I joined Wire… slightly under peer pressure

Wire on Linux

I looked at Wire a while ago but stuck with Signal. Some friends think I’m insane when I say I’m not using Whatsapp, but I have many reasons.

Herb asked me why I use Signal and not Wire, then a few people at Thinking Digital put the final shot in the social cannon. So I re-looked at it again and installed it alongside Signal.

They are quite different, for example Signal is very tied to a phone number while Wire is but isn’t (well you can only register one phone number which is a shame). I can login with the email across devices and it doesn’t seem to offer its self as a sms/mms client. While Signal does offer to be a sms/mms client if you accept it. But you can’t run Signal on multiple phones as it locks to that phone number.

I originally didn’t see the 64bit Ubuntu/Debian package, so ran it through Wavebox which makes websites act like native apps. But today I saw the deb.

Generally I’m thinking of Wire as something more like Ubuntu, while Signal is more raw like Debian. I’m sure some will hate that comparison but I look forward to seeing where they both go next, both are secure, open and run across all platforms.

Whisper disappearing messages

But as they move forward with features, will they keep the same data ethics (privacy, security, data ownership, identity, permission) in mind? I really hope so..

Updated

Old friend Gabby has been talking to me on Wire and pointed me at this blog post which pretty much sums up the difference I found with Wire & Signal.

Wire vs other intant messeagersOne of the biggest differences compared to other secure messengers like WhatsApp or Signal, is that Wire does not require a phone number to sign up. Anyone can register with an email on desktop or tablet and then decide if they want to use the same account on their phone or not.

10 years of Thinking Digital, still going strong

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017

Its kind of crazy that Thinking Digital is 10 years old now. I still remember meeting Herb Kim for the first time at a BBC Innovation labs event. He convinced Adrian to take 5mins and talk about coming back from TED global and wanting to create a conference with similar outlook in Newcastle. Yes! yes, I laughed at him but later did say if he gets it off the ground I will support him in anyway I can. That was over 10 years ago and the first Thinking Digital happened in 2007 and was amazing (such a shame I didn’t write about it).

10 Years later, its still an amazing conference, attracting more and more new people all the way to Gateshead/Newcastle. Every year people ask what am I looking forward to? and every year I pretty much say I haven’t even looked at the schedule, as I just know Herb has created a exciting and diverse line-up. My trust in the conference and Herb is super high and he never lets me down.

As per the last 8 years, heres my personal highlights of the conference, but honestly every speaker was great including Tom Scott, Dan Biddle, Darren Jobling and Adrian Westaway.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Simon Singh

I was aware of Simon previously but I found his geeky interest in mathematics pretty exciting and intriguing. I’m much more likely to keep an eye out for those cryptic mathematical equations now more than ever.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Richard Wiseman

Richard is another one of those figures I’ve heard of but never really checked out. He was also a great follow after Adrian Westaway’s magic + design (which only missed out from my favorites because I heard Clara talk in Manchester and spent some time getting to know the amazing Special Projects, still love to work with them on Perceptive Media). Richard broke down magic tricks and focused on our (lack) attention.

Really nicely done and ever so funny too! Certainly someone to watch out for in the future.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Mike Mullen

Fintech is something i’m less interested in but since using Monzo, started to get more interested in. Mike is the CEO of Atombank and his talk was actually really engaging. The story of how he moved from CEO of First Direct wasn’t fully explained but how he got started again and facing new challenges was fascinating. He described banking as a Rules based industry and talked about how the pace of change is based on who’s got the money; which currently is older people but thats changing which changes the dynamic of banking. Also found his idea of killing customers to see how much they are willing to put up with (think RyanAir) interesting. Such a good talk to kick start the conference too!

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017John Kershaw

What can I say about John, which I haven’t already said?

He finally revealed the full story of what happened with Dragons Den as he did in this blog post. He also revealed quite a bit about TV production generally. To be fair most of it was, “yeah and…?” to me but for most people the shine of TV production is a bubble they haven’t ever seen inside of. As Debra said, John is a highly invest-able guy with plenty of good ideas and I’m expecting some great things in the near future.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Dr Justin Sanchez

Justin works for DARPA and is focused on Human brain interfaces. Something which gets talked about quite a bit especially since the debate around machine learning has matured quite a bit. Justin talked a lot about Direct brain interfaces and the benefits to restore memories and provide benefits beyond imagination.

All I kept thinking was about the ethicals of all this stuff, surely DARPA are somewhere along the line interested in using this as a weapon or defense? Justin did well to positioned DARPA as doing impactful things like kick starting the ARPnet which the internet was built on.

Although I wasn’t totally convinced, its hard to think about tapping into the CNS and PNS without thinking about films like the Matrix, Existenz and the Black Mirror S3ep2 Playtest. While Justin talked people on twitter mentioned Inception, especially when he talked about architecting spaces. Funny because the pasivdevice in inception is military (think Department of Defense? not DARPA?).

That’s why the military developed dream sharing-a training program where soldiers could strangle, stab and shoot each other, then wake up.

Plenty to think about!

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Dr Anita Sengupta

There little I can say about this talk except wow!

I knew landing on Mars and exploring it was extremely difficult but Anita explained the whole life-cycle of the work and basically there wasn’t single persons mind which wasn’t blown at the end.

Simply incredible and great to hear the facts behind the headlines…

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Sophie Bostock

Very fitting talk as it was recently mental health awareness week. Sophie talked about mental health through the lens of sleeping and pretty much the quantified self, although she never actually said those words. She talked about sleeping apps and CBT – Cognitive behavioral therapy as a service you can access anywhere from your phone via a app. Which brought up the credibility question.

Don’t worry she said, these apps are about to be rated/checked in the same way medicine is. So hopefully removing the crap from the good. She did mention other metrics such as cost and accessibility but never the data ethics worry I have with all these things.

