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Kaila Colbin

Member since July 2007Contact Kaila

Articles by Kaila All articles by Kaila

  • Immortality Is In The Eye Of The Beholder in Media Insider on 07/21/2017

    The immortalists believe we can and should live forever -- that death is a technical problem, and that it therefore has a technical solution. The New Yorker, covering the topic a few months ago, quoted Dr. Joon Yun: "I have the idea that aging is plastic, that it's encoded... If something is encoded, you can crack the code... If you can crack the code, you can hack the code!"

  • Everything You Know May Be Wrong  in Media Insider on 07/07/2017

    Last year, I wrote an article called "The real reason this elephant chart is terrifying." In it, I looked at the work of Christoph Lakner and Branko Milanovic, who charted change in real income, for every percentile of global population, across a 20-year period from 1988 to 2008. While lots of folks had their incomes go up over the period, there's a big dip in the chart between the 75th and 90th percentiles. Those folks -- poor people in rich countries -- are seeing their incomes stagnate or decline. The scary bit, I explained, is that the price-performance of technology is improving at an exponential pace.

  • For The News Media, It May Already Be Too Late in Media Insider on 06/23/2017

    You might not agree, but I believe most people want to know the truth.

  • On Both Sides, The Media Is Peddling A False Dilemma About Trump  in Media Insider on 06/09/2017

    An op-ed headline in The Washington Post this week intrigued me: "Our town's newspaper was mocked for endorsing Trump. Here's what we think now." The column was from Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the Hillsboro, Ohio Times-Gazette. It was accompanied by a photo of an idyllic rural scene: a field of soybeans, a combine harvester, a setting sun.

  • Why Free Is Bad For You  in Media Insider on 05/26/2017

    If you have two constituent groups, and one pays you directly, and the other doesn't, the one who pays you is gonna win. This is true not only in politics -- where "dependence upon the funders produces a subtle, understated, camouflaged bending to keep the funders happy," according to Lawrence Lessig in a TED talk -- but also in online publishing. If the free content from your news organization is paid for by advertisers, your job is to aggregate eyeballs, not educate readers. If you can aggregate eyeballs by educating readers, great -- everybody wins. If in order to aggregate eyeballs you need to offer more stories about the Kardashians, the advertisers win at the expense of our collective education level.

  • Trump: News Media's Worthy Competitor in Online Spin on 05/12/2017

    They say competition makes you stronger. When you're on your own, there's a tendency to slack off. When you compete, you have to be better than your opponent, who has to be better than you, and the two of you push each other further and further until ultimately you are delivering the absolute best performance you are capable of. This is not to say competition always produces better outcomes. In the quest to win, people will often go too far, in sports as well as business. But in general, in a competitive environment, all participants will perform at a higher level than they otherwise would. Which brings us to the mainstream news media and the current administration.

  • Humanity, Not Technology: The Idea Worth Spreading in Online Spin on 04/28/2017

    Once a year, the good and the great converge on Vancouver, Canada for the TED conference: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Nearly 2,000 people gathered for a week to consider our past, present and future. There was something interesting about the talks this week. While there were a few technological marvels -- swarms of tiny, self-organizing robots, for example, or a personal cargo-carrying robot that follows you around with your shopping -- many of the talks dealt not with technology, but humanity.

  • Can Technology Make The World Great Again? in Online Spin on 04/14/2017

    We've all heard the promises: Technology is going to give us a better world. It will allow us to feed the masses, democratize education, enjoy unfettered free speech. Healthcare, energy and transport will all be revolutionized and demonetized. We're heading for a brave new world. In many ways things are indeed looking up. Some of these changes are due to technological advances, some to increased levels of education, and some to long-term cultural shifts. But every statistic has multiple interpretations, and every simplistic narrative conceals important nuance.

  • The Colonization Of Mars  in Online Spin on 03/31/2017

    Yesterday humanity marked a glorious milestone: SpaceX successfully relaunched and re-landed a Falcon 9 -- the first time in history a rocket has been reused. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk's projection is that reusable rockets could bring the cost of space travel down 100x. But the implications are way bigger than making it cheaper for communications companies to fling satellites into low earth orbit. We've just gotten a step closer to becoming a multiplanetary species.

  • Ethics Are For Everyone in Online Spin on 03/17/2017

    I admit to an overwhelming amount of schadenfreude at the challenges recently faced by Uber. After all, its behavior has been egregious for ages. It's satisfying to point the finger at Uber precisely because its actions are so brazen. But doing so also carries a risk: the risk of distracting us from the more subtle ways technology impacts our lives, and the profound ethical implications thereof.

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