Reason’s video post is spot on and charts how the 2010’s started with such promise but ended on such a low. However there are options on the horizon if we can get our heads around decentralised and distributed technologies.
Media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s work best explains how the world changed in the 2010s—and what we can expect in the decade ahead.
I’m doing what I can to fore-fill that mental shift in the 2020’s by focusing on trust, transparency, accountability, data ethics, etc.
I’m one of those people who look at terms when using services or purchasing IOT devices. I also dont accept the cookie warnings unless I’m actually happy to use the service. This does make looking at any Oath/Yahoo site a pain for a while, as they use to have accept or nothing else (this changed).
Very sure a lot of the companies deliberately put up painful cookie notices to mislead their users. If this isn’t a dark pattern it should be?
Recently I noticed this cheeky one from the three mobile app. You can assume the sliders when grey are not active and the purple one on? But there’s no actual clear sign to say what is active/on and whats inactive/not. Its also interesting that the grey ones are the default, which you would assume are active/on in every other example you have experienced of this.
We (BBC R&D) helped NESTA to explore what the general public think about the internet. It was during a bitterly cold day but me, Rhia and Vicky took to the streets of Manchester to ask the public in a series of vox-pox interviews.
The results surprised me, as it was clear most were concerned and have serious but diverse reasons. Some gave short and some in-depth detailed experiences. The video only scratches the surface.
In March 2019, the World Wide Web turned thirty, and October will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the internet itself. These anniversaries offer us an important opportunity to reflect on the internet’s history, but also a chance to ponder its future.
Massive thanks to the people of Manchester who answered our questions even with the weather at close to zero degrees!
You may have noticed a lot of blog posts about decentralising the internet? Last year I had the pleasure of spacewrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest, and I wrote down my reasons why I switched from the privacy and security space while in Tallinn. This year I won’t be spacewrangling (although I’m very happy to see Mark and Ross still involved in the wrangling)
In this parallel dimension, people self-organise into open groups that create art, write code, and even build cities. Their technology runs on consensus and their society is fuelled by data. But data is not just a resource — it’s an extension of individual identity and collective culture. People give informed consent to data gathering and enjoy transparency of use.
Journey to a new world and bring back powerful, resilient technology; explore radical, paradigm-shifting ideas; and take part in cutting-edge discourse. Explore protocols like DAT, IPFS and ActivityPub, alongside ideas such as net neutrality and proof of stake. Experience decentralised platforms like Matrix and Mastodon, and support the equal commons of all.
Let’s discover this wonderland, together.
I do have things I want to submit and the deadline is August 1st. So you got some time to put something in, and it doesn’t need to be super detailed, just enough to explain the overall idea. Get in there and submit now!
My thoughts about important this really is goes super deep, as I’ve seen how the internet has been hijacked by a monolithic culture of private businesses with a winner takes all attitude.
Of course I’m not the only one thinking and talking about this. Many people and organisations are, including the W3C, Mozilla, Dot Everybody, BBC and Nesta to say a few.
The internet isn’t where we want it to be. With power increasingly centralised in the hands of very few players, citizens have little say in where we want the internet to go next. But challenging existing dynamics won’t be easy: we find ourselves caught in the crossfire between the dominant American models (driven by Big Tech) and the increasingly powerful Chinese model (where government reigns supreme). Is there scope to create a third, European model, where citizens and communities are in charge?
In this session, we discuss alternative trust models for the internet. This session is part of the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative. We will hear from Manon den Dunnen, strategic specialist at the Dutch National Police, Ian Forrester, Chief Firestarter at BBC R&D and Marta Arniani, innovation strategist and founder of Futuribile / Curating Futures. Chairing will be Katja Bego, senior researcher at Nesta and coordinator of the Next Generation Internet Engineroom project.
Sounds like a very good panel right? I can’t see many punches being pulled either. Get your ticket now.
Don’t get me wrong some of it did make sense but I felt like they were shooting the messenger not listening to the message. Now to be fair I was listening in the shower and getting ready; so may have missed some key parts while washing my hair. But by the end I was shouting out loud, have they never heard of the Quantified Self?
The point of time well spent isn’t about Tristan dictating some rules from on high. Its meant for us to question our relationship with ubiquitous connected technology and the way the companies behind them influences our lives.
Berners-Lee warned of “two myths” that “limit our collective imagination” when looking for solutions to the problems facing the web: “The myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points we need to be a little more creative,” he said.
“I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions,” he said.
Berners-Lee has always maintained that his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, his vision to create an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged as the web has become more centralised.
