An all-compassing phrase that I’ve heard being used by Chinese friends Hēi kējì in Pinyin or black technology. It’s been around for a couple of years but recently gained more currency among people that I know.
It is used as a catchall for disruptive / cool innovative products. What constitutes ‘black technology’ is subjective in nature but generally Chinese would agree on some examples such as:
- Magic Leap
- Microsoft Holo Lens
- Bleeding edge silicon chips with an extraordinary amount of memory or machine learning functionality built in
- Tesla self-driving cars
The key aspect is that the product as ‘magical quality’ in the eyes of the user. Technology companies have tried to use it in marketing to describe the latest smartphone and app features like NFC, gesture sensitive cameras and video filters. Your average Chinese consumer would see this as cynical marketing hype. Xiaomi had been guilty of this over the past couple of years.
As technology develops, the bar for what represents black technology will be raised higher.
According to Baidu Baike (a Quora-like Q&A service / Wikipedia analogue) it is derived from the Japanese manga Full Metal Panic! (フルメタル·パニック! |Furumetaru Panikku!).
In the manga black technology is technology far more advanced than the real world. An example of this would be ‘Electronic Conceal System’ – active optical camouflage used on military helicopters and planes in the manga. It is created by the ‘Whispered’ – people who are extremely gifted polymaths who each specialise in a particular black technology.
In the manga they are frequently abducted and have their abilities tested by ‘bad organisations’ who support terrorism. Whispered also have a telepathic ability to communicate with each other. If they stay connected for too long there can be a risk of their personalities coalescing together.
黑科技 （动漫中出现的词语）- Baidu Baike
Full Metal Panic – Amazon
Discounting Snapchat | L2 – really nice analysis of SnapChat
Apple has finally found someone to support HomeKit • The Register – I can understand why there is a wider leeriness around Internet of Things due to the privacy implications, built in obsolescence and dependence on the cloud
With its Special Projects Desk, Univision is keeping Gawker’s spirit alive at Gizmodo Media Group » Nieman Journalism Lab
Kantar Worldpanel’s most chosen brands in the UK 2017 – Kantar UK Insights – Kantar – what’s really a British brand? Modern supply chains pull things back and forth across Europe
Privacy threats through ultrasonic side channels on mobile devices by Arp, Quiring, Wressnegger & Rieck – great article on the privacy implications of ultrasonic beacons and mobile devices (PDF)
Huawei missed memo that PC’s dead – so here are three new notebooks • The Register – interesting move for a company whose chairman said that they have to increase margins, model specs also interesting – looks like an attempt to try and surround Apple – it is more important 5 iterations from now
Hitachi exits mainframe hardware but will collab with IBM on z Systems • The Register – end of an era, I wonder what this will mean for Hitachi Data System’s storage business over time?
“I think the future of television is more fragmentation, the bundle has no more elasticity in it.” – Barry Diller.
This explains everything from ManUnited TV to the new channels that Amazon has launched as Prime add-ons in the UK and Germany yesterday. Media has been driving an increasing share of household spend over the past 15 years.
In a time of stagnating economic growth and declining incomes (in real terms) that middle won’t hold. Much of it becomes discretionary spending.
Chinese companies are working hard to overcome the copycat stigma | Quartz – actually this isn’t an overnight thing but has been going on for the best part of ten years
Magellan’s Hamish Douglass says Uber is a ‘Ponzi scheme’ | Sydney Morning Herald – I can see the point that Mr Douglass is making. More rose tinted observations might point to the similarity with Amazon; however even Amazon is relying on constant investment of profits from mature units in international and service expansion – Uber seems to be nowhere near breakeven
In2Summit: Q&A with Colin Byrne on the Digital Revolution | The Holmes Report – five years ago would you have seen major PR agencies in London talking about WeChat as the way forward?
Apple is testing 5G millimeter wave wireless technology: FCC filing – Business Insider – I get why they are experimenting with it, but at the moment commercial 5G looks problematic
Apple Begs Android Users to Switch to iPhone | Makeuseof – beg is the wrong word, but this looks like the start of an effort to promote platform switching which is another indicator of smartphone market maturity and saturation
WSJ City – The Rise of the Amateur Oil Sleuths – interesting move to improve information
How He Used Facebook to Win | by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books – Facebook did turn out to be essential to Trump’s victory, but not in the way Grassegger, Krogerus, and Schwartz suggest. Though there is little doubt that Cambridge Analytica exploited members of the social network, Facebook’s real influence came from the campaign’s strategic and perfectly legal use of Facebook’s suite of marketing tools
Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff – The Washington Post – which is one more thing to be concerned about.