Good talk which raises plenty more questions… Unfortunately I never quite got time to grab Sophie or get her details.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Chris Turner

Chris a goofy white guy who raps about anything and everything was amazing. He came out rapping after Imogen and instantly got the audience going. After rapping and talking about the key rules for rapping, he then asked the audience to pull things out their bag and rap about them in one continuous stream. The rules Chris talked about were the same for improvisation really.

Stay in the moment, don’t over think things and don’t worry about it.

It also reminded me of my new years resolution to take a improvisation class. Forge about rapping in the shower, which Chris recommended; I need to make this happen for sure!

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017Imogen Heap

Up till the conference I had no idea who Imogen Heap was. I gather she was involved in the music business but her interests in digital technology were pretty deep.

Imogen has a big interest in changing the business of music by taking advantage of decentralised systems like blockchain and the concept of smart contracts. She talked bout how everybody talks about this being a golden age for music listening, but is the true of music creation?

I instantly started thinking there are so many connections with the work I’m doing around decentralisation (blockchain for music use/rent/buying), object based media (huge amounts of metadata which isn’t included in music) and dj hackday (music metadata affecting the world around you/quantifed club style). This was further confirmed when I bought a ticket to her cellia event after the conference.

Although there was lots of technical problems, the points were made and the 42 city tour of the world next year sounds very interesting. Plus her performance was actually musically good. While Adam Stark & Imogen talked about the glove technology, I looked it up hoping it would be a open source project. Although it isn’t, its funded by UWE, Innovate UK and others; putting it in the field of academia. I wouldn’t be surprised if theres a push to open source a part of it alongside selling the actual gloves in the future?

Once again if it wasn’t for Thinking Digital, I likely would never known about Imogen and some of the cross over in thoughts and ideas.

Sarah Raad – The Gratitude Habit workshop

Sarah Raad

Sometimes you meet someone and the connection around ideas and view on life are perfectly matched. This was Sarah.

Sarah who is an amazing woman runs a marketing company called Tent has a side hustle called Simple happy life

The idea is simple (pun-intended). Learn to have a gratitude habit by being grateful for the things you have right now. Ideally you would write these down or share them in some way.

Of course it sounds too simple (pun again) but Sarah pulled up many scientific research leading to the same conclusion that a gratitude habit can really be the building block for a more fore-filling life.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017

The first exercise was to get to know each other by saying who you were, why you were there and say why you were grateful for the picked topic out of gratitude jar. I picked by random friendship which I had plenty to say. Interestingly as I heard other people talk, it was fascinating to hear how open or closed they were with their thoughts.

Of course I’m quite open with most of my thoughts. Without really thinking about it, I was practicing some of the gratitude habit already. I also remember a thinking digital workshop I went to the year after leaving hospital from Bobby at the now gone Happiest. Of course one of the happiest items for a happy life was Gratitude.

During the workshop, it was clear to me that some of the exercises although very/quite private needed that wider interaction to make them really sink in (in my honest opinion); but its very hard to do this unless its a safe & comfortable environment. Very hard to do during a workshop in a office. This is something me and Sarah discussed after the workshop in a cafe afterwards and during the TDC dinner later. I remember also trying to recite bobby’s quote about negative thoughts.

We have roughly 60,000 thoughts a day and 95% of them are the same as yesterday and 80% of those are negative in nature.

We talked a lot and it was refreshing to have quite deep and I guess some would say intimate conversation about life, politics, happiness and the world. Lots was shared and I feel extremely gratitude to have met Sarah.

Thinking Digital Newcastle 2017

Thinking Digital once again is such an incredible conference and I’m very grateful to be there and gained so much out of a conference which I originally scoffed at… Here’s the next 10 years!? Herb?

APRIL FOOLS Herb Kim is fine: SORRY!

Herb notBulletproof Kim

Updated on April 1st – 1159 BST

It started out as a weird idea I had while looking into bulletproof coffee. I wanted to give it a try but realized most of it including coconut milk and other things which would put me in hospital for a long time. This got me thinking, imagine if Dave Asprey suddenly discovered a coconut allergy and ended up in hospital, which lead me to think maybe as a April fools joke Herb Kim could be the subject of the near death as he is the person who came up with the name.

I always knew death¬†is¬†a very touchy subject for many/most people. But I guess I became more¬†comfortable with my own mortality since mybrushwithdeath. In retrospect I didn’t guess how bad things would get.

Me and Herb talked about it in detail a while ago over dinner and twitter. He agrees it would be slighly fun and frankly its April fools, so can easily be dismissed (so we thought). I honestly thought the fake photo which I put together in Gimp using one of my own from Thinking Digital Manchester last year and a picture of coffee cup from pixabay would be taken apart in seconds. Then created this blog post saying Herb had died rest in peace.

On top of all this, I did recruit some friend to also send/share/be in on the joke.

It¬†was pretty early I got a reply from a few friends saying they won’t take part and this was unwise. But I thought, it will be fine most would realise what day it was and ignore it or even play along?

Here’s the original blog post…

Its so sad to hear Herb Kim died today, rest in peace Herb and hope you are forever bulletproof in the afterlife.

Herb creator of the Thinking Digital conference, a whole ton of TedX’s, good friend and¬†person who came up with¬†the term bulletproofcoffee.

It was about 0900 when I got my first call, asking is this true… I pleded I didn’t know the details. Then a second one a hour later with text messages. Then some messages on facebook once this¬†blog post had been posted. Then there was the direct messages and twitter questions… By 1000 I was ready to confess all!

I’ve always been¬†interested in the study of mementics and find Aprils fools
a interesting thought experiment especially in the face of fakenews and the growing worries over algorithmic personalisation; and our desire to share it.

I sit having breakfast at 1136¬†worried I went too far and people will absolutely hate what I¬†started. It was always meant as a april fools joke and maybe I went too far? Someone suggested I should have said Herb was kidnapped or something so out there you can’t help but laugh and realise its a joke. Death is too far and I had crossed that line.

