Posts tagged Medium

Rebooting Democracy (draft..)

Medium, Indy Johar, dark matter labs, politics, civil society, democracy

The Democratic state is full stack challenge and cannot be reduced to the vote – a functioning democracy requires the democratising capital, knowledge and freedoms (agency) – making functional markets – all topped off the vote. It is why we historically built banks for the poor, schools and libraries prior to the emancipation of the vote.

via https://provocations.darkmatterlabs.org/rebooting-democracy-draft–6dc7b8265fd

Seeing Through The Debris

Medium, Anomalous Engineering, reality, futures, power, perception, map blindness, unknown unknowns, Blackbird Analogy, Breakaway Civilistion, Oligarchy

As interpreted, ‘Real’ Reality is something that sits outside of ‘Official Reality’. Official or ‘Red Reality’ is the reality of mainstream culture which is the preferred reality of ‘Power’ (substitute Power for Ruling Archon as is your prerogative). It is through the construction of this Official Reality that allows ‘Power’ to govern. Within the Red sphere of Reality ‘Power’ can be said to play by its own rules. The diagram also suggests that there is an expanded ‘Reality’ within which you can play by different rules. It is at the the boundary between the official sphere of reality and the outside that ‘Power’ gets to choose which rules and which cards are in and out of play.

via https://medium.com/anomalous-engineering/seeing-through-the-debris-a4185eb12cd0

We Can Weaponize Fiction, But How Do We Monetize Truth?

Medium, politics, critical theory, simulation, simulacra, postmodernism, post-truth

Postmodernism has shown itself as a tool for art or annoyance in the hands of the Left. In the hands of the Right, these principles are a heavy rock, itching to be hurled at your head. Without any intent to contribute further to the new Red Scare that seems to have started in the US Press, we still need to open our eyes and ask what exactly is going on.

via https://modernmythology.net/we-can-weaponize-fiction-but-how-do-we-monetize-truth-ef9ffb52299e3

You Just Wait

Medium, boeing, design fiction, critical design, futures, anomalous engineering

Never mind the economics of suborbital flight. One day you too may be flown over as a party favour for some super-elite. Take your in-flight relaxants, and hope you don’t bruise up too badly on your way through an atmosphere that anthropogenic climate change has made too turbulent for the cheap intercontinental flights people used to enjoy. You just wait.

via https://medium.com/anomalous-engineering/you-just-wait-f5d81d804e10

Transparency ≠ Accountability

Medium, data, society, danah boyd, transparency, accountability, algorithmics

In the next ten years we will see data-driven technologies reconfigure systems in many different sectors, from autonomous vehicles to personalized learning, predictive policing to precision medicine. While the changes that we will see will create new opportunities, they will also create new challenges — and new worries — and it behooves us to start grappling with these issues now so that we can build healthy sociotechnical systems.

via https://points.datasociety.net/transparency-accountability–3c04e4804504

Umbra, a Black Design Story

Medium, Dan Hon, design, umbra, dark patterns, black design, design fiction

Matt was in a foul mood this morning and had shut himself away in One, the meeting room with the large, black conference table and the Polycom with a custom red paint job that in a company with a higher Whimsy Score on Glassdoor (not a real thing, I need to remember to write that down for work) would have a name like Monolith or Kubrick.

via https://medium.com/umbra-a-black-design-story/wednesday-february–10–2017–7fc5a674c043

Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.

Medium, futures, 2030, scenarios, economics, technology, privacy, outsourced servitude, WEF

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

via https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/welcome-to–2030-i-own-nothing-have-no-privacy-and-life-has-never-been-better-ee2eed62f710

First they took over communication. I don’t believe what I hear anymore. I only trust what I see out there in the streets. Then, when they took over the energy grid and fuel supply, things started to move quickly. Transportation became increasingly restricted. It made no sense for us to use cars anymore, since their control systems wouldn’t let us go anywhere inside the city anyway. And the militias control the countryside, so with a bit of skin pigmentation, there’s no telling whether you’ll end up as labor or food. I wonder what those flying cars look like from the inside. The only things that fly around here are the autonomous police drones. Forget about using public transportation. Unless you want to get tased. Or shot. Their facial recognition software is not good at distinguishing dark faces, so they may well confuse you with a known threat. Now, I can hardly believe that we were once allowed to move freely about the city, not to mention not being watched by persistent, omnipresent security systems. Sometimes I use the sewers when I need to go to somewhere far. They haven’t rigged them up with cameras yet, I think. I guess the smell is deterrence enough for most people. It’s hard to wash off that journey.

via https://medium.com/@chulu/welcome-to-their-city–692f419c98b3

What is the Adjacent Possible?

Medium, adjacent possible, biology, evolution, possibillity, futures, Martin Erlić

The “adjacent possible” is the most salient, most shared and perhaps most important of a cacophony of colorful metaphors about biology, information, and networks offered us by Stuart Kauffman in his seminal “At Home in the Universe”. Kauffman is an American theoretical biologist whose work on the mathematics of boolean networks and the biology of genomic regulatory networks in practice has defined our understanding of both the possible origins of life and of the contemporary dynamics of complex adaptive systems, such as the biosphere and the econosphere at scale. So what is the adjacent possible?

via https://medium.com/@Santafebound/what-is-the-adjacent-possible–17680e4d1198

“The Power of the Powerless” by Vaclav Havel

Medium, viral samizdat, Vaclav Havel, 1978, czechoslovakia, VONS, dissent, politics, history, osteuropa, solidarity, solidarność

A specter is haunting Eastern Europe: the specter of what in the West is called “dissent” This secter has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting. It was born at a time when this system, for a thousand reasons, can no longer base itself on the unadulterated, brutal, and arbitrary application of power, eliminating all expressions of nonconformity. What is more, the system has become so ossified politically that there is practically no way for such nonconformity to be implemented within its official structures.

via https://medium.com/@bruces/the-power-of-the-powerless-by-vaclav-havel–84b2b8d3a84a

How to regulate an algorithm

Medium, AI, algorithms, self-analysis, conversation, explication, autoexplication, self-describing-processes

As we make algorithms that can improve themselves — stumbling first steps on the road to artificial intelligence — how should we regulate them? Should we require them to tell us their every step […] Or should we let the algorithms run unfettered? Nara Logics’ Jana Eggers […] suggests that a good approach is to have algorithms explain themselves. After all, humans are terrible at tracking their actions, but software has no choice but to do so. Each time a machine learning algorithm generates a conclusion, it should explain why it did so. Then auditors and regulators can query the justifications to see if they’re allowed. On the surface, this seems like a good idea: Just turn on logging, and you’ll have a detailed record of why an algorithm chose a particular course of action, or classified something a certain way. […] There’s a tension between transparent regulation of the algorithms that rule our futures (having them explain themselves to us so we can guide and hone them) and the speed and alacrity with which an unfettered algorithm can evolve, adapt, and improve better than others. Is he who hesitates to unleash an AI without guidance lost? There’s no simple answer here. It’s more like parenting than computer science: Giving your kid some freedom, and a fundamental moral framework, and then randomly checking in to see that the kid isn’t a jerk. But simply asking to share the algorithm won’t give us the controls and changes we’re hoping to see.

