Opinion Archive

The future of work manifesto

We humans are hunter-gatherers domesticated into becoming farmers. Around 10,000 years ago, we discovered the wonders of agriculture. To make farmers out of hunters, we used social norms and sanctions. This tension of our origins is described in the fable of Cain and Abel, which ends with Cain the farmer slaying his brother, and God’s favorite, the hunter-gatherer Abel. Hunter-gatherer society wasn’t great, but it is …

Let’s have a little compassion for (some of) the trolls

It’s looking pretty grim out there in social media land. A lot of what once was conversation has devolved into warfare. The issues of our time — Trump, Brexit, identity politics, housing and homelessness, how to pronounce “GIF” — seem to divide us ever more starkly, and so we huddle within our filter bubbles, and/or lash out at those outside. It’s hard to shake the …

Google added fact checking: Facebook, it’s your move now

Google yesterday announced it will introduce a fact check tag on Google News in order to display articles that contain factual information next to trending news items. Now it’s time for Facebook to take fact-checking more seriously, too. Facebook has stepped into the role of being today’s newspaper: that is, it’s a single destination where a large selection of news articles are displayed to those who visit its …

E2E or GTFO

Oh, Yahoo. We’re not just mad at you. We’re also really, really disappointed. First it took you two years to figure out that you were hacked by a nation-state. Then you allowed another nation-state — the US government — to scan all of your user’s emails … using a buggy Linux kernel module … without ever telling your security team. Seriously, Yahoo? Seriously? Regardless of …

Not OK, Google

At its hardware launch event in San Francisco yesterday, Alphabet showed the sweeping breadth of its ambition to own consumers’ personal data, as computing continues to accelerate away from static desktops and screens, coalescing into a cloud of connected devices with the potential to generate far more data — and data of a far more intimate nature — than ever before. Along with two new ‘Google designed’ flagship Android smartphones (called Pixel), the first Androids …

Test your ethics around killer AI cars with this Moral Machine game

Should a self-driving car full of old folks crash to avoid puppies in the cross-walk? Is it ok to run over two criminals if you save one doctor? Whose lives are worth more, seven-year-olds or senior citizens? This new game called the “Moral Machine” from MIT’s researchers lets you make the calls in the famous “trolly problem” and see analytics about your ethics. Thinking about …

Op-Ed | Disrupting the Mall

BRISBANE, Australia — As you might imagine, I think about this a lot. For me the future of the mall is the same as its present and past — the future of the mall is about people. That hasn’t changed. It is the word “mall” that has reached its used-by date. It invokes quite a homogenised experience. People are seeking to discover a true sense of place and connection — more than just a …

Learned helplessness and the languages of DAO

Everything is terrible. Most software, even critical system software, is insecure Swiss cheese held together with duct tape, bubble wrap, and bobby pins. See eg this week’s darkly funny post “How to Crash Systemd in One Tweet.” But it’s not just systemd, not just Linux, not just software; the whole industry is at fault. We have taught ourselves, wrongly, that there is no alternative. Let’s …

Why Fashion Forums Still Matter

PARIS, France — There’s something about the anonymity (and notoriety) afforded by avatars, the moderators chiming in with reminders of posting rules, the threads of discussion that can go on for pages and pages with back-and-forth replies. Welcome to the somewhat subterranean world of fashion’s Internet forums. In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, they may seem like antiquated artefacts of the late 1990s or …

In Milan, Fashion on Repeat

MILAN, Italy — Do we really need fashion weeks, at least in the way they are currently conceived and broadcasted? The question kept hammering through my head at Milan Fashion Week. The event was certainly no smash hit, nor did it offer a smorgasbord of new ideas. But all the hammering hasn’t resulted in a definitive answer. I have lived in the fashion world long …