45 Fighting Casteism in Tech with Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Casteism pervades the Hindu diaspora, not just across borders, but across the Internet too. This week, Dalit activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan offers us a look at how Dalits face discrimination and inequity on social media and in the ranks of Silicon Valley tech companies.

Rerun — Trebor Scholz, Platform Cooperative Consortium

livery services to music streaming. Trebor is a professor at the New School, where he helms the Platform Cooperativism Consortium. It’s a fascinating listen about the variety of ways coops can aid local communities, labor unions, and freelancers, empowering communities of workers to govern themselves and more equitably distribute revenue.

43 Nathan Schneider, Pt. 1 (Platform Coops)

hy don’t users get a say in how platforms operate? Nathan Schneider thinks it might be because we don’t own them. In Part 1 of this week’s interview, Nathan tells us about how online spaces could be cooperatively owned, and what the US government could do to help.

42 A Reimagining Carol

We celebrate our 50th episode with a holiday special, where Ethan is visited by the Reimagining the Internet producers of past, present, and future to remember some of our favorite interviews from 2021. Tune in for highlights with Omar Wasow, Fred Turner, Heather Ford, Michael Wood Lewis, Lola Hunt and Eliza Sorensen, Damon Krukowski, Elizabeth Hansen-Shapiro, and Tracy Chou.

Rerun — Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales joins us for a thrilling chat about what we can learn from social media and what’s anti-social about a lot of social media today. Jimmy has recently launched the the social network WT.Social, designed to as a non-addictive, thoughtful online space, and has lots of thoughts about the type of communities that we might be able to start cultivating online.

40 The Real Silicon Valley, with Fred Turner

How did hippies living on communes help create the Internet? Is Mark Zuckerberg today’s PT Barnum? What can we learn from 17th Century Protestantism about inequality in Silicon Valley? Fred Turner, perhaps the definitive historian of the Internet and counterculture, joins us for a thrilling conversation about how we need to shake post-WWII politics to make not just a better Internet, but a better world.

For links to projects mentioned and a full transcript of this episode, please visit https://publicinfrastructure.org/podcast/47-fred-turner

Key takeaways:
1. Communes were insular, and so was the first Internet community created by back-to-land hippies.
2. Silicon Valley’s cult of personality follows from Protestants’ belief that wealth is a sign of godliness.
3. “Seeing Silicon Valley” documents the inequality that fuels tech with portraits of the rich and poor.
4. We need to reckon with issues of class that started during the Vietnam War.
5. Institutions that bring people to come together despite identity and ideology differences are crucial.

Rerun — Amy Zhang, University of Washington

Amy Zhang from the Social Futures Lab at University of Washington joins the podcast to talk about the a next version of the internet where groups of users are empowered to govern themselves and help each other to deal online harassment. Amy tells us how she’s pushing HCI and Social Computing scholarship in exciting new directions, to ask what sorts of new practices might make up a post-mega-platform internet.