via https://medium.com/pandemonio/how-to-regulate-an-algorithm-c2e70048da3

Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese Food, Culture, and Travel

Medium, food, china, history, culture, Fuchia Dunlop

China has the world’s preeminent cuisine, absolutely unparalleled in its diversity and its sophistication. You can find practically everything you could possibly desire in terms of food in China. From exquisite banquet cookery, exciting street food, bold spicy flavors, honest farmhouse cooking, delicate soups, just everything, apart perhaps from cheese, although they do actually have a couple of kinds of cheese [laughs] in Yunnan province. Also, because China is such a food-orientated culture, and it has been since the beginnings of history, that if you want to understand China, almost more than anywhere else, food is a really good window into the culture, into the way people live, into history, everything.

via https://medium.com/conversations-with-tyler/fuchsia-dunlop-sichuan-cuisine-every-grain-of-rice-e13922e8a784

When the maps run out

Medium, Dougald Hine, collapsonomics, myth, metaphor, tricksters

There’s something more to say about the work that lies ahead, if it’s seriously the case that we are in territory where archdruids and zine writers and collapse bloggers and mythtellers are the ones who still have maps that seem to make sense. I notice that there is a part of me that would like not to be serious, that would like it to be secretly a bluff, a puffing of the ego, when I say that it feels like there’s a new responsibility landing on the ragtag of thinkers and tinkers and storytellers at the edges, one edge of which I have been part of over these last years. And for sure, this is only one map I’ve been sketching, others will have their own that may or may not overlap. But the way it looks from here tonight, the people who are meant to know how the world works are out of map, shown to be lost in a way that has not been seen in my lifetime, not in countries like these.

via https://medium.com/redrawing-the-maps/when-the-maps-run-out–8cc5f5f4f5e

Media: End Reporting on Polls

Medium, data, reporting, politics, polls, civic engagement, data and society, danah boyd

We now know that the polls were wrong. Over the last few months, I’ve told numerous reporters and people in the media industry this, but I was generally ignored and dismissed. I wasn’t alone — two computer scientists whom I deeply respect — Jenn Wortman Vaughan and Hanna Wallach — were trying to get an op-ed on prediction and uncertainty into major newspapers, but were repeatedly told that the data was solid. It was not. And it will be increasingly problematic.

via https://points.datasociety.net/media-end-reporting-on-polls-c9b5df705b7f

A COP22 Guide to the Mysterious World of Shipping

Medium, shipping, COP22, climate change, environment

Shipping is by far the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way to move commodities in bulk — moving one ton of cargo by sea emits four times less carbon dioxide than moving it by road, and 100 times less than by air. But that hardly means that the industry is green. If the shipping industry were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. So why was the shipping industry left out of the Paris Agreement? The simple answer is, it’s hard to pin emissions from shipping on any one country.

via https://psmag.com/a-cop22-guide-to-the-mysterious-world-of-shipping–21fb88c576e3

RIP Forecasting

Medium, forecasting, foresight, Germany, EU, Brexit, trump, 9/11, politics

German weekly Die Zeit did two scenario stories this year, in which they tried to paint pictures of — at that point — unlikely futures. The first one was Brexit; the other one was Trump. For both, reporters tried to talk to politicians, bureaucrats, policy experts, etc. in Germany and the European Union. Most wouldn’t speak to them, and a few only did off the record. They would say that they weren’t allowed to plan for these futures. That not only had no strategy but mostly not even possible scenarios. Our governments went rather unprepared into maybe the two biggest politically relevant events of this year.

via https://medium.com/@jkleske/rip-forecasting–71057d025588/p>

Entretien avec Scott Smith, Changeist

Medium, changeist, design fiction, design spéculatif, fr, futures, futurs

Un des rôles les plus intéressants du design fiction, du design spéculatif et de tous leurs corrélats, est d’aider à combler une faille significative dans la communication des futurs. Historiquement, à la place des scénarios concrets, on faisait un ensemble de recherches documentaires sur les tendances à venir, on rentrait dans une salle de conférence, on montrait sa présentation, on faisait un rapport et on le remettait aux personnes en charge de prendre les décisions. Pas besoin pour cela de les emmener dans le même monde ou le même état d’esprit que vous, afin de leur donner à voir ces futurs. Donc vous ne créez pas de connexion, d’empathie avec eux. Comme le disaient Bruce Sterling ou Julian Bleecker il y a sept ans : “le design fiction en tant qu’outil de communication permet de créer des interactions et d’engager des discussions sur le futur qui n’existaient pas auparavant. Il aide à rendre ces futurs assez réels pour tout un chacun, de manière à pouvoir engager avec eux une véritable conversation.”

via https://medium.com/design-friction/entretien-avec-scott-smith-changeist-db62f0890

“Means Well” Technology and the Internet of Good Intentions

Medium, ndkane, technology, design, scope

Means well technology seems to exist in isolation of how we normalize and understand objects, never quite understanding or using them how the designer wants us to, because we are humans with doubts and fears and cultural ‘stuff’ that often rubs up against the technology that is supposedly meant to help us.

via https://medium.com/thingclash/means-well-technology-and-the-internet-of-good-intentions–3726ad580c9e

Murat Pak: Designing the Mind of an Online Curator

Medium, bots, aesthetics, Archillect, design, fashion, art, technology, curation, AI, character

From the very beginning, since Archillect was made to find images by following a certain relational structure, I had to trust that Archillect would have a certain character in what she found and shared, which would create an almost personal profile. This is the reason I wanted to present Archillect as a person rather than a random bot. As people perceived Archillect as a character, a personality, they also contributed to the project through the ways they interacted with the project as a result of this perception. This was important to me.

via https://medium.com/@lintropy/murat-pak-designing-the-mind-of-an-online-curator–5785e373127d

“Works for me!”

Medium

In the “real world” and the “tech world”, the core problems are still cultural, political and socioeconomic. The bugs in our societies are ones that get patched across generations and governments, the end result of the status quo colliding with new ways of doing, urgent social movements and broad anxieties. While we are more connected with the world, the bonds we once shared in our villages and public squares have broken down. Speaking of our neighbors is often less of an expression of shared community than judgment and speculation of those who happen to be on the other side of social divides we’d rather not cross

via https://medium.com/@nickf4rr/works-for-me–80aa169f2ff0

Negative capability: The Posture of Systems Thinking(ers)

Medium

Perhaps the ambiguity of the term, and what it might imply for navigating complexity with a spirit of openness and creativity, is what makes it so tantalizing and intriguing to those of us who deal with the unpredictability of socio-technical change and the vagaries of human relations. Negative capability, as it’s been widely interpreted, suggests a uniquely human capacity for living with and tolerating ambiguity and paradox and opens a space for counterintuitive non-action. So, what is this capability that is negative and yet a source of ‘tolerance’, ‘openness’, acceptance of mystery, uncertainty and doubt. Is it a skill, a gift, an ability or something altogether different?

via https://medium.com/@wolfenden.dave/negative-capability-the-posture-of-systems-thinking-ers-e48f13b7096

