014</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Alexa Martin, AB’04, raises money to combat the Internet access disparity in the city of Chicago.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Last summer Alexa Martin, AB’04, got a glimpse of life without a computer. Studying for graduate school in her local public library, Martin realized that she had forgotten her laptop at home. She needed to use a computer for about four hours, but the librarian told her that there was a two-hour limit, per person, per day—and all the computers in the library already were scheduled through the rest of the day. Later, she thought about the difficulty someone without a computer would face filling out a job application or taking an online exam. “There was this access disparity that I was never aware of,” Martin says, “and didn’t think about until that point.”</p> <p>Martin, who was a human development major, says an example from her UChicago research methods course helped her adjust her perspective.&nbsp;“If you lived in rural America near horses, you would feel like there are more horses in the world than there actually would be. ... I’m able to use that when people say, ‛Doesn’t everyone have a computer in their house? Doesn’t everyone have Internet access?’ I say, ‘Step outside your experience a little bit. What evidence do you have?’”</p> <p>Martin asked herself the same question and, after research and a course on entrepreneurship, she formed her current project, LEVEL. Martin, who works full time in health care management, is collaborating with her sister Mghon Martin and IT specialist Jeremiah Faust to fund an Internet café in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Different from the typical Internet café, LEVEL would provide not just wireless access and outlets but computers too.</p> <p>Because there is no tested business model for these computer cafés, Martin’s vision is adaptable. “If we have to evolve the idea in some way, then I’m prepared to move forward," she says. "I’m more flexible about what we need to do and what the evolution of LEVEL could be.” Right now the plan is either to open a new café with vending machines (“to keep the operational costs really low”) or to put computers inside an existing coffee shop.</p> <p>Initially planned for the Hyde Park and Bronzeville areas, the project shifted when Roger Sosa, a member of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, reached out to Martin, suggesting that she look at some properties in his neighborhood. Martin immediately identified with the area, finding the personality and demographic similar to her home in suburban Waukegan. Because of the high immigrant population in Back of the Yards, Martin calls the area “the back door to Chicago,” and explains that, without Internet access, many struggle to maintain contact with their families back home.</p> <p>Sosa helped her find <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/pages/seedchicago" target="_blank">a partnership with Seed Chicago</a>, one of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s initiatives to help local businesses. Seed Chicago promotes projects through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/394042881/level-bringing-internet-cafes-to-underserved-commu" target="_blank">where LEVEL is currently raising money</a>. To date the project has raised $7,498 toward its $10,000 goal. The deadline to keep the money and fulfill Martin’s goal is July 10 at 9:54 p.m. (Kickstarter’s policy requires all money raised to be returned to donors if an organization does not meet its fundraising objective.)</p> <p>With $10,000, Martin says, the project could provide about 15 computers and make Internet access in the Back of the Yards just a little bit more LEVEL.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/education-social-service" hreflang="en">Education &amp; Social Service</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/city-chicago" hreflang="en">City of Chicago</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedlinks field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@<a href="https://twitter.com/leveluniverse" target="_blank">LEVELUniverse</a> <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/394042881/level-bringing-internet-cafes-to-underserved-commu?ref=nav_search" target="_blank">LEVEL’s Kickstarter campaign page</a></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-storymedia field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><h2 class="media-icon media-icon-video">Video</h2> <iframe width="200" height="113" src="//www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/hG-NUBnXvco?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>Alexa Martin, AB’04, advocates for LEVEL.</p> <p> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG-NUBnXvco" target="_blank" class="more-link">WATCH THE VIDEO AT YOUTUBE</a></p> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/her-level-best" data-a2a-title="Her LEVEL best"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Feducation-social-service%2Fher-level-best&amp;title=Her%20LEVEL%20best"></a></span> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:28:56 +0000 jmiller 3710 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Class dispersed https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/class-dispersed <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1310_Green_Class-dispersed_0.