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Author Archives: Connor Tomas O'Brien


Silicon Valley will eat itself

  At a certain point in the lifespan of any subculture, fiction and reality start to blur. Members of the subculture begin to model their character and appearance on the idealised representations of themselves they read about or see on screen, and the loop continues until nobody … Read more »

Death to the Inbox

The primary source of our ‘email problem’ seems to lie in our belief that email is a vastly richer and more capable medium than it is. Read more »

Making trolls eat their words

If we’re not conscious of a troll’s desired response, we risk inadvertently encouraging further trolling by allowing ourselves to be played. Read more »

Reality vs. Instagram

It’s been over three years since Instagram launched, and we’re still not sure whether processing a photograph might be considered akin to doctoring a memory. Read more »

Could we crowdfund the dole?

Following the announcement of the 2014 budget, the director of a leading arts organisation posed a question on Facebook: ‘What recourse do the people have to stop these changes? What are next steps? Would be curious to know of any other effective measures to get the message across… apart from complaining on Twitter.’ Read more »

Dumbphones and smart kids

The idea that parents should aggressively attempt to limit their child’s ‘screen time’, and to closely monitor their child’s online activity, seems based around the notion that children and teens are still using devices as passive and limited as the Nokia 3310, in a world in which our networks allow us to remain offline by default. Read more »

The Web as an Empathy Machine

Ad hoc Twitter projects like #RaceSwapExp neatly draw together all that is terrific and all that is terrible about the web as a system. Depending on how it is used, the web can either allow us to retreat into callousness, cliques, and fixed ways of thinking or it can function as the world’s most sophisticated and effective empathy machine. Read more »

‘Fooled’ by technology

As I browsed the web last Tuesday, something struck me: tech companies can no longer pull off compelling April Fools’ Day hoaxes because there’s no longer even the thinnest line delineating sincerity from spoof. Read more »

Flight 370 and gaps in the internet

On Twitter the other day, sandwiched between a slew of links to articles about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, somebody tweeted a link to the website for Tile, a Bluetooth-enabled device that can be attached to physical objects, enabling them to be located within a 150-foot range. Read more »

Clipped: What would Susan Sontag say about always-on cameras?

As I write this, a tiny camera clipped to my shirt collar is silently taking a picture every thirty seconds. At the end of the day, I will plug my Narrative Clip into my MacBook, and it will upload half a gigabyte of images to the Cloud. … Read more »