I am always impressed with the creativity of people to remodel and transpose our reality back to us to rethink. This fake trailer for a fake black mirror episode titled March 2020 is cleverly put together using footage from news and films.
I have a number of ways I could run the newsletter, from standard email lists like mailchimp, could use a microblog, I could use standardnotes listed, RSS to email, etc, etc. But for now I’ll add to my blog and tag them accordingly.
So with no further ado, heres the first of maybe many.
We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking down at our feet or at the new Prime Minster. 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 happening with young people getting out and protesting.
With a focus on new models in business, technology, society, policy, processes, etc. I present the public service internet newsletter.
Ian thinks: The Chinese social credit “system” is discussed everywhere especially when talking about the other end of the scale from surveillance capitalism. Republica’s panel discussion about its actual implementation today, debunking some myths and brought everything in sharper focus from a western view.
Ian thinks: Jamie King’s podcast with episode with Sean Tilley of We Distribute (and formerly the Diaspora project) about the early days of Diaspora, a open source Facebook alternative which was even talked about by myself. The interview picks up a gear when talking about the Fedverse which is all the rage as a viable alternative for the next generation internet
Ian thinks: Nice follow on from the interview with Sean Tilley, there is a very detailed document from Chris Hughes one of the founders of Facebook. About the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook as a social network. The document proposes how to “Defeat” Facebook with trust, transparency, controlling broadcasting, eliminating horrors, killing the real names policy, etc.
Ian thinks: You hear it all the time, but this is a nice summary of a lot of the different aspects which leads to the conclusion that our traditional notion of privacy is dead or dying? The important part is the linked datasets and the consistent need to surveil for those companies business model rely on surveillance capitalism.
Ian thinks: Jonathan Zittrain introduces the term “intellectual debt” to the table while thinking about the accountable of AI. Screams algorithmic literacy supported by more transparency, governance and accountability. Jonathan makes some good comparisons how we didn’t understand how Aspirin worked till 1995 but was commonly prescribed and used.
Ian thinks: When you open source anything, there is always the chance someone will do something with it you don’t like, want or could even be illegal.This is the latest example of how the spirit & diversity of open source is being tested. Mastodon’s federated model has ways to deal with this but its not foolproof and still not palatable for its creator and supporters.
Ian thinks: Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s working draft document for the future web is open for review till September 8th. Is the aim is to have one shared contract for governments, companies and citizens realistic? I encourage all to complete the form to feed into the process
Ian thinks: This well worth watching, as it nicely ties together all the disparate parts of the puzzle and asks critical questions of the big data rush.
Everyone is talking about Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and to be fair after watching 5hrs 13mins of it seeing every version/variation. Its quite something. But even before it launched there were problems.
I agree its slick but its also very interesting to read Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the experience of creating it.
Creator Charlie Brooker told The New York Times that he won’t be making more interactive episodes of the Netflix series – so no more difficult cereal choices in the future.
Asked what advice he had for anyone attempting to make interactive TV, Brooker added: “Run away. It’s harder than you think.”
I wonder if Bandersnatch will ultimately cause people to avoid IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) or adaptive narratives. It would be a real shame if it did but as Tom says in reply to my thoughts earlier today
I do wonder if Netflix has slightly done some damage by doing something so extreme? Something of a firework which everyone saw and caused a fire as it rained on peoples head?
Maybe James is right along with Tom? Explicit Interactive Digital Narratives has been done to death. You only have to look at the stuff Marian was doing in the mid- late 2000s with shapeshifting media.
I can predict in a year or so time, people will have forgotten Bandersnatch (packed away on a top shelf as James says) but this isn’t good news for all those other productions and experiments which may not be as smart but genuine a pleasure to be part of.
Would funding for IDN dry or boom because of Bandersnatch? Hard to tell at this stage.
What I would like from Netflix is some data/numbers on repeat viewings, paths people take, etc. If I was writing a paper, this would be a good experiment to be in on.
social credit is an attempt at a softer, more invisible authoritarianism. The goal is to nudge people toward behaviors ranging from energy conservation to obedience to the Party
Zhima credit, well I guess at least its more transparent than the scores mainly hidden by the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, etc. Although most are being more open about the scores now.
