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ANDRÉ CRAMER

Help more people understand more about our digital future options

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Innovation Foresight

Sustainable digital transformation needs a social, not only a technology dimension. And this can only be achieved through cultural change, powered and driven by mindset change.

The China Flywheel for Technology World Domination… (or how Autocracies benefit strongly from AI)

I have been reading and sharing lots of news and insights into China and the country’s way of digital transformation recently. First, it’s simply exciting to see what’s happening in China when it comes to digital innovation. There’s a never ending stream of new products, services and, that’s most remarkable – since it is nowadays unique and bred locally – new digital use cases, life styles and ways of integrating technology into every day life.

But secondly, I do have my strong concerns when it comes to top notch digital innovation driven by a country that is an autocracy without a humanistic agenda. Here’s an example:

Continue reading “The China Flywheel for Technology World Domination… (or how Autocracies benefit strongly from AI)”

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What is the key learning from Google Duplex? Digital Responsibility needed more than ever before…

I guess by now we have all heard of the very controversial Google Duplex demonstration at Google I/O 2018, where a human-voice synthesized bot called several local businesses and was able to interact with humans who had no idea they were talking to a machine. Many of us are fascinated by the technological progress that could be witnessed. A part of me was fascinated just like that. But to me the real fascinating discussion is about ethics, specifically AI ethics that come along with approaches like Duplex. Continue reading “What is the key learning from Google Duplex? Digital Responsibility needed more than ever before…”

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Hey #techworkers: stop being too “googly” and put some more #digitalresponsibility on your plate! My gist from the #facebookdebacle

I guess by now we’re are all through with reading each and every article and opinion, every point of view and interpretation about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Yes, there is an overwhelming sentiment that – in my opinion – goes into the right direction. What has happened is wrong, is to a large degree founded in an ill-directed system of data exploitation and must be stopped. On the web, you find this opinion in softer and stronger flavors, but there does not seem to be doubt that we need some decisive readjustment. Maybe the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal was the much-needed catalyst to allow for more thorough reflection where we allow ourselves to work with a healthy degree of skepticism about where technology and technological progress have led us in the last 25 years of the internet. Continue reading “Hey #techworkers: stop being too “googly” and put some more #digitalresponsibility on your plate! My gist from the #facebookdebacle”

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A strong read recommendation on digital media messing up societal discourse: How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us (Roger McNamee)

This is one of the best pieces of journalism I have seen in quite a while, looking a level or a couple of levels deeper than usual into what social media and social networks really mean for public discourse, the formation of opinion and eventually public polarization. Facebook’s role to be precise.

An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it.

A remarkable quote:

“[…] the internet platforms were able to pursue business strategies that would not have been allowed in prior decades. No one stopped them from using free products to centralize the internet and then replace its core functions. No one stopped them from siphoning off the profits of content creators. No one stopped them from gathering data on every aspect of every user’s internet life. No one stopped them from amassing market share not seen since the days of Standard Oil. No one stopped them from running massive social and psychological experiments on their users. No one demanded that they police their platforms. It has been a sweet deal. Facebook and Google are now so large that traditional tools of regulation may no longer be effective.”

A must-read on a topic that we need to tackle if we don’t want to end up with technology whose consequences we have not thought through well enough during its early maturity stages messaging up our society.

Read the full article here: Washington Monthly | How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us

The Universal Basic Income discussion is not pointless. Period. (André Cramer)

One of the topics that is inevitably tied to the big digital transformation themes like AI, machine learning, robotics and digital transformation in general is the universal basic income (let’s call it UBI from here). Like it or not, it’s worthwhile considering which tools, mechanisms and concepts need to be adapted or created when this massive transformation will roll over us. I believe it would be naive not to assume that our political economy, and governance will desperately need new design patterns as we enter this new phase of the digital revolution. Continue reading “The Universal Basic Income discussion is not pointless. Period. (André Cramer)”

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A must-read to sharpen your senses on the “Social Score”: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society (Mara Hvistendahl)

As an interested and alerted reader on topics where technology meets sociology in the broader sense, many of us are likely noticing an increase in coverage of so called social score projects and experiments. Perhaps you feel like me and you notice a shiver when elaborating on this topic.

Since the most decisive activities in this space take place in China, you find a lot of coverage on their local activities. And it is worth taking a closer look. Right now it all follows the principle “technology / big data / data analytics meets authoritarian state/government”. A scary but in fact a “no brainer” situation. Since there are always tendencies in certain interest groups or parties even in western-style democracies to intrude our private lifes and dilluting privacy laws, we should in fact be carefully watching what is going on and what is possible.

This here is a brilliant piece of journalism by WIRED‘s Mara Hvistendahl. Take the time for this long read. It matters to all of us.

My most alarming quote: “But when he entered his name and national ID number, the app informed him that the transaction wouldn’t go through because he was on the Supreme People’s Court blacklist. This list—literally, the List of Dishonest People—is the same one that is integrated into Zhima Credit.”

You will learn more on Zhima Credit, their activities and the relation with Chinese government activities in the article.

Read the full article here: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED

Are you aware of the insane Energy Consumption for Bitcoin Creation that is ahead of us? Soon to hit a hard wall…

Over the last months and especially culminating in the last days, it was hard to avoid the bitcoin topic. Climbing to insane heights, bitcoin has passed even the keenest expectations regarding “value” that many of us had. The price has crossed the $15k mark for the first time this week.

Although I do see a bright future for cryptocurrencies, for me the key value lies in the potential it has in enabling us to create a fundamentally new financial system. From a speculators point of view I do believe that what we currently see is mostly based on the greater fool theory (“I will buy Bitcoin because others will hype it even more”). Continue reading “Are you aware of the insane Energy Consumption for Bitcoin Creation that is ahead of us? Soon to hit a hard wall…”

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Teriffic read that helps you understand the turmoil happening to digital media in 2017: How to Survive the Media Apocalypse (Derek Thompson)

If you have wondered what the hell is going on in media, or better put, digital media recently, this is a must-read. After years of growth and surging, fueled by advertising-centric business models and loads of VC money, the digital media landscape sees its most drastic challenge since inception.

Advertising is a dead end. Digital subscription models look really promising, given you have high quality content and an established, ideally pre-digital publishing times brand. Pivoting and pivoting to new types of content formats seems like hopeless actionism. With pivoting to video usually being the end of the death spiral.

My key statement from the article:

“In its inexhaustible capacity for experimentation, digital media has pivoted to programmatic advertising, pivoted to native advertising, pivoted to venture capital, pivoted to Facebook, pivoted to distributed, and pivoted to video. Here is a better experiment: Pivot to readers.”

Enjoy!

Read the entire article here: Why 2017 Feels Like a Media Apocalypse – The Atlantic

“Krack” is exactly that kind of thing bringing us closer to the “Internet of crappy Things” armageddon

My five cents on the „krack“ Wi-Fi / WPA2 security issue that is now slowly but steadily getting out of focus again. This is a classic “Internet of Things”, or “Internet of crappy Things” topic that I have written about before.

It is highly questionable if “krack” will ever really disappear; in a sense that it will be patched and fixed thoroughly so that no one has to worry about it anymore. Yes, a variety of providers of affected software and hardware have announced or even distributed such patches. But when it comes to the long tail of Wi-Fi enabled Internet of Things, smart home or whatever kind of connected devices, it would be naïve not to Continue reading ““Krack” is exactly that kind of thing bringing us closer to the “Internet of crappy Things” armageddon”

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