So this is my massive sorry to everyone

…who¬†was worried and messaging Herb to ask. It started out as a joke between friends and quickly spun into something else. I never meant to worry people but its crazy how quick these things move. On the good side it shows how much people care for each other that they will get in touch and find out rather than just clicking.

Of course Herb was across everything and family memers knew in advance. This was not a publicity stunt to increase the profile of bulletproof coffee, I just thought it was a good catch; Herb ‘not bulletprood’ Kim.

Sorry everyone again… Won’t be doing anything like this again! Ever!

Best of Thinking Digital Newcastle 2016

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Yes I know its actually Gateshead but Herb Kim did call it TDCNCL after the newcastle train station short code? This also cuts out the confusion with Thinking Digital Manchester & London.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get to¬†Gateshead for this years Thinking Digital as¬†its harder to justify with the Manchester one right on my doorstep. But there is something about the venue and atmosphere in the Sage which just makes¬†a already excellent conference, great! Hall 2 in the Gateshead Sage is compact but the arrangement of seats just makes everyone feel like part of the event. This year was different as¬†this year Thinking Digital went ahead with the 1.5 day format. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work but it seemed to work…

The workshop on the first day kicked off procedings. I signed up to the clearing the air workshop which I felt could have some good tips for running workshops and meetings in a more formal manner.

I wasn’t disappointed as I came out with lots of different techniques for getting a constructive meeting for all. At one point, I asked a question of Alison and she got where I was going with it down to a tee. You mentioned neurodiversity and started to give tips considering a range of diverse people.

It was Saul Cousins I think, who said this workshop wasn’t his first choice but he was very glad he choose it as a second place. Because I got agreement to come at the last minute, I had less choices but I was very happy with what I got back. I also found parallels with what me and Marie had done at Thinking Digital Manchester last year. We all seemed to be hovering around the same ideas.

As usual I tend to pick out the best talks and give them credit.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Mikko has spoken at Thinking Digital Newcastle a few times if I remember correctly and everytime I have nothing but praise for he talks. He’s got a endless supply of stories from the dark side of data security. This time he’s focus was on ransomware, this seamenly new type of crime. Seamenly because as Miko pointed out the AIDS malware was writen many years earlier and did the exact same thing.

During the end of his talk, I was also thinking about the lack of diversity in devices and services. This came after Mikko mentioned some ransomware which searches for Apple time machines and encrypts that too. I guess the job is made easier by most Apple users using the defaults? Easy of use or opionated design being exploited?

Lots to take away, but the main one being don’t click those links in emails (yes this was drummed home through-out the talk)

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Sarah I hadn’t actually come across before in real life but I was a little bit aware of her in passing through things I had read surrounding ethics of data, blockchains and idenity blogs. Herb set her up and she explained not only what a blockchain was but also why and where they are useful. It was a hard task but Sarah did a good job without getting too lofty.

I caught her briefly afterwards and said what a great job she had done and that we must get together and talk about the databox work, which I believed UCL are a part of. Hopefully next time I’m down in London and schedules work out.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Edward is a drummer influced by the prodigy album Music for the Jilted Generation, who then wanted to create house music using drums. Yes it sounds kind of insane but true. I mean how do you bang out a consistent 130 beats per minute over the course of 4-8 minutes? Thats pretty serious before you even consider all the other stuff which goes into house music.

Luckily with the advances in technology, its become a lot easier to control more elements from any interface you are happy to use. Ed performed and showed how it all works. I was certainly bouncing my head around as he played.

Ed contuned the great legacy of music at Thinking Digital.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

James talk frustrated me mainly because Microsoft Bing seemed to be capturing contextual data but for the simple (I say simple but compared to more interesting uses) sake of a better search result. This wound me up because I’m sure I tweeted something like…

This is only half the puzzle.

This is something I’ll touch on in my presentation in Bucharest. You need both contextual data and adaptive narratives. Google’s effort to understand the semantic meaning behind web pages, allows them to adapt the search results. Hence I ask (regularlly in Manchester) “should I take my umbrella with me?” It knows where I am, knows roughly where I’m going and the weather report. Rather than send me a weather pre made weather report, it answers back with a tailor answer drawn from the data its understood.

I’m not saying this isn’t what Bing is also trying to do but it didn’t come across that way. I felt they were missing the bigger picture.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Tom is usually the final talk but after 9 years doing many things including lighting his sweater on fire, coming back from the future and many other interesting antics. He injected his style of famous style of humour into the emoji debate.

Funny and enlighening? Thats Tom Scott.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Katherine talked¬†dispelled the crap (litterally) of whats going on in our gut. She talked about the microbiome and¬†how it all worked. It was a good talk which honestly I hadn’t really considered or thougth about before. It was good to hear most¬†fermented veg was as or even better than those probiotics yogurts which are all the rave now. More¬†Kimchi and Miso is something I wrote into my mindmapped notes. Never really been a fan of those yogurts, always left feeling slightly sick.

The best image has the be the one below which sums up more than anyone would ever want.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

With Tom moved from his regular slot, I was wondering who could possibily end Thinking Digital on a high like previous years? Step forward MT Rainey OBE.

I knew nothing about MT, but it become very clear that she had worked with Apple and Steve Jobs in the very early days. I simply can’t do her talk any justice in my review as she covered many accounts of meeting Steve Jobs. She also touched on the multiple films including the latest one (steve jobs) and the Ashton Kutcher one (Jobs).¬†She felt the latest one (Aaron Sorkin’s)¬†was more correct but Micheal Fassbender got steve very wrong. He¬†was more like Ashton Kutcher, which to be honest makes a lot of sense.

Lovely quote to consider in her talk about Steve Jobs…

Ideas are a powerful patient for a brand

And the observation about lack of woman in Apple and the movies

It was another great Thinking Digital and I got to give John Thorp, Irini Papadimitriou,Will Dracup and Joe Faith credit for some very good talks too. I believe all the talks can be now watched here.

