Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2024)

Limitations of RSS according to Spotify

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with questions like will Gaia X survive? What will happen to Firefox? Will our coffee to go habits end us all?

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with even rolling stone magazine covering the decentralised and federated webfully private internet search may happen sooner than expected and Mozilla’s clever demonstration called platform tilt.


The dark dark hole which is pig butchering

Ian thinks: You may have heard of “Pig Butchering” in relation to romance/crypto scams. In this  pretty dark episode of Darknet diaries which deals with violence, scams and death. You realised how deep and dark the scams go.

AI ethics and bias is popping up everywhere

Ian thinks: I have noticed a general exhaustion/ignorance to the problem of bias in AI. This short video from Channel 4 is a timely reminder of how it manifests and for us all to take some responsibility.

Post office scandal, the computer says No

Ian thinks: The post office scandal is simply awful all over. People have lost the faith of their communities, family and even lost their lives. All due to a not fit for purpose computer system (Fujitsu’s Horizon). What makes things worst is all the people who sided with the computer system over the huge evidence of the post office masters/mistresses. Also interesting it took a TV show to push the whole scandal into the public conscious.

AI hype distraction?

Ian thinks: I liked this for many reasons but the distraction technique used by many people who con others is somewhat clear to see across a lot of the AI stories I see. I did wonder if I was the only one?

Surveillance capitalism and open standards don’t mix?

Ian thinks: The podcast industry is feeling the pinch due to advertisers wanting to know more about the listener. Spotify’s has always offered a closed platform and rejected RSS for this reason. However, Apple will start supporting the open Podcast namespace around transcripts.

Why privacy matters

Ian thinks: I recently shared this video with a few people who have started drinking the cool-aid about privacy is over. Its something of a timely reminder at the top of the year, of the importance of privacy for everyone.

The hype machine

Ian thinks: I recently read the hype machine by Sinan Aral. I expected most of the points but I did find the influence on society points, stronger than I imagined. The depth of the arguments are worthy of reading and of course acting on.

The AI hardware devices got interesting

Ian thinks: There is renew interest in new/alternative user interfaces and although AI is all the rage, our smartphones are fighting back (as the video shows). When I think about this all, I can’t help but wonder about the infrastructure. Leaning on Human Data Interaction guidelines, many of them mask the data from the human.

The word of 2023, Enshittification

Ian thinks: Congrats to Cory on a word which sums up so much about the current internet business model but also doing something about it. I remember Cory being quite critical of surveillance capitalism and emphasising the problem of monopolies, lack of agency and interoperability.

Worth noting Cory’s sequel to Red Team Bluesthe Bezzle is available.


Find the archive here

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at cubicgarden@mas.to, cubicgarden@twit.social and cubicgarden@blacktwitter.io

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