The United States of Authoritarianism

I’m read­ing Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s ‘The New Dig­i­tal Age’ at the moment. It’s a fair­ly dry look at the near future, both per­son­al and polit­i­cal, and the impact of dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy. It’s (obvi­ous­ly) in favour of every­thing Google are doing — to the extent that anonymi­ty is seen as a gen­er­al­ly unfavourable aim, except in […]

Privacy, permission, and opting out

Ear­li­er today I got an update noti­fi­ca­tion for the Face­book app for Android, and to install the update I had to agree to some new per­mis­sions: The thing is, I don’t agree to those new per­mis­sions. So I tweet­ed this: Looks like this new update to Face­book for Android means it’s time to unin­stall the app. It seemed to […]

OK, Computer

Ever since Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion I’ve har­boured a dream of hav­ing a com­put­er like the one on The Enter­prise; one that uses nat­ur­al lan­guage pars­ing to under­stand your ques­tion, can give you the answer to almost any­thing, and can reply to you audi­bly. Of course, today this is no longer a dream; with Siri, Google Now* […]

Living in the future

There’s a good inter­view with the writer War­ren Ellis in the Paris Review. In it he talks about many things, not least the future of cities: When I have my pes­simistic head on, I think that every­one can see the future of cities com­ing down the road, and the peo­ple who will be able to afford to live […]