What is the Public service internet?

Myself and the Hon's

Its been thrown around a lot and if you search for the term public service internet you will click on something from Adrian Hon or Dan Hon. You will see stuff from others like chromatrope and even my own posts in searches. Or good searches will reveal related terms like Digital public space from newspapers like the Guardian and of course straight from Tony Ageh.

But not much from the BBC, so its quite exciting to finally see something more official.

BBC R&D researching the public service internet and looking for partners who share similar values.

My Edinburgh Fringe festival 2018

Mark Thomas

Its been 11 years since I really went to the Edinburgh festival. Back then I was running BBC Backstage and via some smart people decided to put on the Edinburgh TV Unfestival. I got to a few events but never really got going. So 11 years later, with my partner I was back.

The comedians make a living from word of mouth, I felt it would be wrong not to write a quick summary of what I thought of each one.

Friday 3 Aug

  • Abigoliah Schamaun: Do You Know Who I Think I Am?!  – Underbelly Cowgate at 21:00
    She was great, very funny and the smart deconstruction of comedy was just awesome. Well worth it
  • Werewolf: Live – Underbelly Cowgate at 22:50
    I saw this and just had to be there, werewolf has so much potential to be funny and this 8 person game with the audience was hysterical. Hate getting voted off first and there was a weird sense of something going on. So I raised the stakes with black lives matter which really got things going. If you love werewolf, you will love this. Good stuff!
  • Hate ‘n’ Live – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters at 0015
    People put topics in a hat for the 4 comics to hate on, what could go wrong? Well ask Chris McGlade, who took it too far and had to be told not to sexually attack the audience. It was uncomfortable to say the least and I did notice some people leave. Luckily Leo Kearse and Nick Elleray kept things enjoyable. Sure Hate’n’live could be fun but that night was so-so, even with jokes about who pays on the first date… Wonder who put that one in the hat? (my partner said laughing to herself)

Saturday 4th Aug

  • Robin Morgan: Honeymoon – laughing horse at 1600
    Recommended from one of my partners friends, it was enjoyable mainstream comedy, nothing edgy, just nice. Well told too.
  • Kevin Quantum: Vanishing Point – Cow Barn in Underbelly Bristo Square at 18:45.
    This was likely one of the worst things I saw the long weekend. Kevin was good but not a derren brown or penn & teller. The magic was further spoiled by sitting in the front row. But it could have been worst I guess.
  • Chris Henry: Around the World in 80 Dates – Clover in Underbelly Bristo Square at 20:10
    Ok Chris was funny his comedy did strike home with me but it wasn’t as good as some of the other acts on the other days.
  • 2 Girls, 1 Cup… of Comedy – Just the Tonic at The Mash House at 23:15
    It was another good comedy stand up from two women.. Things were going well for the second one till someone threw up at the back. The already hot room started to smell badly. Good fun regardless

Sunday 5th Aug

  • Mark Thomas – Check Up: Our NHS at 70 –  Traverse Theatre at 10:00
    I hated waking up early and I was cursing Mark Thomas for a 10am start especially after 2 girls 1 cup less than 10 hours before. But Mark Thomas was incredible and likely the best of my weekend. Thoughtful, funny and something to take away from the 90mins.
  • Brexit stage left – Cannons gait at 1610
    Reasonable free gig with some good laughs, nothing about brexit however. Wasn’t bad but nothing noteworthy for me
  • Good Grief – Tolbooth Market at 1730
    Such a good stand up story with a audience of me, my partner and a stranger. The storytelling was told very well and really took us for a ride around her life. Deserves a watch for sure!
  • Holt and Talbot: Mansplaining Feminism – City Cafe at 2000
    Oh boy, this was funny and I get the whole point. It was like the guilty feminist’s opening played out over a series of comically role play. Fun and interesting.
  • Terrible Sex Tips: Live and Uncut – Grassmarket 4 at 21:10
    Remember when I won 2nd prize at Smutslam? Well the host Cameron took to the stage with her sex tips or rather a deconstruction of the sex tips you get in magazines and other places. It was a rallying cry for diversity of thought, communication and emotional intelligence. Next to Mark Thomas, I think it was one of my highlights from the fridge. Lots to take away for anybody.
  • Kitchen Party Action – Laughing horse Espionage at 2245
    In a cramp almost bunker like room only saved by the massive fans, was some good standup comedy. Nothing too much, just standup which makes you chuckle and laugh even when its so late. Glad we saw the 6ft 5inch comic on a stage which gave him about 1-2 inches of headroom. Good show lots of and smiler
  • Best of the Fest – Assembly Hall at 0000
    Things on Sunday were going great, so I decided to pay for the best of the festival and see 5 acts on a big stage. Didnt enjoy the MC (Charlie Baker) but the acts got better and better. Here’s who was on stage… Felicity Ward, Lloyd Langford, Catherine Bohart, Christ Kent, Fin Taylor. You can see why they were chosen the best for the day.
  • Late nights LOLs – Laughing Horse at 0130
    I thought after coming out the Assembly hall I should do one more before heading back to the Airbnb. So on the way back I went to the laughing horse for some free but not great comedy. The 5 comedians tried but to be fair it was late and lots fell flat. Heck  it was 2am by that point

