Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

29th October 2016

Remember this rather unnerving vision of the future of personalised advertising in Minority Report? . Well I think @faris is spot on in this piece – ‘Personalised Advertising is an Oxymoron’.  As the word ‘personalisation’ is bandied about in advertising circles, we forget its real meaning. Its dictionary definition is – ‘to design or tailor to meet an individual’s specifications, needs, or preferences’ . But this positive and empathetic definition is worlds away from the online version involving obsessive (over) targeting and borderline stalking, that has fuelled the rise of ad-blockers. From @faris –  ‘the infrastructure and assumptions of online, personalised advertising are fundamentally wrong and have brought us to the brink of attention collapse. To solve this, advertising must re-engage at the cultural level, operate with consent, and consider how it creates mass visibility and consumer acceptance, through a more balanced value equation.’

Smell something strange? ‘In these pitches there’s nothing to suggest the person has any original experience or research or insight to offer said advice. Instead they choose to quote other people who quote other people and the insights can often be traced back in a recursive loop. Their interest is not in making the reader’s life any better, it is in building their own profile as some kind of influencer or thought leader. Or, most frustratingly, they all reference the same company case studies (hello, Apple and Pixar!), the same writers, or the same internet thinkers’ .This is ‘The Creative World’s Bullshit Industrial Complex.’ (video)

This weeks scoreline – the Internet : 0 , the Internet of Things : 1. An interesting piece from @davepell on the escalating technological battle between the ‘establishment’ and those who are trying to take it down. At the moment it looks like the money is on the latter…’The Internet’s bad hombres sure seem to be advancing their tools a lot faster than we can make ones to stop them. That trend seems destined to accelerate as technology “improves.” Again, the more we push the machine into our lives, the more the machine puts us at risk.’

Definitely worth a look, Maria Popova’s greatest hits. Ten learnings from 10 years of Brain Pickings

From The Economist – ‘Wireless headphones and smart speakers herald a new class  of devices.’ ‘As accuracy of speech recognition goes from 95% to 99%, all of us…will go from barely using it to using it all the time’. But there is a potential dark side. When they get hacked, either by criminals or by intelligence services, they could become a bit like George Orwell’s ‘telescreens’ – ‘picking up any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper,’ as  Orwell wrote in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, 

Kopparberg always seem to be near the head of the curve when it comes to content creation. Here they team with up with Mike Skinner, from The Streetsto create a new music video.The association also involves Murkage Dave, leader of Manchester arts organisation Murkage Cartel.  And just because I can’t resist it, here is my personal favourite The Streets song, from their Album ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’. This is the spell-binding Empty Cans.

In many cases, buttons and dials (on escalators, pedestrian crossings and thermostats) do not work. In 1994, New York deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that were in place at the time existed as mechanical placebos. Today there are only 120 responsive signals. 

Would you like to be uploaded to a computer when you die? It may seem bizarre, but the concept of ‘mind uploading’ is closer to becoming a reality, than we may think. It may be that the last person to die, has already been born. 

From The Long and The Short. 10 science startups that are shaping our tomorrows.

Been enjoying ‘Donald and Hillary’ face off in the Saturday Night Livedebates? I think the final one (hosted by Tom Hanks), is the best one of all. Trump bingo anyone?