Peter Gasston

Technologist, developer, author.

148 Followers | 13 Following

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Peter Gasston

56 days ago

But it is just as ridiculous to look away from the progress that has been made. The consequent loss of hope can be devastating. When people wrongly believe that nothing is improving, they may lose confidence in measures that actually work.

Good news at last: the world isn’t as horrific as you think

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

56 days ago

How Facebook exacerbates conflict in countries with weak government.

“The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind, you know?”

Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match

nytimes.com

Peter Gasston

90 days ago

National Geographic reflects on its racist, colonialist past.

you acknowledge the strengths National Geographic had even in this period, to take people out into the world to see things we’ve never seen before. It’s possible to say that a magazine can open people’s eyes at the same time it closes them.

For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It

nationalgeographic.com

Peter Gasston

110 days ago

I don’t know what happened to the Future. It’s as if we lost our ability, or our will, to envision anything beyond the next hundred years or so, as if we lacked the fundamental faith that there will in fact be any future at all beyond that not-too-distant date. Or maybe we stopped talking about the Future around the time that, with its microchips and its twenty-four-hour news cycles, it arrived.

The Future Will Have to Wait

blog.longnow.org

Peter Gasston

115 days ago

This is one of my problems with the Time Well Spent movement: what if their experience isn't everyone's experience?

the digital ecosystem generally, and some social media platforms, host both public and intimate economies of care and work that make getting off near impossible. Migrants maintain family relationships across distance; entrepreneurs set up and manage businesses; millions are employed by digital apps and platforms; activists amplify their causes; marginalized people find community. Not spending time on these platforms is not a choice for many people.

The Center Does Not Want Your Attention II. On Time Well Spent and Ethics.

thesocietypages.org

Peter Gasston

234 days ago

“We’re very far from having machines that can learn the most basic things about the world in the way humans and animals can do. Like, yes, in particular areas machines have superhuman performance, but in terms of general intelligence we’re not even close to a rat. This makes a lot of questions people are asking themselves premature.”

Facebook’s head of AI wants us to stop using the Terminator to talk about AI

theverge.com

Peter Gasston

246 days ago

Very interesting piece but misses one fundamental point: for the first time in history, *everyone* has a camera. Of course a change like that is going to alter how we experience the world; we are a visual people now.

Selfie Factories: The Rise of the Made-for-Instagram Museum

wired.com

Peter Gasston

325 days ago

Creating the honest man

international.sueddeutsche.de

Peter Gasston

325 days ago

Is the world really better than ever?

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

399 days ago

as the devices that are central to our work, leisure, and personal relationships recede further and further from a layperson’s understanding, occult metaphors become a useful way of naming the inscrutable new powers at work in our lives. The terms of magic, possession, and haunting express both awe and fear of the cloaked nature of technology that seems on the point of being able to operate without us.

Spooky Action — Real Life

reallifemag.com

Peter Gasston

424 days ago

The results? On fully eight of the nine measures, “polarization increases more for the old than the young.” If Facebook is the problem, then how come the problem is worst among those who don’t use Facebook?

Something is breaking American politics, but it's not social media

vox.com

Peter Gasston

432 days ago

Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach. This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand.

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

technologyreview.com

Peter Gasston

432 days ago

Because the second AI is working so hard to identify images as fake, the first learns to mimic the real in ways it couldn’t on its own. In the process, these two neural networks can push AI toward a day when computers declare independence from their human teachers.

Google's Dueling Neural Networks Spar to Get Smarter, No Humans Required

wired.com

Peter Gasston

432 days ago

If one recalls the Eric Raymond line that a computer should never ask you something that it should be able to work out, then a computer that can see everything you see and know what you're looking at, and that has the next decade of development of machine learning to build on, ought to remove whole layers of questions that today we assume we have to deal with manually.

