The freedom and space to hear things

When King made history at UChicago | The University of Chicago

Amazing hearing the story of Martin Luther King’s speeches.

One speechmaker inspired millions with his words, the other utterly destroyed his own multi-million-dollar business with just a few phrases.

Civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr (played by Jeffrey Wright of WestworldThe Hunger Games, and the James Bond films) and jewelry store owner Gerald Ratner offer starkly contrasting stories on when you should stick to the script and when you should take a risk.

I was talking to a friend/colleague recently about presentation styles.

When I first started giving speeches and presentations I would create a script but I quickly dumped that idea as it just didn’t work for me. I also use to write notes but found myself reading the notes out rather than focusing on the audience. Finally I also use to do run-through’s with other people but found myself frustrated or even annoyed that in the run run-through’s that I said one thing but am saying something else while on stage.

I do subscribe to the jazz/improvisation approach with guard rails, which is the slides. Without them I tend to go off in many different directions. Although with some time constraints its all good.

Mozilla Festival 2021 – Its all virtual and you are invited!

Me with a face covering in 2016
Even in 2016, I was ready for the pandemic?

Its finally here, Mozilla Festival 2021 and its looking excellent.

I can’t tell you how long I have spent this evening looking at the hu

My adaptive podcasting workshopImagine being able to craft personalised podcasts which take advantage of data and sensors to wrap the listener in a story. Then imagine being able to do this for many people at once. This is what we call adaptive podcasting and the best part is its free, open…

I can finally tell you two of my three submitted sessions were accepted. The big one is a workshop around adaptive podcasting which will happen Monday 15th at 2015-2115 GMT. Don’t worry there is calendar invites for all the sessions including mine.

Its a hour workshop and its unlikely we will get the point of creating podcasts but there will be follow up sessions on the Mozfest slack and Storytellers United community.

Of course Adaptive podcasting will appear elsewhere outside of Mozfest, so keep an eye on the blog for more information around that.

My other session is the advantages of neurodiversity, which is a follow up to 2019’s the advantage of dyslexia, which is highly influenced by the amazing book by the same name.

Advantage of Neurodiversty - ArtLast year we explored the advantages of dyslexia at the brand new Neurodiversity space. This year we are back looking for people to explore and understand the advantages of different types of neurodiversity.

Look out for this one, as this art piece relies on your thoughts around the advantages of neurodiversity.

What is adaptive/perceptive podcasting?

I recently did a video for the EBU about Adaptive Podcasting (use to be called Perceptive Podcast). I say I did but it was all done by our BBC R&D video powerhouse Vicky. I did plan to get to work in Kdenlive or openshot but it would have been pretty tricky to emulate the BBC R&D house style.

I recorded the video, once another colleague sent me a decent microphone (and G&B dark Chocolates), wrote a rough script and said the words. I also decided I wanted to change my lightening to something closer to how I have my living room lights to encourage a level of relaxation. Vicky took the different videos and audio, edited it all together and created this lovely package all before the deadline of what the EBU wanted. If you want more you might like to check out the Bristol Watershed talk I gave with Penny and James.

Wished I had shaved and was a little more aware of the wide view of my GoPro, lessoned learned. Hopefully the video will get an update in the near future but the video should serve as a good taster for my Mozilla Festival workshop in March.

Enjoy!

Publicspaces conference: towards a common internet – March 11-12th – tickets now available

Publicspaces conference - towards a common internet

I previously blogged about the publicspaces conference.

On March 12, 2021, PublicSpaces, Pakhuis de Zwijger and Waag are organizing a conference to save the internet.

This event will happen mainly in a virtual form of course, however there might be something in person in Amsterdam’s Pakhuis de Zwijger. The conference will make up part of the Mozilla Festival 2021, also in Amsterdam and mainly virtual currently.

Now we can reveal more details for the conference and you can get your tickets now. The conference runs from late afternoon (5pm CET/4pm GMT) of Thursday March 11th (English speaking) and Friday March 12th all day (partly English mainly Dutch speaking).

I’m really happy to say I’m one of the people behind Thursday evening and we have some great keynote speakers presented by the amazing Marleen Stikker of Waag. Paul Keller of the Open Future foundation, Katja Bego of Nesta and Eli Pariser of Civic Signals; will all present short keynotes followed by a communal Q&A.

After a short break there will be several community announcements, followed by a panel discussion on an open letter launched by the SDEPS calling for digital European public spaces. Before a summary and plans for the Friday.

Publicspaces conference - towards a common internet

On Friday (10am CET/9am GMT) which is mainly Dutch language but has English tracks, the conference continues with 4 tracks.

