Tech giants need to take more responsibility for the advertising that makes them billions

Tech giants need to take more responsibility for the advertising that makes them billions
Last week I was followed around the Internet by a pair of shoes. I had looked at them online as a gift for my father-in-law, but he didn't like them, and neither did I. Yet no matter what site I visited, there they were, staring at me in their full moccasin glory. Digital advertising can be really annoying, but it can also be dangerous. It has rece...
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Imperica magazine

Imperica magazine
Combining insight with intelligence, humour with hard analysis and comment with candour, Imperica Magazine is simply what we want it to be: a great monthly read. Although our roots are firmly in the creative industries and technology, the magazine has a much broader brief, covering everything and anything regarding the world around us. Articles for...
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The Imperica newsletter

The Imperica newsletter
The Imperica newsletter is a weekly digest of all things interesting from around the web, featuring the rather brilliant Web Curios from Matt Muir.  For those who are less familiar, imagine having your skull trepanned, a RAID storage array inserted into it with the best of the web from the past week, and then being asked to write a coherent na...
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About Imperica

About Imperica “Horizons“, our event on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, BFI Southbank, London, 2012
"New knowledge for creative polymaths" - Peter Cochrane Imperica is an online magazine which covers topics in and around contemporary culture. This is done in a way for the benefit of our main audience: those in the marketing and communications industry. While our main focus is on issues with a relationship to contemporary digital technology, we co...
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Facebook tracks you, even if you don't have a Facebook account

Facebook tracks you, even if you don't have a Facebook account Frederike Kaltheuner, Christopher Weatherhead
At the 35th Chaos Computer Club conference (35C3) in Berlin , Frederike Kaltheuner and Christopher Weatherhead of Privacy International demonstrated that by offering integration into Facebook, 61% of Android apps share data with FB - whether you like it or not. Through FB's Business Tools  offering of APIs and analytics services, dev...
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I used to write for "Sports Illustrated". Now I deliver packages for Amazon

I used to write for "Sports Illustrated". Now I deliver packages for Amazon Prakash Maru
Holiday parties were right around the corner, and I needed a cover story. I didn't feel like admitting to casual acquaintances, or even to some good friends, that I drive a van for Amazon. I decided to tell them, if asked, that I consult for Amazon, which is loosely true: I spend my days consulting a Rabbit, the handheld Android device loaded with ...
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How much of the Internet is fake? Turns out, a lot of it, actually

How much of the Internet is fake? Turns out, a lot of it, actually
In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and "premium" websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which...
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James Bridle: How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens

James Bridle: How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens
In the central marketplace of ancient Athens, around 350BC, there stood a machine called the kleroterion. This was a six-foot-high slab of stone that had a series of slots on the front, and a long tube bored down from the top to the base. Those up for selection for the various offices of state would insert metal ID tags, called pinakia, into the sl...
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Ray Kurzweil's predictions for 2019: how accurate will they be?

Ray Kurzweil's predictions for 2019: how accurate will they be? JD Lasica, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/271056457
In 1999’s The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil predicted technological achievements which would be commonly available within first-world societies every ten years. Kurzweil’s predictions go up to 2099, so as it’s coming up to a year with a 9 at the end, now is time to revisit his predictions for 2019, and to see where we are with them a...
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Machine politics: The rise of the internet and a new age of authoritarianism

Machine politics: The rise of the internet and a new age of authoritarianism
"The Goliath of totalitarianism will be brought down by the David of the microchip," Ronald Reagan said in 1989. He was speaking to a thousand British notables in London's historic Guildhall, several months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan proclaimed that the world was on the precipice of "a new era in human history," one that would bring...
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The Predictions Bucket 2019

Imperica's annual breakdown of predictions for the new year across marketing and digital. Make sure that your screen is in landscape mode to see the full chart. ​ Dis- connect / more of world is online Climate change / enviro Data/ personal owner- ship Urban issues incl transit Society / inclus- ivity Mixed reality / imagery / fakes Physi...
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Commercial services

Commercial services Still from “Craving for Narrative”, Max Grau, 2015
Since 2010, Imperica has published thoughtful, insightful content from thoughtful, insightful people. We'd like to do the same for you. Imperica's writers, editors and contributors aim to capture the most interesting and most useful people, opinions, and content out there. Whether it's through our newsletter, our interviews, or through challen...
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The end of the ad-supported web

The end of the ad-supported web Aus, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/auz/4511786504
For the last 20 years, every consumer-oriented application, service or content platform used "ads" as its default business model. Like always, the road to hell has been paved with good intentions: we assumed that the mostly innocuous billboards could be transposed to the web… but these banner ads quickly became endless trojan horses into our privac...
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What AIs teach us about organisational culture

What AIs teach us about organisational culture
One of the fascinating features of artificial intelligence is how much it tells us about ourselves, but it is the way we train AIs in rules-based systems that can teach us the most about organisational culture. Victoria Krakovna, a research scientist at DeepMind has put together a master list of AI "specification gaming" examples — AI training expe...
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Memes are taking the alt-right’s message of hate mainstream

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Think of an internet meme and you'll probably smile. The most memorable viral images are usually funny, from Distracted Boyfriend to classics like Grumpy Cat. But some memes have a much more sinister meaning. They might look as innocuous as a frog, but are in fact symbols of hate. And as memes have become more political, these hateful examples have...
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Lucie Greene: things to come

Lucie Greene: things to come
JWT's Future 100 report, released late in November, gave a comprehensive insight into the trends of the near-future. While some may be easily understandable - a widespread social media backlash and the rise of the meat-free diet, for example - others are perhaps more left-field, such as lichen becoming one of the in-vogue foods of the next year. Un...
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Mark Fisher's K-Punk and the futures that have never arrived

Mark Fisher's K-Punk and the futures that have never arrived
Mark Fisher was a writer and academic from the English Midlands who, in the early two-thousands, felt at odds with many of the institutions around him. Fisher, then in his mid-thirties, had devoted himself to theories of capitalism and Internet culture that few people in his immediate vicinity appeared to care about. He was zealous about obscure mu...
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Your apps know where you were last night, and they're not keeping it secret

Your apps know where you were last night, and they're not keeping it secret
The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails — each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark to a nearby Planned Parenthood, remaining there for more than an hour. Another represents a person who travels with the mayor of New York during the day and ret...
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DCMS publishes a guide to personal data mobility

DCMS publishes a guide to personal data mobility
The UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has worked with innovation agency Ctrl-Shift to produce a new report entitled Data Mobility:  The personal data  portability growth  opportunity for the  UK economy. It promises that the management of personal data presents "significant growth opportunities with economic ...
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Anatomy of an AI system

Anatomy of an AI system
A cylinder sits in a room. It is impassive, smooth, simple and small. It stands 14.8cm high, with a single blue-green circular light that traces around its upper rim. It is silently attending. A woman walks into the room, carrying a sleeping child in her arms, and she addresses the cylinder. 'Alexa, turn on the hall lights' The cylinder springs int...
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