AI researchers call for boycott of "killer robot" university

847695350_564cb9526f_b Logan Ingalls, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/plutor/847695350
​ Academics call for a snub:​ Artificial intelligence researchers from nearly 30 countries are boycotting a South Korean university over concerns a new lab in partnership with a leading defence company could lead to "killer robots". More than 50 leading academics signed the letter calling for a boycott of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Tec...
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The end of Windows

The end of Windows LN Klein, CC licence
​Hooooold on. Ben Thompson isn't ​actually ​ predicting the end of Microsoft's cash cow just yet - but he is predicting that it plays a much less important role in the company's future: If culture flows from success, then it follows that an attempt to change culture is far easier to accomplish when the most obvious indicator of success — one that h...
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World Product Day is May 23

world-product-day-2018-map-1024x576
We're not sure  ​why ​ the world needs a World Product Day, but there is one, and it's on May 23.   Each city will host their regular ProductTank meetup, livestream their event, and make a ton of noise on the hashtags #worldproductday and #producttank – leading to a wave of product discussion starting in Wellington, New Zealand, spanning ...
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Maps of cities which don't exist

Imaginary Cities Chirijin
​Let's Go to the Imaginary Cities ​ is a project from Japan which draws maps, infrastructure, and even service provider logotypes for cities which don't actually exist. The whole thing is rather beautiful, and a great deal of care and attention has been taken to make everything look as it should be. We have all invented fictitious places and maps i...
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Pick a card from an API

​Deck of Cards API ​ is just that: a way to bring a card back from shuffling a deck. You can have as many cards and as many decks (piles) as you like. It returns JSON like this: { ​ "success": true, ​ "cards": ​ [ { ​ "image": "https://deckofcardsapi.com/static/img/KH.png", ​ "value": "KING", ​ "suit": "HEARTS", ​ "code": "KH" ​ }, ​ { ​ "image": "...
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What advertising can learn from call centres

This is the first in a new occasional series for the latest Labs podcast, in which Tom Roach and John Harrison, both partners at BBH, go outside advertising to talk to experts from other fields and bring back fresh insights. This episode, Tom and John go to the coal face of customer service to meet Call Centre Workers – the undisputed experts in bu...
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Open Data Cam aims to be the Raspberry Pi of online cameras

Open Data Cam aims to be the Raspberry Pi of online cameras Movvel Lab
 The idea behind 'Open Data Cam' was to create a free, easy to use platform for detecting objects in urban settings. Creating data through real time detections can change the way we make decisions and perceive our urban surroundings. With these tools at hand, it's up to you what you want to quantify. 'Open Data Cam' might help you automaticall...
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"The People vs Tech" is now an e-book

the-people-vs-techno-shadow
​" The internet was meant to set us free. Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook an...
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The corporate gamble behind annoying TV adverts

The corporate gamble behind annoying TV adverts

The current television advertising campaign for the Nationwide building society has been widely derided as incredibly irritating. Negative reactions to the adverts, which feature a pair of singing sisters called Flo and Joan, have been widespread on social media. There has been plenty of scorn, and shockingly, even death threats.

It is easy to see why, for many, the adverts are annoying. They can come across as smug, basic and too twee to be warmed to. The overly long songs grate. Even worse, the open ended skits have no coherent story linking them together, just a common air of prim pithiness.

Whether this makes these good or bad advertisements however, is up for debate.

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Web Curios 16/03/18

So, look, I have some troubling news. You may want to sit down. Web Curios is taking a small break. 

CALM YOURSELVES! STOP RENDING AT YOUR CLOTHES AND SKIN! STOP THE FLAGELLATIONS AND LET THE KEENING CEASE!

Compose yourselves, all of you, IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY. Paul, my editor here at Imperica, is going to have a bit of a rummage around the back end of the site over the next couple of weeks and do some other stuff to (read about it here); he'd be interested in hearing from you if you have any exciting ideas about what to do with the place and how to help out. 

