Zeynep Tufekci examines the rise of digital tenancy and the failures of the GOT finale

May 31, 2019

In a recent article for WIRED, UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Associate Professor Zeynep Tufekci highlights the ways that companies are using connectivity and embedded intelligence to increase profits by limiting consumer options.   

“Today, we may think we own things because we paid for them and brought them home, but as long as they run software or have digital connectivity, the sellers continue to have control over the product,” she writes. "We are renters of our own objects, there by the grace of the true owner.

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In a post for Scientific American, Tufekci analyzes the failures in the final season of Game of Thrones and uses it as a cipher to explain the difficulty of communicating the full impact of new digital technology and machine intelligence. Writers and readers prefer narratives that focus on individuals, but that minimalizes the myriad of forces that are actually shaping the future.

“. . . personalities matter, but only in the context of business models, technological advances, the political environment, (lack of) meaningful regulation, the existing economic and political forces that fuel wealth inequality and lack of accountability for powerful actors, geopolitical dynamics, societal characteristics and more,” she writes.

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