The 1.5 day format worked, my only grumble is when I go to Thinking Digital Newcastle, I tend to take most of the week. This means I’m fully present in the conference, open minded to all the talks and thinking about the connections. With a day lost, I felt the need to get back into emails¬†during my stay, when usually I would leave it to next week. But I do totally understand. So over all it¬†worked…

How to make an impact online with myself

Just before Thinking Digital Manchester, myself and Mari did a workshop on increasing your personal impact. I was interviewed by Krishna for Sage (The major sponsor of Thinking Digital)

You can hear the whole interview above, soundcloud and of course on the Sage blog. The interview includes…

  • A debate about authenticity and what I feel it means
  • How I manage what I post and share online
  • How to become comfortable with your online profile
  • Perceptive media and what to expect in the future
  • How I decide where to put my energy online
  • What I call success…
  • What I would do differently if I was to start today.

Its a nice interview and thanks to Krishna for being so lovely. Of course Sage for the opportunity.

Highlights of Thinking Digital Manchester

Thinking Digital Manchester

Thinking Digital is a breath taking conference which always wows and has become a stable part of the conference scene in the UK.¬† It was great to hear that Manchester would play host to the conference, but there was a worry that it wouldn’t live up to the dizzy highs of Newcastle?

Herb and the team set about taking the core elements of Thinking Digital and mixing it with Manchester. The results were great… It made perfect sense, rather than roll into Manchester with a exact formula, they will let it grow and mature like how Newcastle did. The conference took place in the darken space of the largest cinema at HOME, so my pictures didn’t come out too well. It certainly wasn’t the intimate feeling you get in Newcastle but I’m sure that will change and mature over time.

So enough blabbering, lets talk about the highlights…

Thinking Digital Manchester
Eddie Obeng

I missed Eddie when he talked in Newcastle, mainly as he was the first on, the 2nd day but I like his presentation style and what he had to say about counter intuitive thinking. Social media is broken, video conferencing is broken and we are digitally obese from the sugar, salt and fat of the digital era. Aka easy to use, convenience, and free. Very interesting metaphor

TDCMCR-08388

Conrad Wolfram

When ever I hear Wolfram talking about what they have done recently, I always think darn they are really doing stuff I could use within BBC R&D. It certainly was big data to better intelligence. The notion of insight is always a tricky but wolfram certainly seem to be leading this emerging field. Great to see a British innovator leading the field.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Julian Treasure

Julian I wrote about before at another Thinking Digital and his TED talk is something quite special with 4+ million views and very positive comments. Excellent talk and lots to think about when talking with purpose, which to be fair should be a lot of the time really.

Thinking Digital Manchester
LJ Rich

Herb must say to LJ, you have this much time and yes to anything you want. Shes an amazing woman with some seriously amazing ideas. Her thoughts about looking at the other senses, is exactly what I’ve been thinking for a long while. Why does Media have to be visual and audible? What about media which you feel and or smell?

LJ crafted a performance which was amazing to hear and see but also tightly focused around what you feel too. This was done with popping candy. At the right moment we all put the popping candy on our tongues and were treated to a wonderful symphony of interactive glitching with audio and video, representing a meteor storm.

I can only start to express how this all connected together to create a immerse experience like nothing else I can really explain while sitting in your seat.

I had the joy of talking to LJ about maybe doing something together in the future, so watch this space… Its one of those great things about Thinking Digital

Thinking Digital Manchester

Stephen Waddington

Stephen pretty much said most of the things me and Marie talked about in our workshop the day before on increasing your personal impact. There were things which we had to cut short including lots about the Cluetrain Manifesto. I think I was nodding my head through most of his talk, amazing a lot of this hasn’t just made its way into the conciousness of most people by now.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Pam Warhurst

Pam is a force of nature and I have written about her and her incredible (pun intended) work. I also got the chance to point out her wikipedia page is using the photo I shot at a previous thinking digital. I even told her I visited Todmordern purely because of her great work.

This time she talked about her aspirations to build a network joining all the other communities working on similar projects together. She is seeking people to get involved and help with the technical side of it all. I already said I was interested and just waiting for her to get in touch.

The idea of more civic/community driven startups (if thats the right classification) is something I’ve thought about a lot. It also reminds me that I must start that Civic startup manifesto following a conversation I had in BarCampManchester6 and attributing the excellent/crowd storming work the geeks of london did with the hackday manifesto.

Maybe I could link them in some way for the benefit of everybody?

TDCMCR-08584

Tom Chatfield

Tom’s talk was like a episode of Freakonomics live. He covered so much in his talk that I struggled to keep up.

Really interesting to hear about limited mental resources we all have, or as I prefer attention. He went off into a blog post I pretty much wrote a few days ago around swipe left or right culture. Which was a result of the substitution of difficult questions with easy ones (swipe left or right). Then talked about how difficult questions make us feel stupid and somehow ended up with what are we and physical stuff is a feature not a bug.

Good talk, wish I spent some more time at the social chatting to him. I was sandwiched between Wolfram and Tom, and to be fair I thought it would be better if they were sitting next to each other.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Lemn Sissay

Another new person I have never seen or heard of, till about half way through his talk. Reminded me of Jason Silva in his poetic wording and unique style.

Like Tom, so much was said and indicated, it was hard to tie the talk down to one singular thing. But the diversity aspect was well said and had me silently clapping and grinning.

TDCMCR-08645

I wrote down uniqueness and quality on my mindmap for Lemn’s talk, very fitting. Interesting the effect of uniqueness. I recently had a lot of comments about my latest trainers (Adidas Spring blades).

TDCMCR-08330

Thinking Digital Manchester was a very good conference with lots to take away, it doesn’t quite yet touch the legendary Newcastle events but I remember the original Thinking Digital in 2008, I can imagine in a few years time, it will be another jewel in the Thinking Digital crown. Home is a excellent venue with the bar, food and plenty of social space. But the cinema layout doesn’t have a patch on the sage two’s theatre. Imagine Thinking Digital Manchester in the royal exchange…now that would be something!