Whilst this is going on, I'm going to be catching up on my Friday sleep and possibly doing things like my laundry, or getting a haircut. It's going to be thrilling. Anyway, what this means is that Web Curios will be back in THREE WEEKS TIME - that is, on Friday 6 April. Until then, though, you will have to pass the time without it - WHAT WILL YOU DO? HOW WILL YOU COPE? Please feel free to tell us how much you'll miss this bitter, bitter shake of nihilism and ennui being forced down your gullet each week, even if it means you lying through your teeth. 

Anyhow, this week's is a particularly mediocre edition in celebration of my impending break - during which I am going to be in part catsitting for my girlfriend, so there is the outside possibility that all my tendons will have -been shredded and I will never be able to type again, so chin up! =  so without further ado let's pull the skin right back and take a look - it's probably fine, right? RIGHT! This, as ever, is Web Curios!

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Of pegs and holes

Of pegs and holes

Coughing and spluttering, stumbling around in a mess of limbs, we made it to the finish line.

When we launched in 2010, the big idea was for Imperica to hit the sweet spot of creativity: between art and marketing, between digital and physical, between established and upcoming. There was a period, in around 2012 I think, when we were right on that.

We were interviewing “names”. We took some lovely photos.

We were being invited to things (although being in Oxford, we couldn’t attend them, perhaps creating a feeling of being aloof when in reality it was about not being able to afford the Oxford Tube).

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Tim Berners-Lee: The web can be weaponised – and we can't count on big tech to stop it

Tim Berners-Lee: The web can be weaponised – and we can't count on big tech to stop it

Today, the world wide web turns 29. This year marks a milestone in the web’s history: for the first time, we will cross the tipping point when more than half of the world’s population will be online.

When I share this exciting news with people, I tend to get one of two concerned reactions:

How do we get the other half of the world connected?Are we sure the rest of the world wants to connect to the web we have today?

The threats to the web today are real – from misinformation and questionable political advertising to a loss of control over our personal data. But I remain committed to making sure the web is a free, open, creative space – for everyone.

That vision is only possible if we get everyone online, and make sure the web works for people. I founded the Web Foundation to fight for the web’s future. Here’s where we must focus our efforts.

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Web Curios 09/03/18

Web Curios 09/03/18

My chronic inability to avoid needless verbosity (see? even when I am trying to apologise for it, FFS) means that this has once again gone LONG and gone LATE - that said. it's fair to say in passing that if this week has taught us anything (and by 'us' I mean 'you' - I am no longer capable of learning anything, mostly instead leaching knowledge from my ears at a rate of knots) is that YOU DO NOT FCUK WITH VLADIMIR.

(as an aside, I texted that to my girlfriend this week but misspelled his name with an 'f' rather than a 'd' - turns out, he's a lot less intimidating if you call him 'Vlafimir')

(as another aside, let me make it clear to any agents who may be reading this that my opening this week is making absolutely NO inferences whatsoever, ok? Good)

Anyway, we ALL have things to be getting on with, not least YOU dear readers who have...no, I'm not going to tell you the word count this week, it will only upset you. Rest assured, though, that as ever it dense, thick and packed with the sort of chewy infolumps of questionable origin that have become Web Curios very own indigestible trademark. GET THE WARMING FLUID DOWN YOU, CHILDREN, FOR WHO KNOWS WHEN WE SHALL EAT AGAIN (next week, same time, same place, for reassurance) - this, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Ben Buchanan on New York City's art and music in the early 80s

Ben Buchanan on New York City's art and music in the early 80s

British artist and photographer Ben Buchanan worked at New York's AREA nightclub in the 1980s. During that time, an explosion of new art and music was happening around him, from people such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat as well as more established figures including David Hockney and Andy Warhol.

