How design fiction was co-opted. A piece by Tim Maughan with soundbites from Julian Bleecker, Anab Jain, and Scott Smith.
Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Friday, April 6th, 2018
There was a time, circa 2009, when no home design story could do without a reference to Mad Men. There is a time, circa 2018, when no personal tech story should do without a Black Mirror reference.
Black Mirror Home. It’s all fun and games until the screaming starts.
When these products go haywire—as they inevitably do—the Black Mirror tweets won’t seem so funny, just as Mad Men curdled, eventually, from ha-ha how far we’ve come to, oh-no we haven’t come far enough.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
I’m all in favour of HTTPS everywhere, but this kind of strong-arming just feels like blackmail to me.
All new CSS properties won’t work without HTTPS‽ Come on!
I thought Mozilla was better than this.
Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
It’s fairly light-hearted by the standards of Black Mirror, but all the more chilling for that. It depicts a dysutopia where people rate one another for points that unlock preferential treatment. It’s like a twisted version of the whuffie from Cory Doctorow’s Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom. Cory himself points out that reputation economies are a terrible idea.
Nosedive has become a handy shortcut for pointing to the dangers of social media (in the same way that Minority Report was a handy shortcut for gestural interfaces and Her is a handy shortcut for voice interfaces).
“Social media is bad, m’kay?” is an understandable but, I think, fairly shallow reading of Nosedive. The problem isn’t with the apps, it’s with the system. A world in which we desperately need to keep our score up if we want to have any hope of advancing? That’s a nightmare scenario.
The thing is …that system exists today. Credit scores are literally a means of applying a numeric value to human beings.
Nosedive depicts a world where your score determines which seats you get in a restaurant, or which model of car you can rent. Meanwhile, in our world, your score determines whether or not you can get a mortgage.
Nosedive depicts a world in which you know your own score. Meanwhile, in our world, good luck with that:
It is very difficult for a consumer to know in advance whether they have a high enough credit score to be accepted for credit with a given lender. This situation is due to the complexity and structure of credit scoring, which differs from one lender to another.
Lenders need not reveal their credit score head, nor need they reveal the minimum credit score required for the applicant to be accepted. Owing only to this lack of information to the consumer, it is impossible for him or her to know in advance if they will pass a lender’s credit scoring requirements.
Black Mirror has a good track record of exposing what’s unsavoury about our current time and place. On the surface, Nosedive seems to be an exposé on the dangers of going to far with the presentation of self in everyday life. Scratch a little deeper though, and it reveals an even more uncomfortable truth: that we’re living in a world driven by systems even worse than what’s depicted in this dystopia.
Two years ago Douglas Rushkoff had an unpleasant encounter outside his Brooklyn home. Taking out the rubbish on Christmas Eve, he was mugged — held at knife-point by an assailant who took his money, his phone and his bank cards. Shaken, he went back indoors and sent an email to his local residents’ group to warn them about what had happened.
“I got two emails back within the hour,” he says. “Not from people asking if I was OK, but complaining that I’d posted the exact spot where the mugging had taken place — because it might adversely affect their property values.”
Sunday, February 26th, 2017
Edge of darkness: looking into the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way | Science | The Guardian
Building a planet-sized telescope suggests all sorts of practical difficulties.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
An oldie but a goodie: this Bagcheck blog post contains a whole bunch of useful links to lists of mobile device testing suites.
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
What happens when your SR-71 Blackbird falls apart at 3.18 times the speed of sounds at 78,800 feet?
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Brad is on a roll. He knocks it out of the park again, this time talking about the difference between supporting the huge range of mobile browsers out there compared to trying to optimise for them.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
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.
Saturday, October 8th, 2011
Celebrating pornographers who go the extra mile when set dressing classroom porn and actually write something on the blackboard. What do they write, and is it correct?
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Here’s a video of the mobile browser panel I moderated at Mobilism in Amsterdam today. It gets fairly technical for a while but it was mostly a lot of fun.
Friday, October 10th, 2008
"But who the hell is Jeremy Keith anyway?" No, I have no idea either.
Sunday, April 20th, 2008
The heartening story of a mother who allows her child some independence instead of living in fear of a Black Swan.
Sunday, January 20th, 2008
It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
I need this t-shirt... I need it bad.
Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
What a great antisocial network: blackmail people with rich media. Upload photos or videos; demand a price from the victim; if they don't pay, the whole world sees the evidence.
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005
That should be fun. This not a music presentation - this one's for the geeks.