Why do people only read things that back up their way of thinking?

Remember when the internet was in its infancy? We all had to put up with little 468 x 90 banner ads everywhere you looked – and sometimes we clicked them because we didn’t know better.

As time went on we grew smarter, we were able to tell the bad adverts from the good, and the emergence of online advertising  bumped the ugly out of the marketplace entirely. And now, our brains automatically blank out adverts to keep us focused on the content we went to the site in the first place for. Many of us use ad-blocking tools so our brains don’t even need to perform the mental airbrushing.

But what if those adverts were trying to tell us something really important?

What if the Emergency Broadcast System was hooked into those banner ads trying to give us forewarning of an avoidable cataclysm?

Social Engineering

Social Engineering refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.

It is becoming increasingly common by malicious actors (bank and identity fraud, for example), but is also becoming a core part of many companies’ business models.

It all started innocently enough with the Social Graph. The ability to link people with other people, events, photos and products via rich, meaningful relationships turned the one-size-fits-all internet into a personalised window where the chaos suddenly started to shape itself into something we recognised and could engage with on a more emotional level.

Instant social gratification through ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ became our norm, information relevant to us started to travel at a speed that made some high school students, even back in 2008, say “email is too slow“. The relevancy-engine that is the Social Graph began to play on our most base motivations. Continue Reading “Why do people only read things that back up their way of thinking?”

A Vision of Future Tech

Slough, in 2022. Probably.

Nobody really knows what the world of future technology will bring. 10 years ago the word “Facebook” didn’t mean anything, Nokia was the largest mobile phone maker in the world, Apple’s very first iPod was only 6 months old, Bill Gates was still in charge of Microsoft having just settled the lawsuit filed by the DoJ, and Google hadn’t even gone public yet. In 10 years time we can expect more crazy changes as technology advancement is accelerating at unprecedented pace. Here is a story which encapsulates some of my predictions about Earth, 2022.



@614, Sometime in August, 2022, New York City, New York

Chen slammed the door shut behind her, leapt down the steps three at-a-time and hit the pavement running. She absolutely could not be late for this interview!

“Time,” she demanded.

“Six fifteen, precisely,” said the tiny earpiece. It was probably right. It was as accurate as any atomic clock on Earth. “You have nine beats to arrive for your interview.” Her music resumed, at the perfect volume for the ambient noise on the streets.

“Thanks.” She accelerated through the New York City pedestrians clogging the streets. To be fair, it wasn’t gridlock. Most business was done from the home these days so there was easily enough room to sprint without slamming into anybody (too hard). Ultra high-speed broadband connections (MassivBand®) meant you could hold MassivDef® video conferences with tens or hundreds or even thousands of people at once (Bono had broadcast to the entire world at Band Aid 2020 in aid of 3rd-world, poverty-stricken Great Britain). Where great corporate skyscrapers once stood, now enormous, futuristic looking glass towers with the sole purpose of housing telecommuters stretched into the clouds.

No time to enjoy the scenery. Chen’s suit was graphene-polycarbonate, its fibres moved and ebbed to force cool air through to her skin, keeping her cool. Even while running. Sweat is not welcome at job interviews… Continue Reading “A Vision of Future Tech”