Usually I’m busy at this time getting things ready for Mozilla festival, but this year I stepped down as a spacewrangler. Its always good to have new people try their hand at it all. Of course I’m still involved in Mozfest, as I submitted a few sessions for the festival and a couple were accepted including why is there a need for a public service internet; which follows a private event during the Mozhouse week.
This year, ideas from Mozilla’s first full-length Internet Health Report — a deep look at how the Internet and human life intersect — are at the heart of the festival. At MozFest 2018, we’ll strategize our next moves in global campaigns for net neutrality, data privacy, and online freedom. We’ll advance thinking on topics like ethical AI and common-sense tech policy. We’ll collaborate on code, on art and practical ideas, creating seeds for the next great open-source products.
It was quite a weekend with 97 people going through the experiences; Lancaster Uni’s living room primer, the original living room experience (as we had in Liverpool) and special showing of the S3A’s vostok.
We likely could have had more but the V&A’s maze like design made it very difficult for people to get to our ground stand in time for the 5min tour to the living room experience on the 3rd floor unfortunately. We actually over 200 people signed up via the free eventbrite link.
I personally apologise to everyone who couldn’t find our space on the ground floor or turned up late because of the maze like experience.
Lancaster Uni’s living room primer
The Lancaster’s living room primer using visual perceptive drama to make the point loud and clear. It uses Visual Perceptive Media footage to tell the story of the Break Up, which was written by Julius Amedume back in 2015.
Its quite a playful experience and is much more explicit about what its doing as a whole. This is why I call it a primer for the living room.
The original living room experience in full effect
Showing off the ambient nature of the experience which can be built using the living room framework. It was created with artists from the Western Balkans and Czech republic, and made possible with 3 UK universities Nottingham (databox), Lancaster (iot) and York (obm), FACT Liverpool, the British Council and our successful bid for the Objects of immersion.
It really shows whats possible with something much more abstract than explicit.
The Vostok-K Incident – 3D Spatial Audio demo
We always wanted to use 3D spatial audio in the original living room but we built the living room using similar technology as our timeframe for research was quite different. Its clear we would use S3A in the future. You could imagine a S3A app running on Databox, keeping the same privacy first HDI framework model we pushed earlier on.
All three experiences show off the possibilities and what could be coming to your living room in the near future. Looking forward to seeing what others could do with these technologies?
The weekend of the 22-23rd September 2018, the living room of the future will be at the London Design Festival’s Digital weekender at the V&A Museum.
Tickets are still available but there is a waiting list for certain times. Of course if there is space we will add you to the audience, but we do have a physical limit on each showing.
Come and visit us and give your views… See you there!
You might have noticed I haven’t been blogging much recently (there are many reasons) but I’ve been doing a lot of reading and have a ton of things to blog.
One such thing is Jeremy Corbyn’s 2018 Alternative MacTaggart Lecture or rather his big, bold, radical thinking on the future of our media.
Big and bold maybe, radical? I’m less convinced but the interesting part is section 4, where he outlines plans for a British Digital Corporation.
The final idea I’d to share with you today, which I hope will generate some new thinking, is about how we, as a public and the media, as an industry take advantage of new technology.
I want us to be as ambitious as possible. The public realm doesn’t have to sit back and watch as a few mega tech corporations hoover up digital rights, assets and ultimately our money. This technology doesn’t have an inbuilt bias towards the few. Government is standing by and letting the few take advantage of the many using technology.
So, one of the more ambitious ideas I’ve heard is to set up a publicly owned British Digital Corporation as a sister organisation to the BBC. The idea was floated by James Harding, former BBC Director of Home News in the Hugh Cudlipp lecture earlier this year.
A BDC could use all of our best minds, the latest technology and our existing public assets not only to deliver information and entertainment to rival Netflix and Amazon but also to harness data for the public good.
A BDC could develop new technology for online decision making and audience-led commissioning of programmes and even a public social media platform with real privacy and public control over the data that is making Facebook and others so rich.
The BDC could work with other institutions that the next Labour government will set up like our National Investment Bank, National Transformation Fund, Strategic Investment Board, Regional Development Banks and our public utilities to create new ways for public engagement, oversight and control of key levers of our economy.
It could become the access point for public knowledge, information and content currently held in the BBC archives, the British Library and the British Museum. Imagine an expanded Iplayer giving universal access to licence fee payers for a product that could rival Netflix and Amazon. It would probably sell pretty well overseas as well.