Blade Runner: anatomy of a classic

Medium

Reaching back four decades into the past to help imagine a future four decades hence, the film’s visual reference points include Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 painting Nighthawks, Miss Havisham’s clutter-strewn bedroom in David Lean’s classic Dickens adaptation Great Expectations, and Joan Crawford’s vampish outfits in Mildred Pierce. The film’s rousing score by Vangelis throbs with strident analogue electronica, but also lonely jazz saxophones and bluesy echoes from the past. Blade Runner is saturated in melancholy, overshadowed by death and peopled by ghosts. Visually and sonically, it is awash with hauntological whispers.

via https://medium.com/british-film-institute/blade-runner-anatomy-of-a-classic–7a0732cc8315

Postcapitalism [in Amsterdam]

Medium

Lecture delivered at De Balie, 25 October 2016
We’re living through the most exciting period of technological innovation for at least 200 years — and the worst ten years of economic history since the 1930s. The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, put it starkly in March at the G20:
“The global economy risks becoming trapped in a low growth, low inflation, low interest rate equilibrium.”
The only thing to disagree with there is the word equilibrium. Economic crisis spilled over into social crisis; now we have a crisis of multilateral institutions

via https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/postcapitalism-in-amsterdam–3d8848a9f275

New images of complex microbiome environments visualized by Berkeley Metagenomics Lab and Stamen Design.

Medium

It’s easy to think that we’ve discovered most of the species on the planet. In fact, the booming field of metagenomics is using big data to help scientists better understand new and vast unexplored regions of the natural world: the microbiome. In the last few years, the price of genetic sequencing has plummeted to the point where scientists can now study ecosystems in their entirety, not just the parts of it that they already know how to identify.
This new way of working relies on the visualization of truly enormous sets of interrelated data about organisms that often are new to science.
The Banfield Lab at Berkeley recently collaborated with Stamen to bring this data to life, using advanced data interaction and interactive visualizations to make it easier to understand these vast new landscapes of genetic diversity.

via https://hi.stamen.com/uc-berkeley-metagenomics-lab-releases-new-images-of-complex-microbiome-environment-discovered-a80000770c93

The Brain’s Now

Medium, Long Now, neuroscience, perception, time, memory, David Eagleman

Is “now” expandable? Why do you seem to experience time in slow motion in a sudden emergency, like an accident? Eagleman’s (terrifying) experiments show that in fact you don’t perceive more densely, the amygdala cuts in and records the experience more densely, so when the brain looks back at that dense record, it thinks that time must have subjectively slowed down, but it didn’t. “Time and memory are inseparable.” This also explains why time seems to speed up as you age. A child experiences endless novelty, and each summer feels like it lasted forever. But you learn to automatize everything as you age, and novelty is reduced accordingly, apparently speeding time up. All you have to do to feel like you‘re living longer, with a life as rich as a child’s, is to never stop introducing novelty in your life.

via https://medium.com/@stewartbrand/the-brains-now-ec0440c7fcdb

How to Run Text Summarization with TensorFlow

Medium, text, text summarisation, machine learning, tensorflow

Text summarization problem has many useful applications. If you run a website, you can create titles and short summaries for user generated content. If you want to read a lot of articles and don’t have time to do that, your virtual assistant can summarize main points from these articles for you. It is not an easy problem to solve. There are multiple approaches, including various supervised and unsupervised algorithms. Some algorithms rank the importance of sentences within the text and then construct a summary out of important sentences, others are end-to-end generative models. End-to-end machine learning algorithms are interesting to try. After all, end-to-end algorithms demonstrate good results in other areas, like image recognition, speech recognition, language translation, and even question-answering.

via https://medium.com/@surmenok/how-to-run-text-summarization-with-tensorflow-d4472587602d

Le Soir édité

Medium, Le Soir édité, Belgium, Belgique, bots, Julien Deswaef, edits, changelog, rédactions

L̶e̶ ̶S̶o̶i̶r̶ édité (@lesoir_diff) est un twitter bot qui tente de capturer les changements et corrections d’articles publiés en Une du site du journal Le Soir. On le sait, l’information de nos jours court plus vite que le temps qu’on a pour la lire. Les rédactions se sont complètement informatisées et connectées de l’écriture à la publication. Ce qui permet évidemment beaucoup de choses: autant d’offrir un article à ses lecteurs dès qu’il est écrit, que de pouvoir le corriger ou de le compléter alors qu’il est déjà publié. Cela arrive aussi parfois que des articles soient même supprimés, comme l’a repéré la RTBF avec cette intox sur un adolescente qui aurait attaqué ses parents en justice à cause de photos publiées sur Facebook.

via https://news.labdavan.ac/le-soir-%C3%A9dit%C3%A9-cc2452dd45e7

An exciting new idea in Basic Income

Medium, economics, UBI, basic income, citizens dividend, deflation, technology

In a painstaking analysis, Gada drills down on the insight that economists have entirely missed a crucial feature of the modern world called “technological deflation”. While the concept is nuanced, the basic point of technological deflation is that technological things (like, say, iPhones) have the funny habit of becoming “almost free” very quickly. Remember that fancy new iPhone 6 you bought for $600 back in 2013? How much is it worth now? Well, today if you are so inclined, you can get a brand-new one for $150. One fourth the cost in three short years. Remember, we aren’t talking about buying a used iPhone 6, these are brand new. In another two years, you’d be hard pressed to give one of these away.
You don’t see this kind of price deflation everywhere. In fact, in our modern society, we tend to expect to see prices rise over time. Oranges, for example, cost more today than they cost in 2012. Same with milk. A new Eames Chair from Knoll costs a solid $5,000. The same chair brand new cost a mere $310 in 1956. And if you want to ask “how much is that in today’s dollars” you are hitting the point: we are so very used to inflation that we intuitively think of the money itself as different. And yet, a brand new iPhone 6 today costs only one fourth as much as the same phone three years ago. Technological things are, quite vigorously, swimming against the inflationary current.

via https://medium.com/emergent-culture/an-exciting-new-idea-in-basic-income-b1b7bf622845

The Quantum Experiment That Simulates A Time Machine

Medium, Physics, QM, quantum mechanics, complexity, closed time like curves, timetravel, David Deutsch, arxiv

So much for classical objects and time travel. But what would happen if a quantum particle entered a closed time-like curve? In the early 90s, the physicist David Deutsch showed that not only is this possible but that it can only happen in a way that does not allow superluminal signalling. So quantum mechanics plays havoc with causality but in a way that is consistent with relativity and so prevents grandfather-type paradoxes. Deutsch’s result has extraordinary implications. It implies that closed time-like curves can be used to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time and to violate Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

via https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-quantum-experiment-that-simulates-a-time-machine–185a7cc9bd11

Rockets of India

Medium, Anab Jain, Space, space programme, design, India

A while back I roamed the streets of India with tiny Mars probes, speaking to strangers about space missions, aliens, climate change and nationalism. It was the start of a thrilling adventure exploring the history and future of India’s space program within the context of global geopolitics, militarization and cultural imperialism. From astronauts to afronauts, from cosmonauts to vyomanauts, how can deep space exploration inspire us to create more democratic future visions?

via https://medium.com/@anabjain/rockets-of-india-f043c5b39b34

The Great Silence by Ted Chiang

Medium, ted chiang, non-human, communication, other, parrots, interspecies communication, SETI, STI, Fermi Paradox, The Great Silence

Ted Chiang’s very short story, “The Great Silence” adds another set of questions to these speculations. Why, he asks, are we so interested in finding intelligence in the stars and so deaf to the many species who manifest it here on earth? And also: why have we demanded that, as proof of intelligence, non-human animals communicate to us in human language, and then dismissed those creatures that actually do so?

via https://electricliterature.com/the-great-silence-by-ted-chiang-e72e05eb8a0e

What $50 Buys You at Huaqiangbei, the World’s Most Fascinating Electronic Market.

