For the past two years, Nils Frahm has been building a brand new studio in Berlin to make his 7th studio album titled All Melody, which will be released on January 26th, 2018 via Erased Tapes, before Nils embarks on his first world tour since 2015.
I can’t remember when I first came across Nils Frahm, it was probably during my dive into Minimalism – Glass, Nyman, Part – but might have been when I stumbled upon a reworking of the Presets track Promises. His latest album is different from the solo work that I had grown akin to. I think that Philip Sherburne In Pitchfork captures it best:
Across 12 songs and 74 minutes, All Melody functions as a single, cohesive piece of music, with recurring themes interwoven throughout. It’s easy to get lost in the album and then, hearing a familiar motif, come up short, as if turning a corner in a long hallway and wondering if you hadn’t passed the same spot just a moment ago. It’s a pleasantly disorienting sensation.
What stands out is the blend of acoustic and synthetic sounds. This in part reminds me of Nicolas Jaar.
At a time when Facebook, Twitter and Google are grappling with an epidemic of political manipulation and fake news, Devumi’s fake followers also serve as phantom foot soldiers in political battles online. Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits and a reporter at the alt-right bastion Breitbart.
The ability of schools, even the most visionary, to match the learning with the digital provided outside the school walls, is impossible. Schools as public institutions controlled by government, bureaucrats, resourcing, working conditions, legislation, law, accountability requirements, inflexible organizational structures and history can never respond to the accelerating digital evolution and transformation in the same way as the highly agile digitally connected families of the world. Even if governments wanted its schools to change, or indeed to collaborate with the families.
Digital currencies such as bitcoin have caused a financial frenzy. Alex Hern explains what they are – and whether this is the end of ‘real’ money
Alex Hern continues his exploration of Bitcoin in this thorough overview. One quote that really stood out was this:
If you trust the financial system to store your funds, or Dropbox to store your files, or YouTube to host your videos, then you don’t need to use less efficient decentralised versions of those services. But if you are planning to commit financial crime, store illegal downloads, or host pirated videos a decentralised version of those services becomes much more appealing. That’s why bitcoin, for instance, has become the currency of choice for online drug dealers and cybercriminals demanding ransoms to restore hacked data.
A blog about learning supported by innovation and social networks.
I found your discussion intriguing Bob.
When I think back to my schools (and university days) I feel a strange sense of guilt about the time that I (probably) wasted. What difference did I really make?
I think that as a learner I have a tendency to dive in. I probably commit myself far too much at the expense of other, maybe. I was struck once by this quote from Sartre:
When we say that man chooses himself, we do mean that every one of us must choose himself; but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men.
I am always eager about what I do and how it could make a difference. Take for example my recent dive into #IndieWeb. This is driven by a curiosity about what might be and possibly how things could be better.
I speak with artist and writer Austin Kleon — best known for his book Steal Like an Artist — about the benefits of using analog tools in a digital world.
We talk about Austin’s own unique office setup, which features an analog desk and a digital desk, and the unexpected power of going slow …
Jocelyn K. Glei’s key takeaways were:
Why the best work often germinates in the analog space and gets executed in the digital space
How moving your body in physical space can act as a “brain reset” to help you shift your focus
When you should use a pencil and when you should use a keyboard as you execute on your ideas
How the constraints of analog (pen, paper, books, etc) can super-charge your creativity
Why the impulse to edit and/or tweak immediately can shut down the creative process
How writing things by hand helps you learn better and infuses them with meaning
Something that stood out to me what Kleon’s point that once you have it, you realise you don’t need it.
Content moderation should be more transparent, and platforms should be more accountable, not only for what traverses their system, but the ways in which they are complicit in its production, circulation, and impact. But it also seems we are too eager to blame all things on content moderation, and to expect platforms to maintain a perfectly honed moral outlook every time we are troubled by something we find there. Acknowledging that YouTube is not a mere conduit does not imply that it is exclusively responsible for everything available there.
Tarleton Gillespie unpacks the recent discussions for more moderation for YouTube. One problem that she highlights is that the intent associated with the content being created is not consistent:
Incidents like the exploitative videos of children, or the misleading amateur cartoons, take advantage of this system. They live amidst this enormous range of videos, some subset of which YouTube must remove. Some come from users who don’t know or care about the rules, or find what they’re making perfectly acceptable. Others are deliberately designed to slip past moderators, either by going unnoticed or by walking right up to but not across the community guidelines. They sometimes require hard decisions about speech, community, norms, and the right to intervene.