— Nicholas Thompson (@nxthompson) December 14, 2017
When I first came to Manchester, one of the many reasons I stayed was the international festival. It wasn’t just the festival but it was kind of mind blowing to have so many premiere art events in such a short distance and reasonable priced. The big one which I will never forget is Marina Abramović’s presents which surprised me at the time and then blew me away i retrospect. 2 years I watched a contemporary ballet called the tree of life and there has been plenty more great experiences.
I bought quite a few events early May in between my travels. I missed the opening of the tickets, so a lot of events were sold out so I grabbed what I could even if I didn’t know so much about the events.
Here’s all the events I went to and really enjoyed…
MIF Opening: What is the City but the people? : Thursday 29th July
I actually applied to be one of the people to cross the massive yellow catwalk which was constructed in Piccadilly Gardens. But while applying for it, I received a form asking a ton of questions about my profession. There was about 25 points and I couldn’t say yes to any of them, so I assumed I most likely wouldn’t be selected (rightly or wrongly).
I actually shot a ton of footage for the event, which I won’t lie was incredible. Each and everyone had a fantastic story, from a refugees who have made their way across europe and parts of the middle east, people who have had sex changes, people with chronic diseases, drag queens, teachers, 2 people on a blind date, cyclists, nurses, beekeepers, cake makers, a woman with a new-born baby, Ian Hislop the Architect, Noel from Oasis etc. It was incredible but the two which really got me was the woman who was celebrating her 100th birthday this year; and a man who was raped and in the attack passed HIV. Just incredible and as the screens said, maybe this is just cities – but it is this city.
It really reflected the diversity and of the city in such a great way. It was a real high and well worth watching the video although you couldn’t beat being there. So great it didn’t rain, because that would have ruined everything.
Not related to MIF but after the high of the MIF opening, at the barber the next day. A man walked in without an appointment and when he was offered one with female barber could cut his hair. He refused saying he wanted a male barber. Felt like a bump back from the previous high.
Party skills for the end of the world : Friday 30th June
I had no idea what I had set myself up for. It wasn’t till I saw a poster while taking the tram one day. I knew it was immersive theatre but I had no idea how immersive. So the vague ticket description saying wear suitable shoes had me wondering for a long while.
When I got to the secret venue, my Uber driver was confused and asked if I was in the right place? To be fair I was thinking the same thing too.
Of course I can’t describe all which happened because that would spoil it for others and frankly it would be pretty impossible to do this justice.
It started with a good classic martini or in my case a few (I also made a dirty martini, that was the cloudy martini I had before the alarms went off).
We were moved deeper into the derelict building and then free to try a number of skills to take forward to the end of the world.
At some point more alarms and we were moved quickly through the building. Now I see why suitable shoes are required
Finally we ended up in a big room with a band playing something I imagine Underworld would play at the end of the world.
Then after a speech and blessing we were free to play in a vast building, and play we did till about midnight. I rejected the idea of going to the old pint pot because I had another MIF event at 1030am the next morning.
Interdependance: We need to talk about Power : Saturday 1st July
There are so many things to be said about these series of talks and what better place to have them that in the Ancoats Halle, which I have never visited although I can see it from my window. I went along 2 years ago in the old Granada site but these talks were far better and the everything about them was +10 on the previous ones.
Seeing Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and David Olusoga together on stage was pretty incredible. Each talking about power from the angle of race. Then when you can’t imagine how it could get better, Bad Language presented Jason Hickel (Writer of the Divide), Andrew O’Hagan and Deanna Rodger.
I’ve already made a note to go along to the monthly bad language events, when it doesn’t clash with Volleyball or Werewolf.
MIF tour: Identity and the Fabric of the City : Saturday 1st July
After Interdependance in the Ancoats Halle, there was just enough time to head home have breakfast then walk down to Festival Square for a tour of inner Manchester.
