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Ben Hammersley - Dark Innovation - Why Becoming Silicon Valley Would Be A Terrible Thing - Full Video

Posted: Wednesday 30 July 2014

We are delighted to welcome back futurist, technologist and Digital Jersey board member, Ben Hammersley for our July monthly seminar. Last October, Be…

We are delighted to welcome back futurist, technologist and Digital Jersey board member, Ben Hammersley for our July monthly seminar. Last October, Ben took to the floor for the first ever Digital Jersey seminar, entitled ‘Jersey on the Brink’.

Stimulating, educational and frequently controversial, Ben is a British Internet technologist, broadcaster and journalist, who writes and lectures internationally about the effects of the post-digital, post-Internet age. Ben is currently focusing on writing and presenting a TV series for BBC World and BBC News Channel on Cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and cybersecurity. He is also the principal of Onwards, Friend – a programme to develop science and launch platforms for high-altitude and low-earth-orbit science.

Video Highlights 

  • Technology has been doubling in power since the mid 60’s.
  • This is the first time the human race has experienced such rapid increase in power and had to deal with the ramifications.
  • Today’s washing machine’s have more technological power than what allowed man to reach the moon.
  • There is both social and physical effects of this technological progress; Technology increases in capability much faster than society’s ability to deal with it.
  • We are developing a symbiotic relationship with our phones. Studies show that there is a small part of our brain that is constantly aware of where our phone is.

Examples of the physical effects of technology:

  1. Email apnea – whenever you check your email you hold your breath.
  2. Continuous partial attention – focused on many things at the same time
  • Technology has changed the work we do: ‘knowledge work’ (as opposed to physical work)
  • Technology can be described as the reifications of a cultural or political belief.  It is important to think about the embedded ideology within the technology that you use.

For example:

  • Facebook is the ideological belief that ‘Privacy is evil’ Zuckerberg has said he believes the human race would be better off by sharing all personal data on a massive scale, because it would enable that data to be mined for solutions to massive social problems.
  • Jersey Lifts Facebook page, used by young people in Jersey to get about the island, is a political belief that the social network and the idea of social network analysis is a fundamentally true thing.
  • Silicon Valley is based around the ‘Californian’ ideology which says ‘if we can disrupt it, we should. Economic and entrepreneurial efficiency is the most important thing’. This ideology often represents a culture specific to an North American geography.


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