I find this interesting mainly because I still think the BBC is still best placed to do this, rather than set up a new corporation. If I didn’t think this was still true I’d be rethinking what I’m doing at the BBC.
The thing I do think could work is a collaboration between different existing companies/institutes/organisations to a make something like Corbyn is talking about.
Now that would be radical…?
Don’t forget the living room is coming to the V&A Museum in London and tickets are still available. You might be like quite a few people wondering what is this living room of the future I keep talking about?
Well a talented colleague make a trailer for it to wet your taste buds…
Of course even with an impressive number experiencing the living room, it always made sense to move it to other locations.
Data is changing our lives but what about our homes?
Services like Netflix and YouTube personalise our entertainment, and devices like Alexa control our home with voice command. But do you ever think about how much data they know about you and your loved ones?
Do you wonder where personal information is stored, how safe it is, or how household devices interact with each other, and you? And, in the future, how much will your living room know about you?
The Living Room of the Future is a short interactive cinematic experience after which, you’ll have a chance to share your thoughts.
Grab one now and book yourself a seat in the living room of the future.
Thinking Digital is always a great conference and I try to make sure I get to Newcastle for each one. Now in its 11th year, its clear there is no sign of it slowing down.
This year I booked quite late and missed a number of excellent workshops, so ended up doing the startup thing. It was the first time I had been involved in it but it was really interesting. Thinking digital switched to a one and half format a long while ago and I got to say its working well. After the mass dinner on the workshop day it was a early start for the conference.
Herb always does such a great job that I rarely even look at the schedule in advance, and I wasn’t wrong.
In the usual manor here is my highlights from Thinking Digital 2018.
Surprisingly gave a talk about blockchain and communicated it extremely well. I have heard many people try and explain blockchain to regular people and either confuse the audience or do a dis-justice to blockchain technology. Maybe this is partly why blockchain gets such a bad rep by so many people. At Fuel 2018, a speaker who I gather explained blockchain in 2017 had to come back to explain again in 2018, acknowledging how much he confused people the first time around.
I also never heard of tip your farmer but I love the idea and it perfectly illustrates the kind of applications blockchain could empower and drive.
I already wrote about which happened at Thinking Digital during Pauls talk earlier which I needed to address sooner complete with an update.
If I could ignore the tshirt I would be clapping along with everyone else. But Paul’s choice of tshirt made it very difficult to take what he was telling the audience in. As he said before it was removed? (my non-official twitter client still has it)
Think your blog says more about you as a person that me as a speaker. Interesting read though. Keep up the good work.
He might be right and thats on me but its the truth. I wasn’t going to clap along with everyone else if I wasn’t feeling it. I was being true to myself and you can’t take that away from me. But I did want to say Herb and the Thinking Digital production did a amazing job against the difficult odds. No matter what they did it was going to be criticised by someone, and they did the best in a very difficult place. I seen/heard too many other conferences completely wrong foot themselves into oblivion when faced with such a incident. For example CHI 2018 with OKCupid’s founder, which had a session afterwards to discuss the outrage after the keynote.
Although quite a dry academic talk, the content was quite amazing. The whole idea of e-skin just conjures up so many thoughts and ideas. The videos spoke for themself pretty much and gave me much greater appreciation of skin generally.
On a similar vein, Yang presentated her research on sleep. The power of sleep is getting very well known in the circles of health and wellbeing. So it was quite a surprise to hear Yang’s research as she was able to suggest to mice to sleep with direct amounts of light on identified parts of the brain. If that wasn’t crazy enough, she could reverse the process in a similar way. It was incredible to see and the research felt like something out of inception.
It was a suggestion not a go to sleep now, meaning the mice would find somewhere they felt comfortable like their nests and go to sleep there. Instead of falling to sleep straight away. Like in inception…
Cobb: How complex is the idea?
Saito: Simple enough.
Cobb: No idea is simple when you need to plant it in somebody else’s mind.
This level of suggestion is quite something…
An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.
Talking to Yang afterwards, she was clear its only under lab conditions with mice. Shes a long way from humans but identifying the part of the brain has many promising outcomes for those who suffer with sleep problems.
