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The 19th Century "Internet", terror's indirect death toll, and a life saving smartphone || Laurent Haug's newsletter, issue #31

I was ready to send this newsletter during the week of 13th November, then news of the Paris events b

Laurent Haug

December 13 · Issue #31 · View online
News and thoughts on society's ongoing transformation.

I was ready to send this newsletter during the week of 13th November, then news of the Paris events broke out. At the time, thinking about technological development and innovation felt a bit trivial. Time has passed and the dust has settled a little. Listening to thinkers like Edgar Morin and Alain Tourraine (in French) has helped to bring back some sanity and order. 

Despite tragedy, life goes on. Here are some articles to stimulate your thinking:

Unexpected connections
September 11's indirect toll: road deaths linked to fearful flyers
Is lack of faith in police leading to more terror?
Video game vs porn
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge saves man's life during Paris terrorist attacks
Self-driving cars crash more often, with more injuries, study finds
Book recommendation: The Victorian internet (2014)
The Victorian internet is a brief history of the invention of the telegraph. What is fascinating is how many parallels can be drawn between the 19th and 21st centuries.
In the nineteenth century there were no televisions, aeroplanes, computers, or spacecraft; neither were there antibiotics, credit cards, microwave ovens, compact discs, or mobile phones.
There was, however, an Internet.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, a new communications technology was developed that allowed people to communicate almost instantly across great distances, in effect shrinking the world faster and further than ever before. A world-wide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionised business practice, gave rise to new forms of crime, and inundated its users with a deluge of information. Romances blossomed over the wires. Secret codes were devised by some users, and cracked by others. The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates, and dismissed by the sceptics. Governments and regulators tried and failed to control the new medium. Attitudes to everything from newsgathering to diplomacy had to be completely rethought. Meanwhile, out on the wires, a technological subculture with its own customs and vocabulary was establishing itself.

21st century issues
Facebook has to simulate slow data to develop for emerging markets
Is Apple slowing down its phones to force consumers to upgrade?
The fight for consumer data, just starting
Beware of ads that use inaudible sound to link your phone, TV, tablet, and PC
Porn firm targets Sky customers with cash demand
Tesla Model S owners in Hong Kong find autopilot features suddenly disabled
Three new investments: Flyability, Tawipay, and BRCK
I’m happy to announce that MKS Alternative Investment has invested in three new start-ups: Tawipay (CH), Flyability (CH), and BRCK (Kenya). 
  • Tawipay helps migrants find the cheapest way to send money back to their families. Alongside the investment, I joined Tawipay’s board as a director.
  • Flyability is developing the world’s first resilient drone, capable of hitting objects and still continuing to fly.
  • BRCK is developing hardware for internet access in Africa. The company has already launched some impressive products: the BRCK router, the Kio tablet, and the Kio kit.
“A la naissance, nous sommes tous un exemplaire original, mais nous mourrons, presque tous, à l’état de copie.” 
[At birth we are all an original, but we die, almost all of us, in the state of copy]
Erwin Wagenhofer
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