Today is a big day – coming out of stealth with the project that we've been working on for a while. @planetaryinc is a new social network we're building based on Scuttlebutt – it's aiming to be decentralized, open, but still open and humane. https://t.co/fXUH4RfRNq
— Tom Coates (@tomcoates) January 22, 2020
I feel this is one of many to come. Not another social networks, but the idea of rethinking the advantages of decentralised, federated and distributed networks.
Imagine: Decentralised, Its not a bug its a feature
I like what planetary has done with the FAQ page. You would also expect them to shy away from the underlying networking technology of Scuttlebutt (which is hard to explain to people use to centralised models of social networks). They took the underlying technology and turned it into a competitive business advantage, without breaking the ethos/promise of the technology.
This is the future… Good ethical technology, good ethical design and good ethical data practices = Great new user experiences.
This might sum up the talk I’m thinking about for Agile Manchester 2020.
I had the absolute joy of attending the 12th Thinking Digital Conference. One of the speakers Chris Stokel-Walker so called YouTube Investigator, raised a number of interesting points about the evolution of youtube from its history as place for cat vdeos, pirate videos and silly antics; to a place with 1.9 billion monthly views, algorithmic bias and massive hollywood stars (Will Smith is on Youtube, bloody heck?!)
Chris made the point “youtube grew up faster than hollywood” alongside the fact its one of the most desirable career paths for young people currently and the vast amount of video being uploaded is unthinkable now. 4 months of youtube uploads will have you watching till the year 8096!
He’s right, our media literacy around this all is seriously lacking, and its very clear while reading theverge piece I recently read.
Weirdly enough I was reading a piece titled The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over, which I felt was very fitting. As it almost felt like while Youtube was becoming less authetic, Instagram with its super glossy unnatrual filter was shaking that off. They seem to be going in opposite directions?
“Everyone is trying to be more authentic,” says Lexie Carbone, a content marketer at Later, a social-media marketing firm. “People are writing longer captions. They are sharing how much money they make … I think it all goes back to, you don’t want to see a girl standing in front of a wall that you’ve seen thousands of times. We need something new.”
James Nord, the CEO of Fohr, an influencer-management platform, says he sees this shift play out in his clients’ numbers every day. “What worked for people before doesn’t work anymore,” he says. “For the first time, influencers are coming up against this problem of, How do I continue to grow as tastes change?” A year ago, an influencer could post a shot with manicured hands on a coffee cup and rake in the likes—but now, people will unfollow. According to Fohr, 60 percent of influencers in his network with more than 100,000 followers are actually losing followers month over month. “It’s pretty staggering,” he says. “If you’re an influencer [in 2019] who is still standing in front of Instagram walls, it’s hard.”
Thinking Digital is always a great conference and I try to make sure I get to Newcastle for each one. Now in its 11th year, its clear there is no sign of it slowing down.
This year I booked quite late and missed a number of excellent workshops, so ended up doing the startup thing. It was the first time I had been involved in it but it was really interesting. Thinking digital switched to a one and half format a long while ago and I got to say its working well. After the mass dinner on the workshop day it was a early start for the conference.
Herb always does such a great job that I rarely even look at the schedule in advance, and I wasn’t wrong.
In the usual manor here is my highlights from Thinking Digital 2018.
Surprisingly gave a talk about blockchain and communicated it extremely well. I have heard many people try and explain blockchain to regular people and either confuse the audience or do a dis-justice to blockchain technology. Maybe this is partly why blockchain gets such a bad rep by so many people. At Fuel 2018, a speaker who I gather explained blockchain in 2017 had to come back to explain again in 2018, acknowledging how much he confused people the first time around.
I also never heard of tip your farmer but I love the idea and it perfectly illustrates the kind of applications blockchain could empower and drive.
I already wrote about which happened at Thinking Digital during Pauls talk earlier which I needed to address sooner complete with an update.
If I could ignore the tshirt I would be clapping along with everyone else. But Paul’s choice of tshirt made it very difficult to take what he was telling the audience in. As he said before it was removed? (my non-official twitter client still has it)
Think your blog says more about you as a person that me as a speaker. Interesting read though. Keep up the good work.
