The status quo is gone and its not coming back

Flattern the curve of health careI tooted/tweeted a few days ago…

We live in incredible times…
#COVID19uk

There is a lot of panic & uncertainty at the moment with the global pandemic of Covid-19.  But there is also a number of opportunities which are fundamentally changing our society, some good and some bad. To me its clear the status quo is gone, there is no way we can go back to the way we use to live (just like world wars). Simple things like our use of remote working is going to shape culture, society, human existence going forward; that is clear!

There’s been more chatter about universal basic income, but with a stronger emphases considering the huge numbers of people on low income, in the gig economy and self employed; hit hard trying to manage with the chaos. This could be the trigger for it to happen, at least in the short term.

Physical distancing and self isolation has forced those who scoffed at virtual connections into rethinking their position. People are understanding physical distancing is similar to a long distance relationship and similar lessons apply with social distancing. We are learning a lot more about each other, likely more than we do in the workplace. The idea of bring your authentic self to work applies even more when someone is looking through a webcam into your living room; mess, pets, family members and all.

Videoconf-whoopsie

The uptake of video conferencing has been huge and our reliance on the internet has been truly cemented with groups of people who used it ad-hoc finally embracing it out of necessity. Its actually become the number one way and this could have positive effects for the environment.

Online food delivery has really come into its own. On top of this contactless payments has really come into their own with cash being rejected for health reasons (yes I am very aware of the problems with cashless services however its a powerful counter point looking at the public health angle). Maybe this might finally convince America about the merits of a public health system? Ok thats not going to happen but now would be a very good time for it. Especially with so many americans just one pay cheque from poverty.

Our encroachment on nature urgently needs to change but we may have left it too late. Its clear the impact we made on the environment is biting back longer and harder. There are many who have suggested we are due a pandemic but are we ready for more of them one after another? Its also worth saying they will stick around and adapt/morph, so we really need to change our outlook. This could be bring us together more like a common foe (think Watchman) but you would have thought the environment destruction of our planet would have done that already? Flying has already facing a massive backlash but in the face of Covid-19, expect even more changes, if the airlines haven’t gone bust.

The  role of public service health and public service broadcasts has been very clear throughout but also the lack of resourcing them. Flatten the curve is a key message which people are getting their head around. Not just in the UK but across the world. Talking of public service broadcasting, this initiative: culture in quarantine, is pretty amazing and extremely quick for the BBC. There’s certainly some links to the digital public space.

The sheer amount of misinformation has forced the GAFFAs to do something but they are playing catch up on the trusted space to the public service broadcasters. Of course private companies have been throwing what they can to support people remotely working with lots of deals, even if the deals can convince/trap people in the long run? The calls for the end of public service broadcasting have gone strangely silent

John Oliver presents from a short staffed studio with no audience

Its absolutely fascinating to see the mainstream media shows adapt to the pandemic by using the exact technology bloggers, podcasters and videobloggers have been using for over a decade. We are watching news reporters from their homes and once we get over the first shock, it becomes the norm.

Its also around the time of crisis when data ethics is dashed to the wind. Its also when you see new laws sneaked in under the radar. Sometimes the crisis is a cover for what was always wanted.

However its been so impressive to see the local community driven support networks which have sprung up. DotEveryone’s Cassie’s recent posts is a good read looking at the tension for these networks, as theres a long way to go. (thanks Laura and GJB for the links). Douglas Rushkoff is right on the money with his conversation with Helena Norberg-Hodge, who talks about localfutures. All this nicely intersects with open source culture.

The term Stay Safe, Stay Connected is being used so much more than ever. It might be a halo effect but people are more concerned about each other than a month ago.But its perfect…

Stay safe, stay connected!

 

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2019)

The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band - Brian Eno
The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking down at our feet or at the endless attempts to regain our trust from the big corps.

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 hard work going into building an open hardware ebook reader.

 

A framework for human values

Ian thinks: This work is so essential for all public service, non-profits and government organisations. Starting to chip away at what value means beyond the attention economy.

Yancey co-founder of Kickstarter talks about a new framework called bentosim (full episode)

Ian thinks: Yancey  talks a good game about going beyond financial maximization and society changes but I’m not convinced about bentoism.

