The shape of change - Marcus Brown waxes lyrically on digital transformation

​ "It's my change and when I get to define it, I can control it". Here's Marcus's first posting in his series of TubeNotes. It's clear, it's eloquent, and it's beautifully produced. The first few seconds take you in through their setting of the Bavarian countryside, and it just gets better and better from there.

The art of shitposting: how Simpsons fans learned to steam a good ham

The art of shitposting: how Simpsons fans learned to steam a good ham
​ A scene from a 1996 episode of The Simpsons recently spawned a fresh clutch of memes across the web, shedding light on a very specific – and, for the average web user, peculiar and dubiously-named – form of online fan activity: shitposting. Like other Internet memes, shitposting involves users remixing and remaking snippets of popular culture – i...
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French Parlimentarian debates AI ethics

4635679132_7b97d7222b_b Jody McIntyre, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/scjody/4635679132/
This is a very good read, from Cedric Villani, mathematician and member of the French Parliament: Defining artificial intelligence is no easy matter. Since the mid-20th century when it was first recognized as a specific field of research, AI has always been envisioned as an evolving boundary, rather than a settled research field. Fundamentally, it ...
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If robots are intelligent, can they be criminals?

Think lawsuits involving humans are tricky? Try taking an intelligent robot to court. While autonomous robots with humanlike, all-encompassing capabilities are still decades away, European lawmakers, legal experts and manufacturers are already locked in a high-stakes debate about their legal status: whether it's these machines or human beings who s...
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TubeNotes: Marcus launches short talks on the future

TubeNotes: Marcus launches short talks on the future
"I really want a more difficult channel, a more demanding channel, that allows me to mix up all of the things that I'm interested in at the moment." Friend of Imperica Marcus Brown ​ has launched ​TubeNotes ​, a regular dispatch on what he's doing, what interests him at the moment, and the development of his forthcoming book, ​The Passing ​. "​This...
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Sir Martin Sorrell leaves WPP

Sir Martin Sorrell leaves WPP Wikipedia, CC licence
Sir Martin Sorrell has resigned from WPP. Here is his statement to employees of the group which he started in 1985, through its takeover of Wire & Plastic Products after Sorrell left his position as CFO at Saatchis. Here is his leaving letter to employees. Disappointingly, for as much as WPP companies talk about the 24/7 always-on reputation-le...
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The soft bulletin: Leigh Alexander's "algowave" short story

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A lovely piece of writing from Leigh Alexander: For the past few weeks, I'm pretty sure I've been seeing another me. Wednesday afternoon I left my apartment to walk to the train and I saw her — me — crossing the intersection at the top of the hill, walking briskly. Then over the weekend I was washing dishes and staring out the window, just spacing ...
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In a world of fake news, what is truth?

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Excellent stuff from Jay Owens: But authenticity became a performance, as we started to speak to audiences of hundreds and thousands beyond our 'real' pools of friends and family, and 'likes' and follower counts trained us to create the kinds of content that would be the most popular, over the realistic depictions of our day-to-day. Our Instagram f...
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The 90s are over

The 90s are over "Slacker", Richard Linklater, 1991
A lovely, long read by Rebecca Schuman on the 90s: In the nineties, the worst insult you could lob — or get — was to be a sellout. Dominant mass-produced mainstream culture — literally anything, the exact moment it became popular enough to no longer be confined to your friend's basement and maybe a 'zine — deserved to be mocked. If you were lucky e...
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Artform: Crowdfunding culture

Artform: Crowdfunding culture Artform
 Kickstarter is becoming something of a maze these days; knowing which route to take and separating the good projects from the bad ones is becoming increasingly difficult, as there is simply so much on it. Enter ​Artform ​, which intends to be a crowdfunder solely focussed on cultural projects. The site is very nicely put together; it's clean,...
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Numa is a new, distributed social network

Numa is a new social network built on Ethereum. Open source and federated, it can also talk to other such networks, including last year's competitor-to-Twitter-for-around-a-week, Mastodon. Although it's built on Ethereum, the developers are keen to point out that you don't need, or need to understand, cryptocurrencies to use it: The only costs you ...
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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

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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

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​" 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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