Inside Facebook’s Telecom Infrastructure Project – Business Insider – really interesting move that could hit the likes of Huawei and Cisco
Partnering Your Way Out Of The Gravitational Pull | Media Post – Richard Schwartz op-ed
Communities Dominate Brands: We Can Now Estimate Global Android Forked Installed Base ie AOSP Devices vs ‘full Google’ Android
More advice from a postcard set by Mullen Lowe. Spare some money to experiment with.
It’s great advice, but really hard to live by as a client. You put this into a budget, but it often gets clipped by management over time. Or your experiment will fall foul of zero-based budgeting.
Things that made my day this week:
The spectacular world of Irish Traveller graves captured in photographs on Instagram
Yahoo!’s TechPulse event released these interview vignettes with Jerry Yang and David Filo. It also marks the end of an era in Silicon Valley history.
The Manhattan printed telephone directory was updated on a daily basis in the 1940s
Rolex put together this video to highlight their silicon spring (that won’t be affected by magnetism).
According to Nikkei TechOn Sony looks as if it will be releasing the Xperia Touch. It marries a short throw projector image with Kinect like touch sensing, turning any flat surface into a user interaction.
It’s clever, but it won’t be cheap, mainly due to the short throw projector sales it could cannibalise.
The display advertising market has moved on from where it was 20 years ago in terms of poor ad placement. Conference speakers and trainers still trot out the same story about knives and suitcase sets advertised next to to the story of a murder. The murderer had apparently stabbed their victim with a knife and put the body in a suitcase for disposal.
However you still get less extreme examples of unfortunate ad placement like this one from Under Armour.
China Hit Hard by Hacking Attack as Asia Assesses Damage | New York Times – not terribly surprised by this
Are Brand Blogs Worth the Effort? | The Daily | L2 – I am surprised at the findings especially in terms of best practices not being adhered to
The Threat | Edge.org – interesting perspective on computer security research over time
I work in an agency whose mandate is digital transformation and innovation, but it’s important to bear in mind the context
Focusing on the human truth, focuses on the use case and receptivity of the product.
EU could legislate to make it easier to move data between cloud providers – this makes things interesting
Microsoft Is Surprisingly Comfy With Its New Place In A Mobile, Apple, And Android World | Fast Company – interesting move
We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #351 – We Are Social UK – interesting ARPU numbers for Facebook
Mac Pro: Failure and Future – Monday Note – interesting breakdown of Microsoft Surface numbers
50 Years Of Colin Curtis – The UK’s Mancuso? – great piece by Greg Wilson
The Dangerous Mission To Undermine North Korea With Flash Drives | Fast Company – interesting, if optimistic article
Liberty Global Sees European Operating Income Down 18% in Q1 | Variety – yet another reason why Vodafone was right not to do a deal with them
How Deadheads Sped Ahead – WSJ – really interesting read by Andy Kessler that hits on a number of factors. How their show on May 8, 1977 at Cornell University was their best concert. How the Grateful Dead developed a new music model and the sharing economy, when bootlegging is still frowned upon by the rest of the industry. How countercultural Dead heads became the establishment (Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Steve Bannon). (paywall)
How To Catch Lightning In A Bottle – Wieden+Kennedy – Medium – I think part of the battle here is performance versus brand advertising
NTT Docomo Develops Flying Spherical Display Using Drone – Nikkei Technology Online – proper Blade Runner type feel to this technology – love it
How A Small Group Of Pro-Corbyn Websites Built Enormous Audiences On Facebook – alt left UK media – what’s to stop them having the effect of the US alt right? Interesting read
★ Apple’s China Problem: WeChat | Daring Fireball – ‘no easy fix’
Digital Advertising Takes a Hit – MIT Technology Review – a good read
Analyst Predicts Dish, T-Mobile & Amazon Super Union | DSLReports, ISP Information – not sure why?
Oculus Story Studio: Facebook Is Closing Its VR Storytelling Unit | Variety – its hard but not in the technical way that Facebook is used to dealing with
How Cloudflare Helps Serve Up Hate on the Web – ProPublica – complaints filed against the site go to Cloudflare, and Cloudflare then sends me an email telling me someone said I was doing something bad and that it is my responsibility to figure out if I am doing that. – Is it just me finding anonymous complaints would also be worrying?