Another attempt at the decentralized file-storage system

Ian thinks: Its another attempt, good idea combining projects but wondering about the applications of use?

China’s free market system grab on other economies

Ian thinks: Maybe Jamies conspiracy is a little heavy but a good thoughtful podcast

Introducing the Dweb

Ian thinks: good introduction by ex Mozillan written a few years ago but parts later are up to date

Panel about sex-tech from Techcrunch (NSFW)

Ian thinks: Sex tech grows its own infrastructure to over come the adolescent thoughts of the tech industry

He used the tech and wasn’t used by the tech

Ian thinks: Vinnie and Douglas talk about the importance of the human element in music and everything.

Why you shouldn’t go to Harvard?

Ian thinks: Got to love Malcolm Gladwell’s analysis of the university system, although maybe not quite right. He’s funny and rolls the research into a great story.

The secret ecosystem of personal data is being unfolded

Ian thinks: People are having fun with this right now, wonder how many people will actually request their data? I put my request in a few days ago, will you?

Community parks for the community of inner Manchester

IMG_20190817_125834

Cities are always in flux however, our values/needs as humans don’t flux so much. Green space is important to us, even a total city boy like myself loves green nature space at times. This is beyond gentrification and more about city planning. Something Jane Jacobs knows plenty about.

Its clear green spaces are essential and lets say Manchester like London doesn’t have a lot of them. There’s got to be a connections between the mental health epidemic and the state of our biggest cities.

There are 3 spaces in the very local area which have been marked for building of some kind of redevelopment.

  1. Former Central Retail Park Great Ancoats Street Manchester M4 6DJ
  2. Green space at New Islington tram stop
  3. Mayfield train depot park plans

IMG_20190817_133240

I joined the talk yesterday at Central Retail park

From friends of the earth Northern Quarter

Currently Manchester City Council plans to turn the old Central Retail Park on Great Ancoats Street into a 440 space carpark with the application going to planning on 22nd August, we have until 17th August to make our voice heard.

This is a 10.5 acre space, half the size of Whitworth Park.

There will around 1000 cars moving in and out onto already busy Great Ancoats Street. This will increase pollution including known carcinogens such as Nitrogen Dioxide, in a city of appalling childhood asthma rates and one which consistently ranks amongst the worst air quality in Europe.

This space is right next door to a Primary School.

This seems in total contradiction of Manchester’s campaign for clean air when Manchester City Council has declared a Climate Emergency.

Legally the land is owned by Manchester City Council making it public property, meaning you can walk on it. The fence around the old units is fenced off and there is a security which keep an eye on the space; but the advice from the talks was to build a park on top of whats there already.

Currently the plan is to use the space to show potential use. Events, guerrilla gardening, market, skateboard park, etc. I’ve already been thinking about a massive community bring your own BBQ type event – if I could sort out the toilets?

Anyway you can learn more at treesnotcars.com, and if you get a chance do drop in and see the space and the chalked ideas people have for it.

IMG_20190817_130313

MCR Talks: Neuroscience of Decision Making with Gabija

Dr. Gabija Toleikyte

Last time I went to a Funzing event I wasn’t that impressed (talk was good but the setup was a bit crappy) but I thought I’d give it another try as the Neuroscience of decision making is too good a talk to miss. I find the Funzing weird as its promoted through Facebook and after clicking the link you are led to the funzing site which isn’t as smooth as Eventbrite. Especially since you finally get your ticket only a hour or so before the actual event via email or text (which leads you to a funzing microsite)

The talk was in Texture (the cool nightclub venue in the northern quarter). The place was full of chairs and most was already sat on. Interestingly I would say its about a 65% female audience. Grabbing a odd chair with a drink after not spotting anyone I recognise (this is a good thing, getting out of your comfort zone).

Just before Dr. Gabija Toleikyte suggested, a early warm up exercise encouraging us to talk to the people around us and ask what brought them to the event. The woman behind me, was generally interested but not so interested in chatting. I turn to the woman in front of me and we talked for a while about her thoughts on the illusion of reality. I threw in my thoughts on memetics and we chatted for a while.

We also briefly talked about my brush with death,  and how I have  found a stronger interest in how the brain works and how we use.