Track 1: Towards an ethical internet

Most of the essential applications on the internet have turned into vehicles for political control and economic profit, in which citizens are no longer subjects, but objects. How can public organizations reclaim again the internet as a public space and offer their audiences services that embody public of which they subscribe the ethical values?

Track 2: The Digital Public Spaces Ecosystem

We are seeking to build digital public spaces that are in line with our common values: we want them to be open, democratic, and sustainable. Many initiatives exist that work on alternatives that can be part of this ecosystem of change. In this track, we will get both an overview of what organisations and projects are already out there, get a sense of how they can work together, and build new connections between initiatives and networks that operate in this ecosystem. Central to this track is a map that we are working on and build on during the sessions in this track. We invite participants to join us and add to this map as well as to find new potential collaborations so that together we can make these digital public spaces a reality. Ian Forrester, BBC R&D, will moderate the sessions in this track and invite you to join us on the shared ‘map of change’.

Track 3: Meet the disruptors

Silicon Valley and the world of venture capital revolve around the notion of radical disruption. Those ideas that change the world instantaneously. The question: ‘what comes after the break?’ is deliberately postponed until a later date. First, innovate, then improve is the device. In order to move towards a better internet, incremental change is not enough. In fact, it may actually be the mentality of ‘ship first, fix later’ that may have led to the problems that we are currently facing. In this track, we want to highlight the trailblazers that aim to create a different form of disruption. People that do not only want to change the world for a moment but those that have the stamina and patience to persist.

Track 4: Matchmaking track 

In the matchmaking track, supply and demand come together and new alliances are forged and partnerships are built. The purpose of the round table sessions is to bring new parties from different disciplines together around one topic. The conversation serves as an introduction and starting point for a workgroup or collaboration, also after the conference.

Sounds great? Go get your tickets now.

Whats been happening with the human values work?

Human values framework

After the podcast series which you can still hear on the BBC 2LO Soundcloud account. You might have noticed a few workshops we did around the human values.

Right up till now, we couldn’t say exactly why or who was funding it. However yesterday we can finally say, we won a Nesta NGI policy in action bid along with a few others. In short…

This project, led by the BBC, seeks to try out a more human-centric focused approach to measuring audience engagement by putting human values at its core. It will do so by putting into practice longer-standing research work on mapping the kinds of values and needs their users care about the most, and developing new design frameworks that would make it easier to actually track these kinds of alternative metrics in a transparent way.

The project will run a number of design workshops and share its findings through a dedicated website and other outlets to involve the wider community.

You can learn a lot more about the project in a longer interview with Lianne. But do keep an eye on the BBC R&D project page, humanvalues.io and for future workshops/opportunities to help us shape the research project into a tangible resource for all.

This is exciting stuff…

Essential black authors to read

I realise its Black history month in America, while in the UK its November but regardless this is a really good list of black authors with plenty of interesting subjects for reading over the year. I have already added a few to my 12 audiobooks to read this new years resolution.

Once again don’t read the comments, who down votes something like this? Actually don’t answer that, I know too well.

Adaptive bedtime lullabies

Oura  lullabies

I gave Oura’s sleep story a try the other night. It was pretty good, I was pretty much a sleep in under 10mins. I say 10mins because I couldn’t help but think how this could be so much better as a adaptive narrative or even a adaptive podcast?

Especially with the subject being around the moon.

I get the bedtime/sleep story is meant to be something to fall sleep to, but imagine it fitting/adapting slightly to the moon phase, how your day has been, etc. Oura is sitting on a ton of personal data and their system keeps that secure to the user.

Perfect for personalised adaptive narratives.

Some of the excellent books I read in 2020

I watch a lot of TV and Films but I also consume a lot of Audio (likely more than visual media). As mentioned in my new years resolution for 2021, I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks now I’ve been working from home for 10 months now.

Its worth noting I don’t really read fiction books for entertainment (this seems to be a common thing with some dyslexics?) because I think I get the fiction or entertainment part from TV & Films? Or maybe I was put off in earlier age by stuff like Lord of the rings?

So I thought I’d share some of the great books I read/listened to, not in order as such.

  • Winners Take All
    Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
    Anand’s book is a excellent look at the corruption of power. Its a great true story which is inter-sliced with cases from history of how Anand came to tell the people who he points the finger at, during their own conference.
    Anand also makes clear the problem of inequality and how its driving a lot of the ills, just like the book the inner level which I also read and highly recommend to everyone!
  • The Inner Level
    The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being by Pickett, Kate E and Wilkinson, Richard G.
    This book is incredible, I can’t stop not thinking about it and recommending it. There is so much in the book but the examples really make the overall backbone of the inner level and the previous book the spirit level. Inequality is the bedrock of so many problems and ills in this world, I’m very convinced by this now. For example here is the start of chapter 5: The human condition.