He might be right and thats on me but its the truth. I wasn’t going to clap along with everyone else if I wasn’t feeling it. I was being true to myself and you can’t take that away from me. But I did want to say Herb and the Thinking Digital production did a amazing job against the difficult odds. No matter what they did it was going to be criticised by someone, and they did the best in a very difficult place. I seen/heard too many other conferences completely wrong foot themselves into oblivion when faced with such a incident. For example CHI 2018 with OKCupid’s founder, which had a session afterwards to discuss the outrage after the keynote.
Although quite a dry academic talk, the content was quite amazing. The whole idea of e-skin just conjures up so many thoughts and ideas. The videos spoke for themself pretty much and gave me much greater appreciation of skin generally.
On a similar vein, Yang presentated her research on sleep. The power of sleep is getting very well known in the circles of health and wellbeing. So it was quite a surprise to hear Yang’s research as she was able to suggest to mice to sleep with direct amounts of light on identified parts of the brain. If that wasn’t crazy enough, she could reverse the process in a similar way. It was incredible to see and the research felt like something out of inception.
It was a suggestion not a go to sleep now, meaning the mice would find somewhere they felt comfortable like their nests and go to sleep there. Instead of falling to sleep straight away. Like in inception…
Cobb: How complex is the idea?
Saito: Simple enough.
Cobb: No idea is simple when you need to plant it in somebody else’s mind.
This level of suggestion is quite something…
An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.
Talking to Yang afterwards, she was clear its only under lab conditions with mice. Shes a long way from humans but identifying the part of the brain has many promising outcomes for those who suffer with sleep problems.
I first saw Dave Evans at FutureFest 2 years ago and was impressed enough to buy the book designing your life. Designing your life is all about applying the discipline and practice of design to your life. For a designer like me this makes a hell of a lot of sense; especially when you start to question those dysfunctional believes.
Generally I would lean on get curious, talk to people, try stuff, tell the story then repeat.
Dave was gracious enough to run a session over lunch time on a aspect of designing your life. To be honest I really enjoyed the workshop and learned something about myself which I hadn’t really considered before. Most of designing your life is online but the book is once again great to lend to friends and family.
Tatiana approached the subject of wellness and mindlessness in our digital lives. Although not ground breaking, it was a welcomed talk and likely quite new for lots of people. It certainly felt like there was a whole load more to be said, as she touched on the area of diversity, diverse thinking and inclusion. Certainly would have liked to hear much more about her thoughts in that area.
Sarah had the audience in giggles as she talked about the new language of emojis. From their incredible popularity to groups & communities repurposing emojis for different purposes. There was a very serious point made about trying and failing to interpreting language, emojis and emotion. Something I picked up in Rana June’s talk from Fuel too.
Its great to see data being used beyond the screen and Julie’s project exploring data as art material and objects enriched with data; gave me new insight for the objects of immersion work I’ve been working on for a while.
You know when you should work with someone, Julie is that person and luckily I got to spend another day with her during University of York’s data stories hackday.
Now to be fair Mr Bingo always steals the show and this thinking digital he did it again in Newcastle. I never question Herb’s excellent curation skills but Mr Bingo as the last speaker would have been great as a nice light end to a already excellent conference.
If you haven’t been to thinking digital before, next year get your butt in gear and save a date in your calendar for 15-16th May 2019.
I was at the excellent thinking digital conference yesterday when Paul Irwin from trylife took to the stage. Ironically he followed a excellent talk from Tatiana Simonian who made a clear call for more diversity and inclusion within the digital sector.
Sat in the 2nd row with my Nikon camera I was enjoying the story of his life and trylife (I was planning on talking to him afterwards) but I was caught in a state of flux. The words (ones which were not swear words) coming out of his mouth and seemed mismatched with his tshirt or choice of tshirt.
From my view it was a young female adult with a breast on show. Ok from my point of view quite tasteless but certainly something I can’t really imagine someone wearing at a professional conference. And I say that haven given talks about dating, love, sex and hookup culture. I was always sure to make my slides acceptable for a general audience. There is no way, even if I owned such clothes would I wear them on stage. This is all before I even looked at the conference code of conduct.
The last few conferences I have spoke at, I had needed to sign or least explicitly agree to the code of conduct in some way. I hadn’t really considered exactly why the speakers would need to do this, as the speakers should be onboard with this anyway? But now I totally get it.
I hasn’t noticed Thayer had already left for reasons I was still juggling in my mind.
