/ Weekly Takeaways

Liberal Democracy has been Hacked, Microsoft's Dirty Browser Cheat and How California's Taking their Data Back

Governments & corporations know you better than you know yourself

Yuval Harari (author of Homo Deus and Sapiens - do yourself a favour and read these) penned an essay that describes how we're losing our free will through fake news and corporate communications. The TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) version is that most people don't really know themselves that well, and using AI, we can now target and manipulate audience actions based on what they didn't even know they're afraid of. It's worth a read over here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/14/yuval-noah-harari-the-new-threat-to-liberal-democracy

Key Takeaway

There are two narratives at conflict with each other:

  1. People need to protect themselves from fake news
  2. How far can AI go in manipulating us into action

Most people don't have the energy or desire to determine what is or isn't fake news. If a headline helps them feel like they're right about a political issue, they're not going out of their way to challenge it.

It's on marketers, journalists, governments, or anybody that has a stake in media to understand these methods and fight back. As it stands right now, these tactics rest only with those that understand them. We need more practitioners in our space who can see the ins and outs of programmatic media buying and personality based AI. If you don't know any of this yet but want to learn, Google has some decent starting points here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/programmatic/brand-marketing-programmatic-buying-guide/. If you want to go deeper into the space - I highly recommend Ad Profs: https://adprofs.co/

Microsoft now cautions Windows 10 users against installing Chrome or Firefox

If you're a Windows 10 user and you want to install betas of Chrome or Firefox, you'll now receive a warning from your operating system that Microsoft Edge is more secure and powerful than the browser you're trying to install.

With IE (or Edge) at only ~3% share of the browser market, it's not surprising that Microsoft is using it's biggest point of market adoption (Windows) to improve that number, but this is definitely a low blow from this tech giant. We in the UX field call these "Dark Patterns"; tactics that are shady at best, and shouldn't be used by big brands with a reputation to worry about.

Key Takeaway

Microsoft is likely feeling the crunch of losing market share online between Edge, their browser and Bing, their search engine. This is a great example of what happens when you lose focus of building great products, and instead, only worry about revenue.

California to launch new satellite to better understand pollution

California is working with Planet to create a custom satellite that will seek out pollutants across the state. Planet typically works with geo-spatial mapping organizations to provide better analyses of everything from agriculture to climate issues. The state is hoping the new data provided by this satellite will give better insight into who's causing pollution issues, and the impact they have on climate change. You can read more about it here: https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/14/california-is-launching-our-own-damn-satellite-to-track-pollution-with-help-from-planet/

Key Takeaway

I'm going to stay away from any politics on this issue and stick to what I think is more important here - a state has the power to put their own eye in the sky to generate real-time insight into what's happening on the ground.

Between advances in satellite launches (SpaceX) and technology (Planet), we're seeing reductions in cost and time which will allow for more of this tech being used by both governments and corporations to more efficiently make better decisions based on real data. We're already seeing the impact of this in the retail space, where we can see how people are spending their time in dense urban areas, and therefore, where to put a new restaurant or shoe store.

Expect to see a lot more of this as it becomes cheaper to do so.

Liberal Democracy has been Hacked, Microsoft's Dirty Browser Cheat and How California's Taking their Data Back
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