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Society

This category contains 8 posts

Mastering the universe

The Guardian newspaper recently ran a cover story on GCHQ’s top-secret project Mastering the Internet. According to a helpful summary from wired.co.uk, it seems that the UK and US intelligence services have invoked a legal workaround that avoids domestic restrictions on intelligence gathering. The NSA in the USA can check up on UK citizens and GCHQ … Continue reading

What’s wrong with the future

The book The New Digital Age by Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen was published this week. I’ve been reading the Kindle edition. As with other books of this genre, there’s much we’ve read before, but it’s of interest who is saying it. Google is after all a major … Continue reading

The happy medium

Over 40 million Facebook status updates are posted across the world every day. Status updates are simply short messages you post on your Facebook website prompted by a random question such as “What are you doing today?” “What’s going on?” or “How are you feeling?” Your Facebook friends get to read your status updates. Facebook … Continue reading

Mad crowds disease

Mobs, herds, battalions, minions, spectators: these are groups to whom we readily ascribe a mood – celebratory, triumphant, ugly, angry, battle-weary, hysterical, frenzied, supportive, enthusiastic, docile. I confess to being moved by the presence of crowds on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh as the Olympic torch relay passed by. I had stumbled across different segments … Continue reading

Network notion

It seems that societies organise themselves as networks, an idea brought into sharp relief with the development of online social networks. People with online profiles are the nodes, hubs or cells, and there are linkages with other people through their personal directories of friends and followers, who are similarly linked.

Amnesiac machines

Digital devices help me to forget in several ways. If I store my bank details in my electronic note pad then I don’t need to commit them to memory. So I can forget such details. Thanks to the immediacy of web acces and tools such as Wikipedia I can forget the capital of The Isle … Continue reading

Portable memories

We used to store our memories in paper diaries, and boxes and albums of photographs. Now we can store them on line, and contribute to a bigger pool of social memories. We can see other people’s memories, and add our own. You can also attach memories to objects via barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags. … Continue reading

No way logo

It seems that large numbers of youths raided shops for branded sportswear (Adidas, Nike) and electrical goods in the disturbances of 7-9 August in England (Reuters, Telegraph). If any of them missed the lesson that crime really doesn’t pay, the kids at least discovered that certain crimes don’t scale up. Antisocial behaviour and gang riots … Continue reading