When Gabija started with a proper warm-up she asked us to greet people next to us with a gesture of 1, 2 or 3 fingers. 1 being a hand shake, 2 being a bow and 3 being a hug. On giving the gesture, you have to pick the lowest number between the two. Most of mine were hugs and bows.

When Gabija started she ran through a lot of things in a short amount of time but broke it down in a easily digestible way. It was a good talk and based on a number of things I had heard or read but not really connected in this way… Here are the books I read which she mentioned.

Something new for me was the Triune Brain model

  • Lizard brain – lowest level regulates breathing, heartbeat, digestion, etc.
  • Mammal brain – system 1 regulates emotions, memory, habits, etc
  • Human brain – system 2 regulates rational thinking, learning, problem solving, assessing pros and cons

There is different decision making systems in the brain: slow (rational, system 2) and fast (intuitive, emotional, system 1) its about deciding which system is best as rational decisions with system 2 require a lot more energy. While system 1 is prone to the unconscious biases as its using pattern and basic logic. Emotions are important so we don’t get stuck with indecision; and understanding our emotions can help us to make better decisions. However emotions are quite different from mood which can distort decision making.

Lots to think about and well worth the money and time, thank you to Gabija and hope to check out her next talk about productivity.

Human & AI Powered Creativity in Storytelling from TOA Berlin 2017

I already wrote about TOA Berlin and the different satellite events I also took part in. I remember how tired I was getting to Berlin late and then being on stage early doors with the multiple changes on public transport, I should have just taken a cab really.

No idea what was up with my voice, but it certainly sounds a little odd.

Anyhow lots of interesting ideas were bunched into the slide deck, and certainly caused a number of long conversations afterwards.

Thintelligence: Why we don’t move to decentralised systems?

Caught with the cookie jar

I recently posted on Mastodon after attending the doteveryone event in Manchester.

Interesting little rant at the doteveryone event.
Basically pointing to our ultimate comfort with propriety & opinionated software & services when complaining about things like Mastodon, Wire, Signal, etc.

All lack the engaged user base to break through because decentralised/federated systems are “just” too hard?

I say balls!

Maybe actually we’re too lazy and rubbish judging long term benefits in the face of short term rewards? Theres a whole industry feeding our short term highs

Our laziness is chronic and I half understand it but then I’m always reminded of the massive industry setup to encourage us to stay safe in their roach motels.

The term which comes to mind is… Thintelligenece?

The state of mind where a person does something without considering the consequences. The idea may seem brilliant at first, but the after-affects usually prove to be deadly. This phrase was invented by Michael Crichton in his book Jurassic Park (the character Malcolm says it)

I’m not saying installing whatsapp, facebook, etc are necessarily deadly but the lack of consideration of the consequences does make me and others worried. Its the short term gain over long term impact? (more cake anyone?)

Something to think about as you write something for the Mozilla Festival this year!

Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

Neurodiversity as a superpower?

I always loved the idea of the listening project and of course took part in it myself with the lovely Kate. The editors enjoyed the last part of conversation, which we still haven’t actually gone through with yet?

It was Kate who included me in this tweet about Leanne and Eloise talking about dyslexia as a superpower. Something I’m fully behind being dyslexic and living in a world of the neurotypical.

The Dyslexic advantage is quite something, along with the videos; in this regards. I remember Malcolm Gladwell getting a lot of attention for saying something similar in his book David and Goliath. Desirable difficulty, I believe were the words.

It’s slightly ironic, when reading about the sperm donation place which was turning away dyslexic men. I’ve also been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of telling young children about their superpower. Can this be a good or bad thing? It’s really hard to say, especially because I don’t have kids, so have no skin (as such) in the game. But of course it doesn’t stop me from chipping in with something anyway.

I was talking with a colleague recently and we were talking about the joy of seeing neurodiverse people doing what comes naturally, instead of trying to fit in with the neurotypical view. For example, I write as I talk, this isn’t the way you write… lots of people tell me. So I tried to adopt this, but in the end gave up knowing it simply was not the way which works for me. I am obviously a lot happier because of this but I’m still waiting for the technology to catch up.