At the recent exhibition of his work at the Peter Harrington Gallery in London, we caught up with Ben to ask him about his work, and to talk about his memories of specific photographs from the era.

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Crypto-mining, adblock-avoiding ad network is simply horrible

Crypto-mining, adblock-avoiding ad network is simply horrible

An ad network called Popad has not just been circumventing user's ad blocking software, but it has also been found to be mining cryptocurrencies through the placing of concealed malware on a user's computer.

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Run less software

Run less software

It’s hard to win a battle you don’t realise you’re in. It’s even harder if you don’t know all of the armies on the field, their strategies and weapons, or even who’s a friend and who’s a foe.The same is true in software. We are all in a battle, multiple battles in fact, with a lot at stake: whether it’s the fate of the company we work for or for the product that we build.

In this battle, I’ve found a secret weapon hidden within one of our core engineering strategies, an idea called Run Less Software. As well as being a critical philosophy behind how we build software, it also represents how I feel about the software industry and technology in general.

Read more (Intercom blog)

McMindfulness: Buddhism as sold to you by neoliberals

McMindfulness: Buddhism as sold to you by neoliberals

Mindfulness is big business, worth in excess of US$1.0 billion in the US alone and linked – somewhat paradoxically – to an expanding range of must-have products. These include downloadable apps (1300 at the last count), books to read or colour in, and online courses. Mindfulness practice and training is now part of a global wellness industry worth trillions of dollars.

Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhist meditation teachings and encourages the quiet observation of habituated thought patterns and emotions. The aim is to interrupt what can be an unhealthy tendency to over-identify with and stress out about these transient contents of the mind. By doing so, those who practice mindfulness can come to dwell in what is often described as a more “spacious” and liberating awareness. They are freed from seemingly automatic tendencies (such as anxiety about status, appearances, future prospects, our productivity) that are exploited by advertisers and other institutions in order to shape our behaviour. In its original Buddhist settings, mindfulness is inseparable from the ethical life.

The rapid rise and mainstreaming of what was once regarded as the preserve of a 1960s counterculture associated with a rejection of materialist values might seem surprising. But it is no accident that these practices of meditation and mindfulness have become so widespread. Neoliberalism and the associated rise of the “attention economy” are signs of our consumerist and enterprising times. Corporations and dominant institutions thrive by capturing and directing our time and attention, both of which appear to be in ever-shorter supply.

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Web Curios 02/03/18

I AM SO CHAPPED! SO CHAPPED!

I appreciate that it's pretty low down on the list of legitimate reasons to moan, but seriously, you really don't want to see my smile right now (plus ca change, eh?) (SO MUCH BLOOD!).

Have you been toboganning? Have you thrown a snowball? Have you, at the very least, drawn something puerile on someone's car windscreen? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? (to those of you reading this outside of the United Kingdom, we've had some weather). 

Anyway, whilst it may be COLD outside, in here, crammed in with all the internet, it's all cosy and not a little close. Snuggle up, warms yourselves on this week's BONFIRE OF THE LINKS, and watch the flames - see what shapes you can scry, what terrible futures are presaged, what dreadful auguries of the future coalesce. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL AND NOTHING IS GOING TO BE OK - it's WEB CURIOS!

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Instagram trends in 2018

Instagram trends in 2018

Instagram has become a major player on the social media scene. And like any social media platform, major trends will arise that we all love to hate. The Facebook owned platform has around 800 million users worldwide per month, and it growth shows no signs of slowing down - not just because of us and our constant sharing, but because it’s now been established as a serious tool for marketing. Businesses with Instagram accounts are booming like never before. 

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Blockchain and the GDPR: one almighty collision

Blockchain and the GDPR: one almighty collision

Do you like Blockchain? Who doesn't, right? Companies are falling over themselves to Blockchain All The Things, with companies adding "Blockchain" to their names multiplying in value in one fell swoop. There is one problem with Blockchain, however, that hasn't gained much attention until now: the EU's General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR.

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