Futurecasting, Project VoCo, Hacking, Harassment & More

Gif via ProSymbols/The Noun Project/Andrew McGill/The Atlantic

Welcome to the eNewletter you never subscribed to. 

Designing the Future for the Present: Futurecasting is on the rise, ya’ll. Firms like Frog and Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve use data and research to imagine future worlds and brands’ places within them. Hopefully these futures are free from Big Brother’s watchful eyes, however, the ubiquity of hacking (see below) has me feeling v uneasy.

Project VoCo Is Creepy AF: I first heard about Adobe’s new audio app that lets users alter and create voices from a friend in the audio engineering industry. He brought up how this technology will negatively impact both audio engineers and voice actors. Other concerns come to mind as well: security threats, falsified quotes and loss of skill. While all of these possibilities are disconcerting, what really wigs me out is the ability to use Adobe’s technology to essentially steal someone’s voice. Imagine a stalker recording your voice in the check-out line and using it later to carry out delusional fetishes. Imagine never moving on from the passing of a loved one and continuing to talk to a fake version of them long after they have died. Imagine prank phone calls on steroids by using someone else’s voice to convince a listener to believe or to do something. Creepy AF, right?

I Guess I Should Come Up With Stronger Passwords, Huh: The recent cyberattacks in the eastern U.S. and beyond (not to mention the unyielding release of WikiLeaks’ hacked DNC emails) got a lot of people talking about internet security. So, The Atlantic‘s Andrew McGill decided to do a little experiment. McGill built a fake web toaster (outdated, slow or cheap processors soldered into web-connected devices) and put out a honeypot (an irresistible target that attracts and entraps hackers and the scripts they use to find vulnerable servers). Basically, McGill wanted to see how long it would take for his toaster to get hacked. He was expecting to wait days, or even weeks. But the first hack attempt came after just one hour. There were more than 300 further attempts before midnight. So what does this mean? Hackers now have the ability to literally scan the entire internet in search of vulnerable servers. The belief that you are small and insignificant when it comes to the vastness of the internet is no longer reasonable. No one can escape. We are all likely to be hacked at some point. BRB pulling a Walden.

Twitter’s Catch-22: How do you sustain a platform founded upon the belief of free speech while simultaneously trying to tame the trolls? Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross talks with BuzzFeed technology reporter Charlie Warzel to find out. Ultimately, it doesn’t sound like there’s much of a solution for Twitter harassment right now. In fact, harassment everywhere only seems to be increasing. Take, for example, this woman who was virtually groped in a VR multiplayer game. TBH I don’t know what’s more depressing: the fact that this doesn’t really seem to be that much of a concern to CEOs, or the fact that there are truly this many human beings who choose to engage in such hateful behavior.

I’m Sick of Telling You Guys Podcasts Are the Future: So I’ll let this article do it for me.

Make Your Ears Happy: Let my boo Devendra croon to you.

Stay classy, nerds.



#byetrump: Social Media & the Presidential Election

Image via Feminist Fight Club

Welcome to the eNewsletter you never subscribed to. 

As the second Presidential debate looms nearer (t-minus 5 hours), social media is buzzing with vitriol, comedy, empowerment and urgency. This post is by no means a comprehensive or unbiased roundup of the social media landscape in the wake of Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” remark released on video Friday. More than woman, I am human. As a human being, I simply cannot understand anyone who supports Donald Trump. That being said, here’s some stuff going on online.

#pussygrabsback: Yesterday Feminist Fight Club, a social media presence run by Jessica Bennett (author of a manual by the same name), posted a meme that quickly went viral, getting reposted by artists and comedians including Lena Dunham, Carson Ellis, Sarah Silverman and Amber Tamblyn. In addition to the meme, celebrities including America Ferrera quickly took to the hashtag, demonstrating that women everywhere are taking a stand against rape culture.

Brands Enter the Fray: Last month, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a horrific message comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles. The tape of Donald Trump released Friday contained audio of Trump talking inappropriately about using Tic Tacs and forcing himself upon an actress. Both candy companies have released statements condemning Trump’s statements and distancing themselves from his campaign.

Women Share Their #NotOkay Stories: On Friday evening millions of women turned to the Twitter community to speak out against sexual assault. Cartoonist Rebecca Cohen asked women to retweet her if they’ve ever had an intimate body part grabbed without their consent. Nearly 19,000 women retweeted her message. Author and social media blogger Kelly Oxford asked women to tweet her their first sexual assaults. Oxford reported receiving nearly 10 million impressions, with a minimum of 50 women per minute sharing their stories of sexual assault, many with the hashtag #NotOkay.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump…:  Accused rapist, blatant xenophobe and racist, white supremacist supporter, documented misogynistdenier of mental health disorders and, perhaps worst of all, this country’s chosen Republican nominee  tweeted “Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!”

The man is a monster. Have fun watching the debate, everyone. I’ll be drowning my sorrows in a bottle of whiskey and live tweeting the downfall of society.

Stay classy, nerds.