Its very much why I was interested in space wrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest last year. Centralised power corrupts I maintain. Tim is right we need a better vision but rather than spend all that effort trying to reform a horribly broken system of corruption, greed and power. Make an viable alternative which makes the existing model obsolete… (love Buckminster for this great quote)
Its time to build a public service internet which maintains its values, diversity and distributed nature of the public; as an alternative to whats currently seen as the whole internet… We don’t need a new internet, we need competing services with different business models which can talk to each other and give options to the people.
You want a private park which is nicely maintained and don’t mind paying for the privilege? Fine. But if you want a park which is public and has a lively community because its free to the public due to taxes. Fine too. Similar to health care, libraries, transport in Europe, you can pay but there is a baseline.
Critical when thinking about the digital divide and the next 1 billion people.
This still leaves a gaping “digital divide” that exacerbates existing inequalities: you are more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country.
“To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate,” Berners-Lee said. “If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That’s an entire generation left behind.”
Two years ago, the UN declared internet access to be a basic human right on par with clean water, shelter, food and electricity. However, in many places, getting online is prohibitively expensive – the cost of 1GB of mobile broadband in Malawi is more than 20% of the average monthly income. In Zimbabwe, it is nearly 45%.
The internet for most people is the private internet. Its the property of the 5 stacks and the wanna-be startups fighting for position in the patriarchy (hey lets call it what it is). Its a place of attention grabbing, advertising, monetization.
I’m co-wrangling the decentralization space (note the Z not S, I tried but failed…), and of course I urge you all to check out the space narrative below.
The year is 2027: Who owns the Internet?
In the dystopian version of 2027, the Internet is owned by a powerful few. Big tech corporations, select media companies and closed governments control the content on the Internet, the data that flows across the Internet and how people connect to the Internet. This dystopian future is closer than you may think.
On the flip side, what is the utopian version of the Internet in 2027? What future do we want to build? Where do emerging technologies like AI, mesh networking and Blockchain fit in? How do we ensure people are the most important part of the Internet?
Join us at Mozfest as we look into the future. Dystopian, utopian or somewhere in between—let’s explore the Internet of 2027.
Exciting eh? but you maybe thinking, well this doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in applying for?
Think again… its likely that there is something you haven’t considered which is perfectly fitting for example…
Colleen met Tony online and fell madly in love. Though they’ve never met, Tony proposed to Colleen over the phone and she accepted. Now, Nev and Max help her finally face the truth to reveal the mystery man she’s engaged to.
I’m going to spoil the episode, so if you want to be unspoiled stop now.
Tony is the Catfish and pretends to be a white geeky guy to Colleen. Shes suspicious calls in the Nev & Max to check him out. They find out that he’s actually this geeky black guy who has been pretending to be a white geeky guy. Almost everything else is true and when they finally out him, theres a moment of … why did he lie? Usually a clear reason why they Catfish, like they are the opposite sex, super young/old, a friend, ex-partner or even dangerous.
When sitting down with him, Nev & Max uncover a problem which is based around stereotypes. Tony’s personality is geeky and shy; from his previous experiences he found some women assume things of a black man and are disappointed when he’s honest about who he is deep down (Thats the crux although a lot more is said which I could dig right into).
He then goes on to talk about how his family are not accepting of mixed race relationships and this further blows up in a later discussion with his family. They ask why a white man and when he gives his reasons, they are even more mortified than the whole proposal of marriage to a white woman (Colleen).
The whole thing serves as a reminder of how many people have to live up to these bollox stereotypes, and how we oppose our stereotypes on each other. Its also a reminder of how uncool its still seen to be geeky in black culture. You could argue this is Tony’s problem but I’d argue you haven’t been paying attention.
By and large this film concerns itself with the greater philosophy of why groups in power behave the way they do. This might be the only movie about race relations I’ve ever seen that adequately explains – with sympathy – the root causes of a complacent white American mindset. And it took a black writer and director to do it.
Watching I am not your negro points at why someone like Tony may feel the need to lie about himself? Lovia from the new republic said…
The last half of I Am Not Your Negro moves out of the lives of Malcolm, Martin, and Medgar and takes a broader look at American culture. Over clips of daytime dramas like The Steve Wilkos Show and The Jerry Springer Show, Jackson reads Baldwin’s prescient commentary:
“To watch the TV screen for any length of time is to learn some really frightening things about the American sense of reality. We are cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are. And we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly. These images are designed not to trouble, but to reassure. They also weaken our ability to deal with the world as it is, ourselves as we are.”
