Dieter Rams wants Silicon Valley to stop

Dieter Rams wants Silicon Valley to stop
Dieter Rams is done giving interviews, and Gary Hustwit can only poke at his tempeh hash with a laugh here and a sigh there, hoping he did the legend justice. I sit with Hustwit in a chilly Chicago diner before screening the film later that night at its Midwestern premiere. Hustwit cannot know this documentary represents the last time Rams will spe...
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Patents uncovered: turning intellectual property into art

Patents uncovered: turning intellectual property into art
Artist Paolo Cirio has mined public patent repositories to "reveal thousands of technologies that conceal the social control, manipulation, and surveillance at play on the Internet". The work, entitled  ​Sociality ​, aims to expose laws related to the regulation and monitoring of users by tech companies. Many such patents are de...
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Web Curios 12/10/18

Web Curios 12/10/18 Gordon Hatton, CC licence
Can we all agree that noone is ever allowed to use the term '4-dimensional chess' ever again, even ironically? Good, at least we can agree on  something .  You know, one of the worst things about writing this godawful newsletterblogthing is the fact that I painted myself into a corner a few years ago by creating a sort of editorial policy...
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From innocent idealism to pragmatic fixes: two decades of internet culture

From innocent idealism to pragmatic fixes: two decades of internet culture
Like many people of the Internet Generation – those of us who became seriously involved online in the mid to late '90s – I was caught up in the wave of idealistic euphoria that surrounded the first communities to come together on the web. It's easy to see why we saw the cyber world through rose-tinted mirror shades. We were a self-selecting group o...
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Facebook launches video chat device

Facebook launches video chat device
Facebook has enjoyed mixed success with hardware. The rumours surrounding a Facebook phone were just that - rumours - and the company only got as far as launching an Android UI. On the upside, though, its acquisition of Oculus, in order to get a foothold in the VR market, has been pretty successful - if only because the Zuckopticon has kept its gru...
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Digital transformation: a cautionary tale from history

Digital transformation: a cautionary tale from history
Many large companies, agencies, consultancies are talking at the moment about “Digital transformation". This is both a theoretical and practical approach to corporate strategy, where the organisation is redesigned in order to compete in a market where both market and consumer demand is “digital first". The public now expects, and assumes, products ...
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Banksy - a help or hindrance to art?

Banksy - a help or hindrance to art?
The now-famous reaction of Banksy to Sotheby‘s auction of his Girl with balloon for £1.4m has gone down like... well... a girl with a lead balloon in some artistic circles. Whether you think that the stunt , where the work shreds itself after being sold, is an appropriate response to the overheated art market or just a crass piece of PR is perhaps ...
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Geocities finally dies in 2019

Geocities finally dies in 2019 Yahoo Geocities Japan
Who knew that Geocities was - in contemporary parlance - still a thing? Yahoo Japan, a business separate to its troubled creator, has announced that Geocities Japan is to be finally put to rest in 2019. Yahoo Japan itself is a very different beast. Originally created in 1995 as a joint venture between Yahoo and SoftBank, the company continued ...
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How to kill your tech industry

How to kill your tech industry Martin Skøtt, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/skoett/4182370780
​ If the incredible rise of computing is one of the biggest stories of the twentieth century, then the failure of the nation that invented the electronic computer to capitalize on it is undoubtedly one of history's most important cautionary tales. In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. The top-secret codebreaking computers that the...
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Web Curios 05/10/18

Web Curios 05/10/18
Were I a different type of writer, making an unsuccessful pitch for a scriptwriting gig on a mid-level Radio 4 topical comedy show, I’d probably open by making some poorly structured and slightly hackneyed gag about October’s arrival, noticing a chill in the air, and OH LOOK IT’S THE COLD WAR AGAIN. Thankfully for all of you, I am...
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Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that

Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that
Free speech is a key aspect of the internet, but it has become increasingly obvious that many online will push that freedom to extremes, leaving website comment sections, Twitter feeds and Facebook groups awash with racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise unpalatable opinions and vitriolic views, and obscene or shocking images or videos. The border...
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Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully

Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully
Ever one to differentiate, Burger King has unleashed what it calls "high-end computing resources and big data" to write some TV ads. The results are beautifully horrifying. In the ad  ​"Chicken fries beat potato loser" ​, the robotic voiceover says:  "Burger King's new chicken fries are the new potato.  We are not sorry, the potato d...
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How to teach a robot to make the bed

How to teach a robot to make the bed Jaymantri
Robots, as we know, are extremely good at menial tasks which require systematic completion. As such, they are perfect for putting bolts into a car, processing tickets, or tasks within software. However, when such menality requires a bit of creativity, it can be a challenge. Enter a project entitled  Deep Transfer Learning Using Depth Sensing o...
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​Tech-free tourism: the rise of digital detox holidays

​Tech-free tourism: the rise of digital detox holidays Scottish Highlands, Eberhard Grossgasteiger
For years, experts in science and mental health have warned about the damaging effects of too much screen time . But how harmful are our s martphone s , tablet s , laptop s, and television s , and what can we do to reduce our reliance on technology in 2018 ? One solution that has gained momentum is the 'digital detox holiday'. A digital detox is es...
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Mayfly is given a delicate video

Mayfly is given a delicate video
Cologne-based artistic collective GradeDie have been in touch to tell us about their new video for recording duo  Alice Rose & Moniko. The work has been produced by Lenny Grade and Catrin Mackowski. It’s a pretty, delicate video using glitch techniques and oodles of text floating over silhouttes. The single, Mayfly , also comes with a prin...
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Technology dominates our lives. That’s why we should teach human rights law to software engineers

Technology dominates our lives. That’s why we should teach human rights law to software engineers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding its way into more and more aspects of our daily lives. It powers the smart assistants on our mobile phones and virtual "home assistants". It is in the algorithms designed to improve our health diagnostics. And it is used in the predictive policing tools used by the police to fight crime. Each of these example...
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Web Curios 28/09/18

Web Curios 28/09/18
​ HELLO I AM BACK DID YOU MISS ME HELLO! Don't, please, answer that; I've had a lovely fortnight off, ignoring the internet and swimming and eating sea urchin (Jesus, so much sea urchin, so many lovely gonads) and meeting excellent cats and generally horsing around, and to be honest your crushing indifference to mine and Web Curios' return might ju...
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Netiquette: a timely reminder

Netiquette: a timely reminder Newsweek, May 1993
Those of you with memories of Internet culture in the 1990s will no doubt recall Netiquette . This is a term which, at the time, was used almost universally to onboard new users. Guides were published - in print, of course - of how to behave when sending an email, when on Usenet or IRC, and when generally surfing the information superhighway. (Inci...
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Datavized and Google launch interactive dataviz tool

Datavized and Google launch interactive dataviz tool
With support from Google’s News Initiative, Datavized has launched Morph , a free data visualisation application which can produce some genuinely stunning results. Here’s a video on how it works.  Datavized itself is a rather talented company. Its three employees are New School lecturer and marketing consultant Debra Anderson; Yale n...
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I want to believe: the Met Breuer uncovers the deep links between art and conspiracy

I want to believe: the Met Breuer uncovers the deep links between art and conspiracy Government of California, Peter Saul, 1969. Image c/o Met Breuer
Given our current landscape of fake news, alternative facts, and all manner of misinformation and paranoia, it seems alarmingly prescient for it to only have been 2010 when curator Doug Eklund first brought up the possibility of curating a show on art and conspiracy with the late iconoclast Mike Kelley. Inspired by a 1991 conversation between Kelle...
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