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/29/2013 - 16:06</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>David Archer is teaching a version of his global warming class online. (Photography by Lloyd DeGrane)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/eric-green-ab14"> <a href="/author/eric-green-ab14"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Eric Green, AB’14</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Sept–Oct/13</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UChicago dips a toe into long-distance learning with its first two online course offerings.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The University of Chicago announced June 4 that it would begin experimenting with online education, offering free, not-for-credit courses through the website Coursera. Massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, have multiplied over the past few years as schools such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale have begun offering them.</p> <p>To investigate UChicago’s options, provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum appointed two committees to explore online courses. Among the conclusions in the subsequent report the committees produced is that online courses would allow the University to increase its presence and engage with students and scholars at other institutions. “It’s a way of bringing the University of Chicago to a larger audience who might otherwise not be able to have access to us,” says Roy E. Weiss, deputy provost for research and the Rabbi Esformes professor of medicine and pediatrics. Weiss chairs an oversight committee appointed to review faculty proposals for online courses.</p> <p>The committees’ report notes another potential advantage of online education. “Part of the hope of this experiment is that online courses will allow faculty to experiment with new ways of teaching,” says Weiss. The report cites the idea of flipping the classroom—meaning students watch lectures outside of class and use class time for questions and discussion. Coursera and EdX, another online education site, provide student feedback to professors in the form of enrollment data and end-of-course evaluations, and they offer interaction through message boards, allowing professors to analyze the quality of their pedagogical experiments.</p> <p>Interest among faculty appears high. In a <em>Chronicle of Higher Education</em> survey, 79 percent of faculty who have taught MOOCs deemed them “worth the hype.” David Archer, professor of geophysical sciences, and John &shy;Cochrane, Chicago Booth’s AQR Capital Management distinguished service professor of finance, volunteered to lead courses that go live this fall on Coursera. Archer will teach a version of his global warming class, and Cochrane will teach an asset pricing theory course originally designed for doctoral students.</p> <p>Echoing Weiss, Cochrane says, “I hope to use the online technology to improve the instructional value of my on-campus course, as well as to provide a unique resource for people who want an exposure to academic finance.” For Archer, “It’s a question of outreach. I’m very motivated by the issue of climate change.”</p> <p>But before faculty like Archer and Cochrane can reach new audiences, there are challenges. MOOCs are often plagued by high attrition rates, with thousands of participants signing up but only a small percentage completing the course. And they require a significant time commitment to teach. The <em>Chronicle</em> survey found that, for 55 percent of respondents, teaching a MOOC diverted attention from other academic duties.</p> <p>To assist with these challenges, Paul Bergen, the executive director of academic and scholarly technology services, leads a team helping faculty members adapt their courses for an online audience. “Faculty should be prepared to invest a large amount of time in producing and teaching their courses,” Bergen says, estimating up to 200 hours for course design and production alone. “There is no way around that.” The process involves writing an online lesson plan, recording lectures on video, and creating digital teaching materials, which will be handled in part by Bergen’s team. Teaching assistants are also needed to monitor discussions and upload material.</p> <p>In supporting online courses, the provost’s committees emphasized that strong engagement with faculty is part of what distinguishes a University of Chicago education. This will be a main focus and challenge as UChicago joins one of the fastest growing trends in higher education.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/education-social-service" hreflang="en">Education &amp; Social Service</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/class-dispersed" data-a2a-title="Class dispersed"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Feducation-social-service%2Fclass-dispersed&amp;title=Class%20dispersed"></a></span> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 21:06:20 +0000 jmiller 2341 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Autoresponders https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/autoresponders <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1304_Kelly_OoO.jpg" width="700" height="325" alt="Microsoft Outlook’s “Out of Office Assistant” pop-up window." title="Microsoft Outlook’s “Out of Office Assistant” pop-up window." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/08/2013 - 10:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Microsoft Outlook’s “Out of Office Assistant” pop-up window.