Medium, capitalism, china, consumer electronics, Shenzen, HQB

We’ve long been fascinated by the Huaqiangbei electronics market area of Shenzhen. (Hereafter, we’ll just call it HQB.) If you need some bit of electronics or a phone accessory, you can find it in HQB. There is an entire multi-floor shopping mall that sells nothing but phone cases. There’s one that specializes in smartwatches. There’s a mall that sells cellphones wholesale. There’s one just for surveillance cameras. And then there are the component markets. Need a chip? Or 250,000 chips? Somebody there can get them for you.

via https://shift.newco.co/what–50-buys-you-at-huaqiangbei-the-worlds-most-fascinating-electronics-market-f0384d9fca32

The Biggest Building Boom in History

Medium, climate change, green economy, crisis, opportunity, economics, worldchanging, Alex Steffen

I’ve written and given a lot of talks on how building a sustainably prosperous global economy is an opportunity — a set of investments that will leave us better off, even while we avoid the worst of the planetary crisis we face. It’s only now becoming clear what the scale of that opportunity is. It is only now easy to see that a giant building boom is what successful climate action looks like. The Guardian reported last week on a new study saying that over the next 15 years, to meet our climate goals, we’ll need to shift $90 trillion worth of new infrastructure spending to low- or zero-carbon models

via https://medium.com/@AlexSteffen/the-biggest-building-boom-in-history–7684cffc5d3e

Do we need new utopias?

Medium, utopias, utopia, dystopia, futures, visionary adaptation, Johannes Kleske

This question has been on my mind for over a year now. In a time that seems to become more dystopian each day, it might be rather normal to yearn for new positive visions. I’m also not very fond of the utopian visions of Silicon Valley’s libertarians (Musk, Brin & Page, Zuckerberg, Kurzweil, etc.). Furthermore, ten years of Merkel here in Germany might play a role. So I’ve been investigating the topic of utopia, read books (fiction and non-fiction), essays, articles, etc. It has been quite easy because of the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, last year. But I’m still finding it hard to answer the question if utopias are what we need right now, and if yes, what kind of utopias. Because the track record of past utopias is not exactly stellar.

via https://medium.com/@jkleske/do-we-need-new-utopias–14af5fab6a69

A Sequence of Spankingly Bad Ideas

Medium, age verification, ORG, digital economy, surveillance, security, privacy, bad ideas, Alec Muffett

Last Thursday, with friends and colleagues from Open Rights Group, I spent a few hours at the Adult Provider Network’s Age Verification Demonstration (“the demo”) to watch demonstrations of technologies which attempt to fulfil Age Verification requirements for access to online porn in the UK. Specifically: Age Verification (“AV”) is a requirement of part 3 of the Digital Economy Bill that seeks to “prevent access by persons under the age of 18” to “pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis”. There are many contentious social and business issues related to AV[…] there are many open questions and many criticisms of the Digital Economy Bill’s provisions; but to date there appears to have been no critical appraisal of the proposed technologies for AV, and so that is what I seek to address in this posting.

via https://medium.com/@alecmuffett/a-sequence-of-spankingly-bad-ideas–483cecf4ba89

A Return to Machine Learning

Medium, Machine Learning, RNN, CNN, autoencoder, visualization, visualisation

This last year I’ve been getting back into machine learning and AI, rediscovering the things that drew me to it in the first place. I’m still in the “learning” and “small studies” phase that naturally precedes crafting any new artwork, and I wanted to share some of that process here. This is a fairly linear record of my path, but my hope is that this post is modular enough that anyone interested in a specific part can skip ahead and find something that gets them excited, too. I’ll cover some experiments with these general topics: Convolutional Neural Networks, Recurrent Neural Networks, Dimensionality Reduction and Visualization, Autoencoders

via https://medium.com/@kcimc/a-return-to-machine-learning–2de3728558eb

The Hive is the New Network

Medium, hive, networks, hivemind

Because of the increased frequency of interactions, a hive behaves more intelligently, and because of the decreased friction between nodes, a hive can do more than transfer data. It responds and evolves based on that data. The hive isn’t just more networked. It’s more densely populated with organic, living components. Though not obvious, the hive is becoming central to the way we think, behave and interact. The best way to understand emergent human hives is to observe how hives operate in nature.

via https://medium.com/@arjunsethi/the-hive-is-the-new-network–260b432a6720

Recap: Financial Thingclash At Sibos

Medium, thingclash

At the invitation of Innotribe, the internal innovation team of international payments network manager SWIFT, we ran a special Thingclash workshop last week at Sibos, the largest annual gathering of financial services organizations. In a condensed, 45-minute taster session, Susan Cox-Smith and I introduced the concept of Thingclash, and guided a dozen teams through quick-fire rounds of scenario creation, generating some intriguing future situations where out-of-the-box IoT solutions ran up against unexpected users — in unanticipated places.

via https://medium.com/@changeist/recap-financial-thingclash-at-sibos–1b648bc05165

Chinese Island Building and You

Medium, geopolitics, south china sea, spratly islands

Submitted for your consideration are the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea. The competing territorial claim situation there is just another border dispute in the millennia-long “Land Control Epic.” This one deserves your attention, even if only as an academic exercise because it’s one of the more interesting case studies in political power in recent times. It deserves your consideration economically because of trillions of dollars of trade and natural resources hinging on the outcome. It deserves your attention in a practical sense because if a hot war starts between America and China, this will be the spark.

via https://thearcmag.com/chinese-island-building-and-you-a650baa91b8b

A Brief History of City Charters

Medium, urbanism, smart cities, charter cities

Most cities, as Cohen points out, are comfortable staying — nay, even consolidating the 2.0 status quo. He holds out Singapore as an example. On the contrary, Vienna, Barcelona, Medellin, and Vancouver seems to be playing with a greater appetite for genuine co-creation. Still, most of what’s going on seems to be playing at the edges. There isn’t much evidence that the capabilities of smart city technology are being leveraged to truly re-think what local government is for, and create a new legal framework for governing. If we want power in government to flow in different directions, we need to re-do the plumbing.

via https://medium.com/@anthonymobile/a-brief-history-of-city-charters-e50ce7b2c7d8