She also discusses the difference between television and YouTube, questioning what it might mean to have such expectations:
MTV was in a structurally different position than YouTube. We expect MTV to be accountable for a number of reasons: they had the opportunity to review the episode before broadcasting it; they employed Kutcher and his team, affording them specific power to impose standards; and they chose to hand him the megaphone in the first place. While YouTube also affords Logan Paul a way to reach millions, and he and YouTube share advertising revenue from popular videos, these offers are in principle made to all YouTube users. YouTube is a distribution platform, not a distribution bottleneck — or it is a bottleneck of a very different shape. This does not mean we cannot or should not hold YouTube accountable. We could decide as a society that we want YouTube to meet exactly the same responsibilities as MTV, or more. But we must take into account that these structural differences change not only what YouTube can do, but how and why we can expect it of them.
So what we critics may be implying is that YouTube should be responsible to distinguish the insensitive versions from the sensitive ones. Again, this sounds more like the kinds of expectations we had for television networks — which is fine if that’s what we want, but we should admit that this would be asking much more from YouTube than we might think.
One of the problems associated with moderation is the rewards behind such content:
If video makers are rewarded based on the number of views, whether that reward is financial or just reputational, it stands to reason that some videomakers will look for ways to increase those numbers, including going bigger. But it is not clear that metrics of popularity necessarily or only lead to being over more outrageous, and there’s nothing about this tactic that is unique to social media. Media scholars have long noted that being outrageous is one tactic producers use to cut through the clutter and grab viewers, whether its blaring newspaper headlines, trashy daytime talk shows, or sexualized pop star performances. That is hardly unique to YouTube. And YouTube videomakers are pursuing a number of strategies to seek popularity and the rewards therein, outrageousness being just one. Many more seem to depend on repetition, building a sense of community or following, interacting with individual subscribers, and the attempt to be first.
Twitter’s algorithms might indeed make following a hashtag easier for us, but what is it doing for Twitter? When tens of people like an educational tweet for example, how did that happen, what are the consequences and for whom?
Here is a list of heuristics taken from ‘Researching a Posthuman World’ by Catherine Adams and Terrie Lynne Thompson
Describe how the object or thing appeared, showed up, or was given in professional practice. What happened?
Following the actors
Consider the main practice you are interested in. What micro-practices are at work?
Who-what is acting? What are they doing? Who-what is excluded?
How have particular assemblages come together? What is related to what and how? What work do they do?> > Choose an object of interest. What is the sociality/materiality around it?
Listening for the invitational quality of things
What is a technology inviting (or encouraging, inciting, or even insisting) its user to do?
What is a technology discouraging?
Studying breakdowns, accidents and anomalies
What happens if an object breaks or is unexpectedly missing? What practices then become more visible?
Applying the Laws of Media
This heuristic draws on the tetrad of McLuhan and McLuhan (1988) and poses the questions they proposed.
What does a technology/medium enhance?
What does it render obsolete?
What does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
What does it become when pressed to an extreme?
How have particular gatherings come to be and how do they maintain their connections?
What unintended realities come into being as everyday practices unfold?
What is entrenched? Who-what is excluded?
Note: I'm writing this post on my personal blog as I'm still learning about GDPR. This is me thinking out loud, rather than making official Moodle pronouncements. 'Enjoyment' and 'compliance-focused courses' are rarely uttered in the same breath. I have, however, enjoyed my second week of learning from Futurelearn's
Doug Belshaw breaks down a number of points associated with the GDPR. During TIDE, he also makes the point that this will set a precedence moving forward in regards to the collection of data so will therefore have an influence on everyone. Eylan Ezekiel also provided a useful discussion a few months a go.
Tim had the brilliant idea to use this as part of our new splash page when someone signs up for a domain. Their newly registered domain could automatically generate on the tape when they refresh their page.
Lauren, I love the idea of having my own customised blank tape on my site, are you suggesting that you might make available an option to generate our own tape, like with Bryan’s other recent project?
On the 8th of December at The Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney Australia, BVN hosted its bi-annual conference – Futures Forum 2. The theme was ‘Knowledge and Ethics in the Next Machine Age’.
23:21 Larry Prusak: Knowledge and it’s Practices in the 21st Century
Prusak discusses the changes in knowledge over time and the impact that this has. This reminds me of Weinberger’s book Too Big To Know. Some quotes that stood out were:
Knowledge won’t flow without trust
Schools measure things they can measure even if it is not valuable
Again and again Prusak talks about going wide, getting out and meeting new people.