The first decade of augmented reality

ben-evans.com

Peter Gasston

435 days ago

In order to advance technologically, we apparently need the public and decision makers to repeatedly fall for the promises of honey-tongued promoters, to enter analogues of the Steve Jobs "reality distortion field." An effective fake news detecting method could easily destroy the illusions that progress is based on.

The glorious promise of the post-truth world

ubiquity.acm.org

Peter Gasston

435 days ago

We need to go beyond basic skills to raise the first generation of native digital understanders – people who, unlike most of the rest of us, know where and how their technology is made. Imagine a Britain where tech no longer scares or dazzles us, where it is as useful but unremarkable as a wristwatch.

Technology is a marvel – now let’s make it moral

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

435 days ago

When Booming Ben, the last heath hen, died on Martha’s Vineyard, they said he’d spent his last days crying out for a female that never came to him. The Vineyard Gazette dedicated an entire issue to his memory: “There is no survivor, there is no future, there is no life to be recreated in this form again. We are looking upon the uttermost finality which can be written, glimpsing the darkness which will not know another ray of light.”

The Sense of an Endling

longreads.com

Peter Gasston

439 days ago

An opinionated interface equips users to express complex concepts like self, story, or environment by prescribing a method of capture without restricting the result, like a blank canvas with a set of specific brushes.

No Such Thing as Offline

design.google.com

Peter Gasston

439 days ago

Includes quotes from me, but I swear that’s not why I’m sharing it.

The web looks like shit

theoutline.com

Peter Gasston

456 days ago

"The growing importance of cameras — of images rather than just text — is altering much about culture. It’s transforming many people’s personal relationships. It’s changing the kind of art and entertainment we produce. You might even credit cameras — or blame them — for our more emotional, and less rational, politics."

Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera

nytimes.com

Peter Gasston

456 days ago

Stickers are not a devolution of language. They aren’t even an evolution. They’re a cultural memory of the way things used to be, made possible by recent advances in technology.

The Sticky Truth about Modern Written Language

digitalculturist.com

Peter Gasston

459 days ago

If the robots take over the world, it won't be by knocking the door down. At the moment, I think it's certainly as big a risk that we have a GMO moment, and there's a powerful reaction against the technology which prevents us from reaping the benefits, which are enormous. I think that's as big a risk as the risks from the technologies themselves.

AI: what's the worst that could happen?

thelongandshort.org

Peter Gasston

460 days ago

"For a time, she will be gone without our knowing it. The information will travel like the compressional wave ahead of an earthquake, detectable only by special equipment."

'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

460 days ago

This implicit belief in some sort of base progress for humankind has been massively eroded by a combination of fear, unchecked growth in inequality, and a general yearning for the better days of yore—better days that never existed for many of us. I often think of a Pew study from 2014 that highlighted just how pessimistic America's older generations are about the financial prospects of their kids and youth as a whole. This sentiment has helped fuel the protective populism that put President Trump in the White House.

What Do We Want the Future to Be?

motherboard.vice.com

Peter Gasston

462 days ago

I feel the writing is on the wall for digital display advertising, our main revenue stream for supporting online news. I see more and more small businesses taking money they would once have spent with local news outlets, and spending it on digital ads — not on local websites, but on promoted Facebook posts and Google keyword advertising.

A letter from the editor: The Watershed Post slows down

watershedpost.com

Peter Gasston

467 days ago

If reason is designed to generate sound judgments, then it’s hard to conceive of a more serious design flaw than confirmation bias. Imagine, Mercier and Sperber suggest, a mouse that thinks the way we do. Such a mouse, “bent on confirming its belief that there are no cats around,” would soon be dinner. To the extent that confirmation bias leads people to dismiss evidence of new or underappreciated threats—the human equivalent of the cat around the corner—it’s a trait that should have been selected against.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

newyorker.com

Peter Gasston

467 days ago

Old-school Twitter could be a bubble of sorts, too, depending on who you followed. But the chronological timeline at least gave equal weight to every tweet, regardless of whether it was likely to please or upset you.