Decolonising Science Reading List

Medium, science, decolonisation, colonialism, history, narrative, reading list

There are two different angles at play in the discussion about colonialism and science. First is what constitutes scientific epistemology and what its origins are. As a physicist, I was taught that physics began with the Greeks and later Europeans inherited their ideas and expanded on them. In this narrative, people of African descent and others are now relative newcomers to science, and questions of inclusion and diversity in science are related back to “bringing science to underrepresented minority and people of color communities.” The problem with this narrative is that it isn’t true. For example, many of those “Greeks” were actually Egyptians and Mesopotamians under Greek rule. So, even though for the last 500 years or so science has largely been developed by Europeans, the roots of its methodology and epistemology are not European. Science, as scientists understand it, is not fundamentally European in origin. This complicates both racist narratives about people of color and innovation as well as discourse around whether science is fundamentally wedded to Euro-American operating principles of colonialism, imperialism and domination for the purpose of resource extraction.
via https://medium.com/@chanda/decolonising-science-reading-list-339fb773d51f

Graal & Truffle

Medium, truffle, graal, PLT, programming, programming languages, language design

Truffle is a framework for writing interpreters with annotations and small bits of extra code in them which, when Truffle is paired with its sister project Graal, allow those interpreters to be converted into JIT compiling VMs … automatically. The resulting runtimes have peak performance competitive with the best hand-tuned language-specific compilers on the market. For example, the TruffleJS engine which implements JavaScript is competitive with V8 in benchmarks. The RubyTruffle engine is faster than all other Ruby implementations by far. The TruffleC engine is roughly competitive with GCC. There are Truffle implementations in various stages of completeness

via https://medium.com/@octskyward/graal-truffle–134d8f28fb69

How and why we built an internet connected solar panel

Medium, IDEO, solarpunk, solar, IoT, blockchain, solarcoin

So what happens when you cross blockchains and internet of things? One outcome is buzzword overload. In the coLAB, we don’t like that very much. We like to make things tangible, and we learn what’s possible by building prototypes.So we built a proof of concept solar panel kit that automatically creates renewable energy certificates as it generates power. Why energy? What are renewable energy certificates? Let us explain.

via https://medium.com/ideo-colab/how-and-why-we-built-an-internet-connected-solar-panel–727d720d3803

What can we learn from Songdo IBD, a $35 billion, 1500 acre model for future smart city?

Medium, urbanism, korea, smart cities, Songdo

In South Korea, 35 miles away from Seoul, Songdo IBD, which is probably the smartest city in the world, has been built ground up near Yellow Sea. 1500 acre, with more than $35 billion investment, it is a utopian pilot land for developers to invest enormously in technologies, so what experience does this ambitious prototype provide us for future smart cities?

via https://medium.com/cusp-civic-analytics-urban-intelligence/what-can-we-learn-from-songdo-ibd-a–35-billion–1500-acre-model-for-future-smart-city–7146af64f3d2

Little Printer: designing the new domestic landscape

Medium, design, little printer, 2013, BERG, IoT, connected devices, Dan Hill

Little Printer is a product of now. It is a product, a tangible thing, but is also a product, in the sense of a consequence, of contemporary culture. It humbly and accessibly exemplifies how physical and digital have merged to become one, to become hybrid objects, to demonstrate how objects might become networked, and how domestic objects might behave.

via https://medium.com/a-chair-in-a-room/little-printer-a-portrait-in-the-nude–4a5659ea731

Dark Ecology

Medium, dark ecology

Having crossed the border into Russia, metaphors of ‘The Zone’ twist and multiply, each raising questions by comparison. The Norway–Russia Border Zone, The Russian Border Security Zone; the suspension or dissolution of an existing normality in Interzone (Burroughs), TAZ (Hakim Bey) or just ‘The Zone’ of Gravity’s Rainbow (and later the ‘Zone of Silence’); the singular strangeness of a Special Economic Zone (in paticular the ‘Murmansk Economic Zone’ which closed without a single company having applied for ‘status’ in the ‘Zone’) or more directly, Tarkovsky’s Stalker, navigating unseen obstacles into the centre of ‘The Zone’.

via https://medium.com/aperiodic-mesmerism/dark-ecology–3586c0833f42

Cloud Thinking

Medium, clouds, weather, climate, history, James Bridle, cloud computing, cloud thinking, earth magnitude

The cloud, however, remains a model of the world, just not the one we have taken it to mean. The apparent growth of crisis is, in part, a consequence of our new, technologically-augmented ability to perceive the world as it actually is, beyond the mediating prism of our own cultural sensorium. The stories we have been telling ourselves don’t bear out. They’re weak all over. The cloud reveals not the deep truth at the heart of the world, but its fundamental incoherence, its vast and omniferous unknowability. In place of computational thinking, we must respond with cloud thinking: an accounting of the world which reclaims the recognition and the agency of unknowing. Aetiology is a dead end. The cloud, our world, is cloudy: it remains diffuse and forever diffusing; it refuses coherence. From our global civilisation and cultural history arises a technology of unknowing; the task of our century is to accommodate ourselves with the incoherence it reveals.

via https://medium.com/@stml/cloud-thinking-d92c5cd4b439

Artificial intelligence will force us to confront our values

Medium, AI, ethics

For the foreseeable future, “artificial intelligence” is really just a term to describe advanced analysis of massive datasets, and the models that use that data to identify patterns or make predictions about everything from traffic patterns to criminal justice outcomes. AI can’t think for itself — it’s taught by humans to perform tasks based on the “training data” that we provide, and these systems operate within parameters that we define. But this data often reflects unhealthy social dynamics, like race and gender-based discrimination, that can be easy to miss because we’ve become so desensitized to their presence in society.

via https://medium.com/equal-future/artificial-intelligence-will-force-us-to-confront-our-values–6f32682a32ec

Waste Crime is the “New Narcotics”

Medium, crime, waste, organised crime, recylcing

Illegal waste activity costs England £1bn a year and more than 1,000 illegal waste sites were discovered last year, more than in the previous two years combined, with 662 still active as of the end of March. […] “Waste is the new narcotics,” said Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency. “It feels to me like drugs felt in the 1980s: the system hadn’t quite woken up to the enormity of what was going on and was racing to catch up.”

via https://medium.com/invironment/waste-crime-is-the-new-narcotics–17b004bee3b9

HyperCard RIP

Medium, HyperCard, computing, HCI, personal computing, history

Rest in peace, HyperCard. It was one of the most important applications in the history of personal computing, in my humble opinion, and responsible for the “amazing bloom” of ideas and applications noted by Ben Hyde and Matt Jones. I made a few things with it, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t in the ‘amazing bloom’ class — but I can certainly say HyperCard was a massive influence on who I am now. (Ed. This article was originally published at cityofsound.com on 4th April 2004.)

via https://medium.com/a-chair-in-a-room/hypercard-rip-c9126c28020b

Choosing to Be Happy Doesn’t Work, so Here’s What to Do Instead

Medium, happiness, positivity, negativity, reality, psychology, positive thinking, New Thought, New Age

