Technology doesn’t solve humanity’s problems

Beautifully said:

Technology doesn’t solve humanity’s problems. It was always naïve to think so. Technology is an enabler, but humanity has to deal with humanity’s problems. I think we’re both over-reliant on technology as a way to solve things and probably, at this moment, over-indexing on technology as a source of all problems, too.

Sundar Pichai (Google) in The New York Times


Another epic birthday party

It’s Tuesday. The little one is playing in daycare, the husband is off to Amsterdam for a meeting and I’m at my desk at last, for the first time in what feels like ages. The clouds are still undecided to drop some rain or give way to the Sun. I hear rumbling in the distance. Rain and colder days are knocking on Summer’s door and that knowledge makes me long for an extension of the hottest summer in three centuries.

Two days passed since the last guest left and still I haven’t recovered fully. Between the day we left for a wedding party in Tuscany, celebrating the wedlock between our good friends Klaas and Amarens and today, two days after our own party on Friday and Saturday, there wasn’t much time to stop for a bit. Shopping needed to be done. Meat needed to be imported. Rooms needed to be cleared. Left overs needed to be taken care of. Floors needed to be cleaned. A two-year-old needed to be entertained. Sleep needed to be had.

Sixty something people had a lot of fun in our home and while their spirits trailed for a bit they are fading into the distance, too quickly. At the same time, while having a bit more time to reflect this Tuesday, fond memories are etched more clearly in my mind.

A Spotify playlist called A Walk Alone plays soft songs that reflect my mood perfectly. Happy, relaxed and gloomy. I flip through all the books that wait for me to be read, bravely resist opening the chocolate boxes while nibbling an Irish butter shortbread. The bottles of wine, beer and whiskey still need to find a place in our storage room.

Staring out of the window, I see the clouds make way for the Sun. I try to find words to describe what happened the past few days, but everything I write down feels incomplete and abstract. How do you put into words how much it means to you that friends travel across the world to attend your birthday party? That you can celebrate a new year in life with friends you haven’t been able to meet for four years (or longer)? Who’s lives have changed so drastically in those years, including my own, but still pick up where you left the conversation all those years before? How can I describe how much it means to me to be able to connect all those people Ton and I collected in our lives, bring them together in the same space and for all of them to hit it off? That they all openly exchanged life stories, inspired each other, geeked out together, built robots together?

It was an experience beyond words. It was, yet again, an epic birthday party.

A big hug for all who were there to make it epic. Thank you!


How Facebook user data was used to micro target people (and change their views)

This topic deserves a lot of attention. The Cambridge Analytica Files as published by The Guardian today. As a communication philosopher, I have so many thoughts on this, but I need a bit of time to research and digest this topic. Please inform yourself on this topic and make up your mind how much data you want to share online with private companies. Start with watching an interview with the whistle blower in this story and then dive into these two articles:

Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool


Is the internet disappointed in us?

The authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto are awarded with the CIPR President’s Medal. A huge recognition for the fundamental shift in thinking about the web they caused with the manifest they wrote in 1999.

If you haven’t heard of The Cluetrain Manifesto before, you can read the original text online and find a bit more background information at wikipedia.

David Weinberger gave a lecture for the CIPR, titled ‘Is the internet disappointed in us?’ He triggers a lot of thoughts which I will need to mull over for a bit. For now, here’s the lecture to watch for yourself.