Regardless, the whole event was run very well and you felt like there was just not enough time in the day. It was seamless even with the new rash of technical faults (never happens at TDC usually). The format also worked well, but I did feel the social did need more emphases, as a lot of people didn’t realise the main social was on the night before the conference. Which makes for some fuzzy mornings I can imagine.

Excellent work Herb Kim and team… Me and Marie are looking forward to coming back with a even better workshop next year

A busy few weeks between dating, personal impact, #tdcmcr and #mozfest

Tokyo rush

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy…

As usual its kinda of stressful but ever-so exciting!

 

Best talks of Thinking Digital 2015

Thinking Digital 2015

Another year has flown by and I’m able to reflect on the Thinking Digital conference again in a blog post. Unfortunately this time I missed the workshops as I was giving a presentation at the BBC Connected Studio Drama lab in Shoreditch. But I jumped the last decent train to Newcastle and got there for 0045.

Because of the late arrival, this had a slight impact on my sleep and so I missed the very first talk of the day by Luciano Floridi. It was one which I had hoped to have seen, especially with my work around ethics in data. A lot of people talked about it, so I’ll have to check it out for sure.

Here’s my highlights of another great Thinking Digital conference. Can’t wait till see it in Manchester by the way!

Steve Mould
Steve Mould

Steve I heard talk last year at Thinking Digital a while back and he was excellent then and he didn’t drop in form this year. Touching on the Quantified Self, Data Portability and the consequences of our data collection. It was well meaning, funny and also full of things to think about. Already seeking out Festival of the spoken nerd

Seb Lee-Delisle
Seb Lee Delisle

Seb I’m sure I have met before but his talk was about the elegance and joy of coding. Of course this included coding live which was funny and painful all at the same time. Only the brave do live coding in front of a audience at a Ted like talk. Well done Seb for making it a joy.

Sam Aaron
Sam Aaron

Seb wasn’t the only one to do live coding from the Thinking Digital stage. Sam, took to the stage with Sonic-pi and belted out live music while explaining what he was doing and how. As always with live coding there were issue along the way but Sam kept his calm and humor. So fun, he was invited back to do an encore. Excellent stuff, may have to play myself, and I’d love to see a DJ version (maybe time to hack the code at DJ Hackday?)

Alexandra Depledge
Alexandra Depledge

I had never heard Alexandra’s story about hassle.com but I did try and use them to do my ironing a while back (which failed). Her story was pretty entertaining and gave a realistic view on startup culture. It was well told, passionate and emphasised the JFDI idea.

Jennifer Morone
Jennifer Morone

Jennifer was recommended by myself to Herb and although Jennifer was quite nervous, the points came across well. I think a lot of people who had never really heard of her or consider what extreme capitalism would be like. Some of the slides Jennifer put up were fascinating. There was a price on how much her natural waste costed if you were interested in purchasing some! We also had fun thinking about what happens if Jennifer was to have a relationship.

Partnership, merger, vicious takeover were all considered over drinks afterwards. Although funny for us, this is a reality for Jennifer.

Stefanie Posavec
Stefanie Posavec

Stefanie was fantastic and I kind of wish Jasmine was able to hear her talk (will have to wait for the video). Stefanie’s rebel against infographics was kind of fascinating. I disagreed with her on a lot of what she talked about but her focused seemed to be somewhere between Art and Design. For example the idea of data gathering by hand and the level of endurance needed is frankly insane, although I know people do it. Interesting point made about the behavior changing through the process of actual effort.

Catherine Mohr
Catherine Mohr

This one really got me, its spoke volumes. Catherine talked about surgery robots and the trend to towards smaller and better operations but her point is we need to turn our attention to diagnosis. Lots to think about and shes very right…

Thinking Digital 2015
Tim Leberecht

I loved this talk by Tim. Adding the romance to business. I took it as putting the human into business. If you take one of his slides you get the general picture. I felt this was a interesting talk when you consider the creative destruction talks by Max Lines of UberUK. Danger over data.

I especially like the un-quantified self over quantified self.

I don’t quite think romance is the right word, but I like it and it conjures up interesting visions in our super efficient and predictable business world. I like it all but I wonder if its all marketing or is there substance behind it?

#LJtunes
Lj Rich

LJ pretty much stole the show with her improvisational system. Basically #LJtunes is a idea which LJ thought to play tunes on a piano in the style of a different genre than originally produced. For example Lionel Richie in Dub Step, on a classic piano!

It was amazing, engaging and full of interesting tip bits, LJ was so great.

Herb Kim changes his shirt

I have to say almost every talk was great but these are the ones which stuck out for me. Other talks worth noting include Russell Davies, Ade Adewunmi, Tony Hey, Holly Goodier and Ken Banks.

I know some people didn’t like the dry ice machine but to be honest I quite liked it. It worked well with the music talks and added even more atmosphere. The idea of having one type of ticket was good but meant you had to be at the door pretty early to get a good seat.

Herb Kim is on fire with 8 years under his belt now. No wonder he’s so happy (with his new shirt style). Roll on Thinking Digital Manchester and the new format Thinking Digital next year with a starting price of only 99 pounds!

Amazing conference and amazing job done by everybody involved!

The descent of men not mankind

Thinking Digital 2014

I always get stick for not consuming a lot of BBC media but thats just the way I am to be honest (maybe one day I’ll go into this with more depth). However every once in a while I come across something which somebody recommends or links to.

Recently I have consumed the Future of Radio series (which I’m sure somebody thought after hearing about Perceptive Radio) and a very touching documentary about mixtapes which really sums up a lot of the thinking behind the physical playlist project. However its the Future proofing which has most impressed in the last month.

Can Civility Survive?