1:21:59 Professor Genevieve Bell: Being Human in a Digital Age
Bell points out that computing has become about the creation, circulation, curation and resistence of data. All companies are data companies now. For example, Westfield used to be a real estate company, but they are now a data company.
The problem with algorithms is that they are based on the familiar and retrospective, they do not account for wonder and serendipity.
As we design and develop standards for tomorrow, we need to think about the diversity associated with those boards and committees. If there are only white males at the table, how does this account for other perspectives.
We do want to be disconnected, even if Silicon Valley is built around being permanently connected. One of the things that we need to consider is what is means to have an analogue footprint.
Building on the discussion of data and trust, Bell makes the point:
The thing about trust is that you only get it once.
In regards to the rise of the robots, our concern should be the artificial intelligence within them. One of the big problems is that robots follow rules and we don’t.
The future of technology that we need to be aspiring to develop a future where technology can support us with our art, wonder and curiosity.
A comment made during the presentation and shared after Bell had finished:
Is your current job the best place for you to make the world a better place?
2:49:51 Phillip Bernstein: The Future of Making Things: Design Practice in the Era of Connected Technology
Berstein unpacks six technical disruptions – data, computational design, simulation analysis, the internet of things, industrial construction and machine learning – and looks at the implications for architecture.
3:51:44 Dr Simon Longstaff: Ethics in the Next Machine Age
Dr Longstaff explores the ethics associated with technology. This includes the consideration of ethical design, a future vision – Athens or Eden – and the purpose to making. Discussing the technology of WWII, Longstaff states:
Technical mastery devoid of ethics is the root of all evil
He notes that just because we can, it does not mean we ought.
He also used two ads from AOL to contrast the choices for tomorrow:
Interesting listening as always. Just a couple of quick points. In regards to the distraction of technology, my mother used to bring knitting (is that technology?) when she would watch me play cricket. I remember once I had lasted only a few balls, going out for a duck. As I walked off, she congratulated me and told me that I had played well. I knew that she neither had a clue what was going on or how I had played. That was long before the smartphone.
Another wondering was associated with the discussion of different identities online. Do you think that the #IndieWeb and the correlating principles counter that, with focus on POSSE and collective identity?
Jordan Erica Webber looks at how our data is being used to push political ideologies
Jordan Erica Webber takes a look at democracy in the digital age, an era in which social media platforms have enabled a new form of political advertising and data companies can provide those who wish to sway elections and referendums with the ability to micro-target individual voters’ private Facebook feeds. Whether this is right or wrong, is everyone forced down this path? I am reminded again of Weapons of Math Destruction
Developers of platforms such as Facebook have admitted that they were designed to be addictive. Should we be following the executives’ example and going cold turkey – and is it even possible for mere mortals?
Alex Hern continues his exploration of social media, this time investigating who social media executives do not actually use the spaces which they create:
I used to look at the heads of the social networks and get annoyed that they didn’t understand their own sites. Regular users encounter bugs, abuse or bad design decisions that the executives could never understand without using the sites themselves. How, I would wonder, could they build the best service possible if they didn’t use their networks like normal people? Now, I wonder something else: what do they know that we don’t?
Hern shares his efforts to remove himself:
That is certainly how I feel about Twitter. I have tried to cut back, after realising how much of my time was spent staring at a scrolling feed of aphorisms ranging from mildly amusing to vaguely traumatic. I deleted 133,000 tweets, in an effort to reduce the feeling that I couldn’t give up on something into which I had sunk so much time. I removed the apps from my phone and my computer, forcing any interaction through the web browser. I have taken repeated breaks. But I keep coming back.
He also highlights what we are up against:
It is one thing to be a child with a protective parent keeping technology away from you. It is quite another to live like a technology executive yourself, defeating the combined effort of thousands of the world’s smartest people to instil a craving to open their app every day. I am not alone in struggling.
Along with Mozilla’s podcast on overload, they provide a useful provocation to go further on the topic.
Do what’s hard. Place high expectations on yourself. Take risks. Do something that matters
Great post Greg. So much to take in as we go into the new year. The thing I was left wondering about each of the contexts were the conditions that made leadership possible in each of the scenarios. Whether it be a mandate, some sort of sacrifice or thesupport from those around us, I wondering if we also have a shared responsibility to not only lead ourselves, but also help others lead as well?