Category Archives: Psychology

The normalcy of online learning: the more you study, the better you do

Online learning, after all, is just a form of learning: time spent studying is one of the best predictors of success. Both the pattern (and the exceptions) can be seen quite clearly on the Open University Learning Analytics dataset, which collects anonymized data about the personal characteristics and, crucially, interactions with the Open University's Virtual […]

Deep(ly) Unsettling: The ubiquitous, unspoken business model of AI-induced mental illness

"The junk merchant," wrote William S. Burroughs, "doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.” He might as well have been describing the commercial, AI-mediated, social-network-driven internet. The emotionally and politically toxic effects of the […]

When devops involves monitoring for excess suicides

There is strong observational evidence of prolonged social network usage being correlated with depression and suicide — enough for companies like Facebook to deploy tools to attempt to predict and preempt possible cases of self-harm. But taken in isolation, these measures are akin to soda companies sponsoring bicycle races. For social networks, massive online games, […]