Mathematician Hannah Fry and guests look at whether civility can survive in the modern age

The Singularity

What happens if we reach the singularity, the day when machines match human intelligence?

No End of Pleasure

How will humans experience pleasure in the future?

The Descent of Man

Writer Michael Smith explores the uncertain future of masculinity.

It was can civility survive which got me interested in the series. Actually something Zoe posted on a similar vein got me thinking about the connection of doing things the modern way. Not relying on the legacy of the past. I mean for example, I mention Sarah quite a bit, shes lovely but shes an ex. Why should I be afraid to mention her? Anybody finds this weird could do with a strong reminder that its 2014 FFS! The same applies to most of the points Hello Giggles makes especially

  • The wallet reach

  • Being terrified to mention your ex

  • Feeling any embarrassment about online dating

  • Sticking out a terrible date out of politeness

But this blog is about the descent of men… Which I would if creating a mindmap for, would cross check with Blaise’s talk from Thinking Digital (video online now and MUST be watched) which also crosses over with The Singularity documentary from the BBC and many more posts including this one.

Listening to the documentary about the uncertain future of masculinity, I felt like how I felt when blaise gave his talk. Its a little scary from a male point of view and its clear to see why some men are rebelling. They like things how they are and don’t want it to change. The change is scary but theres no excuse for ignorance and hostility! They have to get use it because its going to happen and frankly its a great thing for humankind and the diversity of the human race. I urge men to look at this all as a positive thing!

It always reminds me of my position as a feminist and that blog post which really solidified my view.

Another video which must be watched…

Aral Balkan – Free is a Lie – Thinking Digital 2014 from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.

Aral drives me a little crazy, I end up writing massive long blog posts about his talks. But I have to give it to him, the showmanship and underlying ideas are pretty much good. You can see for yourself in the talk which got me writing about the 5 stacks.

Don’t forget to check out my blog for BBC R&D connected what happened at the Quantified self and Thinking Digital.¬† The panel discussion which I made reference to, is also up and Tom Scott’s video telling us its all going to be ok.

Maybe next time you should come to Thinking Digital and experience it for yourselves?

Blaise’s video from Thinking Digital must be watched!

Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Day 2) from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.

I said Blaise’s talk from Thinking Digital was great and almost had me at points punching the sky! ftw and all that…

Luckily the questions are cut off at the end, so nobody has to see/hear the room of laughter… Thanks Herb! ūüôā

The best of the rest of Thinking Digital 2014

Thinking Digital 2014

As mentioned in the previous 2 blog posts. Thinking Digital 2014 was excellent and further proves this conference is getting better everytime.

I pulled out 2 great talks and already wrote about them previously…

But there were more great talks, worthy of talking about.

Thinking Digital 2014

Jeni Tennison
Got to love Jeni, shes wonderful, warm and so down to earth. I’ve known her from my XML/XSLT days. Her talk reminded me of the struggles and endless fight to liberate data when I was leading BBC Backstage. Those fights are almost never ending… Glad to hear some of the battles are finally being won.

Thinking Digital 2014

Meri Williams
I have known Meri for years and years and always associate her with Newcastle. But I knew she worked very internationally. Her talk was great and had me thinking alot about my own position. She said we should all be asking ourselves, “Can someone like me can be successful here?” I specially like pointers to Dan Pink’s Drive and the term seagulls management. Great talk Meri, lots to take away…

Thinking Digital 2014

Mariana Mazzucato
Never heard of Mariana but after an introduction from Chi Onwurah the local MP for Newcastle or Gateshead. Mariana launched into a massive talk, outlining how the public sector should/could act more like the private sector. Ultimately she started to debunk the myths of public vs private as she does in her book entrepreneurial state (must look into this). This renew my faith in the public sector again.

Thinking Digital 2014

Erin McKean
Returning to the Thinking Digital stage again, Erin this time turned her talk towards new types of discovery. She said discovery should be ambient and contextual. Almost feeling like serendipity. I would suggest perceptive as a way to think about this stuff?

Thinking Digital 2014

Jennifer Gardy and Peter Gregson
Another returning speakers and this time teaming up together to do something new. This time Jennifer and Peter decided to visualise DNA through the medium of music. Some artistic direction was applied but the result was beautiful.

Thinking Digital 2014

Hayley Parkes
Hayley provided more music and what stunning music. So stunning that I dare not take a picture while Hayley was playing because the sound of the prism spinning might distract from the music. I was amazed at the story of Hayley and further provides me with the joy to know that the debate over nature vs nurture is wide open.

Thinking Digital 2014

Suzy Muclahy
Following Jennifer and Peter, Suzy Muclahy explained a number of the processes in the brain and body. The most interesting one for me was the stroke, which is something like #mybrushwithdeath. I later spoke to Suzy about a number of things including #mybrushwithdeath. Such a shame we didn’t get to spend more time talking, because we were bouncing from subject to subject.

Thinking Digital 2014

Steve Mould
Wasn’t expecting much but Steve’s talk about science and ultimately self siphoning beads was funny, witty and entertaining. I especially love the dubstep remix.

Thinking Digital 2014

Jemima Kiss with Christian Payne and Meri Williams
In a nice turn around for Thinking Digital, Jemima chaired a panel discussion mainly about the post-snowden era and whereables. As you can imagine, it was all about post-snowden and Aral’s recent talk. The last 5mins was about whereables and to be fair it wasn’t anywhere as interesting as the rest of the debate. Great to hear Jemima go through the timeline of what changed since last year.

Thinking Digital 2014

Tom Scott
After Aral’s talk and the panel discussion with Jemima Kiss, the mode and tone was low. Not because of the great talks but because there was a feeling that things were not right in the digital world.

Tom Scott’s finishing talk was Tom in 2030 looking back and talking to us in 2014. The main message was don’t panic, humanity will live out and we will prevail. And he’s right, don’t get me wrong. Everything is worth fighting for, but in the end we will prevail. We owe a lot to each and everyone of the whistle-blowers, hackers, journalists, etc which help us make sense of whats happening out there. Privacy is a human right and there will be a massive backlash once people feel its gone too far. The question is when enough people think its gone far enough…?

