What we read this week (12 July)

Emulating brains to improve businesses, differing perspectives on what cryptography is, the story of urban planner Robert Moses, and Prism and The Californian Ideology.

Quote of the week

Digital communities are a perfect hallucinatory cocktail of hyper-tech building and idealised nature.

Sam Jacobs

Articles of the week

  • What the Digital Brains of the Future Might Be Like
    Alexis Madrigal interviews Jeff Hawkins, entrepreneur and neuroscience buff, on his new company Grok and how to help businesses automate some of their processes by emulating the human brain.
  • Is Cryptography Engineering or Science?
    Bruce Schneier on two conceptions of cryptography – the theoretical, mathematical component in which cryptographic algorithms are developed, and the implementation of these algorithms as usable products. As he sees it, “the world needs security engineers even more than it needs cryptographers. We’re great at mathematically secure cryptography, and terrible at using those tools to engineer secure systems.”
  • In the footsteps of Robert Moses
    On a road trip and discovering the work and impact of Robert Moses, the power-hungry “quasi-dictator” of New York City urban planning from the Great Depression to the post-WWII years.
  • “Prism is the dark side of design thinking”
    Sam Jacobs on design thinking’s effects on digital culture, and our understanding of public and private, looking in particular at Prism as an example of the inversion of what the openness of digital culture set out to accomplish.
  • The Californian Ideology
    We stumbled upon this essay by English media theorists Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron of the University of Westminster via Sam Jacob’s article. Written in 1995, it’s a description of the thinking of Silicon Valley as “a fatalistic vision of the natural and inevitable triumph of the hi-tech free market – a vision which is blind to racism, poverty and environmental degradation and which has no time to debate alternatives.” More than 20 years later, the analysis seems more on point then ever.

What we read this week (20 Apr)

Our articles of the week: why you might want to get some of your daily news from Fox, the twisted logic behind e-book publishing, an Ikea-made HD TV, democracies and internet freedom, and meme management as an emerging profession.

Quotes of the week

There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself.

Adrian Tan

More information does not make a more informed population.

danah boyd

Articles of the week

  • Cory Doctorow: A Whip to Beat Us With
    Author and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow sheds light on the twisted logic connecting publishers, e-books, DRM and certain platforms’ nasty habit of locking users in. For related material, see Charlie Stross’ related article on Amazon’s e-book strategy and its consequences.
  • Wired UK: Ikea’s “Uppleva” integrates TVs and sound systems into furniture
    Ikea is a great example of a company that knows how to extend their range of products. Their latest endeavor: making their own HD TVs. And it seems that they’ve done well on the product, too. This will be interesting to watch. On a grander scale, the company is also planning the construction of an entire neighborhood in East London.
  • The Boston Globe: How democracies clamped down on the Internet
    The openness of the Internet is threatened – unfortunately not only by nations and regimes that we expect to go against freedom, but also by democracies. This article is a good reminder that we can’t take the net for granted.
  • Mashable: Meme Management: Meet the man who reps internet stars
    In times when user-generated content can become more successful on the internet then professional productions, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that at some point they also get professionalized. Still, “meme manager” is a job title not many would have anticipated, and yet it is very much an expression of the zeitgeist.
  • danah boyd: Getting the News
    danah boyd, internet researcher, tells News.me how and where she gets her news fix every day. She discusses the importance of finding points of view as different as possible from one’s own, and what it means to be well informed.

Additionally, should you like to catch up on our series of articles on our social media strategy framework, the collection is now complete.

What we read this week (18 Nov)

While we retreat for a few days of strategic planning, brainstorming and relaxation, we have a long list of fantastic reading material for you. Enjoy!