My thought was I lived in Manchester for 9 years and still don’t really know much of the history of Manchester (as clearly noticed when going to the Salford Lads club and asking who the man was on the photos? Yeah I know!)
The tour was short but very insightful, as we walked from festival square/albert square to the central library, through St Peters Square, along princess street then china town. Finally we headed to kings street and on to deansgate. Many facts and interesting stories. Will have to go on another one of the tours soon.
Fatherland preview : Monday 3rd July
With my upcoming conversation on BBC Merseyside about the crisis of masculinity. I got a ticket and wasn’t quite sure what to expect; but what I got was quite a surprise and a fantastic theater performance in the excellent royal exchange theatre. I was very fortunate to have snatched a 2nd row seat too, giving real impact to everything I was watching unfold.
The play was funny, tragic and held together really well. I saw the preview, so I expect by the time it was out of the preview it would be even tighter than what I saw. I was also shocked to find out that quite a few of the cast were not professionals.
What if Women ruled the world? : Thursday 6th July
This is the one ticket I couldn’t get first time around. I loved the concept and tried my best to blag a ticket. But luckily after seeing the previous MIF events, I went back to the site and found a bunch of tickets had been released. So I instantly snapped up one and pushed my other commitments for that night (sorry residents committee) but it was so worth it.
Like partyskills & fatherland I don’t want to reveal too much although I am finally writing this on the last day of MIF 2017 (I got back from Berlin too late to really go to any of the ending events). We weren’t really allowed to take pictures too, but as soon as it was finished no one was bothered so I grabbed some of the amazing set and what an amazing location to host it (mayfield depot) which is the same place I saw Adam Curtis vs Massive Attack 4 years ago.
The best way of thinking about what if women… as partly theater play and partly serious panel discussion. I’m planning to watch the other ones just to see how different they were from the one I went to.
My only negative to the event was the chairs were pretty sore on the bottom after sitting for so long. At least with Adam Curtis vs Massive Attack you could shift your weight around a little, although I remember that being too long for standing.
Interdependance: We need to talk about Technology : Saturday 8th July
The introduction of the robot from Sheffield University, and the reaction from the panel especially Joanna Bryson who verbalised her reaction as, ahhhh cute but wait why has it got a feminine sounding name? And why is it trying to act like pet? I’m now fighting not to treat it the way you want me to react. It reminded me of the very first time I saw a Aibo (sonys robotic dog, which I later owned) at the ICA in London. Everyone was so besotted by it then a member of the panel walked across the floor and kicked it off the stage. Of course Joanna wasn’t planning on doing this but her reaction turned to slight anger about the robot.
I was also trying to squeeze in more MIF events before going away for a week. I wasn’t wrong, another great series of talks hosted by the Aleks Krotoski. If I didn’t have to rush off to Volleyball to coach, I would have tried to catch up with her and some of the incredible guests.
I was very taken by Birgitta Jónsdóttir (who I heard so much about but never met or seen her live) and Laurie Anderson (who I hadn’t really come across before), who were just fantastic in everything they said. Joanna Bryson in the AI debate was off the hook, certainly someone I want to hear more from in the future.
On reflection, MIF pretty much couldn’t do no wrong. From the start with the decision to put the people of the city front and centre (I kind which I’d filled that form out now) to the amazing contemporary theatre productions. From deep note taking conversations in great spaces to immersive experiences in derelict buildings.
I was explaining to my sister how incredibly wonderful MIF is and why she should make the trip up to Manchester in 2 years time for MIF 2019. I said this while having dinner at the London Barbican after going to the into the unknown exhibit, which I was looking forward to.
I was deeply disappointed as I didn’t even get see the black mirror exhibit (they turned it off 5mins before the end and I went and visited everything else (theres 3 parts) before being told the exhibit is actually in the public lobby. To say I was peed off was an underestimation. From what I can see of the long turned off screen in the lobby, it would play visions of the black mirror universe.