I first saw Dave Evans at FutureFest 2 years ago and was impressed enough to buy the book designing your life. Designing your life is all about applying the discipline and practice of design to your life. For a designer like me this makes a hell of a lot of sense; especially when you start to question those dysfunctional believes.
Generally I would lean on get curious, talk to people, try stuff, tell the story then repeat.
Dave was gracious enough to run a session over lunch time on a aspect of designing your life. To be honest I really enjoyed the workshop and learned something about myself which I hadn’t really considered before. Most of designing your life is online but the book is once again great to lend to friends and family.
Tatiana approached the subject of wellness and mindlessness in our digital lives. Although not ground breaking, it was a welcomed talk and likely quite new for lots of people. It certainly felt like there was a whole load more to be said, as she touched on the area of diversity, diverse thinking and inclusion. Certainly would have liked to hear much more about her thoughts in that area.
Sarah had the audience in giggles as she talked about the new language of emojis. From their incredible popularity to groups & communities repurposing emojis for different purposes. There was a very serious point made about trying and failing to interpreting language, emojis and emotion. Something I picked up in Rana June’s talk from Fuel too.
Its great to see data being used beyond the screen and Julie’s project exploring data as art material and objects enriched with data; gave me new insight for the objects of immersion work I’ve been working on for a while.
You know when you should work with someone, Julie is that person and luckily I got to spend another day with her during University of York’s data stories hackday.
Now to be fair Mr Bingo always steals the show and this thinking digital he did it again in Newcastle. I never question Herb’s excellent curation skills but Mr Bingo as the last speaker would have been great as a nice light end to a already excellent conference.
If you haven’t been to thinking digital before, next year get your butt in gear and save a date in your calendar for 15-16th May 2019.
I kickstarted Clubbed a while ago, and a few days ago I got my copy in the post. Now its got a proud spot on my bookshelf.
Of course its not just about the Hacienda but lots of famous UK clubs and dance nights. Its a beautifully designed booked which reflects the graphic design of the era.
Very happy to be a backer along so many others.
What happens when you put a firestarter in the middle of a load of fuel? Only good things right?
The thing about FUEL which surprised me was how massive the conference was. The production values were huge too. It makes sense from Belgium’s biggest commercial broadcaster. Usually when conferences say 1000 people I expect it might be closer to 700 but FUEL was either 1000 or very close to that. The conference in its 2nd year was a mix of their clients, invited guests from the broadcast industry and 200 broadcast students. All single track with Q&As broken out over 30mins during lunchtime allowing for deeper questions and answers without using up valuable time.
The speakers were great, really interesting talks and great people. There was a speakers dinner the day before the conference which really helps gel the speakers along with the rehearsals. I don’t usually like rehearsals but it was good to see the converted slide deck and also get the superstar dj walk through on the massively long stage. If only they had customised sound tracks, because prodigy’s firestarter would have been perfect.
Dietmar Dahmen made some quite compelling points about creative disruption and getting too comfortable with the status quo. I liked the analogy to superman facing a new world with no grounding. The climax involved sawing a chair with pillows in half on stage with a chainsaw. This simply wouldn’t happen in the UK, I thought as I filmed from my phone…
Cathy Hackl is a xR (VR/AR/Mixed reality) expert who taught herself how to code joined HTC vive as a evangelist. Now shes a xR Evangelist and is one of a few people who has seen Magic Leap but of course didn’t say a single word about it (I hear their NDA is deadly serious). Such a passionate woman and it was a joy spending sometime with her the day before talking about diversity.
Rana June talked about creating and generating emotional human data for better experiences. It was interesting especially with some of the quantified self work I’ve been involved in. Loved to have talked to her more and its a shame I will miss her while in London.
I can’t do justice to all the speakers who made Fuel 2018 incredible, all were great and the format is well thought out and executed. Like Futurefest 2016 I was pleasantly surprised by the pretty much everything. The only down side was Brussels traffic, which the organisers have no control over.
I just came back from Madrid and while looking at my Madrid Metro card on the plane, thought imagine if you could use the same card in different locations? Its one of the reasons why I still use Uber, the ability to use it in different countries.
It was surprising to me that my Amsterdam OV-chipkaart which I bought back in 2006 was still active when I went back in 2016 actually; so I’ll be keeping my Metro card complete with its balance of about 4 rides. My Oyster card still worked when I moved away but as its 1st generation, isn’t manageable from the TFL website (I need to swap it out next time I’m in London).
