The internet the world

Exhaustion and hyper vigilance

There’s a real way in which the business models, the technological underpinnings of how we get our … political information, have oriented towards outrage and urgency. And so I think that there’s a deep way in which we are manipulated into … feeling a constant state of emergency. And it would be one thing if that was a productive emotion, but what I think it leads to is a constant state of either exhaustion or hypervigilance, both of which can be bad in their own ways. — Ezra Klein

This quote is from a conversation between Ezra Klein and Krista Tippett about politics, polarisation and the media. Something about it though, also reminded me of what it feels like in dysfunctional organisations.

Ezra Klein — How We Walked Into This and How We Can Walk Out


The internet the world

Half baited

Noticing a missing word in this click bait title made me laugh. Guess I was half baited. Just goes to show how formulaic this stuff all is and how quickly it’s churned out.




Service design The internet the world

The gap between technology and trust

I’ve followed some interesting and conflicting media recently. Tony Costa writing for Forrester evangelises location technologies improving customer experience citing four recent and compelling examples. On Australian TV last night 4 Corners followed the life and online privacy of a typical Australian family to demonstrate the reach of where our data goes. Once the breadth of data sharing was exposed, together with blatant privacy breaches the family were less than impressed. At the very least one could say that they appeared uncomfortable. I’m sure many in the viewing audience were. Here is an example reaction from the family, the daughter, a 24 year old university student was asked to comment on what she thought of being tracked in a shopping centre.

To me it feels like the sole purpose would be to maximise money, maximise where you buy things and how much you buy, what kind of stores you go into, and I, yeah I completely, just that, doesn’t sit well. Like I don’t want to be, yeah I don’t I don’t like that. … Yeah I would want to opt in or out and have the option.

There is currently a gap between the capability of location technology to improve customer experiences and how ready people are to adopt this reality. There is no doubt that organisations will seize on these technologies to improve services and increase profits. Notions of privacy will change over time too, and there is no telling now how far the public will embrace or merely tolerate this change. What this gap does suggest is the careful terrain organisations adopting tracking technology must negotiate to maintain trust with their customers to not abuse the data privilege.


Location Technologes Show a Path to Improved Custoemr Experiences, Tony Costa, 5/09/2013

In Google We Trust, ABC 4 Corners, 9 September 2013

Events The internet the world

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Then, now, tomorrow. What’s next for the World Wide Web?

The event, held at the Sydney Town Hall 5 Feb 2013, was part of the City Talks series presented by the City of Sydney and UTS spotlight.

The hashtag was the ever parochial #tbldownunder. The official ones were #sydcitytalk and #UTSengage

What people said

There were several introductions including Clover Moore’s rundown of the City’s contribution to supporting innovation which was quite impressive, and there were (too many) panellists, but everyone was there for Tim Berners-Lee.

He delivered his presentation with frenetic energy. Was there a thread? A theme? Not quite, although his historical tech overview did turn into an invitation to contribute to code and be vigilant of those who seek to control our data and our privacy. I think an implied warning of proprietors who want to lock down devices too.

When asked by Adam Spencer of proposed Australian government controls Tim Berners-Lee asked what does the restriction of intent access in Egypt imply for everyone else? How much power are we going to give our governments to block sites? What of censorship, of spying? What becomes of trust in government if they choose to exercise such power? Just as the independence of the press is vital, so too is the independence of the Internet, he said. He answered so many questions with a question but in a way for the audience to take responsibility for the web we want.

Then came the panel discussion on the future and the past: a discussion of technologies that will demand increased bandwidth, technologies we can envision (3D, holograms) to those we can’t yet anticipate, a rallying cry for entrepreneurs, a question about the role of devices changing how we behave, the inevitable changes to print media and the until now protected free-to-air TV industry…

I’m a bit ambivalent about questions being fielded from the Twittersphere. Not that I’m not into the channel, it just makes public discussions ad-hoc; ideas don’t build. So the following notes are correspondingly unrelated.

  • Tim Berners Lee posited the future of journalists as curators of quality content to counter the deluge of information.
  • He suggested new payment protocols to reward those that provide good information.
  • We heard about the emerging “Sydney model” for entrepreneurship. It was compared but in no great detail to communities in Berlin, Brazil, South Korea and Singapore. Sydney incubators are covering various industries and are beginning to consult the government.
  • Be grateful! Map data is free In Australia courtesy of the government, something we don’t even notice.
  • Current solutions to threats of cyber terrorism and cyber crimes have not countered the risks they introduce by the private data they promise to store on our behalf.
  • Close to my heart was a concern around the filtering of news content by cookies from the Fairfax panellist. We have to be sure that news does not begin to be filtered for us, narrowing the information served, attempting to bias information.
  • Further to points on data and privacy were the right to know what data is being stored about us, a quandary about who owns reputation data on peer to peer sites, the subject or the service provider?
  • And although no one used the words user experience the discussion did talk about the role of design. We have to be clear where data is coming from and where our data is going to. This has implications for geotagged messages, bank phishing scams, tagged photos on social networks. UX conventions need to emerge to make it easier, more predictable and safer for users.

And after all that, the night ended with a light show and some enthusiastic and appreciative applause.

Events The internet the world

Cory Doctorow at Vivid Ideas

I don’t think I would do justice to Cory Doctorow’s talk at Vivid Ideas by going through the points blow by blow so I encourage you to leave this page and go to the podcasts at 2SER to hear it for yourself. If you need to be convinced to listen to this recording you will:

  • Hear a beautiful introduction on how copying is not only central to creative production but to human learning
  • Hear how far current copyright laws promoted by the US government have veered from the original intent of copyright acts
  • Be incensed by the efforts of familiar brand names and our favourite device makers to take control of our property (should we dare impinge on theirs,) and perhaps even be fearful of the implications of these efforts
  • Realise how culturally biased copyright law is (did you know melody can be copyrighted but rhythm can’t?)
  • Be outraged by the monopoly digital distributors hold on markets and on creators’ copyrights taking control away from artists and their investors and holding customers captive too. Not only that, but the legislation passed by governments only serves to protect these businesses.
Cory Doctorow on the lectern at Vivid Ideas

There’s only one thing I would add to the discussion on copyright. Doctorow pointed out that effort around Digital Rights Management are easily circumvented by people (“Prometheus bittorrent retun” he joked). He mentioned the absurd effort of a yogi to copyright a yoga pose. But the precedents of cultural copyright being enforced are only growing as a means to gain control and benefits over land, customs, symbols and knowledge. So if you want to go on an intellectual tangent listen to Jean and John Comaroff from the University of Chicago speak about the efforts of cultural groups to protect their IP:

But in the meantime go and listen to Cory.

Service design The internet the world

Billboard shopping comes to Australia via Sportsgirl

QR codes – they seem like a good idea, yet their implementation is often shallow and clumsy. Tesco have certainly shown what can be done with QR codes building a shopping experience at train stations in South Korea.

Now Sportsgirl are bringing the experience to Australia with a shopping billboard in Chappel Street Melbourne, as reported in today’s SMH.

Steve Ogden-Barnes, a retail industry fellow at the Deakin graduate school of business, said pop-up shops had been around for almost a decade but pop-up billboards were taking online shopping to a new level.

”An interactive billboard is a very interesting idea because it gets people to engage in the brand even though they are not in the store or at their PC,” Mr Ogden-Barnes said.

via SMH Just popping by to phone in some window shopping.

I wonder is this will prove to be a legitimate revenue raising channel or just a playful, albeit innovative, advertisement?