Thinking Digital 2014

A very fitting and uplifting end to another fantastic Thinking Digital conference. I’ll be clear and say all the speakers were great and although they may not have gotten on to my highlights list, they were all great. Thanks Herb and his wonderful team for putting on yet another great show, I especially like the Q&A by the way (more questions from the crowd please!)

Tickets for 2015 are live now by the way. Looking forward to another exciting thinking digital…

TDC14: Forget skynet, female-kind is ready for the shift

Thinking Digital 2014

I love conferences which have me almost punching for the sky in a FTW! (for the win) style. Thinking Digital 2014 almost had me at points punching the sky. Now in its 7th year! Thinking Digital hasn’t lost any of its impact and is still a pleasure to attend and take part in.

There is always great talks from the stage and I always have a hard time writing up the best ones to me. But this year I have had to separate out a couple of talks which really got me going for different reasons.

The one previous to this post is Aral’s talk from Thinking Digital and my personal thoughts interleaved. The next one I had to separate out is part two of Blaise Aguera y Arcas’s talk about machine intelligence and social changes. I got the feeling Blaise, had wanted to do this talk for a long while but never really had the platform to do so till Herb Kim allowed him the space to bring his thoughts together.

The basic talk was…

machine intelligence + (gender selection + sexual and lifestyle freedom) = post subsistence economics.

Each one Blaise wrote about on his blog a while back.

He started off talking about everybody is worried about machine intelligence over taking human intelligence, the singularity, etc. Replacing jobs isn’t new and actually the move away from back breaking jobs isn’t such a bad thing. The move away from these back breaking jobs which require a lot of testosterone to jobs which are collaborative in nature is a good thing.

Then on to trends showing what females earn as a whole against their male counterparts is increasing but the amount of females university and beyond educated is growing massively compared to the males. Aka there will be many more women earning much closer to what men earn. We may see the end of the glass ceiling at long last?

Thinking Digital 2014

Right with all that in mind, less testosterone driven jobs and finally a culture more accepting of collaboration plus a workforce to suit. You got a different mindset writing the machine algorithms and code to power the machine intelligence.

Thats the basic premise (and I know it hinges on a lot of stereotypes and questions, I may be doing Blaise a disservice but to be honest you need to hear Blaise talk about it and making the points. The crux is that women will dominate economically and society will reflect and favor a less testosterone driven approach going forward. The idea of machine intelligence given a cock and balls was floated as a very bad thing. Interestingly

This for lots of male kind is worrying as they suddenly feel the strangle hold they held for so long slip away. There will be a backlashes and your already seeing some of it including the redpill community.

Thinking Digital 2014

In a surprising move by Herb, he opened the floor for questions. Of course knowing me I had to ask a question. I thought about it but had to tell the question is something I didn’t really think too much about because there was plenty of thoughts and connections floating around my head. The question came out and with some clarification I made the hole a little deeper for myself.

The question I was trying to ask was about the social backlash from female-kind (Blaise had only talked about the male backlash). I also used stereotypes to illustrate the point including the height factor, suggesting women may want a testosterone driven man over the alternative. By this point it was pretty much over and I gave up making the point. But interestingly Jemima understanding where I was going with the question, chimed in and gave a better question based on what I meant.

It was a truly fascinating talk and my number one highlight of Thinking Digital 2014. I really feel like I’ve not done Blaise’s talk enough justice… Hopefully once the videos are up, I will link to them and revisit this one. I said Blaise’s talk could be summed up like this. Machine intelligence + (gender selection + sexual and lifestyle freedom) = post subsistence economics. Somewhere in there diversity of ideas and thought is changing the way we think about machine intelligence and this is a very good thing. Not everything has to be zero-sum and like it or not that seems to be a testosterone fueled thing.

Here’s Blaise’s thought from his blog which gives a lot more insight and information, than I could.

Documentarlly did a great little interview with Blaise on Audioboo

Machine Intelligence

I think that just as the Inter­net has been such a great dri­ver of change across so many spheres over the past 20 years, we will see machine intel­li­gence in the same role over the com­ing decades.

Today, we are as an intel¬≠li¬≠gent species essen¬≠tially sin¬≠gu¬≠lar. There are of course some other brainy species, like chim¬≠panzees, dol¬≠phins, crows and octo¬≠puses, but if any¬≠thing they only empha¬≠size our unique posi¬≠tion on Earth‚ÄĒ as ani¬≠mals richly gifted with self-awareness, lan¬≠guage, abstract thought, art, math¬≠e¬≠mat¬≠i¬≠cal capa¬≠bil¬≠ity, sci¬≠ence, tech¬≠nol¬≠ogy and so on. Many of us have staked our entire self-concept on the idea that to be human is to have a mind, and that minds are the unique province of humans. For those of us who are not reli¬≠gious, this could be inter¬≠preted as the last bas¬≠tion of dual¬≠ism. Our eco¬≠nomic, legal and eth¬≠i¬≠cal sys¬≠tems are also implic¬≠itly built around this idea.

Now, we’re well along the road to really under­stand­ing the funda­men­tal prin­ci­ples of how a mind can be built, and Moore’s Law will put brain-scale com­put­ing within reach this decade. (We need to put some aster­isks next to Moore’s Law, since we are already run­ning up against cer­tain lim­its in compu­ta­tional scale using our present-day approaches, but I’ll stand behind the broader state­ment.) When we reach this point, we will find our­selves no longer alone. It’s dif­fi­cult to over­state the impor­tance that moment will have in our future history.

It may well result in fur¬≠ther non¬≠lin¬≠ear¬≠ity in the ‚Äúrate‚ÄĚ of his¬≠tory too, since minds and what we‚Äôve dreamt up with them have been the engine behind his¬≠tory and its acceleration.