The reason strategies to avoid negativity fail is because the internal struggle to control our thoughts and emotions actually amplifies them, leading to what psychologists call “leakage” in which the banned thought resurfaces unexpectedly — like at a key meeting with your boss or in a discussion with your spouse. You’re trying not to be angry about something, willing yourself to get over it and put on a happy face, and suddenly it’s all you can think about and you unwittingly say the very thing that you didn’t want to say — and now you’ve got a major drama on your hands. The tendency to use these types of avoidance strategies is associated with lower well-being, poorer problem solving, and less satisfying interpersonal relationships.
To be clear, I’m not “anti-happiness” and I am not suggesting that we should wallow in our darkest thoughts. But happiness is not something that comes about through focusing on it as a daily choice or goal. Study after study has shown that it is only when we stop struggling with how we think we should feel, and instead engage with, accept and embrace our true thoughts and emotions with curiosity, courage and compassion, that real joy, growth and creativity emerge.

via https://medium.com/galleys/choosing-to-be-happy-doesnt-work-here-s-what-to-do-instead–9285cab49a57

Losing the War on Unhappiness

Medium, positive thinking, happiness, New Thought, New Age, complexity, simplicity, causality

A support-group leader for female survivors of sexual abuse — and someone who had spent many years within a positive-thinking metaphysical church — wrote to me in 2012. She said that she had experienced both sides of the positive-thinking equation, witnessing how survivors could ably use a program of mental therapeutics to rebuild their sense of self, but also observing the kind of burden that affirmative-thinking nostrums could visit upon those recovering from trauma.
“Is there room for a positive-thinking model that doesn’t include blame and single-model definitions of success?” I take the attitude that such a model can exist. But for positive thinking to reach maturity, its followers must take fuller stock of the movement’s flaws, particularly the attachment to a single, all-encompassing theory of life, which is to say, the Law of Attraction, recently popularized in The Secret. While the mind does possess influences that are not yet fully understood, and that are palpably felt by many people, the idea of a mental super-law binds New Thought to a paradigm of extremist self-responsibility, which cannot be defended to its limits.

via https://medium.com/galleys/losing-the-war-on-unhappiness–4975194efd02

Three Challenges for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

Medium, Medicine, AI

Modern research has become so specialized that our notion of impact is sometimes siloed. A world-class clinician may be rewarded for inventing a new surgery; an AI researcher may get credit for beating the world record on MNIST. When two fields cross, there can sometimes be fear, misunderstanding, or culture clashes. We’re not unique in history. In 1944, the foundations of quantum physics had been laid, including, dramatically, the later detonation of the first atomic bomb. After the war, a generation of physicists turned their attention to biology. In the 1944 book What is Life?, Erwin Schrödinger referred to a sense of noblesse oblige that prevented researchers in disparate fields from collaborating deeply, and “beg[ged] to renounce the noblesse”

via https://blog.cardiogr.am/three-challenges-for-artificial-intelligence-in-medicine-dfb9993ae750

There was a bomb on my block.

Medium, danah boyd, terrorism, media, fear mongering, fear

After hearing the bomb go off on 23rd and getting flooded with texts on Saturday night, I decided to send a few notes that I was OK and turn off my phone. My partner is Israeli. We’ve been there for two wars and he’s been there through countless bombs. We both knew that getting riled up was of no help to anyone. So we went to sleep. I woke up on Sunday, opened my blinds, and was surprised to see an obscene number of men in black with identical body types, identical haircuts, and identical cars. It looked like the weirdest casting call I’ve ever seen. And no one else. No cars, no people. As always, Twitter had an explanation so we settled into our PJs and realized it was going to be a strange day.

via https://medium.com/@zephoria/there-was-a-bomb-on-my-block–6045e597ac2f

Here’s What Happens When You Give $1,000 to Someone in Extreme Poverty

Medium, poverty, UBI

I think a more open and participatory conversation on eradicating extreme poverty is critical in this day and age. Extreme poverty sits at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and contributes to massive issues all the way up the pyramid; leading to widespread health epidemics, overpopulation, lack of education, lack of environmental and conservational awareness, increased violence and pollution. We’re all connected, and the more people who live in dignity, the better off we can all be. Do you think cash transfers are a terrible idea? Do you know of a better way?

via https://shift.newco.co/heres-what-happens-when-you-give–1–000-to-someone-in-extreme-poverty–78bdce3aa414

7 Crucial Lenses, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Collapse

Medium, panarchy, lenses, perspective, global colapse, collapsonomics

The following are the key “lenses” through which I view and discuss the ongoing transformation to panarchy. Each of these lenses provide crucial understandings and insights into facets of panarchy, but panarchy itself emerges only as a result of the interactions between all of these elements. Like all complex systems, panarchy itself is an emergent property.

via https://medium.com/panarchy–101-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and/panarchy–101–7-crucial-lenses–3f99ae7f875e

Roland Miller’s Abandoned Wonderland: Deserted Facilities by NASA and the U.S. Government

Medium, photography, Roland Miller, NASA, space, decay, architecture

As humanity continues to excel in going beyond human abilities through technology, the victory comes with a price: American photographer Roland Miller travels to abandoned places once found useful by the space exploration organization NASA and the U.S. Army and collects their remnants as memories.

via https://medium.com/@lomography/roland-millers-abandoned-wonderland-deserted-facilities-by-nasa-and-the-u-s-government-aef7d6d56ea1

DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: An Interview with Rick Strassman

Medium, DMT, Rick Strassman, psychdelics, research

I expected particular types of experiences, as did my volunteers. We thought that mystical unitive enlightenment-like states would predominate. These are states are imageless, content-free, ego-dissolving states of being merged with a powerful but undifferentiated source of being. Instead, these types of experiences were very rare. Rather, volunteers described entering into a world of intensely saturated light, buzzing and morphing, full of “things” — all manner of objects, and oftentimes sentient beings who were awaiting them and interacted with them. Perhaps if I had used another compound for my studies with more unitive properties, such as 5-methoxy-DMT, my expectations would have been met more consistently. But, I studied DMT and this is what we found.

via https://medium.com/learning-for-life/dmt-and-the-soul-of-prophecy–8fc7accb474e

Where You Cannot Generalize from Knowledge of Parts

Medium, Taleb, probability, averages, information, complexity, non-linearity, generalisation, volatility

Consider the following as a rule. Whenever you have nonlinearity, the average doesn’t matter anymore. Hence:
The more nonlinearity in the response, the less informational the average.
For instance, your benefit from drinking water would be linear if ten glasses of water were ten times as good as one single glass. If that is not the case, then necessarily the average water consumption matters less than something else that we will call “unevenness”, or volatility, or inequality in consumption. Say your average daily consumption needs to be one liter a day and I gave you ten liters one day and none for the remaining nine days, for an average of one liter a day. Odds are you won’t survive. You want your quantity of water to be as evenly distributed as possible. Within the day, you do not need to consume the same amount water every minute, but at the scale of the day, you want maximal evenness.
From an informational standpoint, someone who tells you “We will supply you with one liter of water liter day on average” is not conveying much information at all; there needs to be a second dimension, the variations around such an average. You are quite certain that you will die of thirst if his average comes from a cluster of a hundred liters every hundred days.

via https://medium.com/@nntaleb/where-you-cannot-generalize-from-knowledge-of-parts-continuation-to-the-minority-rule-ce96ca3c5739

Artificial intelligence is hard to see

Medium, AI, judgement, ethics, automation, algorithmic

The ‘Terror of War’ case, then, is the tip of the iceberg: a rare visible instance that points to a much larger mass of unseen automated and semi-automated decisions. The concern is that most of these ‘weak AI’ systems are making decisions that don’t garner such attention. They are embedded at the back-end of systems, working at the seams of multiple data sets, with no consumer-facing interface. Their operations are mainly unknown, unseen, and with impacts that are take enormous effort to detect.

via https://medium.com/@katecrawford/artificial-intelligence-is-hard-to-see-a71e74f386db

I hate RUOK Day. Here’s why.