Monday 6th Aug

  • Eat sleep shit shag – City Cafe at 1345
    Certainly a fun show in a very hot and busy venue. She was relentless with the jokes and comedy, I think in a cooler room she may have more of the audience clapping and laughing. It was good but I wouldn’t seek it out especially.
  • Sara Barron: for worst, Just the tonic at 1540
    This was great comedy, a bit for everyone and really refreshing to before the train ride back to Manchester. Highly recommended for those endless laughs. Another one of my best from the weekend.

Its the Tamagotchi where the future went wrong?

My Tamagotchi is everything that went wrong with our future

Is one of those articles you read and shake your head realising the hard truth and how right it is…

The Tamagotchi offers the option to turn off the sound. But if I turn it off, I’ll miss the notifications and accidentally kill my hateful son. At this point, I’ve kept him alive for so long, I’d feel too guilty to pull the plug on my virtual spawn.

And anyway, what’s one more beeping annoyance in my life? The Tamagotchi is just another red dot for me to clear off yet another screen. At least this one doesn’t monetize my engagement through targeted advertising.

My smartphone, I’ve realized, is also a Tamagotchi. My laptop is a Tamagotchi. My tablet is a Tamagotchi. These new Tamagotchis have nicer screens and more than three buttons, but more importantly, they’re hooked into much more elaborate guilt trips. Now it‘s not just a virtual pet at stake; it’s my friends, my family, and my work being held hostage in order to keep me pressing these stupid buttons.

My favorite new development in our terrible Tamagotchi future? The “digital well-being” trend to “fix” smartphone “addiction.” More Tamagotchi buttons, so my Tamagotchis can stay alive longer.

Terrifying vision of the future, by looking at the past… no idea why it persisted in its different forms honestly…

Hetiquette? Seriously?

Chiquita Bananas

I could not believe what I was reading when I saw eating Bananas without breaking it up was in some circles could suggest you were gay?

I eat bananas but do tend to break them into 2 or 3 pieces mainly because its quite unmanageable to fit one in my mouth. But this absolutely nothing to do with my sexuality or sexual preference!

Hertiqette is total stupidity and absolute nonsense, but for some (sadly) its a way of life.  The idea of gender on a spectrum has yet to take hold.

I was already surprised/shocked/annoyed at the banana thing then I read further.

Richard Hammond, a very manly, very heterosexual man who drives fast cars on the Amazon motoring show The Grand Tour, said he didn’t eat ice-cream: “It’s something to do with being straight.”

This is total bollox! Then we reach the drink thing…

2010 study, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, found that when men have to make a snap decision about what they consume, they choose whatever their intrinsic preference is, even if it’s coded “feminine”. They’ll opt for that tasty pink drink at the bar instead of a more manly-seeming whiskey, for example.

And I will never forget the date when I ordered a pint for my date and a cosmopolitan for myself. Some random man came up to us and said think you got the drinks around the wrong way? We laughed it off but actually how flipping rude was that guy and how dare he impose his narrow-minded views on a random couple?