Realistically it would be very difficult to get all these government entities to come to a common standard but its worth trying right? Although this might be all null, as its interesting to see the London Oyster slowly? being replaced by contactless debit/credit cards instead? That does seem to make much more sense and you can manage it from a web service and a app; yep another bloody proprietary app (I’ve already had enough of each service having its own app!)
It could be a great boom for public transport generally. Take the best of ride sharing services like Uber but for the public benefit. Think of it like the Japanese PASMO and SUCIA cards but based around standard NFC/contactless bank cards? Of course theres always the option of cash, phone and other NFC devices if you prefer.
While doing some research around Living a conscious life. I was pleasantly surprised to find Carrie Green had included part of a conversation following the Tedx talk above, with her in North Tea Power in her book.
When I discovered this, I decided well I might as well get a copy for my ever growing library. Today I got my copy…
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) March 12, 2018
From the chapter – The little voice in your head
A guy called Ian Forrester climbed up to the stage, I handed him £20, the audience applauded and he went and sat down. A few weeks later we met up over a cup of tea and he told me how a brush with death a few years earlier made him make the decision that he was never going to let anything stand in his way. He said, “People are paralyzed by their fear of what might happen, and so they won’t reach out and grab what’s in front them. And that’s pretty much what I did.”
Thank you again Carrie for the quote and everything, I will never forget the moment.
I have been reading (listening to) the starfish and the spider for the last few days when walking. I never heard of it till I heard one of the interviews on the after on podcast. It feels like the Catherial and the Bazaar for the internet age, ever so relevant.
Something really got me thinking… The idea that The Catalysts sound very similar to The Firestarters?
The book identifies a set of people the authors call “catalysts”, who tend to be skilled at creating decentralized organizations. The authors list several abilities and behaviors (called “The Catalyst’s Tools”) that “catalysts” have in common, including:
- Genuine interest in others.
- Numerous loose connections, rather than a small number of close connections.
- Skill at social mapping.
- Desire to help everyone they meet.
- The ability to help people help themselves by listening and understanding, rather than giving advice (“Meet people where they are”).
- Emotional intelligence.
- Trust in others and in the decentralized network.
- Inspiration (to others).
- Tolerance for ambiguity.
- A hands-off approach. Catalysts do not interfere with, or try to control the behavior of the contributing members of the decentralized organization.
- Ability to let go. After building up a decentralized organization, catalysts move on, rather than trying to take control.
This book has some similarities to books like The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, as both identify certain sets of people who are important to change in a society or an organization, and try to define the attributes that people belonging to these sets have in common.
I think the Firestarters is next on my list, as I’m keen to see if there is cross overs or should I tweak my title to catalyst?
Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.
All words in this dictionary are new. They were not necessarily intended to be used in conversation, but to exist for their own sake; to give a semblance of order to a dark continent, so you can settle it yourself on your own terms, without feeling too lost—safe in the knowledge that we’re all lost.
Been thinking of language and how it changes cultures recently, but I found Sonder really nice.
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Its almost touches the moment I walked out of hospital 8 years ago. That still needs to be defined… And maybe I should define it and submit it. Its certainly not the first time I’ve made up a word
Something is rising in the public consciousness around the social network apps we are using. Be it due to the changes in Snapchat, the massive turd which is facebook messenger (I’m using the lite version with locked down permissions) or Instagram algorithm changes.
There was a opportunity to move people away from these networks (at least in mobile) but what happened? The media and people started suggesting the use of another proprietary closed sourced startup app… this one called Vero.
I’m unsure like a lot of people, what pushed Vero to the forth front at the right time but i have to give them some credit with picking the right moment?
Ideally I’d like to see systems like Mastodon pushed forward but I think there are lessons which can be learned from Vero’s push into the limelight. Because although Vero’s end user licence looks barely reasonable right now, you have no idea when it will change or/and it will be come a roach motel just like the ones people are unhappy with now…
Maybe its not too late… ? Or its time to start thinking about the next opportunity? I certainly think it can be done, you only have to look at the way the Mastodon community made it easy for avid twitter users to shift over. Whats needed now is user experience expertise around the apps to expose the advantage of Mastodon to the user without over-loading or intimating. Aral talks about the lack of focus on the user experience and in this case, he’s dead right.
Its all for the taking; expose the natural benefits of Mastodon to the user and make them a key part of the experience.