My thoughts of a box with advertising surrounding you like 15 million merits, where the screens would pause and play a high pitch noise till you look again, certainly was over-thought. I guess? Maybe a suggestion for 2 years from now, as I can imagine creating this for MIF 2019 using existing technology.
I said it before but the MIF (Manchester International Festival) was one of those things which makes me very happy that I moved to Manchester. Yes could do the same in other cities but the size and culture of Manchester makes it seem like the ideal match. If you haven’t been before, mark it down in your calendar for 2 years time!
What a excellent 9 days! Just excellent!
I’ll be personally interested to see how far down the perceptive media (or as I use to call it intrusive TV) route they go? Also be interested to see if they use the chance to educate the public about data ethics and the value of data like the science museum have done.
For some, Black Mirror seems to be a HOWTO guide. I guess if you are going to use sexual shame to make money, Britain is the best place to target.
He’s not wrong, from the Telegraph paper link.
Organised criminal gangs are blackmailing growing numbers of young men after using social media to entice them into performing sex acts on screen.
Police have revealed an unprecedented rise in the new crime of webcam blackmail – known as ‘sextortion’ – with more than 900 cases reported so far this year.
That is already more than double the total for the whole of 2015.
But senior officers at the National Crime Agency fear the true scale of the problem is far bigger, with many victims too ashamed to report their involvement to police.
Among recent victims were four young men who became so desperate at the thought of being publicly humiliated that they took their own lives.
I mentioned this in my talk at TedXManchester 4. At the time people seemed a little baffled and you can see how its can be confused with Cat-fishing. This partly why I felt it deserved a entry in urban dictionary (even if I did spell it slightly wrong).
Watching Black Mirror Season 3 episode 3: Shut up and dance I was instantly thinking about this even if [Promise not to spoil it… but there is so much I could say] but there is a really nice breakdown at the psychtech podcast too.
If people think blocking your webcam will solve the problem, think again! This has just got started, I dare not think how low this scam will go.
When I came back from a friend’s wedding in the lake district (massive congrats to them both). I decided to keep the weekend quite free before the weekend of Mozfest. As I was mainly relaxing I decided to do Black Mirror season 3 in one long evening.
I got to episode 4 and couldn’t help but be blown away. So much that it played on the mind and I had to watch it again.
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) October 25, 2016
Spoilers beyond this point! You were warned!
Two men exchange stories on Christmas Day. These stories tell of a dark future where technology rules our lives.
Warning! If you have not seen the Black mirror special, do not listen to this episode of Lovegrumps! You have been warned… Massive spoilers!
When I was at the Quantified Self Europe conference earlier this year, I was at a talk about lifelogging… It was interesting to say the least but I took away a number of things. Two stuck out…
- The images which are taken, cease being images alone per-say.
- Lifelogging is like having another sense.
Really interesting to think about that while reading Here’s What Memoto Does With Your Entire Life After Photographing It and How lifelogging is transforming the way we remember track our lives.
The images which are taken, cease being images alone per-say
“Photos make sense as contextualizers for all that data [from the quantified self movement],” Johansson says. By saving data like GPS coordinates and which direction the camera is facing along with the photo, Memoto has also positioned itself for possibilities such as putting together all of the photos taken from one place into a 3-D map or allowing users to opt into a photo pool when they’re at the same event.
None of this, however, will be possible unless enough people find the app’s automatic timeline of their lives compelling enough to warrant wearing Memoto in the first place. For that, the company is betting on something akin to an extreme FOMO–or a fear of missing out, not on an experience, but on the opportunity to capture an experience. FOMOOCE, if you will. “This is a way to get to an effective mindfulness by knowing you are not missing out on capturing anything,” Johansson says.
Lifelogging is like having another sense
In 2013, lifelogging is set to hit another milestone with the launch of self-tracking hardware devices like Google Glass and Memoto’s wearable, automatic camera set to hit market.
To explore the “lifelogging” phenomenon and the shift in how people are remembering and capturing their lives, the creators of Memoto recently launched a documentary about the lifelogging movement. The documentary includes interviews with experts in the field like Steve Mann and Gordon Bell, along with the technical lead of Google Glass — exploring the past, present and future of lifelogging.
