Category Archives: technology

“I’m the boss.”

“When companies become design-led, he believes, designers are saying “get out of the way, I’m the boss.” The forceful “I’m the boss” mentality combines with design’s tendency to become what he calls a “microworld of aesthetic high-fives”: in which designers have an invisible language about what good design looks like based on a history and experience that they tend to privilege, and this understanding that designers together at the exclusion of others. Maeda thinks these two elements end up alienating other disciplines when everyone should be working together.”

John Maeda: “In reality, design is not that important” – Fast Company

This, 100%. He’s gonna get ripped for putting this on the table, but what he describes matches with my experience. And, as the article states, this doesn’t just apply to design and designers. I’ve seen it with engineering, hardware and software, too. Hubris.

Meada is “head of inclusion and computational design” at Automattic, the maker of WordPress. It seems he is taking the broadest possible view of inclusion, not just to consider traditional identity categories, but different perspectives and professional roles. It will be interesting to see if this gauntlet generates insightful discussion and change in the design community, or just pushback.

EDIT: Here it comes. And of course, it immediately goes for the “no true Scotsman” argument.

…no algorithm can replicate human creativity. In fact, creativity is antithetical to the way artificial intelligence works. We develop machine learning by feeding in data about the way people react in certain situations. The point of algorithms is to predict what most people will do and execute that expected action.

How to thwart the robots: unabashed creativity” – Fast Company

I worry that statements like these misunderstand AI, fetishize human creativity, and underestimate the drive to substitute every human labor with capital.

The Problematic, Privacy-Invading Spy Machine

So you bought a loved one an Amazon Echo. Maybe it was on sale, or maybe it was on someone’s list. But inevitably, an Echo is a bad gift. It’s also a lazy gift. But don’t worry. It’s not too late to return it and get a better gift.

The Echo is still the problematic, privacy-invading spy machine it was last year and the year before. In fact, recent reports show that Amazon is not only still mishandling Echo recordings and user data, but it’s also actually getting worse about it

Gizmodo, “The Amazon Alexa Eavesdropping Nightmare Came True”

…the radioactivity of Facebook’s data hoard…

For a company that is user data, Facebook sure has made a lot of mistakes spreading it around. By the looks of it, other tech players have been happy to let Facebook get beaten up while their practices went unexamined. And then, in this one story, the radioactivity of Facebook’s data hoard spread basically across the industry. There is a data-industrial complex, and this is what it looked like.

Alexis Madrigal, “Facebook Didn’t Sell Your Data; It Gave It Away


A skeptic’s guide to thinking about AI