When Mike Butcher of TechCrunch fame posted the following, my interest was inevitably piqued:
Two visions of the future continue to play out. Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ featured a society under a ‘telescreen’ dictatorship, where ‘Victory Coffee’ was served in cafés to people who yearned for free expression outside of the watchful eye of the state.
It’s a world in which the more extreme elements of the NSA and GCHQ might feel at home. In Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ the drug Soma is served to pacify the population, reminiscent of the ‘dopamine effect’ many privately-owned social networks have on us today. In both cases the new industrial revolution of technology is often empowering the previously powerless, but also aiding and abetting the powers that be.
But what future do we choose? Where should we take our society? Orwell, Marx, Trotsky, Huxley, even Thatcher — all had visions of the future. But where do WE choose to take our technological and scientific revolution? Let’s discuss these and other questions in this new Salon which will range far wider than the ’tech startups’ discussion many of us are used to.
View over the BBC news factory, taken by Mike Butcher
Against the exciting, buzzy backdrop of the BBC (curse the camera on my iphone for being broken – Daleks in Twitter’s offices last week, daleks at the Beeb yesterday – a theme is emerging – Doctor Who fever is upon us!), a fairly random group of people met to see where this discussion took us.
There are challenges to putting a group of strong minded, independent people in a room together, and Bill Thompson did a great job of marshalling us (Mike was detained writing up an important, of sadly familiar, story: European Investor Admits He Pestered Female Entrepreneur For Sex In “Deal” Email. Well done to him for giving it some priority!)
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It seems that due to couple of heavy files sent from my email address, my hosting limit was reached at just the same time as I was moving office, resulting in bounced emails. (The office move went smoothly, apart from the Internet connection, which is a week away still!)
A massive thank you to those who made the effort to let me know, and sincere apologies for the inconvenience to everyone else.
While I’m here, a few ‘signposts to some articles etc that I’ve placed up over the past few weeks.
I’m back off hiatus at State of Digital and posted last month about basic blogger outreach – it was written for an agency audience, so it comes with a jargon alert: please forgive me talking about ‘content placement’: The Content Placement Pitch.
I also blogged at the end of last month for Global Integration about the cross cultural events that will be affecting work in May – some are passed, but there’s still time for the post to resonate: http://www.global-integration.com/blog/may-2014/
Time to Change is a campaign that’s currently running across the media – social and traditional. Time to Talk Day is February 6
The campaign, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness aims to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. Time to Talk aims to get us all talking more sensibly about mental health issues: one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, ranging from anxiety and depression (most common) to suicidal thoughts – and the figures don’t include those in prisons or hospitals, and have changed little over time. One in six of the adult population will have a significant mental health problem at any one time. We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.
According to the campaigns statistics, people with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence than to commit it. The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems – 95 per cent of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health problem. In just three months, 74 Tv soaps contained storylines on mental health issues including 33 instances of violence to others and 53 examples of self harm. Whilst most were sympathetic portrayals, the characters were, according to MIND, portrayed as “tragic victims”, and 63% of references to mental health in TV soaps and drama were “pejorative, flippant or unsympathetic” terms included: “crackpot”, “a sad little psycho”, “basket case” , “where did you get her from?”, “Care in the Community?” and “he was looney tunes”.
This is important for us as PR professionals: Read more »
It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of January already, and I look at my blog in despair for the little progress that I’ve made changing it! And my New Year’s Resolution to not over-serve clients and to make more time for myself has long since fallen alongside those promises to visit the gym more regularly.
I did, however, succeed in staying ‘Dry’ for January, and not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips, as I undertook the Dryathlon for Cancer Research. It was received with great humour, with people I work with suggesting that an investment in keeping me dry might save on the bar bill. I’m somewhat partial to champagne so they may have a point! Anyway, Cancer Research is a great cause, one that’s close to my heart, and if you haven’t already, it would be great if you could consider dropping a few pennies in the hat: http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Thompson-dryathlete2015
In other fields there is lots of progress too.
I was lucky to have worked for Wendy Hall in then computing department at Southampton University. She was one of my unsung heroes for Ada Lovelace Day in recent times. Her work has had huge significance for the semantic web, digital libraries, and more, and she has now been nominated as an inspiring leader for education. Her work lead to my first encounter with technology, and subsequently to my first big break in PR with technology PR consultancy Arrow (now Kaizo). She inspired me, and has done the same for countless others, and if you have a moment to vote, here’s where to do it: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/competition/2014/jan/14/higher-education-inspiring-leader-vote.
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