Of course the whole lifeblogging movement is dominated with Google Glass right now and the idea is in many visions, (usually dystopian) of the future including Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror’s The Entire History of You.
Set in an alternative reality where most people have a ‘grain’ implanted behind their ear which records everything they do, see or hear. This allows memories to be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen, a process known as a ‘re-do’.
A promising and interesting future for lifelogging… Me thinks
The most cunning trick of the internet is that, with the help of some clever algorhythm-tracking piece of technology, it follows our online behaviour and reflects it back to us in the browsing choices it offers.
Dismayingly, radio may soon be playing the same game. A new invention called the Perceptive Radio, unveiled at the recent Thinking Digital Conference, is said to be able to respond to the kind of device listeners are using and to where they live. It will then adapt its output to include, for example, mentions of their local town, or the weather outside.
The aim, according to the team behind Perceptive Radio, is to provide “a more immersive experience” and, it almost goes without saying, to encourage diversity.
It sounds creepy to me. The very last thing I want from my radio is that it is customised to me and reflects my own world. True diversity lies in difference, not similarity.
Terence Blacker misses the fact Perceptive Media isn’t about algorithms alone. Its about giving the storyteller freedom to tell stories which make sense to the audience at the time. It also considers the space and place where the story is being told. It doesn’t simply reflect your world back at you. I would say its a very lazy writing to do so, you also fall into the trouble of the mediabubble theory and finally how do you cover a group or audience?
Luckily Bex jumps in with a comment…
Interesting re ‘Perceptive Radio’. I was at the launch at Thinking Digital, and went to the lunchtime session as had somewhat of the impression that you give here – that it would become yet another ‘echo chamber’ – something I’m always seeking to avoid – but it seems more about intelligent reactions (e.g. volume changes if you’re singing along), and augmented information dependent upon location. I’m sure as with all other tech, can choose to enable, customise or disable..
Perceptive Media is smarter than machine algorithm alone. It empowers the scriptwritter and storyteller…
Martha (Hayley Atwell) and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) are a young couple who move to a remote cottage, where Ash’s parents used to live. Ash is a big user of social media, tapping away on his phone, just a bit too much. Martha doesn’t really mind, she loves him and they’re looking forward to their new life together. The day after the move, Ash is killed, returning the hire van. At the funeral, Sarah (Sinead Matthews), a friend of Martha’s, tells her about a new service that lets you stay in touch with the deceased. By using all his past online communications and social media profiles, a new ‘Ash’ can be created – disarmingly ‘real’ and a help to a grieving partner. Martha is disgusted by the concept and wants nothing to do with it. Martha decides to stay in the cottage, despite her sister, Naomi (Claire Keelen), being worried about her isolation. Then one morning Martha receives an email from ‘Ash’. Sarah has signed her up. Martha is furious and deletes the message. But then she discovers she is pregnant and in a confused and lonely state Martha decides to talk to ‘him’.
*Spoilers ahead, you were warned*
Excellent episode which involves a woman losing her partner. A friend sets up her with a special system which takes all the public data of that person and generates a avatar of the data. So all those public tweets, flickr pictures, etc. First it emulates the voice and then it starts to emulates other aspects. In the end the woman is lured into levelling up to a physical avatar.
While it seems somewhat insane… Its not as far future as you may think.
When I first started watching it, I instantly thought about Weavrs…
Weavrs are your alter egos crafted from the threads of the social web.
Imagine Weavrs + Google Now…! Yes be afraid, be very afraid… You think sleeping with your partner as weavr is bad, wait till you point it at someone eles’s weavr! Or worst pointing it at yourself! Scary and freaky stuff!
Charlie Brooker did a preview showing of black mirror at the BFI last month, which I need to watch when I get a chance (can’t get it to play on my xbmc setup unforgettably). Thanks to tim dobson for reminding me of tomscott’s piece about this a while ago… well worth watching like most of his stuff
There was quite a few things I wanted to talk about when reading “A Million First Dates” by that guy again Dan Slater
The positive aspects of online dating are clear: the Internet makes it easier for single people to meet other single people with whom they might be compatible, raising the bar for what they consider a good relationship. But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?
