WeeklyTech #133

How Christians can think about the epidemic of online gambling and sports betting

I am an avid college basketball fan. During my college years at the University of Tennessee, our basketball program took major steps forward in being competitive each year, routinely making the NCAA tournament. I follow my team and interact with various sports accounts on social media, which has put me in the target audience for many marketers including most sports betting apps and other forms of online gambling. These companies routinely target younger to middle-aged men, especially those who show interest in sports. I can’t go an hour or two online without seeing multiple ads for sports gambling, and even more so during March Madness. And due to the power of algorithms and digital marketing, the more I research this subject (and even you simply reading this type of article) will increase the likelihood of seeing gambling ads across the internet and social media platforms.

In recent years, there has been an explosion of online gambling especially related to sports. Whether professional sports like football, soccer, and basketball or collegiate sports including the current NCAA basketball tournaments, many of us are inundated with countless advertisements about making a quick buck or even betting on our team to win it all. Most of these ads are tailored to our favorite teams, often using images from high-profile games with the allure of “instant bonuses,” free credits, or an easy win. This time of year, online gambling surges leave many in their wake. 

The Rundown

War in Ukraine shows the tech industry needs to support national security, says ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt – Lauren Feiner | CNBC

Russia’s war on Ukraine will show tech companies why national security is important and why they should help support it, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Monday.

Tech’s globalist dream is dying – Scott Rosenberg | Axios

The breakup of the USSR in the early ’90s opened an era in which internet use rapidly spread around the globe and U.S. tech companies viewed the entire planet as both factory floor and market.

Putin’s prewar moves against U.S. tech giants laid groundwork for crackdown on free expression – Greg Miller and Joseph Menn | The Washington Post

Russian agents came to the home of Google’s top executive in Moscow to deliver a frightening ultimatum last September: take down an app that had drawn the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin within 24 hours or be taken to prison.

Instagram rolls out new safety tools for parents – Taylor Hatmaker | Tech Crunch

Meta announced on Wednesday a new set of tools designed to protect young users, an overdue response to widespread criticism that the company doesn’t do enough to protect its most vulnerable users.

Teach Them Friendship – Bryan Baise | Mere Orthodoxy

A significant amount of chatter has occupied social media about masculinity, manhood, and why men, both young and old, seem to shy away from these concepts. 

Spiritual Lessons from My Dumb Phone – Dru Johnson | Christianity Today

Christians should be marked by a sense of stillness, practices of stillness. If I am honest about it, I am terrified of being still because it quietly affirms that I am not in charge.

Face recognition’s staying power – Ashley Gold and Peter Allen Clark

Facial recognition systems solve thorny identification problems for government agencies and businesses, but they also raise concerns over bias and privacy, particularly since the U.S. lacks strong data regulations.

Fighting Disinformation Can Feel Like a Lost Cause. It Isn’t. -Jay Caspian Kang | NY Times

A 2020 study found that the filters for this sort of project could not catch all of the disinformation, which presented a problem: If you can identify only, say, 20 percent of the bad information and label it as such, what happens to the 80 percent? The researchers found that readers would be more likely to assume that the unlabeled disinformation was trustworthy.