Americans in the age of Trump are undergoing a painful period of self-reflection. The election of a reality television star to the highest office in the land would be disconcerting on its own. But the fact that this same star proved time and again that he has no respect for women, minorities, and the disabled makes his election that much harder to understand.
Almost feel like some of the works from Andy Curtis could be very fitting too.
Imagine living in a village, in your own cottage, doing your own thing. You wave to your neighbors, see them at the odd social event and maybe gossip when you meet. Nice huh? One night somebody builds a fire and a few people drift out and sit round the fire, singing songs, telling tales, toasting marshmallows, all the stuff you’ve seen in American summer camps that probably never actually happens.
Over time, more people join in the evenings, and the quality of the chat drops off a bit, and a few people are a bit arsey, but it’s nice, warm and social. You don’t have to do much if you don’t want, but you’ll get the odd beer or marshmallow and hear the little bits of news, a pregnancy, a holiday, who’s been snogging who etc etc. There are claps on the back when you crack a joke. Everybody faces into the fire.
Not going out to that fire is tough. It’s not that people forgot about you, or don’t want to see you or hear your news, but they do forgot that they haven’t seen you, or told you their news. They shared it round the campfire after all. You might still have people round to tea occasionally, or pick up the phone to speak to them but that easy comradery is missing. That warm glow doesn’t reach far either, in fact it’s very much a walled garden.
When I think of the campfire, I think little village and nice for a while but then its time to get out. Time to leave, explore and move forward. Maybe thats what bugs me a lot about using Facebook. Its all people I know and its too comfortable. I can talk about the filter bubble and data ethics and facebook messing with the news feed. But its all too comfortable. Theres nothing challenging your views, nothing making you explore (except the occasional event).
I would go as far as to say Facebook is making you a boring old sod. Remember, when I wrote how to be interesting ages ago. I wrote…
Talk to someone new at least every week
Good luck doing that on Facebook… Even with a massive number of friends on Facebook, Facebook will filter out most of them. Yes welcome to the village campfire.
The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.
If you not seen the film, you are not missing anything and I’m going to kind of spoil it for you right now for you. The mysterious creatures are other people and they exist in the outside world of the internet. That campfire keeps pulling you back but sometimes you just need to get out discover the milestones of freedom by getting out of the village and that super comfortable campfire.
Its nice to visit every once in a while, catchup, get warm and decide to leave. Do you want to hangout there and be known as the one who never leaves?
I thought not… Moderation Oli, limit your time at the Facebook campfire!
I snapped this while waiting for the tram back home last night in Cholton. I read the side bits and thought to myself, they are all about consumption except maybe the the “connect more?”
I don’t have a big problem with this but it does make me wonder, that super fast broadband is being sold as a quicker way to consume even more.
For me Superfast broadband (which I’m still waiting for due to the Manchester council highway authority not allowing Hyperoptic to connect it to the loop) isn’t about consumption. I’m already considering what I can do like vpn, plex, hosting, streaming radio station, etc…
Tragic waste of an opportunity since every TCP/IP based computer has (in theory) the capacity to serve data in a truly decentralised way. But we handed it all over to the commercial interests who gain by centralising and controlling what we watch, play, listen to and buy.
Over the last few days my internet has felt super slow. I couldn’t work out why? So after a number of tests on my local gigabit network, turning things on and off I decided something was happening further up the pipe. But what? Ping times to all the usual big services was fine. But pull up a webpage and it was hit or miss that it would load half the components.
It was time for a email by to my ISP (ukfsn.org) asking what was going on? The email I got back within a hour or so said this…
I’ve just checked the line and I can see that it is showing as being blocked due to repeated copyright infringement notices.
Please contact Enta support to resolve this.
Unfortunately I am not able to resolve this for you as they will require confirmation from you that you are not engaging in file sharing or similar activities around material that is subject to copyright restrictions.
Enta provide the actual pipe to my ISP (ukfsn) as they provide to many others. Generally ukfsn care little about (within extremes) what you do with the internet and don’t monitor its customers. But it seems somebody further up stream is doing it for them and worst still they are throttling bandwidth.
I called Enta, they explained what they thought was happening and suggested I should turn off all machines and devices on the connection till I know what’s happening. I explained I had already done so and seen nothing suspicious and they turned the throttling off, saying they will monitor the situation. At no point was I blamed which was good because I was planning on going crazy if they dared accuse me.
The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), which together with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has agreed the voluntary regime with the ISPs, said that the warning letters issued by ISPs will be sent out on the basis of evidence gathered by the rights holders.
