The revolution will not be tweeted
Apr28

The revolution will not be tweeted

Originally published on spiked The latest protests in Syria, like those seen previously in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, have provided ammunition for those who believe that the internet is a spark for major political events. Many commentators, most notably in the West, continue to claim that these protests are a product of the ease with which online social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook allowed...

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‘Nudging’: the very antithesis of choice
Dec29

‘Nudging’: the very antithesis of choice

Originally published on Spiked. However, the results of an investigation by the National Health Service’s Organ Donation Taskforce released in November found that while people do support donation, there is little evidence to suggest that a presumed consent system would result in more available organs (1). Instead, the taskforce concluded that what matters most is a well-established support network of donor specialists and consultants...

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Changing the meaning of ‘change’

UK prime minister Gordon Brown’s bedtime reading this year has included a book called We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production, by Charles Leadbeater – a man familiar to many in British government and policy circles, since he previously worked in Tony Blair’s 10 Downing Street policy unit (1). He is also the author of numerous books, including Living on Thin Air. Leadbeater is not just a dry ‘knowledge economy’ theorist,...

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Touchy-feely toasters

Designers and scientists are eager to place emotions at the centre of products and computing. International conferences organise around incorporating emotion into all aspects of design (1). Academics are devoted to researching ‘funology’ – ‘a body of knowledge about fun’: building enjoyment into our lives through design (2). Scientists are developing systems that can respond to your emotional state, sensing when you are agitated...

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Leonardo made limited

In his new book Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, design guru Ben Shneiderman calls upon us to consider Leonardo da Vinci’s achievements in combining mastery of art with scientific exploration. Leonardo da Vinci is Shneiderman’s muse for thinking about how to innovate with technology and humanity in mind. Shneiderman, who has been leading the cause of ‘human-centred’ design for over...

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Excuse-ability

The internet services industry often worries about how to keep customers loyal. Websites might be fun to use, but do they succeed? Will the customer make the right choices, and come back again and again? It is a problem that’s made worse by the fact that everybody focuses on the customer, and little else, for answers – as captured by Brian Hadfield, UK managing director of IT company Unisys (1): ‘The customer is not...

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