James Wilkie, assistant professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame, who co-authored the study, explains that women aren’t as sensitive about making appropriate choices because they’re not penalized in the same way that men are. “If anything,” says Wilkie, “a woman might get compliments if she orders a more manly drink at the bar.” We live in a culture which rewards acting in stereotypically ‘male’ ways and punishes ‘female’ behaviour. Sad as it may be, this extends to the manner in which you eat a banana.

This is all such bollox and needs to die. Sooner the better!

Douglas Rushkoff and live team human podcast

There is a author who have been following for many years/decades. His name is Douglas Rushkoff and to be fair I have written about him a few times including the new book at the time, throwing rocks at the google bus.

It all started when I read the Ecstasy Club when I was much younger then Media Virus and Cyberia.

I had no idea about Team Human which he’s been doing for a long while but during FutureFest (blog coming soon) I got talking with Douglas and he mentioned there was a live recording for the podcast in London a few days later on Monday. I was able to juggle a few things and go along with a friend.

Team Human LIVE from Brick Lane, London

It was quite a thoughtful and intellectually stimulating night which I don’t need to describe it because the first podcast is up.

What if we stopped thinking about the future as a noun and started thinking about it as a verb? We can future together!
The second part should be with Rupert Sheldrake, whos TEDx talk was banned from TED.

I’m now subscribed to Team human and look forward to hearing how things turned out…

Why are so many Londoners leaving for Manchester?

Mist shrouding Canary Wharf this morning

Interesting bit from the Manchester Evening News about people moving from London to Manchester.For me as someone who moved 10 years ago, it was quality of life.

“For the same amount of rent I now live in a city centre flat, it’s still a novelty to be able to live so close to the centre.

“I had to catch a train and two tubes for the 7 mile journey to my office, spending £40 a week to top up my Oyster card. Now I have just a 20 minute drive from home.

“It was a struggle to save any money, but now I can afford to have a car and go on holidays.

“I think people are becoming aware of the fact it is no longer necessary to build your career in the capital, there are many opportunities for graduates in Manchester.”

London is great but it was becoming more and more difficult to buy a place, are if they theres plenty of opportunities but what use if you so tired travelling or broke paying for taxis to get home? Although I was happy to see and use the night tube in the past few years.

I spent 8 days in London recently and I do like London but the quality of life I have right now blows away what I had in London. Yes I wish Manchester would sort out its transport system and there could be more places to go without drinking or loud music.

What does it mean to be a man?

Terry Crews

“Don’t be weak. Don’t be small. Don’t be poor. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be feminine. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be unapproachable. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be patronizing. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be unemotional. Don’t be big. Don’t be loud.”

What does it mean to be a man in modern time, is a question which keeps popping up again and again. Things have change for the better I would say but every once in a while the old fashioned legacy comes fighting back. Better known as toxic masculinity

One such thing is the nightmare which sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Its one of those things men don’t like to talk about, mainly the notion that it makes them less of a man? What ever that really means?

Now I hear some of you say, “Surely Ian, no one would give someone a hard time for encountering sexual harassment?”

To which I would say, where have you been?

So although most men have the right attitude for women, this is totally reversed for other men. Perfect example is 50 Cent’s mocking of Terry Crews’ sexual assault is no surprise given the toxic masculinity engulfing African American communities.

To be fair I careless what 50 cent thinks or says but its a example of what I see and hear too often when men get together. Its a typical pack mentality with each one outdoing each other with what they would have done, or how it wouldn’t happen to them. Yep the usual nonsense…

Dr NerdLove sums up my thoughts so well, that I’m going to say little else about it; theres also audio only if you prefer it like I do.

I don’t have absolute answers but belittling men victims of such abuse can’t be the right way…!

There are serious problems with masculinity but not talking or trying to outdo each other isn’t helping at all. I would also add there is a lot that can be learned from feminism, regardless of what others may think.

Re-decentralising the internet one step at a time

2 sides of the internet

You may have noticed a lot of blog posts about decentralising the internet? Last year I had the pleasure of spacewrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest, and I wrote down my reasons why I switched from the privacy and security space while in Tallinn. This year I won’t be spacewrangling (although I’m very happy to see Mark and Ross still involved in the wrangling)

Here’s the call for action.

