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Jargon watch: black technology (黑科技)

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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.

Microsoft Hololens 💥

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.

More information
黑科技 (动漫中出现的词语)- Baidu Baike
Full Metal Panic – Amazon

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中国 | china | 중국 传播媒体 | media | 미디어 初 | hygiene | 기본 한국 | korea | 韩国

Links of the day | 在网上找到

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Why young South Koreans are turning away from religion | Arts & Culture | Al Jazeera – a certain amount of this turning away is geography. Korea had a mix of buddhism and Shamanism historically. Buddhist monasteries and temples were often in the mountains close to nature. Shamanism depended on closeness with nature – so again being out in the middle of nowhere. You throw in the move to cities, the break down of familial connections through distance and time poverty. More on Korean related topics here.

Is 2017 the beginning of the end for the app economy? TheNextWeb – not exactly the beginning of the end. More like a new normal – one thing that’s missing is the importance of building inside existing app eco-systems such as WeChat, Facebook Messenger etc. Whilst WeChat have made headway with mini-apps it will be interesting to see if Facebook can duplicate their success.

Why the Chinese Will Pay for Content That Americans Won’t – Bloomberg – De Dao and other paid media. Part of the reason is that the quality of much free media is lacklustre due to pleasing the state ranking above delighting the audience.

Does Slack allow your boss to spy on you? — Quartz – yes, but only with output rather than outcome-focused measures on productivity. It will reinforce the practices of poor managers rather than help make good managers

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Links of the day | 在网上找到

Reading Time: < 1 minute

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?