Technology, Interrupted

by @edent | # | 3 comments | Read ~133 times.
A woman wearing headphones.

Here’s a brilliant idea I had. And it would work if humans weren’t garbage. I was sat on a stationary train. It had stopped for some unfathomable reason. I say “unfathomable” – the driver made an announcement over the speaker system, but I didn’t hear it because I had my Bluetooth headphones on. Imagine if…

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Book Review: Alone Together

by @edent | # #
People staring at their phones.

Technology has become the architect of our intimacies. Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends, and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication. But this relentless connection leads to a deep solitude. MIT professor Sherry Turkle argues that as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down.

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Book Review: The Entrepreneurial State

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments
Book cover with a lion on it.

This book debunks the myth of the State as a large bureaucratic organization that can at best facilitate the creative innovation which happens in the dynamic private sector. It argues that in the history of modern capitalism the State has not only fixed market failures but also shaped and created markets, actively investing in new technologies and sectors that private investors only later find the courage to move into.

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How I became Leonardo da Vinci on the Blockchain

by @edent | # # # # | 39 comments | Read ~24,016 times.

Yesterday at the CogX conference, I sat in a room listening to companies pitch their blockchain based startups. Because I hate myself. One in particular caught my attention. On the surface it seems to solve an important economic problem – art forgery and provenance. By putting your artwork on the “BitCoin Blockchain”, Verisart will ✨hand…

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How long should you continue a boycott?

by @edent | # # | 11 comments | Read ~410 times.

In 2005, Sony put malware on their music CDs and then illegally infected customers’ machines. I’ve not purchased a Sony product since. Their new TVs look amazing, but I’ve decided I don’t want to reward a company which behaved so despicably. Is that sensible? 13 years later and I’m still holding a grudge. Is that…

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Knowledge Illusions

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~287 times.
Screenshot of the Alexa app. She thinks Tim Roth played Doctor Who.

Optical Illusions trick your brain into seeing something that isn’t there. Whether it is spirals which don’t exist, movements which don’t occur, or faces in curved lines – our optic centres are trivially easy to fool. Humans are not alone in this cognitive deficiency. Other animals are also conned into believing something which isn’t true.…

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Usability of Key Distribution in BlockChain Backed Electronic Voting

by @edent | # # # | Read ~554 times.
Photo of a polling station sight. Taken by "Descrier" with URL descrier.co.uk

I went to an event a few weeks ago where some leading BlockChain organisations were showing off the power of Distributed Ledgers and how they will transform society. Not one of them mentioned users. There was talk of investors, stakeholders, corporations, smart-contract-backed entities. But no users. No real people who have to interact with their…

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Asymmetric Latency

by @edent | # # # | Read ~171 times.

I’ve just finished reading the most wonderful short story – Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. In it, he speculates on what would happen if The Tower of Babel were completed. For those unfamiliar with the legend, it tells of a people who tried to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. The…

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Tech Review – Sabrent rotating USB Hub

by @edent | # # # | Read ~280 times.

As much as I love my MacBook, 2 USB ports just isn’t enough! Between phone charging, memory sticks and a keyboard and mouse, I’m sick of swapping cables in and out of ports. I wanted a USB hub which didn’t have a trailing wire (one more thing to get tangled or lost) and would fit…

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Apartheid Boycotts

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~167 times.

My father tells a story of when I was very young and helping him do the shopping in the local supermarket. As I started to lift apples into a bag, he told me to stop, “We don’t buy fruit from South Africa,” he explained. A woman near us in the aisle turned to him and…

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