And therefore, cue the obvious paradox of choice point…
The Paradox of Choice, the psychologist Barry Schwartz indicts a society that “sanctifies freedom of choice so profoundly that the benefits of infinite options seem self-evident.” On the contrary, he argues, “a large array of options may diminish the attractiveness of what people actually choose, the reason being that thinking about the attractions of some of the unchosen options detracts from the pleasure derived from the chosen one.”
Although I’m a massive fan of choice and I have problems with Schwartz’s conclusions in the book, I can see what Dan is getting at. Theres a feeling that if it doesn’t work out you can try again easily enough. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this amount of choice has made me less likely to make things
At the selection stage, researchers have seen that as the range of options grows larger, mate-seekers are liable to become “cognitively overwhelmed,” and deal with the overload by adopting lazy comparison strategies and examining fewer cues. As a result, they are more likely to make careless decisions than they would be if they had fewer options, and this potentially leads to less compatible matches. Moreover, the mere fact of having chosen someone from such a large set of options can lead to doubts about whether the choice was the “right” one. No studies in the romantic sphere have looked at precisely how the range of choices affects overall satisfaction. But research elsewhere has found that people are less satisfied when choosing from a larger group: in one study, for example, subjects who selected a chocolate from an array of six options believed it tasted better than those who selected the same chocolate from an array of 30.
I think the comparison of chocolate and dating is a weird one. I guess if your treating dating like picking chocolates, then somethings wrong? There is a aspect of the grass is greener on the other side but I think its a maturity thing…
As online dating becomes increasingly pervasive, the old costs of a short-term mating strategy will give way to new ones. Jacob, for instance, notices he’s seeing his friends less often. Their wives get tired of befriending his latest girlfriend only to see her go when he moves on to someone else.
I don’t know if this is true but I certainly felt my parents shifting about on the other end of the phone when I talk about the last date I went on. When I would mention a woman’s name from week to week, they would sometimes say “oh you’ve mentioned her a few times.” and if I mentioned her name more than a few times “oh she sounds pretty serious?”
Also, Jacob has noticed that, over time, he feels less excitement before each new date. “Is that about getting older,” he muses, “or about dating online?” How much of the enchantment associated with romantic love has to do with scarcity (this person is exclusively for me), and how will that enchantment hold up in a marketplace of abundance (this person could be exclusively for me, but so could the other two people I’m meeting this week)?
This one is very interesting… I have to admit date after date you do loose a certain amount of excitement. The weird thing is depending on how things came about would change my level of excitement. For example meeting women through plenty of fish was not that interesting, mainly because I found them quite young and sexually motivated. OKCupid was a little more mixed but I’d admit it wasn’t like the first few months.
But its not just online dating… A lot of my other dates have been through speed dating and likewise the excitement has died down.
And its funny that I met Laura under totally different circumstances… Also funny I met Sarah in a non-dating situation. Both I met through the medium of the internet but not via online dating… Could there be something about online dating which is slightly self destructive, for some of us? (I do know people who met and are very happy now)
If things didn’t work out with the lovely Laura, I would go back to online dating but I’ll be honest and say I was kind of fed up of it. I have met some good and very bad woman. Some of them I’m still friends with, but there is no way I feel compelled to go back to that. The notion I personally wouldn’t be as committed isn’t true in my own case. There is nothing pulling me back to that lifestyle.
It could all make a great episode of Black Mirror, endless searching and never being contented. But in reality life isn’t that complex/simple. Thoughts of love overwhelm the brain and we soon forget what it use to be like being single…
However there seems to be little I can do…
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So as you can see its only blocked in the country of its origin, which strikes me as totally backwards…! Oh well, I could say a lot about this but to be totally fair, its not Channel4… Its some automated process doing automatic takedowns on behalf of Channel4. Who was it that said code is law?