Street art in Manchester's Northern Quarter

The colleague is a very visual thinker and prefers to communicate in pictures. One of the many great things I seen is this person writing emails using gifs and very little text. Its sounds nuts but it works so well and I’ve started wondering why this doesn’t happen more often? I mean Emjoi’s are becoming more common place, I seen Gif usage increasing in spaces which support them like Instant messaging, Twitter, Slack, etc. I even have a task to install a few apps so I can create my own.

Media which expands human communication and curiosity?

Superpower or magic

How about that for a superpower?!

Block, delete and forget the past?

Black mirror does Block in real life

Had a really interesting conversation at a party about block and delete. It reminded me of previous friends who I had dated who would deal with the end of a relationship by blocking the other person. Luckily I haven’t been on the end of a block and delete too many times (only a couple to mind).

I do understand why people block and delete but I think its used too easily and quickly instead of dealing with conflict or be honest with your feelings with the other person.  I feel like its almost in the same category/area/orbit as another blog post I wrote about simple answers to difficult questions. Rather than even try and work things out, just block them and delete their details. Its so easy (like swipe left and right?) This makes ghosting look positively fair as a result.

Forget it happened, ignore the past and ultimately not learn from it? In the 7 stages of a relationship breakup, there is something important about facing your partner and being honest in the healing process. Something about block and delete directly cuts across. I compare it to the way prisoners sometimes are forced to face their victims – Restorative Justice.

Face-to-face meetings between victim and perpetrator bring relief to both parties….

Restorative justice gives victims that chance to reframe the story and heal in the process

I get it, if you are shouting at me about someone whos taken it too far, they have become a  pest, stalker or worst. It so much easier to just block them and forget them. But I say that ease comes at a high cost over all. I imagine long term use of block could lead to changes in the blocker or growing resentment from those blocked (wish there was research on this)

I tried to use the example of last years Black Mirror White Christmas to start to illustrate the problem with blocking.

I got blocked once, by @Lord_Sugar as it happens. I’m not sure why, maybe he saw me as a threat, in business. It wasn’t actually too upsetting, but then I wasn’t in a relationship with him – hardly knew him at all, to be honest. And he only blocked me on Twitter, not in real life, as people can do here sometime in the future, in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: White Christmas (Channel 4). So they can’t see you or hear you, nor you them: you’re both just muffled silhouettes, digital ghosts. That’s what happens to poor Joe (Rafe Spall).

Unfortunately the person I was talking to at the party had not seen it before. But this really hits the point I think I’m circling.

Brooker’s drama urges caution here and elsewhere in White Christmas. ‘Block’ someone social media-style in real life and you end the conversation. Any potential for redemption or growth ends with it. These are real people we’re dealing with, they’re not disposable.

Human feelings and relationships are messy and using a binary system of block, feels like hitting a nail with a sledgehammer way to initially end a relationship. (I say initially, because if they are not reasonable or abusive, I totally get the block.)

I guess I’m calling for more of a human approach to the way we think and end relationships. Without that, we could end up in the middle of a black mirror episode for real.

White Christmas’ nightmarish tales of isolation might be dark, but they show sage concern about the kind of world we’re building for ourselves. They ask us to consider the humanity of how we treat people online and in the real world. An extreme reflection it might be, but underneath it all, Black Mirror may well have the most charitable heart of any of this year’s seasonal specials.

https://twitter.com/Sagittarius_ht/status/683407475794509824

Charlie Brooker had this to say when asked about White Christmas’  blocking plot point and would he block someone…

I think people do that, don’t they, when they’re commuting? If I sit on the tube I put headphones in and I stare at a book or anywhere but another human being. I think when you’re commuting you just do it psychologically to get through the day in a city.

In everyday life I think it would be really destructive, that’s kind of what happens. We can’t say too much about the story but [to Rafe] you’re involved in a blocking incident. I think there’s no way back. If you were to block someone, the conversation has ended, it’s not like you can build bridges. I don’t know that I would block anyone particularly in person. I’m on Twitter, but I don’t tend to block people unless they’re just unrelentingly unpleasant.

This ties in the alone together, ambient intimacy and human contact posts.. Hopefully this makes people think before they block and delete?

