Main content

Gentrification

Aleks Krotoski asks if the internet has been gentrified.

Gentrification. It’s a constant cycle in the offline world. Run down areas with cheap rent attract a young arty crowd, business moves in when the area has a new hip image, and suddenly everyone wants to live there and the original residents find themselves priced out of the neighbourhood and so move on to a new place to start the cycle again.

But, we don’t just live in cities in the digital age. The internet was once a haven for freaks, geeks and weirdos, but now that everyone has poured into the same digital space, has it too been gentrified? And if it has… where can people go?

Aleks Krotoski explores how digital communities have shifted and evolved, through both the very human development of communities, and the technological changes of algorithms and automation that have like the highways and infrastructure of the physical world, have split communities and fundamentally changed how we live online. She discovers out how the cycle of progress has both helped and hurt us in the digital age, and finds out if the artists, the freaks, the geeks and the weirdos still have a place to call home.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 18 Feb 2019 16:30

Wagner James Au

Wagner James Au
Wagner James Au is a journalist and author who became an virtual journalist, embedded in the Second Life world. Using his avatar, Hamlet Linden, he interviewed other plays and explored the vast and ever changing virtual landscape.
He tells us about how the clashes between communities in the early days, but how it was not community conflict, but the creeping infiltration of capitalism, that lead to an homogenisation and gentrification of the Second Life world.

Andrew ‘Angry Aussie’

Andrew ‘Angry Aussie’
Andrew, known online as Angry Aussie is a comedy Youtuber from Australia, who for more than ten years has been lambasting global politics and weird media events with a good dose of angry, sarcastic humour.
He tells us about how the Youtube algorithm changed the platform, cracked social bonds and narrowed creative output and allowed a dark and destructive element to degrade the Youtube community.

danah boyd

danah boyd
danah boyd is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, the founder and president of Data & Society, and a Visiting Professor at New York University. Her research is focused on addressing social and cultural inequities by understanding the relationship between technology and society. Her most recent books - "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" and "Participatory Culture in a Networked Age" - examine the intersection of everyday practices and social media. She is a 2011 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Director of both Crisis Text Line and Social Science Research Council, and a Trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. She received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University, a master's degree from the MIT Media Lab, and a Ph.D in Information from the University of California, Berkeley.
She tells us about her research into online social dynamics, and how the idea of gentrification can help us understand the changing digital environment.

Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka
Kyle Chayka is a journalist for publications including New York Times Magazine and the author of a forthcoming book on minimalism from Bloomsbury.
He tells about ‘Airspace’, a word he coined to describe a design aesthetic spreading across the world, and how the digital platforms we use are influencing real world desires, and spreading a very visible form of gentrification further and faster than ever before.

Photo courtesy of James Chororos.

Morvern Cunningham

Morvern Cunningham
Morvern Cunningham is a freelance creative producer based in Leith, Edinburgh, specialising in festivals and events. Morvern has produced a number of film-based projects including Grow Your Own Cinema, Future Shorts Glasgow & Edinburgh, and most recently the A Wall Is A Screen: Leith outdoor film projection event during the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. She is currently director of grassroots multi-arts organisation and late-night arts festival LeithLate, which she began in 2011.
She tells us about witnessing the gentrification in Leith, and discusses how communities can find a balance between vibrant creative renewal of a place, without disrupting the people at it’s heart.

Tim Hwang

Tim Hwang
Tim Hwang is Director of the Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, a philanthropic project working to ensure that machine learning and autonomous technologies are researched, developed, and deployed in the public interest. Previously, he was at Google, where he was the company's global public policy lead on artificial intelligence, leading outreach to government and civil society on issues surrounding the social impact of the technology. Dubbed “The Busiest Man on the Internet” by Forbes Magazine, his current research focuses on the geopolitical aspects of computational power and machine learning hardware, and the parallels between historical common law development and platform content policies.
He was also one of the co-creators of ROFLcon,  a biennial convention of internet memes that took place in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and he tells us how he saw a sea change in internet culture at that time as commercialisation began to manifest in creative online culture.

Broadcast

Podcast