    Larger income gaps make normal social interaction increasingly fraught with anxiety, and, as we have shown, stimulate three kinds of response. Some people are overcome by low self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression; others become increasingly narcissistic and deploy various forms of self-aggrandizement to bolster their position in others’ eyes. But, because both are responses to increased anxiety, everyone becomes more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and falls prey to consumerism to improve their self-presentation. As social life becomes more of an ordeal and a performance, people withdraw from social contact and community life weakens. Crucially, we have seen that the bigger the income differences between rich and poor, the worse all this gets.

  • How To Be an Antiracist
    How to Be an Antiracist by Kendi, Ibram X.
    What a book, as said elsewhere its not great if its your first book on systematic racism. Ibram X, makes some excellent points and later gets right into the subjects of feminism, LGBTQ+ and ultimately intersectionality. He makes very clear you can’t be antiracist if you are against queer rights for example.

    To be queer antiracist is to understand the privileges of my cisgender, of my masculinity, of my heterosexuality, of their intersections. To be queer antiracist is to serve as an ally to transgender people, to intersex people, to women, to the non-gender-conforming, to homosexuals, to their intersections, meaning listening, learning, and being led by their equalizing ideas, by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity. To be queer antiracist is to see that policies protecting Black transgender women are as critically important as policies protecting the political ascendancy of queer White males.

     

  • White Fragility
    White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
    I read this book again just after the murder of George Floyd. I know some people are not keen on it but I found the examples and approaches extremely useful when talking about racism. For example the notion of white women tears.

    …well-meaning white women crying in cross-racial interactions is one of the more pernicious enactments of white fragility. The reasons we cry in these interactions vary. Perhaps we were given feedback on our racism. Not understanding that unaware white racism is inevitable, we hear the feedback as a moral judgment, and our feelings are hurt. A classic example occurred in a workshop I was co-leading. A black man who was struggling to express a point referred to himself as stupid. My co-facilitator, a black woman, gently countered that he was not stupid but that society would have him believe that he was. As she was explaining the power of internalized racism, a white woman interrupted with, “What he was trying to say was . . . ” When my co-facilitator pointed out that the white woman had reinforced the racist idea that she could best speak for a black man, the woman erupted in tears. The training came to a complete halt as most of the room rushed to comfort her and angrily accuse the black facilitator of unfairness. (Even though the participants were there to learn how racism works, how dare the facilitator point out an example of how racism works!) Meanwhile, the black man she had spoken for was left alone to watch her receive comfort.

     

  • The Guilty Feminist
    The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies, Deborah Frances-white
    I am a keen listener to the podcast with the same name and the book is well written with guests injections now and then. Like Ibram X, Deborah talks a lot about intersectionality and its absolutely importance.
    In a earlier chapter Deborah breaks down feminist by waves (second wave feminism for example) its quite powerful and makes super clear how different things have been over time. She also dispels some of the awful common stereotypes (bra burning & men hating for example) but thoughtfully uses intersectionality too.
    I listened to most of the book while waiting in long queues at Alton Towers. Well worth the read even if you listen to the podcast.
  • This Could Be Our Future
    This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler
    Previous co-founder of Kickstarter Yancey Strickler’s book is a welcomed read while looking at the state of the mainstream internet. Its a rallying call for longer term focus and is a refreshing read coming out of the epicentre of America’s hyper-capitalistic silicon valley. Yancey starts the book this way

    This book is about a simple idea.That a world of scarcity can become a world of abundance if we accept a broader definition of value. We recognize that there are many valuable things in life—love, community, safety, knowledge, and faith, to name just a few. But we allow just one value—money—to dominate everything else. Our potential for a more generous, moral, or fair society is limited by the dominance of money as the be-all and end-all. It puts a ceiling on what we can be.

    On a similar topic, I also had a read of Amy Lui’s Abolish Silicon Valley. Both are good reads and fit right alongside the R&D work into human values. Yancey is also one of our extremely knowledgeable guests in our Human values podcast series.

 

Publicspaces conference #1 towards a common internet – March 11-12th

How can we achieve public spaces on the internet?

On March 12, 2021, PublicSpaces, Pakhuis de Zwijger and Waag are organizing a conference to save the internet.

This event will happen mainly in a virtual form of course, however there might be something in person in Amsterdam’s Pakhuis de Zwijger. The conference will make up part of the Mozilla Festival 2021, also in Amsterdam and mainly virtual currently.