Can the world be decentralised?

In this parallel dimension, people self-organise into open groups that create art, write code, and even build cities. Their technology runs on consensus and their society is fuelled by data. But data is not just a resource — it’s an extension of individual identity and collective culture. People give informed consent to data gathering and enjoy transparency of use.

Journey to a new world and bring back powerful, resilient technology; explore radical, paradigm-shifting ideas; and take part in cutting-edge discourse. Explore protocols like DAT, IPFS and ActivityPub, alongside ideas such as net neutrality and proof of stake. Experience decentralised platforms like Matrix and Mastodon, and support the equal commons of all.

Let’s discover this wonderland, together.

I do have things I want to submit and the deadline is August 1st. So you got some time to put something in, and it doesn’t need to be super detailed, just enough to explain the overall idea. Get in there and submit now!

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

My thoughts about important this really is goes super deep, as I’ve seen how the internet has been hijacked by a monolithic culture of private businesses with a winner takes all attitude.

Of course I’m not the only one thinking and talking about this. Many people and organisations are, including the W3C, Mozilla, Dot Everybody, BBC and Nesta to say a few.

I’ll be joining a critical panel about this exact thing at Futurefest this weekend. Tickets are still available and to be honest 2 years ago I was blown away by the festival topics and speakers.

The internet isn’t where we want it to be. With power increasingly centralised in the hands of very few players, citizens have little say in where we want the internet to go next. But challenging existing dynamics won’t be easy: we find ourselves caught in the crossfire between the dominant American models (driven by Big Tech) and the increasingly powerful Chinese model (where government reigns supreme). Is there scope to create a third, European model, where citizens and communities are in charge?

In this session, we discuss alternative trust models for the internet. This session is part of the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative. We will hear from Manon den Dunnen, strategic specialist at the Dutch National Police, Ian Forrester, Chief Firestarter at BBC R&D and Marta Arniani, innovation strategist and founder of Futuribile / Curating Futures. Chairing will be Katja Bego, senior researcher at Nesta and coordinator of the Next Generation Internet Engineroom project.

Sounds like a very good panel right? I can’t see many punches being pulled either. Get your ticket now.

TED2018_20180414_1RL3522_1920

Finally something else related which I saw recently is Baratunde Thurston‘s New tech manifesto.

This project is based on the Medium feature for its “Trust Issues” series launched in June 2018. That feature was written by Baratunde Thurston, focused on data, and titled:

A New Tech Manifesto: Six demands from a citizen to Big Tech

The third place? I think I found aspects of it in Urbandeli?

Urban Deli, Stockholm

I wrote this post while in Urban Deli but forgot to post it, till I left Stockholm…

I was looking for somewhere to have brunch in Stockholm and came across Urban Deli. When I got there for brunch I realised it was actually a Deli not what I was expecting. But I stuck with it and was super surprised when I was told anything bought in the deli shop could be consumed in large section of the bar. The shop is packed full of many things including take away meals, a mini butcher, cheesemonger and fishmonger. They have lots of fruit and healthy goods.

Ok I’m not doing it justice but imagine a mini-shop, bar, cafe and hotel? was pushed together and it opened early and closed very late. Then throw in decent wifi, nice seating for groups and individuals eating, working on their laptops, playing chess, having a business meeting or watching the world cup. There’s communal tables and little two person tables, power sockets everywhere and microwaves in case you need something heated up!

Urban Deli, Stockholm

Yes its pretty amazing and I can’t see how it can work but it really does. No idea if its profitable but for me this is as close to the 3rd place as it comes. Its slightly worrying as its super seductive but its not a public space/place. There is a security guard who wonders around making sure everyone is playing by the rules set by them.

Urban Deli, Stockholm

I could buy a load of food from the shop and have a little party with friends. Because its open late, it makes a great alternative to the usual busy bars and pubs. Most cafes don’t open late as there isn’t enough trade late at night? Only the other day did I discover Chapter One tea/book shop opens till midnight every night in Manchester; but its not exactly busy after 10pm

Maybe the Scandinavian culture suits this setup but what ever it is, its a very cool concept and works well.

