Alan Kay on AI + more

11 minutes estimated reading time

Alan Kay

Computing pioneer Alan Kay on AI, Apple and future – FactorDaily – interesting take on current approaches to AI by computer pioneer Alan Kay. I first came across Alan Kay in Bob Cringely’s book Accidental Empires. The fact that you can read this page in a browser window is partly down to Alan Kay. Alan Kay had worked at the titans driving forwards computing. He studied at the University of Utah when it was doing pioneering work on computer graphics. He went into commercial research at Xerox PARC, which basically provided a polished roadmap for computing as we know it following Doug Engelbart’s ‘mother of all demos’ while at SRI. Alan Kay came up with the concept of the Dynabook which foreshadowed the iPad and iPhone by a few decades. While Alan Kay may have slowed down his contributions, he hasn’t slowed down his critiques. Alan Kay had is last role running the Viewpoints Research Institute which explored new ideas in computing and personal computing

Consumer behaviour

Headphones Everywhere – The New Yorker – interesting insights into behaviour and world perception

Why small Northern towns voted to leave. There is so much in this. Their perception that things are better in London. When you look at similar people in London there is still poverty. One of the key differences is that talent has left these area. This was the second shoe dropping from the 1985 miner’s strike and similar industrial action. Ironically de-industrialisation has been blamed implicitly on the European Union, when it was a very British decision based on the Chicago School style economics and anti-union action when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.

What happens when people like these realise things are going to get worse, not better for them? And being a small country between big economic blocs is going to decimate even the little jobs that they have left, their benefits and their health system?


Breaking up with London’s most-loved party | Dazed – I fell out of love with the internet the moment Tumblr appeared. Too accessible, too many filters… the same three pictures of Kate Moss and the Britney Spears circulating… I did, however, make a private Facebook group and an event. I love the idea of how limited Facebook is, visually. The way we used the group/event page was still very DIY. It became a resource, a way to practically get the party moving, from people getting in touch to help, to DJ’s finding out if people had spare headphones

John Ciena on patriotism. WWE stars do a lot of work making personal appearances around the world on USO (United Services Organizations) tours. But this is different in that it presents a multi-dimensional, progressive view of patriotism. One that’s probably at odds with at least some of the stereotypes people might have of WWE fans.


Economic Anxiety Really Is (Part of) the Reason White Men Are So Pissed Off | Mother Jones – I would expect similar patterns driving this in the UK as well. More on economics related issues here

225m reasons for China’s leaders to worry | The Economist – before the late 1990s China barely had a middle class. In 2000, 5m households made between $11,500 and $43,000 a year in current dollars; today 225m do


The chip card transition in the US has been a disaster | Quartz – with the model of the EU and many APAC countries there for them already, how could they make such a mess of it? This is beyond me


Big Food is disclosing the nitty gritty details of our food—in a place where no one looks | Quartz – this could drive increasing US use of QRcodes over time


Razer made a mechanical keyboard for the iPad Pro | The Verge – regardless of whether you game or not, having a decent keyboard for the iPad is a good thing. Not sure the iPad/tablet format is a laptop killer though


Fail-Safe Nuclear Power | MIT Technology Review – interesting read. China is betting big on fast breeder reactors, sodium-cooled reactors and fast breeder reactors. Technology that the west was ahead on and then walked away from for various political rather than technical reasons. The ironic thing is that we’re instead left with reactors that owe more to military needs than energy needs due to Admiral Hyman Rickover’s support of the pressurised water reactor in commercial usage. However, if you wanted a lot of plutonium for nuclear warheads fast breeder reactors are also a good option for a country like China with strong military – civilian business linkages

China Manufacturing Contracts, Part 2: ODM Arrangements | China Law Blog – interesting legal implications on China climbing up the value stack and crowdfunding

Where machines could replace humans–and where they can’t (yet) | McKinsey – Interesting article and good use of Tableau by McKinsey for publicly facing content


Statement: the status of EU nationals in the UK – News stories – GOV.UK  – When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected. – interesting that this contradicts the keeping their options open stance of some senior government officials. Would Irish status continue to be the same?

Brexit forces Ireland to make new friends fast — – interesting article because of nuances it implies about UK Brexit negotiations


ジャパンアーカイブズ – Japan Archives 日本の近現代史150年をビジュアルで振り返る – OMG I love it

NHK World to cover Sumo in English! | Japanator – dialling up Japanese soft power


Interactive Site Brings Hennessy’s Mastery To Life | Marketing Daily – Droga 5 look at the consistency and quality of Hennessy’s VSOP through an interactive site. Which a very high creative bar to get across. What surprised me more is that this was the first US ad campaign for Hennessy’s VSOP in a decade. More on luxury here.


Mercedes-Benz uses influencers to reach millennials | Digiday – every brand is starting to look like Red Bull’s Mediahouse

LG’s Ken Hong: ‘It’s Very Hard To Unseat WPP’ | Holmes Report – “There are very few companies in the world that have products as diverse as LG, so we’re finding it more challenging every time procurement calls for a review to find agencies that can handle this wide scope. Simply because there are so many players in this space and so many conflicts.” 

