I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Pondering on Google I/O

I’ve been think­ing a lot about the things that Google announced at I/O this week. I feel like I’m stuck in a weird camp of being both fas­ci­nat­ed and ter­ri­fied all at once.
The rate at which Google Assis­tant is devel­op­ing is astound­ing and the idea that they are work­ing towards the com­put­er from Star Trek is real­ly quite cool. They are clear­ly get­ting there quite quick­ly. The video demos of Duplex mak­ing a call on your behalf to make a hair appoint­ment or book a restau­rant is frankly amaz­ing. If those video’s are true (why didn’t they do a live demo?) then they’ve cre­at­ed a com­put­er that can pass the Tur­ing Test and fool a human into think­ing they are talk­ing to anoth­er human. This is one of the things that ter­ri­fies me.
I’ve long been uncom­fort­able with the amount of infor­ma­tion Google can gath­er on peo­ple. Now they are show­ing how a lot of that data has been used to under­stand how humans com­mu­ni­cate in the way they are build­ing Duplex and demon­strat­ing it’s abil­i­ty to mim­ic that. Like­wise with the new auto­com­plete in Gmail that they demon­strat­ed, these things are impres­sive, as is the poten­tial util­i­ty of them.
My strug­gle is that I hate the idea of all this data being col­lect­ed on peo­ple, most­ly with­out them real­is­ing, but at the same time I find that I want to use the new prod­ucts that Google are cre­at­ing with it all. I hate hav­ing to make phone calls to peo­ple I don’t know and the idea that I could just ask a com­put­er to do it for me is great, but, it scares me. Just because we can do that begs the ques­tion should we be doing it? When humans are speak­ing in this man­ner, there’s an inher­ent lev­el of trust that is built. It’s a ver­bal con­tract between two peo­ple, with a com­mit­ment from both to ful­fil it. If a com­put­er takes over this ele­ment on behalf of one of the par­ties, do we erode that trust? How far do we let these com­mu­ni­ca­tions go? If we are not respon­si­ble for mak­ing appoint­ments and book­ings, do they start to become dis­pos­able? Will we become less inclined to keep them, and how will this impact small businesses?

Self Portraits ›

This is a real­ly inter­est­ing post from Col­in Walk­er about what we have effec­tive­ly been doing on social media for the last 10 years. Paint­ing a self por­trait of our­selves over time.
I’ve nev­er thought about it like that before, and when you add in you’re own blog or per­son­al site, it makes for a rich and tex­tured ongo­ing piece. His con­clu­sions at the end of the post are challenging…

We can tell the sto­ries we think oth­er peo­ple want to hear. We can tell skewed sto­ries as we are often not tru­ly hon­est with our­selves. We tell oth­er people’s sto­ries rather than our own, with­out com­ment, with­out opinion.
What use are the wrong sto­ries and are we doing our­selves a dis­ser­vice by telling them? 

I think, that with­out real­is­ing it, over the last few months of try­ing to revi­talise my blog and using Micro.blog I and many oth­ers are try­ing to reclaim our sto­ries and take hold of the paintbrush.
Post­ing to Twit­ter through your own site first changes the focus of the ser­vice entire­ly. We go from being a pas­sive con­sumer, lik­ing, retweet­ing, reply­ing, with the occa­sion­al orig­i­nal post, to an orig­i­nal post being the focus. We are cre­at­ing and adding to our own sto­ry rather than expand­ing and adding to some­one else’s. Of course it’s not wrong to be involved in oth­er people’s lives, we are cre­at­ed to be in com­mu­ni­ty, but by cre­at­ing first the involve­ment turns into a con­ver­sa­tion rather than just turn­ing the vol­ume up for some­one else. There’s a bal­ance to be found.

Everyone in Buenos Aires Is Communicating by Voice Memo Now ›

Real­ly inter­est­ing to hear how dif­fer­ent cul­tures use mes­sag­ing tech­nolo­gies. The UK is much like how the author of this piece speaks about their friends in the US and noth­ing like Argenti­na but voice mes­sages have always intrigued me. I’ve had the abil­i­ty to use them on my iPhone for a while but nev­er do, maybe it’s time to start. Sev­er­al of my best friends live away from me, we chat on the phone from time to time, but mes­sage more often. Maybe this would bridge the gap.