Urban Deli, Stockholm

Following up I had a chat with one of the staff about the setup and they told me Urban Deli is a new concept and its been running for 2-3 years! It started with the bar, then the cafe, then the shop and the hotel joined later. The hotel is about 130 rooms below the complex and they just added a roof terrace this year. The shop stays open till 1am. He also mentioned they sit next to a bunch of big businesses which have employees who work sometimes very late, so the microwave and pre-packed good food made sense in more than one way. Think Google canteen but not just for staff.

Fascinating concept and place, urbandeli

Airbnb what can I say…?

Airbnb business model

I’ve had my ups and downs with Airbnb, being a host and being a guest. Recently my flat made the decision to block/ban people renting out their who flat for Airbnb. Mainly for reasons in this post, profiteers make a killing on Airbnb – and erode communities. The destruction when some guests have gone off is pretty bad. Then the committee (who I’m a member) found there is a clause in which many are not aware of

Borrowers who are granted permission could be charged higher interest or additional fees.

Those who go behind lenders’ backs and list their property on Airbnb regardless would be in breach of their contract and the lender could ask them to repay the mortgage immediately.

The important thing to remember is there is are different types of hosts. For example I only put my spare room on Airbnb not my whole flat. I trust people but there is no way I would give them the keys to my home without me being there at the same time! I remember going to a airbnb meetup in Manchester and being shocked at the difference between those like me who do it for a bit of extra cash and those who treat it like a business.

On the business side theres many stories including this one Airbnb: ‘It’s a cash machine. It’s magical. You are paid to go on holiday.’ These stories do worry me and do make me cross my arms. But on the guest side its been really great to fly around europe and stop at Airbnb’s for sometimes 3x less than the hotels near by. I’ve benefited greatly being able to do this but am very aware of the racial discrimination of the sharing economy. I’m fortunate to being a host and being able to verified about 9 different things including my government ID and full address. Being on the service early on means my rep is pretty good even being awarded superhost a few years ago.

I’ve met some great people doing Airbnb too, even met my favourite Airbnb guest in Portugal in March for a short while, 2.5 years after I hosted her. I bet those host their spare house have no idea who is there or really care?

Starting now would be difficult as I’ve found out from friends who try it, but its clear cities and countries are coming down on Airbnb for ruining communities as mentioned before, Airbnb wrecks travellers’ holiday plans as battle with cities intensifies. You thought it was just Uber right? Nope the whole silicon valley business model is tearing up communities and existing businesses. Neo-liberalism at its best or worst depending how you look at things.

But at the heart of it do Airbnb give a rats? As I found when I went to Japan (listing no longer exists) and Iceland, no they really dont. The problem is its a neat system, just run by a silicon valley company which is aiming to put everybody else out of business then yank the price cord up once they got us. Imagine if Airbnb was run by a public service company, non-profit or coop?

I do think we need to separate the hosting situations. I’m a host but I’m nothing like those who host their 4th bought house, screaming blue murder that they are not superhost entitled and out to make a killing. If I was as greedy, I certainly would drop the price (I charge £45 per night) and rise the price massive on concerts days (A woman came to the taylor swift concern for £45/night, hotels and other airbnb’s were charging £150+ a night). There is clearly a difference and its important to remember this.

Why a code of conduct matters

Paul Irwin at Thinking Digital 2018

I was at the excellent thinking digital conference yesterday when Paul Irwin from trylife took to the stage. Ironically he followed a excellent talk from Tatiana Simonian who made a clear call for more diversity and inclusion within the digital sector.

Sat in the 2nd row with my Nikon camera I was enjoying the story of his life and trylife (I was planning on talking to him afterwards) but I was caught in a state of flux. The words (ones which were not swear words) coming out of his mouth and seemed mismatched with his tshirt or choice of tshirt.