Medium, ruokday, mental health, awareness, service cuts

Imagine if we had a day each year when we all went around asking cancer patients if they were “okay”, yet didn’t fund practical medical help for them or give them any hope? The idea is laughable, yet the analogy is real. I’m not against awareness raising per se. In many fields it does a lot of good and changes lives for the better. And most of those who work in these fields are passionate about their cause and want to help. Awareness raising without action plans for those whose awareness has been raised is cruel. Unconscionable. And utterly disgraceful.

via https://medium.com/@jenniehill/why-i-hate-ruok-day–667e53b340e7

Twine as a Process Modeling Tool

Medium, twine, hypertext, computing, documents, writing, dynamic documents, CYOA, design, process

Twine is a tool that lets you make point-and-click games that run in a web browser—what a lot of people refer to as “choose your own adventure” or CYOA games. It’s pretty easy to make a game, which means that the Twine community is fairly big and diverse.
There are a lot of tools that you can use to do information architecture and to sketch out processes. Visio, PowerPoint, Keynote, or Omnigraffle, for example. In the programming world, some people use UML tools to draw pictures of how a program should operate, and then turn that into code, and a new breed of product prototyping apps are blurring the line between design and code, too. But it has always bummed me out that when you draw a picture on a computer it is, for the most part, just a picture. Why doesn’t the computer make sense of those boxes and arrows for you? Why is it so hard to turn a picture of a web product into a little, functional website?
This is a huge topic — why are most digital documents not presented as dynamic programs? (One good recent exploration of the subject is Bret Victor’s “Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction.”) And in some ways the Twine interface is a very honest testing and prototyping environment, because it is so good at modeling choices (as in, choose your own adventure).

via https://trackchanges.postlight.com/twine-as-a-process-modeling-tool-cf9ad42d165

Live asynchronously.

Medium, attention, process, collaboration, work, time, asynchronous, availability

Last year I turned off all my notifications. I stopped booking meetings. I started living asynchronously. Now instead of being interrupted throughout the day—or rushing from one meeting to the next—I sit down and get work done. I work a lot. I communicate with hundreds of people a day. I collaborate extensively. But I do so on my own terms, at my own tempo. You can live more asynchronously, too. I’ll explain the benefits. I’ll show you how.

via https://medium.freecodecamp.com/live-asynchronously-c8e7172fe7ea

I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking…

cognitive bias, visualization, infoviz, wikipedia, critical thinking, Medium

I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can’t recall the name or details. It’s been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking. Nothing else I’ve come across seems to be both as comprehensive and as succinct.

However, honestly, the Wikipedia page is a bit of a tangled mess. Despite trying to absorb the information of this page many times over the years, very little of it seems to stick. I often scan it and feel like I’m not able to find the bias I’m looking for, and then quickly forget what I’ve learned. I think this has to do with how the page has organically evolved over the years. Today, it groups 175 biases into vague categories (decision-making biases, social biases, memory errors, etc) that don’t really feel mutually exclusive to me, and then lists them alphabetically within categories. There are duplicates a-plenty, and many similar biases with different names, scattered willy-nilly.

I’ve taken some time over the last four weeks (I’m on paternity leave) to try to more deeply absorb and understand this list, and to try to come up with a simpler, clearer organizing structure to hang these biases off of.

https://betterhumans.coach.me/cognitive-bias-cheat-sheet-55a472476b18#.4ksyv6992

Tor’s Branding Pivot is Going to Get Someone Killed

Medium, Tor, privacy, transparency, human rights, politics, USA

In western liberal democracies (where Tor is overwhelmingly based, and by raw numbers, largely serves) human-rights advocacy has better optics than privacy. But the opposite is true in the regions that Tor aims to serve. Privacy empowers the individual. Empowering the individual naturally dovetails with human rights, so its plausible that greater human rights is a natural byproduct of privacy advocacy. However, Tor’s pivot from “Privacy Enthusiasts” to “Human Rights Watch for Nerds” substantially increases the risk of imprisonment to those operating a Tor relay or using the Tor Browser Bundle from less HR-friendly regions.

via https://medium.com/@virgilgr/tors-branding-pivot-is-going-to-get-someone-killed–6ee45313b559

Suspended at a junction in time: Australia, Silent Running, The Drowned World and the University of Queensland

Medium

As with elsewhere in Brisbane — say the heavy-bricked Tudorbethan houses in New Farm’s Abbott Street — an imported, imposed European sensibility always hangs a little askew here. The artificiality of a giant ornamental pool of water, carefully scooped out of sweeping lawns, in a city with an apparently permanent water shortage, is exaggerated by the sight of giant lizard, lying in the sun, perfectly still, delighting a small child. A turtle is equally static atop its manhole cover island. You half expect a couple of squat robots to come waddling round the corner, ready to trim the herbaceous borders.

via https://medium.com/iamacamera/suspended-at-a-junction-in-time-australia-silent-running-the-drowned-world-and-the-university-of-e0e055c3572

See The Music: The Evolution of Visual Albums

Medium

Musicians today understand the need to create “events” around their albums, capturing our digital “fomo” and giving us reasons to interact. It’s why we’re dealing with an exhaustive number of surprise albums — they force us to pay attention, at least for now.
But Beyoncé changed the conversation by making her latest album a must-watch event, not a must-listen. It may seem obvious, but it’s an important distinction. By capitalizing on our obsession with TV, Lemonade was treated to the same coverage you’d expect to see for Game of Thrones.
Though visual albums have existed conceptually for the past half-century, we’ve never truly defined what these albums actually consist of. The VMA’s clunkily-named “Breakthrough Long Form Video” is a testament to the cultural impact of Lemonade and provides us with an opportunity to understand and appreciate how visual albums have evolved over time.

via https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-history-and-evolution-of-visual-albums–77592e14304

Amateur Rocketeers Are Keeping the Space Age Spirit Alive

Medium

Which is more beautiful, or more inspiring: a private company bidding for a contract to send resupply rockets to the International Space Station, or a former Hollywood stuntman building a rocket from scratch and sending it into space for the hell of it? I ask this because, lately, it feels like the way we talk about space has been changing. It’s less about exploration, and more about money. Space has become privatized. Proposals to land on and mine asteroids are justified less for being audacious, and more for being economical. While NASA’s budget for longer-term exploration is squeezed, the organization hands over its more regular work with satellites and space stations to for-profit companies, even when looking to design new ISS compartments. Just this month, the FAA gave clearance for a private company to put a lander on the Moon for the first time. These are all technically impressive things, but they are not necessarily wondrous in the way things used to be wondrous. My hunch is that the old spirit of exploration is still alive and well. It’s just not in the same places it used to be.

via https://howwegettonext.com/amateur-rocketeers-are-keeping-the-spirit-of-the-space-age-alive-b01ecfe001de

No shades of gray. How social media drives us to the extremes.

