Monthnotes for October 2019

October was busy, heads-down. Also, a number of events I had planned to attend and had to miss on short notice — most notably, Mozfest, which I had attended almost uninterruptedly since its first prototype event, Drumbeat, 10 years ago. I was really bummed to have missed that one, but such is life.

That said, lots happening:

  • A longer project around a progressive digital agenda and especially smart cities / citizens rights with a Brussels foundation is slowly moving into the final round of edits and workshops. The final results should go public soon(ish). Certainly before the end of the year.
  • Research into the ecosystems supporting the development of ethical/ responsible/ trustworthy AI in Europe together with a think tank is moving along nicely. Here, we still have some work to do. There are workshops to host, writing waiting to happen. So there, the results will probably be published either just before the end of the year, or first thing in the new year.
  • The Edgeryders community, where I’m currently a fellow as part of the Internet of Humans program, is going red-hot prepping for a distributed festival this November. I’ll be contributing something as part of this day of workshops & talks (link goes to Facebook. Details TBA.)
  • I had the immense pleasure to speak at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung event Digital Capitalism about smart cities and how to make them work better for citizens rather than vendors. It was an honor and a delight so share this panel with Elvan Korkmaz (member of parliament, SPD), Katharina Meyer (Prototype Fund) and Hans-Martin Neumann (Austrian Institute of Technology).

In largely unrelated news, a quick reminder: If you’ve shared sensitive data about you with a startup about you, take a moment to see if you still want that data there? Fitbit just made a splash with the announcement that Alphabet acquired them (and the data along with the company). When I recently, on a whim, checked out 23andMe I realized they had started aggressively integrating partnership offerings (“Explore your ancestry through Airbnb” and other non-sense that could hardly be more absurd). To me this is a big red flag that they’re likely to fold. So I pulled a copy of my data and requested data and account deletion, which feels like the right thing to do once things change in that direction.

In parallel, btw, I continue to write a newsletter pretty actively. Not sure if/how this should be integrated more closely in this blog. For the time being, the newsletter format works pretty well for me (and I need to find out why that is, but here you to). It’s about tech & society, business & culture, plus an eclectic mix of updates on projects. Besides Twitter, that’s also where a lot of my thinking-out-loud happens: Early ideas taking shape, trying on new arguments, that kind of thing. You can sign up to that here.