The ranked timeline, even in its modest present form, has changed that. You’re now far more likely to see certain types of tweets than others when you log in. The question is: What types of tweets are you seeing more of?

Twitter’s New Order

slate.com

Peter Gasston

469 days ago

As the mobile market has matured and become more commoditised, web technologies have also matured. The opportunity is still there, in fact the timing may now be better than ever. Although I understand the reasons the project was stopped, I feel Firefox OS was ended prematurely, before it had the chance to reach its full potential. What it needed was a reboot and some ruthless and clear direction, which unfortunately it didn’t get.

The Story of Firefox OS

medium.com

Peter Gasston

480 days ago

Global elites — those with high income and educational levels, who live in capital cities — are considerably more enthusiastic about innovation than the general population, the FT/Qualcomm Essential Future survey found. This gap, unless addressed, will continue to cause political friction.

Frankenstein fears hang over AI

ft.com

Peter Gasston

482 days ago

Of course it is one thing to point out the problems with Facebook’s dominance, but it’s quite another to come up with a strategy for dealing with it; too many of the solutions — including demands that Zuckerberg use Facebook for political ends — are less concerned with the abuse of power and more with securing said power for the “right” causes.

Manifestos and Monopolies

stratechery.com

Peter Gasston

484 days ago

The alt-right does not exist. It's nothing more than white supremacists who have repackaged the hate and served it up in a more palatable form for human consumption.

Ex-Neo Nazis Explain What's Driving the Alt-Right

vice.com

Peter Gasston

484 days ago

Snowflakes are to be mocked because they take things personally; their feelings are hurt. The outrage of populist correctness, however, is framed more as righteous indignation. It is not you who is offended. You are offended on behalf of the people. On behalf of your country. Your outrage is morally superior.

Populist correctness: the new PC culture of Trump's America and Brexit Britain

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

488 days ago

I said, “Do you mind me asking if you’ve had bad experiences with people cheating on you?”

“I have so far abstained from sex,” he said. “I have never had a girlfriend.”

“You’re saving yourself for the sexbots?”

He nodded slowly, shrewdly raising his eyebrows. You bet he was saving himself for the sexbots.

600 Miles in a Coffin-Shaped Bus, Campaigning Against Death Itself

nytimes.com

Peter Gasston

488 days ago

VR is an embodied medium: creators are taking that detached eye and reattaching it to someone’s face. VR reminds us of the nuances of experiences, what connects people with each other, with places, with things in the real world. And that to me is the key to really understanding what kind of storytelling could even exist in a VR space.

Imagining the Future of VR at Google

technologyreview.com

Peter Gasston

488 days ago

New technology does scare us now, just as it always has, but few films have articulated why. Video conferencing apps like Skype have provided a fresh twist on the mirror-scare cliché, but the true terror of modern technology is the isolation and stress of constant connection, which isn’t as easy to put in cinematic terms.

Ghost in the system: has technology ruined horror films?

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

491 days ago

The next time I'd meet Luckey he'd be many, many millions of dollars richer, and Oculus would be a Facebook-owned company. But despite that very real marker of success, our topic of conversation each time we met remained the same: How are you going to convince people it's worth it? And isn't it going to be way too expensive?

Has Facebook slipped up with VR?

bbc.co.uk

Peter Gasston

491 days ago

We ultimately believe the pixels are the source of truth and being able to understand the truth at scale, unlocks new product experiences and business workflows.

Images as the universal inputs

medium.com

Peter Gasston

494 days ago

what is the future of typography? And what does the web have in store for us? It’s easy to think of the latest trends in virtual and augmented reality, or drone typography, or to discuss how flat design might conquer the world. What I’m really interested in though are the technologies and ideas that are likely to stick around for the long term.

The Futures of Typography

robinrendle.com

Peter Gasston

495 days ago

There was a hard, if old lesson in the fate of the web, namely, that to preserve anything public spirited takes more than good vibes – it requires some really hard-line institutional structure to maintain spaces that bring out the best in us.

