Thoughts for our US friends, from the “sneering liberal elite” (as apparently we now are) of the UK. We’re a few months ahead of you in trying to work out why our country has taken the ‘Samson’ route of pulling down the temple whilst standing inside it (there will be more on that), and we’re starting to see how the stages of bereavement from principle and reason play out. This isn’t entirely serious – it’s a play on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s long-discredited model for the stages of grief, nor is the language safe for those of a nervous disposition but, for all that, it’s been well received…
Yes, we’re screwed. And we’ve done it to ourselves. But it isn’t over yet, not by a long chalk, baguette or würst. And there are so many factors and factions in play that attempting any firm predictions would be an act of senseless and misdirected hubris. Rather like the referendum itself. But there are a couple of semi-logically consistent scenarios that could play out and a few key decisions and tipping points that would make one or the other more likely. So, without further ado… Continue reading Apocalypse Now vs Yes, Minister
For those voting for Brexit on the ‘it can’t get any worse’ principle, don’t you believe it. It can, it will and it already is: the uncertainty around the outcome is already impacting the pound, the markets and investment in the UK. An actual Brexit vote would accelerate that immeasurably. You’d like a little certainty about your future in an increasingly uncertain world. I get that. But the contradiction here is that voting us out of the institution that does most to facilitate trade and protect workers’ rights would only achieve greater uncertainty. This world is not that of your grandparents but an ever-developing tapestry of trade between nations and blocs, the dynamic of which is part of the warp and weft of society and the generation of the wealth that keeps us going. If you try to unpick the part of that fabric labelled ‘Britain‘, the whole thing starts to unravel and everyone suffers, not just the UK. There is not (and never was) a mythical Little England to retreat to and, if you try to make it so, you will discover this, in the hardest possible way. A Brexit would emphatically not be a ‘Victory for the common man’, it would be playing directly into the hands of those self-serving demagogues whose only interest is to profit from disunity, from corruption and from the demonising of the innocent.
So much of the agitation for a Leave vote in June seems to be in the fond (as in, “absurd, foolish“) belief by some that a Brexit would return us to a mythic age of independence and freedom from bureaucracy. Well, here’s some news for them: they simply don’t understand either the modern world or the very British ability to bureaucratise a good idea into something completely untenable and then blame it on someone else. Here, the EU is an appartchik’s godsend: the ability to create pointless process that does nothing but perpetuate the salaries of those involved and then be able to duck responsibility by saying, “It’s the EU’s fault“. No, in this case it isn’t and we really need to remind ourselves that there’s a tolerable correlation between those parts of the world known for overweening bureaucracy and those bits of it that used to be coloured pink. Continue reading Deflecting Blame: Britain, Bureaucracy & the EU
Long ago, I called my consulting company Two Worlds, because so much of my work was, and remains, about reconciling different views and attitudes: technology and business, art and science or physical and virtual worlds. Here though is an instance where two worlds of my own converge head-on: my organisational background and my voluntary work in advanced motorcycle instructing. It’s a rather sad tale but one which parallels and echoes what we so often see in the commercial world.
AI (that’s Artificial Intelligence – I have to be clear here as I live in a farming community and conversations have been known to take a strange turn) is a flavour of the moment and is riding high on the arm-waving curve of the hype cycle. We’ve been here before though – as a notion, AI has been through more loops of the hype cycle than most technologies, with successive waves of mutually reinforcing innovation and fiction conspiring to promise more than contemporary understanding could deliver.
The Greek ‘deal’ is nothing of the sort. It is instead a self-defeating mockery of both the principles and grand vision that founded the EU. As such, it is no more than vindictive and short-sighted retribution for perceived (and, to be fair, actual) past misdemeanours of the Greek government and people. Just how can driving an already broke nation further into indenture, debt and recession do anything other than feed a cycle of recession driving greater debt and, in turn, ever-deeper recession?
I’ve just installed a doorbell. “Well, whoop-de-do” I hear you mutter. But bear with me – there’s a sort of a point to this.
It’s a Thing – a Skybell – and it’s connected to the Internet, ostensibly to potentially do useful stuff. Does that though automatically make it part of the buzz of the twenty-teens, the Internet of Things?
Having had a good whinge about the issues with our interaction with content and the services that deliver it, I’ll now try turning the argument around to ask, “What else could our media experiences be like?“. Continue reading Failing the Future Part II: The What of the Why
I’ve just had a bit of a customer experience, and one which I suspect is desperately familiar, despite our world (if you’d believe the proclamations of manufactures and service providers) being one of instant gratification, of always-on content and of seamless service and device integration. Continue reading Failing the Future Part I: The Incoherence of Experience