Law in Contemporary Society
Hey all,

First, I was hoping that, given the desire of our class to cultivate a community of some kind, we could start that with a place to share something.In that regard, please comment/reply/discuss any of your favorite podcast episodes -- any topic, related or not!

In light of some of our discussions -- autonomy, structural ecosystems, and opportunity costs in our lives -- I have been thinking a lot about students' unique, perhaps totalizing, intersection between "work" and "life," and have found technology can be a tremendous catalyst in making that relationship better or worse.

On that point, I wanted to share the most recent Ezra Klein podcast with Cal Newport. Cal is the author of books such as Deep Work and Digital Minimalism. He writes on the intersection between modern work, human life, and technology. I found a lot of the themes in the episode to touch on the ideas we have been batting around.

Description & links below. I hope you all enjoy, and I am looking forward to hearing what you think and listening to your suggestions. Cheers!

We were promised, with the internet, a productivity revolution. We were told that we’d get more done, in less time, with less stress. Instead, we got always-on communication, the dissolution of the boundaries between work and home, the feeling of constantly being behind, lackluster productivity numbers, and, to be fair, reaction GIFs. What went wrong? Cal Newport is a computer scientist at Georgetown and the author of books trying to figure that out.

At the center of his work is the idea that the technologies billed as offering us more productive, happier, socially rich lives have left us more exhausted, empty and stressed out than ever. He’s doing something not enough people do: questioning whether this was all worth it. My critique of Newport’s work has always been that it focuses too much on the individual: Telling someone whose workplace communicates exclusively via Slack and email to be a “digital minimalist” is like telling someone who lives in a candy store to diet.

But his 2021 book, “A World Without Email,” is all about systems — specifically, the systems that govern how we work. In it, Newport makes a radical argument: We are living through a massive, rolling failure of markets and firms to rethink work for the digital age. But that can change. We can change it. This conversation with Newport was originally recorded in March of 2021, but it's just as relevant today as ever.

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

-- ConnorHudson - 22 Feb 2022

I similarly have been thinking a lot about the role of technology in my life. I eagerly buy (literally, buy) into each new trend and innovation, and I have seen the value it has added to my life. But at the same time, I'm increasingly concerned about the way algorithms have influenced me and my habits -- my purchasing habits and my perceptions of myself have changed drastically since limiting my time on social media. And seeing how drastic this change was, I wonder what other consequences of technology use to which I am blind (things I am unconsciously blind to + things I choose to ignore). Zeobouff calls this the "global architecture of behavioral modification" in her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. It's not a podcast but I have been listening to it as an audiobook and really enjoy it. And even more off topic but an incredible read – If you're interested in how these themes intersect with environmental justice, "M Archive: After the End of the World" by Alexis Pauline Gumbs is an incredible read. Fair warning this one is poetry, but that’s where its power comes from.

-- MelissaMouritsen - 23 Feb 2022

I used to listen to podcasts basically all day at work (employee of the year?) which led me to start to look for some long-form content. I forget exactly how, but I eventually stumbled upon Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Carlin's background is in journalism-making him a mere history "enthusiast" as opposed to a "real historian" or academic. Nonetheless, he's very thorough and captivating to the point that he holds your attention through 4-5 hour single subject monologues, punctuated by no music, ads, or guest speakers-just his own takes punctuated by quotes from primary and secondary sources. My personal favorite series was "Wrath of the Khans", a detail of the rise of the Mongol Empire and its blood soaked, world-changing conquests of medieval China, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Sadly, his older content is behind a paywall because he isn't ad-supported, but here's the link.

-- SpencerBecerra - 23 Feb 2022

The episode I am linking below, which I coincidentally listened to this morning, relates to our discussion about the music industry today. It comes from Recode's podcast called "Land of the Giants" which takes you through the history of Big Tech, and the most recent season is about Apple. This episode adds some nuance to how the music industry was disrupted by people being able to download music illegally. It then presents Spotify and Apple as coming in and "saving" the industry. It was a compelling account, but lacks the crucial inquiry posed in class -- are we degrading music in itself through this commodification?

I'm well aware of the irony of linking Spotify after today's discussion. However, I think gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the tech giants and their development is crucial for lawyers. This development is unprecedented and has happened faster than the law can keep up. And since we are of the first generation where this kind of technology is a 'given,' our education systems have not yet come to realize that they need to be teaching the history of how these giants developed -- becuase this is in recent memory for most teaching us.

-- MelissaMouritsen - 14 Apr 2022



Webs Webs

r4 - 14 Apr 2022 - 21:24:29 - MelissaMouritsen
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