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Making friends

People don’t attract enemies. Nor do they collect them. They make enemies. Enemies aren’t out there, pre-existing, like wasps or storm clouds. Enemies are manufactured by our actions and circumstances. It takes a concerted effort to surround yourself with enemies. Enemies are like friends in this respect. We make friends. We would probably not ask, … Continue reading

Your inner child

Older people like to watch children’s television, according to the TV licensing study that came out this week: “Older people found the most enjoyment in children’s television, with 80% of respondents aged 65 and above agreeing children’s shows make them happy.” It’s surprising that older people watch children’s TV, but so is the idea of using happiness as … Continue reading

Blog archive (and About)

What this blog site is about I draw on philosophy and cultural theory to help understand current affairs, architecture and developments in digital technology. These are not opinion pages, though my strongly held view that academic reflection really matters as we try to understand contemporary living may seep through. These posts are scheduled to appear … Continue reading

Site index

Results appear in reverse date order. You can also use the search box above or the Google menu. 3D printing 4D printing Accelerationism Activism Affective and emotion Africa Agon Alberti Ambience Anger Animals Anime Apocalypse Art Artificial Intelligence Attention Audience engagement Augmented reality Aura Ayn Rand Bad Actors Bauhaus Belief Big Bang Theory Big data … Continue reading

Africa calling: How to say a lot with a little

When we had cell phones it was called “beeping.” Now in the era of smartphones another word serves better. It’s “flashing” or “making a flash call.” I think we even did it with land lines as well back in the day. Children away from home would flash call their parents. Though we didn’t recognise it … Continue reading

Least commitment principle

The least commitment principle is one of several strategies people use when they make plans, such as preparing for a day’s outing. The principle gained currency in the 1980s in the early days of artificial intelligence research. It simply means to prioritise tasks in such a way that you keep certain decisions about resources and … Continue reading

Only design will save Europe’s future

This was the agreed title of my 10 minute polemic at a debating session at the Design Research Society Conference (DRS2016) on Tuesday 28 June. Here’s the transcript. You may think it odd to burden design with the responsibility to redeem anything, let alone to save Europe. But that’s by no means a new role. The … Continue reading

How to grow a project

It’s good to be ambitious, to aim for impact and to make a difference. Here are some ambitious project ideas: create an exhibition, build a pavilion in a city square, fabricate a dynamic sculpture in a workshop, produce an interactive computer app, make a film, run an elaborate experiment, conduct a massive survey, embark on a Kickstarter campaign, run … Continue reading

Losing it

Location technologies and smartphones help you find your way. But for some of the time, some of us don’t only want to find our way — but lose it. Loss goes with forgetting, regret, and grief as in the art work Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper — a single red ceramic poppy in the … Continue reading

Do digital devices influence your mood?

I put this question to a class of students in digital media and culture. As if we were ever in any doubt, most people agree that technologies do influence the way you feel, and networked, social-media-enabled mobile and laptop devices offer more than other tech. At the very least they provide channels for mood altering entertainment. … Continue reading

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