Gen­der Selection

For many thou¬≠sands of years we‚Äôve lived in a male-dominated soci¬≠ety. I don‚Äôt think that we‚Äôre shift¬≠ing toward ‚Äúfemale dom¬≠inance‚ÄĚ so much as I think that the whole idea of dom¬≠i¬≠nance is a male par¬≠a¬≠digm, and that it is this par¬≠a¬≠digm that is being selected against‚ÄĒ by increas¬≠ing pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion den¬≠sity in the urban cores, increas¬≠ing edu¬≠ca¬≠tion, larger work¬≠ing groups, increas¬≠ing col¬≠lab¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tion, ris¬≠ing tech¬≠no¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal lever¬≠age, global trade and so on. It may be dif¬≠fi¬≠cult to imag¬≠ine this now, when the vast major¬≠ity of the world‚Äôs cap¬≠i¬≠tal is still in the hands of men and many of the STEM fields (which are also among the highest-paid) are still over¬≠whelm¬≠ingly male, but I think that men‚ÄĒ and espe¬≠cially ‚Äúmanly men‚ÄĚ exhibit¬≠ing many of the clas¬≠si¬≠cal cor¬≠re¬≠lates of high testos¬≠terone‚ÄĒ will be at a dis¬≠tinct dis¬≠ad¬≠van¬≠tage in 30 years time. This rep¬≠re¬≠sents a pro¬≠found upset of the patri¬≠ar¬≠chal sys¬≠tem that has defined vir¬≠tu¬≠ally all of recorded his¬≠tory, so ‚Ķ it‚Äôll be a big deal.

Post-subsistence Economics

As machine intel¬≠li¬≠gence, robot¬≠ics, and tech¬≠no¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal lever¬≠age in gen¬≠eral increas¬≠ingly decou¬≠ple pro¬≠duc¬≠tiv¬≠ity from labor, we will con¬≠tinue to see unem¬≠ploy¬≠ment rise even in oth¬≠er¬≠wise healthy economies. The end state is one in which most forms of human labor are sim¬≠ply not required. In 30 years, if not sooner, we will be fac¬≠ing this unprece¬≠dented sit¬≠u¬≠a¬≠tion‚ÄĒ and whether it‚Äôs heaven or hell depends on whether we‚Äôre able to let go of cap¬≠i¬≠tal¬≠ism, eco¬≠nomic Dar¬≠win¬≠ism and the Calvin¬≠ist ethics that implic¬≠itly under¬≠lie these sys¬≠tems. With¬≠out a change of course, we will see mass unem¬≠ploy¬≠ment drive a rad¬≠i¬≠cal accel¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion of the already dra¬≠matic imbal¬≠ance between the very wealthy few and every¬≠one else, lead¬≠ing to ugly con¬≠di¬≠tions in the cities and ulti¬≠mately vio¬≠lent uprising.

On the other hand, if we are able to set aside our Calvin­ism, we will real­ize that given the tech­no­log­i­cal effi­cien­cies we have achieved, every­one can live well, with or with­out a job. Cap­i­tal­ism, entre­pre­neur­ship and other sys­tems of dif­fer­en­tial wealth cre­ation could still func­tion on top of this hor­i­zon­tal base; but every­one must be fed and housed decently, have access to free health care and edu­ca­tion, and be able to live a good life. I assume the nation-state will still be a rel­e­vant legal and eco­nomic con­struct in 30 years (though I’m not sure, as cor­po­ra­tions or pos­si­bly other struc­tures will com­pli­cate the pic­ture); my guess is that we will see both paths taken in dif­fer­ent parts of the world, lead­ing to mis­ery and war in some, where either the ben­e­fits of accel­er­at­ing tech­nol­ogy are slow to pen­e­trate or Dar­win­ian eco­nom­ics are left unchecked.

Sex­ual and lifestyle freedom

In 30 years, I think that not only will the more pro­gres­sive places in the world have fin­ished rec­on­cil­ing them­selves to the wide spec­trum of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and expres­sion, but also to a wide vari­ety of life con­fig­u­ra­tions beyond the nuclear fam­ily built around a sin­gle life­long pair-bond. There are many forces con­tribut­ing to this shift, and I sus­pect that an empir­i­cal case can be made for this in much the same way as for the gen­der ideas above. This is the least devel­oped of my six ideas, but one that I think will have pro­found implications.

I’m dying to experience Tokyo by 2016?

Tokyo - śĚĪšļ¨

Forever I have wanted to experience Tokyo. For me its always been a place of technological progress. I know its not for everyone, but the culture is so wildly different and technology is at the core.

So why have I not already been?

Well its bloody expensive and to be honest I have this vision of going bankrupt just searching through the market bins of Shibuya

I lived with a Japanese lady for a while and we would talk about me going to Tokyo. She always pleaded with me, please go with someone who can speak Japanese because my allergies will kill me.

I almost went once for work but my wedding clashed (Sarah would have killed me dead if i changed it for Tokyo) with the trip so instead Lisa went to keep an eye on Dave.

I’ll be honest although I have always wanted to go, I have a hard time justifying paying for holidays. New TV, better phone no problem. But 1 week away in Denmark? It feels like a world apart in my mind.

Watching Graham Hughes again (first time at Thinking Digital) at TedXSakford. Made me think what is stopping me? This was further realised after watching Steve Mazan in his inspirational and funny video (must watch!). It also answers the question I had about death and if the only way to make people wake up is with death.

Anyhow, I’ve decided by 2016 I will go to Tokyo and experience Japanese culture. Its got to be done! And I’m going to do it. Its now been added to my Schemier along with visiting South Korea.

People of the internet you can help me by recommending cheap places to stay, food which won’t kill me, best time to go and cheapest way to get there (within reason).

If you want to help Graham Hughes out. Vote for him on sos-island.com. He gets my vote for the inspired challenge he set himself and ultimately for prompting me to go…