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Richard Coyne

The cultural, social and spatial implications of computers and pervasive digital media spark my interest ... enjoy architecture, writing, designing, philosophy, coding and media mashups.
Richard Coyne has written 357 posts for Reflections on Technology, Media & Culture

Digital money

Digital money attempts to keep financial transactions reliable and trustworthy without the need for a bank. To achieve this it does two things that computer networks do well: distribute and encrypt. If I create a painting then it’s a one off. If I sell it then I pass on ownership of the painting to the … Continue reading

Is it ok to cite web pages in academic writing

Yes, but for facts, stats and authoritative accounts I would always turn to refereed sources: journal articles, books, and reports commissioned by publicly accountable organisations. We are more confident about something in print (i.e. on the page) if it has been through a process of review by others who claim also to know about the … Continue reading

Fake followers

Singer Katy Perry has nearly 100 million followers on Twitter according to Friend or Follow. Close behind are Justin Bieber and Barack Obama, with Donald Trump ranked 34th in line with about 31 million followers. You don’t need to be a follower to find out what people are tweeting. You can just search on their … Continue reading

Reverse analytics

Can you infer a person’s politics from their online footprint? Let’s start with something less contentious: a person’s nature preference. If you were raised in a school and home environment that encouraged you to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature pursuits, then it is highly likely that in later life you will respect the environment, … Continue reading

Outsiders

Some would-be achievers like to position themselves as outsiders. An outsider can provide a fresh point of view. An outsider is also someone with an outside chance, as opposed to a front runner. That way others expect less of them. How can someone outside the mainstream be expected to capitalise on insider benefits, or know as much as an insider? When … Continue reading

What’s wrong with accelerationism

“You can’t always get what you want” is the puzzling refrain that echoed out over the PA at the end of Trump rallies, and was repeated at his subsequent post-victory reprieve rallies. The less audible punchline of the song is, “You just might find you get what you need.” Getting what you need is more important than … Continue reading

In bad taste

France, and some other countries, use the two-round election system. If there’s no majority vote winner from among a set of candidates then there’s a second election. It’s a playoff between the top two candidates. Binary choices are often easier to deal with, and are decisive. Of less consequence than state elections, I find it easy enough to choose … Continue reading

Politics as art

Art can bring into sharp relief aspects of life and the world to which people (some of us) previously paid little attention. Art can accomplish this through an ecology of signs — pointing stuff out i.e. by making direct reference. But art also informs by presenting the opposite to what we art lovers might expect as the object of … Continue reading

Emotional targeting

Why do moods matter politically? Think first about economics. If you can predict the mood of a group of people then you might be able to predict how likely they are to buy (and sell) and how much they will pay (and sell for). So investors who speculate on the stock market have a lot to gain by accurately assessing and predicting … Continue reading

Automatic writing

Automatic translation is now mainstream. It’s simple enough to have text on a web site or in a text field translated between languages. The Google translate app on a smartphone combines (AR) “augmented reality” and translation algorithms to create a screen image that substitutes what’s in front of the camera with something like the same text in your … Continue reading