“In order to help protect their copyrights, rights holders monitor public peer-to-peer swarms, looking for their copyright content being made available illegally,” the BPI said in a statement. “When they discover copyright content being made available illegally, they capture the evidence, verify the copyright content and record the IP address, date and time stamp. A summary of this evidence is then be provided to the ISPs, who establish which of their customers was using the IP address on that date and at that time and send an ‘alert’ to that subscriber.”
I’m still a little unsure if what they did was really fair or even legal? I want to see the evidence, but what can I do with it? Maybe I’ll get a few days credit to my truly unlimited connection? A letter of apology? Is it worth it? Tell you what if it happens again I’ll be spitting blood!
Dating in the 90’s verses now… is a witty look nostalgic trip back to dating in the 90’s (loving the drink reversal btw) Something I see a throw back to in many dating apps. I hear everyday from certain friends, I just want to meet someone like the old days… Well this is a reminder of what it really was like.
I’m not saying things are better now, just different. As I said in my Primeconf talk, the geeks won but it was a pyrrhic victory (not peridoc victory as I thought it was spelled in my talk). People have been left alienated and hurt by the way things have changed. I’m unsure if people will get over it or it will swing back the other way?
Fascinating reading the comments on youtube following the video.
Virtual dating is for cowards. Nothing says success like meeting a girl somewhere in public, flirt for a lil bit, and get the number. There is no mystery, what you see is what you get. When using the Internet, its common for fat chicks to use old pictures of themselves so they can give the illusion that this is who you are talking with. Where is the confidence in that? Then you get persons who seem to be so interesting online til you meet them in person and its like BORING!!! Give me a real date than a virtual date any day
As you can imagine that caused a massive load of comments… but there are some interesting ones mixed in.
it has nothing to do about not having courage, its infact the opposite. women need to stop taking the role of submissive and have the courage or balls go out and get what they want. i admire women who have that sort of courage, and that doesnt make me weak or lacking balls(i liked that term lol)
On balance, I prefer to float between both ways. There is a feeling that a nostalgic look back is waste of time really? And ever so easy, maybe this part of growing old? Sorry things are the way they are, learn to adapt… Change is the only constant.
The fight over dating will rage on, and anyone who manages to get the balance right will make a killing, specially if they don’t manipulate users too…
Uber has soft launched (I guess, is the best term for it) in Manchester and the impact is interesting to watch. Uber is basically a ride sharing network (legally I don’t believe they can call it a taxi service for pointing out UberX is a legal and licensed Taxi service).
Its quite simple, you sign up and install the app and you can see all the uber rides around you. To order one, you simply request that one pick you up from your exact location. Then say where you want to go. That simple. Unlike most taxis, you can see exactly when and when your ride is coming and heck you can even start walking somewhere and the driver will see your exact location change (great for when trying to get out of the rain for example). No phoning an operator, trying to get through and trying to explain where you are.
There have been apps for taxis but most of them suck and although Uber isn’t perfect, its better than 99% of whats out there.
The fact your payment is done through a connected credit card rather than cash or even debit card is a massive advantage. Frankly these guys have something which is pretty useful. I can’t tell you the amount of times, I have had the taxi driver pull over at a cash machine because I don’t have the cash or they don’t cards. Heck once I stopped at my destination and then had to get back on the road to find a cash machine because their card machine wasn’t working! (seriously!)
We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.
I do feel for the taxis company’s but they had their chances and may have blown it? Just like the music business and many others, they really need to up their game or feel the heat from Uber, as their drivers leave for the Uber deal…
Fiber to my flat… thats what I’ve been dreaming and thinking about recently. And I’m not the only one. Hyperoptic got in touch a while ago and said if we can get over 25% of the flat to commit to the upgrade, they would put in fiber.
To be honest I think we should drop the term broadband when your talking speeds faster than 99% of the UK. The only time I have ever experience such speed was in Stockholm when visiting sarah’s friends and hooking up my laptop to his 10 megabit connection complete with class A public IPs!
Now I get close to that at home right now but certainly not simultaneously.
Hyperoptic reminds me of Google Fiber, but its in the UK and they are interested in Manchester and Islington Wharf.
50 pounds a month is nothing for this class of connection. Even if there is a 2 year contract, I’m still in. I pay right now about £30 for a totally unlimited connection to the internet from UKFSN. Why so much, partly look at their response to a bill a while ago. The connection is pure and fast. I happily hand over £30 a month for no blockages, no stupid conditions, no stupidity.
People scoff when I tell them how much I pay, but to me the internet is very important. I happily pay for a very good connection because without it, I would loose so much more.
As we try and convince the rest of the residents to sign up, I ask myself why would you not? I know I live in the future but seriously?