Hong noted that seven contenders were invited to pitch for the business this year but declined to confirm how many actually took part. The Holmes Report understands that at least two major groups — Omnicom and Interpublic — declined the opportunity, after previous attempts to win the business proved fruitless. 

“We invited most of the major holding companies, but I’ve seen a lot of these companies running into conflict accounts very early on,” said Hong. “We are maybe going to have rethink our strategy going forward if we’re going to keep asking agencies to come in.” – interesting article. Reading this if I were WPP I would look to gradually raise my prices as the client has basically admitted that they are in a monopoly position and both Omicom and Interpublic won’t even bother pitching for the business. Publicis and Havas aren’t likely to be in the running. More on marketing conglomerates here  including how to unseat WPP.

Converse Gives Away 38,000 Samples for FREE feat. RJD2, HudMo, Com Truise and more – Converse had been working hard on its lifestyle brand positioning. It was fortunate that it’s affordability had already aligned it with popular culture and this sample library is a great way of reinforcing the linkage by being useful

Toyota builds an actual Initial D concept car, plus awesome manga artwork for it 【Photos】 – the most amazing aspect of this for me, was that this project was commissioned by Toyota GB, not their Japanese domestic market (JDM) counterparts!

The Ad Contrarian | Revenge of the Philistines – There is no one who has ever made more money from the advertising business than Martin Sorrell. There is no one who has ever had more influence on the advertising business than Martin Sorrell. And there is no one who has ever done more damage to the advertising business than Martin Sorrell. – probably disruption rather than damage, but you get the idea


Video: Dame Kelly Holmes on the GSK Human Performance Lab – Telegraph – interesting native advertising content

Breitbart takes its pro-Trump evangelism to the Bernie Bros. – The Washington Post – The polls suggest the pitch may not play well with most Sanders voters. But among the hardest core holdouts, there’s a chance Breitbart’s outreach could work. Many Sanders supporters resent the mainstream media, which they see as neglecting to take them seriously or address their concerns adequately. When they find a news outlet that treats them differently, they latch onto it tightly.

Accountability Journalism: A Cost-Benefit Analysis – Nieman Reports – interesting, but I wonder what the ROI was to The Washington Post which is probably a more pertinent consideration for media companies at the moment

Joshua Topolsky, Former Verge Editor, Raises Funding for Digital Media Venture – WSJ – funding round was led by the New York-based RRE Ventures, which has invested in the likes of BuzzFeed, Business Insider and the Skimm. Other investors include Advancit Capital, Boat Rocker Ventures and Nextview Ventures. (paywall) More media related content here.

VIRALS – The Woolshed Company – punk’d viewers of viral content

How technology disrupted the truth | Katharine Viner | Media | The Guardian – “It was taking an American-style media approach,” said Banks. “What they said early on was ‘Facts don’t work’, and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.”

Modanisa | Facebook for Business – interesting international lookalike targeting

Google Announces New Shopping, Travel Search Features | Digital – AdAge – interesting move into visual ads in SERPs

Is This The End Of Freemium Music On Spotify? [Mark Mulligan] – hypebot – interesting analysis on the freemium offering


Posting photos or GIFs on Twitter | Twitter Help Center – 15GB GIFs WTF

Uber to Merge China Business With Didi to Create $35 Billion Company – Bloomberg – the best outcome that Uber could have hoped for in China

A messaging app will overtake Facebook by end of 2017 | Techinasia – interesting speculation by Simon Kemp, I think he’s right. The pendulum is swinging back towards privacy so this makes a perfectly sensible prediction. The only challenge is the huge footprint that Facebook has makes it a tall order to achieve

Baidu Announces Second Quarter 2016 Results | PRNewswire – finances tanked due to Chinese government issues


Amazon’s Chinese counterfeit problem is getting worse | CNBC – not just an Alibaba problem


‘Webcam hackers caught me wanking, demanded $10k ransom’ – ABC – great headline, serious article

AP: Islamic State’s Twitter traffic drops amid US efforts | AP – interesting story on the US state department efforts to counter ISIS on Twitter

Dennis Cooper fears censorship as Google erases blog without warning | Books | The Guardian – His advice to other artists who work predominantly online is to maintain your own domain and back everything up.

The ISHU – interesting use of ‘anti’ flash photography technology in fabrics


Tech workers think Silicon Valley and startups are losing their luster | Quartz – not terribly surprised by this

Web of no web

Uber to pour $500m into global mapping project – – interesting that they don’t want to use HERE, TomTom or Google. $500m isn’t enough to support detailed 3D mapping for Uber’s autonomous car project

More than a year after its release, and still no one wants to buy an Apple Watch | Quartz – I suspect that this is a wearables category issue and the problem is compelling use case


Uhans A101 – a nostalgic Nokia phones tribute in the making ? – – and I was just saying the other day I could do with a good robust voice orientated mobile phone to go alongside my iPhone

[Update: Huawei removes photo, responds] Huawei publishes implied P9 camera sample, but EXIF data reveals $4500 camera took it – absolute corker

Beijing Extends 4G Coverage Through All Subway Lines | ChinaTechNews – and London struggles with decent wi-fi in stations

5G manifesto | European Union – Having read the 3,000-word document, its apparent that they don’t have a clue what the killer app for 5G will be (PDF)