Most of these dystopian scenarios are, after all, post-apocalyptic: the bad thing happened, the tension broke, and now so much less is at stake. The anxiety and ambivalence we feel toward late-stage capitalism, income inequality, political corruption, and environmental degradation—acute psychological pandemics in the here and now—are utterly dissolved. In a strange, wicked way, the aftermath feels fine.
Any sufficiently advanced vision piece is indistinguishable from Black Mirror.
I really like Phil’s braindump of conference ideas. Frankly, many of these ideas work just as well as watchwords for building on the web:
- Different models for start-ups. Co-operatives. Employee ownership. Normal, slowly-growing, profit-making businesses.
- Technology for people who don’t live in the first world. (There’s a lot of them and they have a lot of technology, but most of us know nothing about it.)
- Websites that make the whole Web better.
- New services that work fine on technology that’s been around for years.
- Services designed for people who have little money.
- Services designed for people who aren’t fully able.
- Models for keeping services running over the long-term. (What happens when your company closes, or to your personal projects when you die?)
Here’s a dystopian vision of the web in ten years time, where professional developers are the only people able to publish on the web.
Alan Kay’s written remarks to a Joint Hearing of the Science Committee and the Economic and Educational and Opportunites Committee in October 1995.
Steven Johnson’s new television series will be shown on BBC in a few months time. Looks like it’s going to be good Burkian fun.
There’s something very satisfying about this televisual sleuthing:
Images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.
Coming from anyone else, this glorious vision might seem far-fetched, but Anne is working to make it a reality.
This sounds like it’s a going to be a good: a new TV series by Steven Johnson on the history of technology and innovation. Sounds very Burkian, which is a very good thing.
An interesting observation on the changes in Apple’s advertising campaigns: it’s no longer about “here’s how great you (the user) can be”, instead it’s increasingly about “here’s how great we (the company) can be.”
Peter Saville talks about the enduring appeal of his cover for Unknown Pleasures.
I like to think of all the variations and mashups as not just tributes to Joy Division, but tributes to Jocelyn Bell Burnell too.
This (free!) PDF looks like it could be a nice companion piece to Chris and Nathan’s recent book:
Human-computer interaction in science-fiction movies and television.
It’s a work in progress. You’ll notice a lot of placeholders where the images should be. That’s because the studios are demanding extortionate rates for screenshots.
Perfectly offset with red string.
Robin Sloan compares Facebook and Google in an interesting way:
Really, Facebook is the world’s largest photo sharing site—that also happens to be a social network and a login system.
Google is getting good, really good, at building things that see the world around them and actually understand what they’re seeing.
A great article from David with some concrete proposals for media companies.
By the way, how nice is David’s new responsive design? Very nice. Very nice indeed.
It turns out that Big Bird is a god-defying instantiation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion. Magnificent!
Big Bird and Snuffy go with him to stand in the Hall of Two Truths at the gate to the afterlife. The gigantic foam balls on these guys! Sure, Elmo loves you, but when’s the last time Elmo held anyone’s hand on the threshold of eternal night?
A fascinating insight into the reaction of an internet-savvy child upon being exposed to “regular” television.
Add this one to your Instapaper/Readability queue: the behind-the-scenes story of the train wreck that was the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.
Possibly the least imaginative concept video ever made, this piece commissioned by Blackberry shows a dystopian near-future ruled by security departments run by people with very, very tired arms.