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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Laura-Jane Foley: my favourite work of art

Laura-Jane Foley: my favourite work of art
It was George Bernard Shaw who said "without art, the crudeness of reality  would make the world unbearable." And the world does seem pretty unbearable  at the moment. Faced at all turns with conversations about the bitterly divisive  Brexit or the vulgarity of Trump, I wanted to move away from the "crudeness of  reality" and pu...
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Morphing service anonymises faces for passports, while retaining their legitimacy

Morphing service anonymises faces for passports, while retaining their legitimacy
Mask ID from Berlin-based group Peng Collective is rather ingenious: it creates new faces built out of “real” ones submitted to a database, which are valid for passports. The idea is this. By combining your face with others in Peng’s database, you have a passport-ready photo which is technically, but not physically, both you and someone else. It me...
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The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want

The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want Bill Knock, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/billknock/40496009774/
We all want other people to "get us" and appreciate us for who we really are. In striving to achieve such relationships, we typically assume that there is a "real me". But how do we actually know who we are? It may seem simple – we are a product of our life experiences, which we can be easily accessed through our memories of the past. Indeed, subst...
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The development of coffee machine design

The development of coffee machine design
Down the years, the way we brew our coffee has changed considerably, and each new style has seemed to mirror the age to which it belongs. The development of coffee machine design is an informative story of innovation, so let's have a closer look at the major stages of its progression. The percolator If you grew up before the 70s, you may ...
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Justin Kirby: the ‘why’ factor of content

Justin Kirby: the ‘why’ factor of content Justin Kirby
"Content marketing" feels like a new industry based on new terminology, but the reality is anything but. Brands, publishers and people have communicated themselves with engaging content for centuries. But, what exactly is content marketing, how does it differ from other forms of marketing and communication, and should it be treated differently – an...
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Stuart Goulden: liberating video production

Stuart Goulden: liberating video production
Every brand holds an inherent drama. Unlock it and you have your USP. Share it and you  have the start of a good story. Whilst the truths behind every engaging narrative are the same today as they've always  been, digital has blown content creation wide open. Nowhere is this being felt more than  video. The average person now watches...
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Building bicycles for our minds

Building bicycles for our minds Dion Raftapoulous, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/32239815432/
Technology has a hole in it, I can feel it. Something isn't right and while the current era of technology platforms feels like it has reached its zenith, there is something missing from the way many people are talking about the future. We have 2.5 billion smartphone users today — each of whom has access to all the knowledge of the world — yet these...
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Digital twins and digital doubles: populating our virtual worlds

Digital twins and digital doubles: populating our virtual worlds Liebslakritze, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15945845318
Years ago when I worked in the semiconductor crystal growth industry, we had a frequent problem with crystal defects that occurred, seemingly at random, during a multi-day growth process. These defects caused total failure of the greater than $80,000 single crystal. One of my proposed solutions was to create a dynamic computer model of the whole sy...
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Toby Shorin: The diminishing marginal value of aesthetics

Toby Shorin: The diminishing marginal value of aesthetics Red Shuheart, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/red_shuheart/38210802106
Cultural production is typically ignored by economists and technology writers. At best it is only addressed within the context of various media verticals: film, music, news, and so on. In this post I will begin to correct this strategic oversight by combining a theory of cultural production with some common frameworks for understanding technology a...
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Rockstar is more than a feeling, it's a new programming language

Rockstar is more than a feeling, it's a new programming language Montecruz Foto, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/libertinus/4848597995
Rockstar, a new Turing-complete programming language, is " designed for creating computer programs that are also song lyrics, and is heavily influenced by the lyrical conventions of 1980s hard rock and power ballads." With tongue firmly in cheek, its name and format has been derived from the reference of "rockstar developers" by recruiters - so, th...
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Online art market matures

Online art market matures Halfrain, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfrain/15134351524/
Hiscox has released its  ​Online Art Trade Report ​ for 2018, and it makes for interesting reading. The market is slowing and maturing; online art platforms are continuing to consolidate; and Instagram casts a long shadow over art consumers. Key points are: ​ Online sales are up 12%, but growth is slowing. Sales were estimated at $4....
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Visual decay: new exhibition examines ways of communicating climate change

Visual decay: new exhibition examines ways of communicating climate change La Llareta #0308-2B31 (3000+ years old; Atacama Desert, Chile), Rachel Sussman
Critical to the mitigation of climate change is the communication of it, and the communication of its prevention.  ​Future Knowledge ​ is a forthcoming exhibition, taking place at our almost-neighbours Modern Art Oxford, where artists and designers show new work in response to the phenomenon. Work in the show includes  ​Loop ​, an aerial ...
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We don’t need Elon Musk for an innovative tech industry

We don’t need Elon Musk for an innovative tech industry Web Summit, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/websummit/10707529713/
We all know that organisations are made up of many people, so why is it that the leaders get all the credit and most of the cash? In the Iron Man f ilms, Tony Stark, the president of Stark Industries, is presented as a wild innovator and technological genius. He swipes at virtual screens, cuts and welds, and stays up for days. This is what a boy wo...
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Generative art finds its prodigy: an interview with Manolo Gamboa Naon

Untitled Detail from "bbccclll", Manolo Gamboa Naon
Manolo's work feels like it is the result of the entire contents of twentieth-century art and design being put into a blender. Once chopped down into its most essential geometry, Manolo then lovingly pieces it back together with algorithms and code to produce art that is simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. His work serves as a welcome (and nee...
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Roca explores the history of urban planning

Ebenezer Howard, To-Morrow, 1898 Ebenezer Howard, To-Morrow, 1898
A new exhibition at Roca London, entitled The Data and Life of Great Future Cities , proposes that personal data “could be the key to better urban design”. With a title influenced by Jane Jacobs’ 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities , it also references work more recently undertaken by Marco de Nadia at the University of Trent...
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