From my view it was a young female adult with a breast on show. Ok from my point of view quite tasteless but certainly something I can’t really imagine someone wearing at a professional conference. And I say that haven given talks about dating, love, sex and hookup culture. I was always sure to make my slides acceptable for a general audience. There is no way, even if I owned such clothes would I wear them on stage. This is all before I even looked at the conference code of conduct.

The last few conferences I have spoke at, I had needed to sign or least explicitly agree to the code of conduct in some way. I hadn’t really considered exactly why the speakers would need to do this, as the speakers should be onboard with this anyway? But now I totally get it.

I hasn’t noticed Thayer had already left for reasons I was still juggling in my mind.

Things got really concrete in my mind as Paul started talking about how he was helping young girls in trylife. I kept thinking how are you helping by wearing that tshirt? Did you not look in the mirror and think? Don’t you see the paradox which you have created?

This is when I started looking at the hashtag #tdc18 to see what others thought. This is when I saw Thayer’s tweets then I saw Christian’s one.

I was struck because she was right and I was a fool to sit there wondering about this paradox which was opening up in front of me. Heck I even gave Paul a token finger clap (indicating how I was feeling at the time) while others cheered around me.

Some people will argue that Mr Bingo’s talk was even more sexualised and he did use the words “fuck it” but the context was very different. The actions, words and clothes of Mr Bingo were not mismatched, like Paul.

The message he delivered was truly soiled by his choice of t-shirt. The swearing I could put up with as it wasn’t aggressive (although also against the code of conduct) and but I couldn’t take him serious, and I know thats on me. But his choice of a sexualised t-shirt reflected badly on him and a great conference; and thats not good!

After the break Herb Kim apologized to everyone on stage and later on twitter.

Someone close to me described it something like this…

People actions should equal what they say, especially on a stage.

What happened next is difficult to say as I wasn’t witness to any of it. But I heard clearly aggressive threatening behaviour from one of Paul’s friends at Thayer when she approached him to talk through things. The best thing he could have done was be understanding about things but judging by his twitter this was the last thing on his mind…

Thayer you have my total support and I’m sorry I didn’t join you when you stood up and left.

Updated – 25th May

Herb the founder of Thinking Digital has issued a statement on his medium to what happened at Thinking Digital 2018. It includes a apology from Paul Irwin about what happened on the day.

Updated – 30th May

Great news.

Remember what Zuckerberg said about its trusted users?

Mark Zuckerberg is “deluded” by his own faith in Facebook’s ability to be a force for good in the world.

I have so many pieces saved in my wallabag archive about the faccebook/cambridge analytica data issues (it is not a breach!). As I read, more information comes to light.

But I am always reminded of what Zuckerberg said about its trusted users… and it sums up so much.

Dumb fucks…

The thing about the statement is although it might be throw away in nature it speaks volumes about the way Zuckerberg thinks about Facebook users. It also interesting to think how Facebook is makes users feel that way, taking the power and control out of their hands. The reactions to the reveals have been so-so like when Edward Snowdon revealed the mass surveillance of millions of citizens around the world.

But its super clear, no matter how powerless we all feel, its super important to not lose sight that these giant companies have weaponised data, algorithms and psychology against us all. Running from one service to another isn’t so helpful in the long run.

We need to be more conscious about our decisions physically, mentally and virtually or be the dumb fucks Zuckerberg talked about.

The third place…

I saw this and thought it was very fitting with the thoughts and arguments about digital public spaces. Especially Oldenburg’s characteristics of the 3rd place.

Neutral ground

Occupants of third places have little to no obligation to be there. They are not tied down to the area financially, politically, legally, or otherwise and are free to come and go as they please.

Leveler (a leveling place)

Third places put no importance on an individual’s status in a society. Someone’s economic or social status do not matter in a third place, allowing for a sense of commonality among its occupants. There are no prerequisites or requirements that would prevent acceptance or participation in the third place.

Conversation is main activity

Playful and happy conversation is the main focus of activity in third places, although it is not required to be the only activity. The tone of conversation is usually light hearted and humorous; wit and good natured playfulness are highly valued.

Accessibility and accommodation

Third places must be open and readily accessible to those who occupy them. They must also be accommodating, meaning they provide the wants of their inhabitants, and all occupants feel their needs have been fulfilled.