Things got really concrete in my mind as Paul started talking about how he was helping young girls in trylife. I kept thinking how are you helping by wearing that tshirt? Did you not look in the mirror and think? Don’t you see the paradox which you have created?
@herbkim I love you, I love your conference, but this was not ok. I've left, and an really upset. Please read the thread. I also feel strongly this is against the code of conduct for #tdc18. It is not ok for speakers to wear sexualised photos of women at a tech conference.
— Thayer Prime (@Thayer) May 17, 2018
I was struck because she was right and I was a fool to sit there wondering about this paradox which was opening up in front of me. Heck I even gave Paul a token finger clap (indicating how I was feeling at the time) while others cheered around me.
Cheers Andy & Sarah! FUCK IT gif attached. Procrastination graph coming when I get to work! x pic.twitter.com/01gbcvKqQM
— Mr Bingo (@Mr_Bingo) May 18, 2018
Some people will argue that Mr Bingo’s talk was even more sexualised and he did use the words “fuck it” but the context was very different. The actions, words and clothes of Mr Bingo were not mismatched, like Paul.
The message he delivered was truly soiled by his choice of t-shirt. The swearing I could put up with as it wasn’t aggressive (although also against the code of conduct) and but I couldn’t take him serious, and I know thats on me. But his choice of a sexualised t-shirt reflected badly on him and a great conference; and thats not good!
After the break Herb Kim apologized to everyone on stage and later on twitter.
apols for delayed reply. Made a public apology onstage immediately after it happened which I know @toodlepip @cubicgarden had mentioned. I thought that was enough but got a DM from @ggdworldwide suggesting I was ignoring the problem so just restating my apology again now
— Herb Kim (@herbkim) May 18, 2018
Someone close to me described it something like this…
People actions should equal what they say, especially on a stage.
What happened next is difficult to say as I wasn’t witness to any of it. But I heard clearly aggressive threatening behaviour from one of Paul’s friends at Thayer when she approached him to talk through things. The best thing he could have done was be understanding about things but judging by his twitter this was the last thing on his mind…
So controversial 😂 pic.twitter.com/nvKYGzPmt0
— Paul Irwin (@PaulRIrwin) May 17, 2018
Thayer you have my total support and I’m sorry I didn’t join you when you stood up and left.
Herb the founder of Thinking Digital has issued a statement on his medium to what happened at Thinking Digital 2018. It includes a apology from Paul Irwin about what happened on the day.
— Paul Irwin (@PaulRIrwin) May 25, 2018
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.
— Wire (@wire) May 16, 2017
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.
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..
One 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hoping DARPA are thinking about the ethics of this stuff at #tdc17
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 17, 2017
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!
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…
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.
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!
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
Sometimes you meet someone and the connection around ideas and view on life are perfectly matched. This was Sarah.
— Sarah Raad (@tentspitch) May 16, 2017
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.
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 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?
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!
Worst April Fool "joke" ever this morning about someone dying.
— Josh R (@technicalfault) April 1, 2017
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!
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.
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.
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 11, 2016
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)
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.
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.
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.
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 11, 2016
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.
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.
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.
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 11, 2016
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.
So interesting to hear MT Rainey OBE name Steve jobs traits, through the lens of dyslexia #TDC16
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 11, 2016
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
— Thinking Digital (@ThinkingDigital) May 20, 2016
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…
— Krishna De (@KrishnaDe) November 30, 2015
- 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.
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…
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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
The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy…
- Saturday 31st October – a few Halloween parties (I got a plan to visit 3 in one night)
- Sunday 1st November – Ragged talk about dating in the 21st century
- Monday 2nd November – Thinking Digital Manchester workshop: Increasing Your Personal Impact
- Tuesday 3rd November – Thinking Digital Manchester conference
- Friday – Sunday 6-8th November – Mozilla Festival 2015
As usual its kinda of stressful but ever-so exciting!
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 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 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.
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?)
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 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.
— K_te N_rm_n ♥ (@sarahkatenorman) May 21, 2015
Partnership, merger, vicious takeover were all considered over drinks afterwards. Although funny for us, this is a reality for Jennifer.
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.
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…
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?
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.
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!
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.
Mathematician Hannah Fry and guests look at whether civility can survive in the modern age
What happens if we reach the singularity, the day when machines match human intelligence?
How will humans experience pleasure in the future?
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!
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?