Reach out, connect with somebody and #share1moment

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

Remember when I wrote about the sharing your humanity with strangers? Well I did just that…

I took my scooter along snakes pass to Sheffield, today (Sunday 4th October 2015). I haven’t really drove around Sheffield before, only gone by train and walked it. So it took me a long time to find somewhere to park and finally head to the Barkers Pool, next to the city hall.

When I got there things were in full flow, with about 8 people sitting on the cushions and 4 others sitting on bbq chairs. I found Frank and noticed Brendan filming with Elizabeth deep in eye contact with somebody.

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

After a little chat I dived in to my first eye contact. It was surreal but strangely calming and relaxing. The only reason I had to break it off after about 5mins was because my knees could only take so much. The lady was great and so friendly, she gave me a nice warm hug afterwards, we certainly shared a moment. Her eyes were wonderful and deep. In that time, I thought about the existence of humankind. It was a tiny bit like when I first got out hospital 5 years ago. I think in a quieter place, I could imagine feelings would be higher strung and more intense.

I moved to the chairs and had some eye contact with a older woman, a woman in a electronic wheel chair. and of course Elizabeth (which was odd, as I knew her and see her everyday pretty much).

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

By the time I had gone to the toilet in John Lewis and got a  takeaway mocha, things started wrapping up and I got one last eye contact with a red haired woman. She sat close to me and I won’t lie, I felt we could have sat for far longer. Her eyes were blue and quite different from each other. Looking at the density of the strands which make up the iris was so fascinating. Once again I started wondering about humankind and the person I was sitting opposite… if only my knees didn’t hurt once again.

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

The whole experience although short was wonderful and the connection  with fellow human being was stronger than I imagined it would be. I highly recommend it to everybody.  I could kind of see why the 36 questions thing could work with the eye contact to finish it off.

Thank you to Frank, Sarah and Liberators International. I’m already thinking about Manchester for the 15th and maybe something at Mozfest to fit with the theme around humanity, citizenship and diversity.

It was a experience I enjoyed and made the trip over to Sheffield well worth the time on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Can’t wait to see the edited video Brendan…

Airbnb’s new slightly creepy advert?

The nextweb say airbnb’s advert is a little creepy…?

And I have to say there are not wrong… Not quite sure what to make of it. Of course Airbnb have their reasoning.

But if you do book my spare room, please don’t think…

Sleeping in my spare bed will fill you in on my dreams. This really sounds like the promising start of horror film…?! Honestly what on earth Airbnb? Human? More like scary movie?

Consequence or Inception of connecting people

I saw the below tweet and felt like it needed to be not just retweeted but also blogged…

Help this teacher make a great point to her students about the consequences of social network use. Please RT widely

From Twitter

It says…

I want to illustrate to my junior high students (grade 7-9) how fast a photo can be shared on the internet. Please “Like” and “Share” this image to help me teach caution and discernment to the students in my classes.

Although a great idea and I’m not against teaching and eduction, but its worth pointing out the incredible power this also brings to each and everyone of us. Empowerment should also be taught in the same lesson. Never has there been a way to connect a mass audience at such low cost and such speed. The inception of the internet and social media is a great thing too. And its too easy to teach the negative. The internet and social media isn’t something which should be feared, rather taught how to responsibly participate in.

 

We sell all the time

Daniel Pink signing my bookDan Pike's To sell is human

I have to say I found Drive really interesting and quite enjoyed Dan Pink’s previous works. I’m now looking forward to reading my newly signed To sell is human book.

The idea we all sell and its actually one of the most human of things is intriguing. Influence can be used for good and used for bad, and the idea of selling certainly does conjure up lots of negative thoughts, like Dan points out here.

While listening I was thinking about the human need to influence and mementic theory.

Got to say Dan Pink certainly makes convincing points and it was a pleasure to see him live again (thanks to Thinking Digital and LJMU)

Imagine if Taskrabbit was added to Ifttt

Love If this then that aka ifttt.com and I also like the idea of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk but its got its limits. However I’ve been watching the rise of Taskrabbit.

I wonder what it would be like if you combined ifttt with taskrabbit?

Suspect all type of chaos would happen because Taskrabbit is not about automation (can you setup repeat tasks?). I just find the concept very interesting…!

Love the idea of web pipelines, as you already know. But there is no reason why it can’t affect not only the real world but human culture.