A sort of interesting story from Reuters on an apparent growing demand for information by consumers that they suggest may lead to the demise of the low-fi barcode in favour of QR [really?! still trotting out that old nag?] and RFID… so, nothing people like Bruce Sterling haven’t been saying for quite a while but sort of interesting how it’s couched…
Over on the programmable city website there’s news of a new paper by Jim Merricks White on the anticipatory logics of smart cities… I have previous here so it’ll be an interesting read!
I happened to be driving at around 8ish last night and the car radio was by default on Radio 4 so I caught a bit of the latest programme in the ‘FutureProofing‘ series. Ordinarily such things tend to annoy me, cos I am grumpy, but listening to the programme about block chain last night I confess I was rather impressed. Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson present an interesting account.
Blockchain is a difficult thing to explain and harder still to attempt to articulate how it might be used, beyond the libertarian goals of particular uses of crypto-currencies. The programme last night excelled in this regard covering lots of interesting angles. They end up having an interesting debate about politics and government.
There’s some interesting interviewees too:
Mike Hearn – software developer & bitcoin advocate
Nathaniel Popper –journalist, author of ‘digital gold’
Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof – CEO of bitnation
Steven Lukes – Prof. of Sociology at NYU
Vinay Gupta – of the Ethereum (blockchain) project
I’ve been collecting the promotional videos of various companies that surveil ‘public’ spaces to garner information that, using the logics applied to web analytics, they see as valuable commercial intelligence.
The rationale that is common throughout is that the aggregate crowd on the street, in a shopping centre, or in any form of apparently ‘public’ space are fair game for surveillance measurement and in turn address (albeit by their commercial partners – retailers etc. etc.). In fact, this is merely a technical or perhaps social problem – not a political one. It’s a technical problem for them because as the chap from Placemeter says “it’s all data” and its ‘waiting’ to be harvested. It’s a social problem for them only insofar as it’s about improving ‘services’ for us as consumers (not as citizens, as families or any other part of our skein of identity). It is NOT a political problem for them – it’s not an issue of who has the right to the city, who has a right to privacy or what might constitute reasonable expectations of any of those things. It certainly is never couched in terms of there needing to be governance of these activities – at least in these kinds of videos.
So, the videos are interesting artefacts of the formulation of what pervasive media/ubiquitous computing and smart cities look like and how they are performed…
A reasonable article about Placemeter is in/on the Guardian Cities section.
This looks good –– added to my ‘to read’ pile
The ThingTank project identifies that ‘things’ may soon know more about lives than we do and may also be able to make suggestions about what is missing. The purpose of this project is to explore the potential for identifying novel patterns of use within the data that is streamed through the interaction between people and things, and things and things. Our project builds on research and innovation that has been established by the three investigators across the fields of Internet of Things, Social Experience Design and Machine Learning. Through a better understanding of how what data can tell us about how we use objects, new models of use will emerge and reinvigorate the role of things and people within design and manufacturing.
Ofcom, the quango that regulates communications activities in the UK (i.e. broadcasting, mobile phones and internet service provision), has released a report that suggests that the UK population (according to their survey) generally prefers to use their ‘smartphones’ as the principle means of accessing the internet.
They include a few other interesting findings:
During 2014, 4G subscriptions leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million.
Smartphone users with 4G are shopping online more than those without 4G (55% of 4G users do this compared with 35% of non-4G users); banking more online (55% versus 33%); watching more TV and video clips online (57% versus 40%); making more face-to-face and voice calls over the internet (28% versus 20%); using services such as Snapchat to send more photos and videos (49% versus 36%); and instant messaging more with services such as WhatsApp (63% versus 50%).
One in three adults (34%) turn over and check their phones within five minutes of waking up. For young people, checking social media messages before breakfast is even more crucial – around half (49%) of young people aged 18-24 check their phones within five minutes of waking up.
Most 16-24 year olds are watching on-demand and catch up programmes on computers and smartphones rather than on a TV connected to a set-top box.
A really accessible and lovely talk by Professor Chris Speed (at Edinburgh) about the ways in which the everyday production of data and what that means for us, as citizens/tech users, and how we negotiate value.