Tim Wu: ‘The internet is like the classic story of the party that went sour’

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

495 days ago

This is why standards nerds argue so passionately. They’ve seen how long it takes to steer technology away from its roots, no matter what zippy startup culture can get away with on the surface. Choices we agree on now are going to stick around, and get baked into the foundational brick of our biggest, most critical systems. Be careful what you toss in there! Be careful what you assume!

STANDARDS PERSIST

trackchanges.postlight.com

Peter Gasston

497 days ago

according to a study by Ball State University, nearly nine in 10 jobs that disappeared since 2000 were lost to automation in the decades-long march to an information-driven economy, not to workers in other countries.

Even if those jobs returned, a high school diploma is simply no longer good enough to fill them. Yet rarely discussed in the political debate over lost jobs are the academic skills needed for today’s factory-floor positions, and the pathways through education that lead to them.

Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required

nytimes.com

Peter Gasston

497 days ago

It’s not unusual to try to cram the previous generation’s content into the latest technological medium. It’s happened over and over throughout time, whether you’re talking about bringing the newspaper to radio, radio to cinema, or cinema to television. The shift from the web and apps to messaging or voice will follow a similar pattern until people start to experiment with, take risks on, and ultimately develop experiences that are inherent to and optimized for the messaging and voice contexts.

Chatbots: an interview with Chris Messina, inventor of the hashtag

uxdesign.cc

Peter Gasston

498 days ago

the success of Amazon’s Echo and the onslaught of connected devices has reinvigorated gadget manufacturers to give alternative interactions another go. The question is whether these companies can uncover something people like enough to change their behavior and keep the technology alive.

What’s the future of interaction?

theverge.com

Peter Gasston

501 days ago

A new medium requires new technology and new design. Each time we encounter a new medium, we do what humans do, we retrofit our assumptions and needs from prior experiences. Bots are frontier technology — starting to deliver on a promise that computing has been making for decades — that we will be able to speak to computers, in our language, be it text or spoken word.

Listening to bots

render.betaworks.com

Peter Gasston

501 days ago

The problem with new technologies is that we’re really, really bad at predicting their futures. Our immediate frame of reference is so small, and our experience of time so fleeting, that any attempt to imagine how technologies will develop is bound to fail. We suffer from what Carolyn Marvin, in her book When Old Technologies Were New, calls “cognitive imperialism.” We can only imagine futures which are broad extensions of our own contexts and needs.

The Schedule and the Stream

howwegettonext.com

Peter Gasston

502 days ago

“I learned a lesson from watching other companies who held onto things too long. If you look at the history of companies that have succeeded and the ones that have failed, there’s a pretty clear pattern that the ones that have succeeded typically morph every couple of years into something new. And that change is fairly uncomfortable.”

Inside Instagram’s reinvention

recode.net

Peter Gasston

503 days ago

The Bad Product Fallacy
Your personal use cases and opinion are a shitty predictor of a product’s future success.

The Bad Product Fallacy: Don’t confuse “I don’t like it” with “That’s a bad product and it’ll fail”

andrewchen.co

Peter Gasston

503 days ago

Today, ten years after the iPhone launched, I have some of the same sense of early constraints and assumptions being abandoned and new models emerging. If in 2004 we had 'Web 2.0', now there's a lot of 'Mobile 2.0' around.

Mobile 2.0

ben-evans.com

Peter Gasston

508 days ago

The end of Moore’s law does not mean that the computer revolution will stall. But it does mean that the coming decades will look very different from the preceding ones, for none of the alternatives is as reliable, or as repeatable, as the great shrinkage of the past half-century.

Vanishing point: the rise of the invisible computer

theguardian.com

Peter Gasston

508 days ago

In Britain today, around a quarter of smartphone users get news alerts through their phones, according to Newman’s study. But in other nations, that figure is larger: 40% of Taiwanese users have news alerts on their phones, and 33% of US users do.

How apps plan to conquer your phone's lock screen

theguardian.com

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