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.
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.
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.
More information does not make a more informed population.
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.
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!
- The Economist: Difference Engine: Luddite legacy
It’s an old discussion, but one that we probably won’t ever see fade away: is technology destroying jobs and does it create enough possibilities for new ones? There are many ways to look at it. (➟ Instapaper)
- BoingBoing: HOWTO attain radical hotel-room coffee independence
We salute a fellow coffee nerd. Cory Doctorow explains his DIY on-the-road ice-coffee setup. (➟ Instapaper)
- Beyond the Beyond: Design Fiction: Profitable, Desirable, Buildable Products
Julian Bleecker and Bruce Sterling with Venn diagrams on design fiction and how to decide, if a product should be build. (➟ Instapaper)
- FastCompany Design: Research Superstar Jan Chipchase Lays Out 4 Deep Trends Affecting Tech Today
“Never assume that something you find utterly creepy today will not be the norm tomorrow.” Jan Chipchase on how technology is changing our lives. (➟ Instapaper)
- CNN: Can Google+ beat Facebook? That’s the wrong question
Pete Cashmore from Mashable on why Google+ is not a failure. Spoiler: it was never about beating Facebook. (➟ Instapaper)
- The Atlantic: The Probabilistic Magazine Brand in the Social News Age
Alexis Madrigal on the new definition of a brand for publications (magazines, newspapers, etc.) in the age of the internet. (➟ Instapaper)
- EFF: SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet
A good analysis by the EFF on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) Bill which resembles more and more the Great Chinese Firewall. When the government and corporations can so easily attack the fabric of the Internet, it’s a problem for us all. (➟ Instapaper)
- The Atlantic Cities: Jane Jacobs and the Power of Women Planners
Jane Jacob’s Death and Life of Great American Cities has its 50th anniversary this month. It hasn’t been an easy time for her as a woman but she changed our view of city planning tremendously.
“Pondering why men and women’s voices were heard differently on the subject of city building, she noted matter-of-factly that women think about things close to home—street, neighborhood and community. They more easily recognize the big difference small things can make. Men think big, national and global. They are top-down oriented.” (➟ Instapaper)
- How can we improve our odds in the content game?
Our friend Mike Arauz about three fundamental motivations that fuel the spreading of content online. (➟ Instapaper)
- GOOD: The End of Cheap Coffee: Why the Diner Staple Is About to Become a Luxury
Long article about the third wave in coffee culture that is accompanied by a steep rise in coffee prices recently. Also, descriptions that will get your mouth watering. (➟ Instapaper)