Of course I will be organising, joining the conference and the pre-conference on the evening of the 11th March (more details will come soon)

Conference 2021

The internet is broken, but we can fix it and replace broken parts. In this conference we will look for ways how we can make the internet a healthy public space again. With a day program for professionals from the public sector looking for a way out of big tech, and for developers of alternative systems for a safe, open and fair internet. We conclude the day with a talk show for everyone about the dangers of the current model, but also the concrete possibilities for a future internet without surveillance capitalism, and with healthy alternatives that we can use immediately.

Together we answer the impossible question: how do we create a public space on the internet?

Mark it down in your calendars… and expect more details soon.

Mapping the ecosystem but in a collaborative way?

This map of Dyslexia associations went around a few social circles recently but I got to say its quite impressive work.

I’m currently looking to do something similar but for organisations working in the space of the public service internet (best way I can describe it right now). But its got to be collaborative and the connections between them isn’t just their location, but their focus, their specialities, etc. On top of all this is the common connections between them.

I’ve been considering a number of things including Tagtool, some light semanticweb technology, a distributed model like Friend of a Friend and Human.txt. Been also considering scraping or getting the data from other sources like linkedin too.

What I’m doing is really recreating a customer relationship management system (CRM) like Salesforce but open, collaborative and distributed. Someone must have done this already?

Channel 4’s Deepfake queens speech raises tons of questions

When I first heard Channel4’s alternative speech was going to be a deep fake of the queen. I laughed but had a ton of questions. Some of them are covered in their behind the scenes video.

I felt the deep fake was a good thing to do, as so many people can’t tell the difference between real and fake. This has a big impact on the democratic process. But of course if you are reading this, you most likely know this already. It was good they made it deliberately fake rather than pass it off as a real speech, but of course some felt it was disrespectful.

Deep and shallow fakes are here and getting better every day, there is a important public service angle putting this front and centre. We got to get better at understanding what we see may not be what’s actually true.

Neurodiversity from all on the board

London Underground on neurodiversity

It was Leena who point me towards this tweet from @allontheboard.

Let’s celebrate the many positive aspects of being neurodiverse and break every stigma. You are not alone.

#Neurodiversity #Neurodiverse #ADHD #Autism #Dyslexia #Dyspraxia #allontheboard

This is so great on so many levels and I recommend reading through the tweet replies.

On reading the Inner Level

The Inner Level

I recently read (actually listened to) The Inner Level by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett. I first came across them at Nesta’s Futurefest conference, but had heard about the Spirit level beforehand.

The book leans a lot on the Spirit level but expands the results with new data and papers looking directly at the psychological effects of inequality on society

In short the inner level can be summed up in this graph

More inequality = more problemsIts not a surprise but the evidence is clear and the examples are spot on. You might also prefer the keynote where Kate takes directly takes bits from the book.

While I’m working from home, I have been listening to a lot podcasts and audiobooks. Each book has got me writing and thinking but this one really has given me a framework for a lot of the ills of the world. Now I’m a lot clearer on the fact equality is the core (or very likely one of them) of so many.

Lets take for example the American dream which I have been critical of previously. Work hard and you too can be successful and rich? Casey Gerald’s book and talks titled there will be no miracles here, highlights the problems of the American dream and the ultimate effect of inequality. If you want more have a read of the world economic forum.

It reminds me why the likes of Jeff Bezo’s net worth growing, is just all types of awful for us all. First time I heard about this, I wasn’t best pleased but besides the comment Amazon must pay their taxes, theres little more I could really say. I hadn’t really factor in the bigger effects of stuff like this.

In the book they mention the equality trust and trying to reach out further to gain some impact on policy makers. This reminded me the badges work and of course our own BBC Human Values work.

The complete human values framework podcast series

https://soundcloud.com/2lorebooted/sets/human-values-framework

A little while ago I mentioned the work myself and colleague Lianne have been conducting around the BBC R&D Human Values project.

I can happily say they are all uploaded to the BBC’s 2LO Soundcloud account, thanks to Bill. All of them are a good listen.

Episode 1: Human value discussion

What is the human value framework, and what are the intentions behind it?

Episode 2: Applying the human value framework

How is the human value framework used?

Episode 3: Exploring the underlying philosophy

A discussion of the philosophical model that underpins the framework

Episode 4: Measuring success using the framework

Are human values the new way to measure success and value in a digital age?

Episode 5: The impact of Covid-19 on the Human Values Framework

Considering human values in the current pandemic, and in the longer term

The BBC R&D blog post has updated details for each episode and who is in each episode. But I wanted to thank again our guests.

Lagom: just about enough… internet

Just enough internet…

I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently and my latest one being the inner level. While I heard the mention of the Swedish word Lagom.

The direct translation of the word lagom is actually moderate but it also roughly its used to say, just enough/right. A reminded of the great Rachel Coldicutt’s (OBE!) keynote speech during Mozhouse last year.

Still a real shame we never wrote up that event…