Medium

Yes, there is a data revolution. But we are not seeing the knowledge revolution of e.g. super-educated people because machines are living the knowledge revolution, while we get distracted with hyped facts on social media they feed us. In a growing ocean of data, we are drowning of very shallow waters.

via https://medium.com/@brunosan/follow-the-trump-rabbit-hole-the-disturbing-truth-about-our-social-media-bias–36e7cab09eca

Corresponding with a Friend, in Pictures

Medium

Over the past few months, the photographer Anton Kusters and I have been having a conversation on Instagram and on our respective websites, under the hash #image_by_image. Our original idea came out of a sense that we both wanted an open, playful space for ideas. We decided to simply write to each other in public, and see what might happen. We added the constraints of one image and a tight character limit per post, and no more than one post per day, no less than one per week.

via https://medium.com/vantage/https-medium-com-vantage-visual-conversation-with-a-friend–6d4e8d3d9c6a

Things Find Their Own Uses for Streets

Medium, Scott Smith, futures, infrastructure, roads, streets, machine readable, legiblity

As we progress to a point where fewer people are needed to pilot vehicles, and more roads become “robot readable,” we will inevitably see new uses being found for roads, and road infrastructure changing to optimize for machine, not human, legibility and use. Given the substantial role human roads play in shaping our social and commercial environments, like rivers and rails before them, streets, buildings, and towns and cities will gradually reshape to reflect machine uses.

via https://medium.com/phase-change/things-find-their-own-uses-for-streets–1913316e2e1e

Visualizing the Crisis

Medium, design, crisis, finance, economics, politics, infoviz

When we started to think of a possible topic for this year’s Information Design course at IUAV, Venice (after exploring the world’s technology and networks in two consecutive editions of an illustrated Atlas of the Contemporary) we realised that in trying to understand how — and if — this crisis would have unfolded, there was a great potential for design to help illuminate this conjuncture. Given the increasing importance of economical data and the financial landscape over our lives, the lab was then established as an ongoing, real-time workshop in data-visualisation, which would track and explain the crisis that the analysts predicted for 2016. Its purpose was to better understand the broader network of causes and implications which every financial turmoil exists within, providing context to economic reports, and looking at the socio-political framework of news stories. From a design perspective, the intention was to develop new ways for visualizing financial news, in order to move from the rather bi-dimensional and dispassionate language of bar and pie charts, into a richer territory made up of maps, cartograms, illustrations and diagrams.

via https://medium.com/@visualizingthecrisis/visualizingthecrisis–2438d428a061

The Field of Mind

Medium, mind, Eris, L. Ron Hubbard, J. R. Bob Dobbs

One evening L. Ron Hubbard and Bob Dobbs were discussing the Secret of Power over a joint and a bottle of cognac. (Or perhaps it was Alan Watts and Bob Wilson…Let’s just say it was Hubbard and Dobbs for now). As Hubbard took a long deep draw from the spliff of fine Lebanese boo Dobbs asked him, “But what even is the mind, Ron? Clearly it’s not inside the brain, you and I have personally opened up enough of those to know that much. Clearly the mind is something immaterial. But what exactly is it?”

via https://medium.com/@RyanCommaDavid/the-field-of-mind-c97fcce0538d

Alaska Native Village Votes to Relocate

Medium, climate change, relocation, alaska, inuit

The coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted Tuedsay to relocate due to climate change-induced rising sea levels, according to city council secretary Donna Burr. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike. This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents chose to leave for the mainland, but a lack of federal funds made that impossible. The U.S. Department of the Interior has made $8 million available for all tribes seeking relocation — that’s far short of the estimated $200 million the village needs to move.

via https://medium.com/@climatedesk/alaska-native-village-votes-to-relocate–26773d1d627b

If Correlation Doesn’t Imply Causation, Then What Does?

Medium, logic, statistics, correlation, causation, causality

We’ve all heard in school that “correlation does not imply causation,” but what does imply causation?! The gold standard for establishing cause and effect is a double-blind controlled trial (or the AB test equivalent). If you’re working with a system on which you can’t perform experiments, is all hope for scientific progress lost? Can we ever understand systems that we have limited or no control over? This would be a very bleak state of affairs, and fortunately there has been progress in answering these questions in the negative! So what is causality good for? Anytime you decide to take an action, in a business context or otherwise, you’re making some assumptions about how the world operates. That is, you’re making assumptions about the causal effects of possible actions.

via https://medium.freecodecamp.com/if-correlation-doesnt-imply-causation-then-what-does-c74f20d26438

Startups vs. Systems: Why Doing Good with Tech is Hard

Medium, systems, technology, social, social-enterprise

It’s not easy to make social change with technology. There’s excitement around bringing “innovation” to social problems, which usually means bringing in ideas from the technology industry. But societies are more than software, and social enterprise doesn’t have the same economics as startups.

via https://medium.com/@jonathanstray/doing-good-with-tech-is-hard-e53c1c153370

Monetizing Your Attention: Introducing Persona Attention Bonds

Medium, attention, monetization, markets, capitalism, economics

Recently, I’ve been thinking of ways to collect some different form of value, besides money or just another token. One of the more interesting ideas is that in age of abundance, our time and thus attention is the most valuable asset. Maciej Olpinksi has written about the attention economy in relation to blockchain tech and similarly inspired me to think about ways to monetize that.

via https://medium.com/@simondlr/monetizing-your-attention-introducing-persona-attention-bonds-c586111f0882

Speed vs. Accuracy: When is Correlation Enough? When Do You Need Causation?

Medium, speed, accuracy, correlation, risk, causality, heuristics, uncertainty

Often, we need fast answers with limited resources. We have to make judgements in a world full of uncertainty. We can’t measure everything. We can’t run all the experiments we’d like. You may not have the resources to model a product or the impact of a decision. How do you find a balance between finding fast answers and finding correct answers? How do you minimize uncertainty with limited resources?

via https://medium.com/@akelleh/speed-vs-accuracy-when-is-correlation-enough-when-do-you-need-causation–708c8ca93753

On ‘heterodox’ macroeconomics

Medium, economics, macroeconomics, hetrodox economics

The term ‘heterodox economics’ is a difficult one. I dislike it and resisted adopting it for some time: I would much rather be ‘an economist’ than ‘a heterodox economist’. But it is clear that unless you accept — pretty much without criticism — the assumptions and methodology of the mainstream, you will not be accepted as ‘an economist’. This was not the case when Joan Robinson debated with Solow and Samuelson, or Kaldor debated with Hayek. But it is the case today.

via https://medium.com/@jomicheII/on-heterodox-macroeconomics-bcbad99ff34

The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority

Medium, complexity, preference, intolerance, contagion, dispersal, Taleb

The best example I know that gives insights into the functioning of a complex system is with the following situation. It suffices for an intransigent minority –a certain type of intransigent minorities –to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer would be under the impression that the choices and preferences are those of the majority.

via https://medium.com/@nntaled/the-most-intolerant-wins-the-dictatorship-of-the-small-minority–3f1f83ce4e15