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/jason-kelly"> <a href="/author/jason-kelly"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Jason Kelly</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Mar–Apr/13</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Out of office e-mail messages can be an art form all their own. We’ve collected some of the best from the <em>Magazine</em>’s in-box.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It’s a tale as old as the time stamp: you’re “out of the office” but the poor saps trying to reach you might need “urgent assistance.” Etiquette demands that you alert them to your absence and direct them to the appropriate assistant urgent assister. Hence, the modern art form of the autoresponse. Most read like they’re copied and pasted from a Microsoft template, but the genre’s more avant-garde voices deserve special applause and best wishes for their impending vacation—even though you know they’ll be obsessively checking their e-mail the whole time. Here are some of the staff’s favorite selections from the <em>Magazine</em>’s in-box.</p> <p><strong>On 3/27/12, 3:02 p.m., Douglas Kyle Hogarth wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>I am sitting on a beach. I’ll be back March 28. I may check e-mail by accident occasionally.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 6/19/12, 1:41 p.m., John Levi Martin wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>First error was giving one son a tool kit and the second was allowing the other to assist me in putting everything back together. I think we mixed up parts from the panini press, the Etch A Sketch, and the pachinko machine with the computer and now unless you get the ball in the right place the Swiss cheese melts in that tray, and so it isn’t really working, and I have to hurry because this nice man in Starbucks wants his iPhone back. So my access to e-mails may be sporadic for some time. Influenced by Wolfram’s theorem of the universal computational machine, however, we are trying to arrange the sand between two rocks at the point off 55th Street to take over all tasks previously allocated to the Dell unit—the theorem proves that this can be done in a finite amount of time. I am expecting that we should be done by July 5. If you need to contact me before then, you must write your wishes in blood on a piece of bark, take it to the woods at midnight and burn it, make the ashes into a little ash cake with nectar and dew, put it by a lily for the fairy queen to snack on in the middle of the night, and she will let me know your thoughts when we next meet.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 6/19/12, 1:40 p.m., Vijay Prashad wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>If you see the Monsoon Winds, you might catch a glimpse of me. I shall be wearing a red shirt, and, hopefully, a broad smile. It will take me a day or so to wave back to you.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 12/20/11, 4:57 p.m., John Levi Martin wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>I’m off to placate my relatives by dragging my kids from one to the other for a while. Back around 2012, give or take a year. We’ll catch up then. Til that time, take care of yourself, your city, and your planet.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 7/27/11, 4:06 p.m., Robert Ross wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>Along with the Sabbath and the eight-hour day, entitlement to vacation stands out as a recognition, recent to be sure in the history of work and employment, that even those who work for wages are fully human, and may, at rest, enrich their souls and expand their horizons.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 3/22/11, 3:31 p.m., John Levi Martin wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>With deep regret I have to say<br /> I am not here —I am away.<br /> I had to leave, I could not stay<br /> Will I come back? Perhaps I may.<br /> Will I see you? I hope, I pray.<br /> But now I’m off along my way<br /> I can’t respond, I must go play.<br /> Until I do return some day<br /> (exactly which, I shan’t betray)<br /> with pains in heart, again I say<br /> I am not here. I am away.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 8/24/10, 5:38 p.m., Boaz Keysar wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>Boaz went eastward. He claims that he will be back in touch in the fall.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>On 8/24/10, 5:30 p.m., Patchen Markell wrote:</strong></p> <p> <blockquote>Thanks for your message. As of July 1, I have concluded my term as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science. Since it’s possible that the interwebs have begun to eat my brain, for the foreseeable future I’ll be reading and responding to e-mail somewhat less frequently than usual. Thanks in advance for your patience.</p></blockquote> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/university-news" hreflang="en">University News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/technology" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/email" hreflang="en">Email</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/lite-mind" hreflang="en">Lite of the Mind</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/autoresponders" data-a2a-title="Autoresponders"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Funiversity-news%2Fautoresponders&amp;title=Autoresponders"></a></span> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 16:26:02 +0000 rsmith 1877 at https://mag.uchicago.edu