The regulars

Third places harbor a number of regulars that help give the space its tone, and help set the mood and characteristics of the area. Regulars to third places also attract newcomers, and are there to help someone new to the space feel welcome and accommodated.

A low profile

Third places are characteristically wholesome. The inside of a third place is without extravagance or grandiosity, and has a homely feel. Third places are never snobby or pretentious, and are accepting of all types of individuals, from several different walks of life.

The mood is playful

The tone of conversation in third places are never marked with tension or hostility. Instead, they have a playful nature, where witty conversation and frivolous banter are not only common, but highly valued.

A home away from home

Occupants of third places will often have the same feelings of warmth, possession, and belonging as they would in their own homes. They feel a piece of themselves is rooted in the space, and gain spiritual regeneration by spending time there.

Weaponised psychology and centralised corruption a tale of two internets?

Public Service Internet
Imagine two sides of a tree. One is private and the other one is public. You have the choice to move freely between both, now thats a park I think is fair to everyone

I was a little disappointed in the discussion I heard during the PsychTech Podcast titled A Digital Attention Crisis? I was expecting a little more in-depth criticism of the digital system. But they seemed to turn against Tristan Harris and the time well spent movement.

Don’t get me wrong some of it did make sense but I felt like they were shooting the messenger not listening to the message. Now to be fair I was listening in the shower and getting ready; so may have missed some key parts while washing my hair. But by the end I was shouting out loud, have they never heard of the Quantified Self?

The point of time well spent isn’t about Tristan dictating some rules from on high. Its meant for us to question our relationship with ubiquitous  connected technology and the way the companies behind them influences our lives.

Ironically a few days before I read Tim Berners-Lee’s rallying call to regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web. Its a pretty good read but I feel slightly muted because thats what Tim is like. I’m much more aggressive about the whole issue, and to be fair Kelli and Josue at the very start say, well its just capitalism, what you going to do about it?

I reject this notion but this is also why my focus isn’t on fixing the over reach of capitalism on our attention, thoughts, relationships with each other and beyond.

What happened to diversity? Just have a look at the apps we all use and whos behind each one

Instead its time to double down on the public sector. This is why I find any discussion related to this from an American point of view slightly painful to hear and lacking of the mention of serious alternatives.

Berners-Lee warned of “two myths” that “limit our collective imagination” when looking for solutions to the problems facing the web: “The myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points we need to be a little more creative,” he said.

“I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions,” he said.

He’s absolutely right… Even the concept of a decentralised dating site, gets blank or weird looks. We have hood winked into the centralised model and its not always the best way. I was going say sleep walked but that wouldn’t do justice to the massive influence of the silicon valley tech firms. This is also the part I think the PsychTech podcast misses, this is weaponised psychology not just a happy accident solved by installing an app.

Berners-Lee has always maintained that his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, his vision to create an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged as the web has become more centralised.

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

Its very much why I was interested in space wrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest last year. Centralised power corrupts I maintain. Tim is right we need a better vision but rather than spend all that effort trying to reform a horribly broken system of corruption, greed and power. Make an viable alternative which makes the existing model obsolete… (love Buckminster for this great quote)

Its time to build a public service internet which maintains its values, diversity and distributed nature of the public; as an alternative to whats currently seen as the whole internet… We don’t need a new internet, we need competing services with different business models which can talk to each other and give options to the people.

You want a private park which is nicely maintained and don’t mind paying for the privilege? Fine. But if you want a park which is public and has a lively community because its free to the public due to taxes. Fine too. Similar to health care, libraries, transport in Europe, you can pay but there is a baseline.

Critical when thinking about the digital divide and the next 1 billion people.

This still leaves a gaping “digital divide” that exacerbates existing inequalities: you are more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country.

“To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate,” Berners-Lee said. “If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That’s an entire generation left behind.”

Two years ago, the UN declared internet access to be a basic human right on par with clean water, shelter, food and electricity. However, in many places, getting online is prohibitively expensive – the cost of 1GB of mobile broadband in Malawi is more than 20% of the average monthly income. In Zimbabwe, it is nearly 45%.