What we now doubt (which we used to think), was that our models will enable us to look into the future and, indeed, to change the future to the benefit of mankind. We… the experience of recent years has been such that as soon as we develop a model that seems to be reasonably good at explaining the present, and there are few enough of those god knows now, the future changes.
I first watched this documentary in about 2004 and that quote has stayed with me. I have interpreted it to mean that over-reliance on one methodological framework with a good descriptive power of the past is no guarantee that it will work for prescriptive policy design. …
I’m writing new sections of PhD stuff and in the spirit of peer review, I’m going to try and blog as much of it as I can and as much of it as is interesting to a general (but slightly knowledgeable) audience. This is a section I’ve written out differently several times. I am excluding complete and detailed references and some linking material to other sections. It is unfinished.
As stated elsewhere, this project is not a history of government’s relationship with the web. …
Hello friendly participants. The baby is settled, judging (and compiling a blog from disparate tweets) is now happening. Scroll down to see your competitor’s work. There are some beautifully bucolic garden scenes and I also have a great deal of time for the various food shots, especially Lizzi’s bread. A winner is declared, who will receive no prizes beyond this congratulatory emoji: 🎉.
I can’t vote for my wife, but I can highlight a nicely composed photo.
Criminally underrated composting worm content.
The winner though, both in my opinion and sheer number of likes is Sym Roe.
Moving from “extremely online” to “only online” is a shift. For me, someone who could only really be described as ‘psychologically inseparable from the internet’, this feels like additional work. I’m seeing more scams goign around my family. The GOV.UK prototyping toolkit being used to make ever more convincing scam sites. But hidden in all of this are some well intentioned and pro bono things. But, often, they are falling into traps that make me pause before sharing, and if I had no secondary information about them, I would recommend that someone asking if it was legit binned it.
Sometimes it can be hard to articulate an unease you’re feeling with something ethereal. I’ve worked alongside service designers for years and sometimes have felt what a few people have articulated recently on the internet:
I think the problem with service design isn’t about the methodology though — I think people’s unease might be coming from a different problem that runs through both Service Design and service design. …
Close reading is a nasty thing to do to someone else’s work. So, be aware that I am doing it not because the writer is bad or the ideas are without merit, but because I really, really disagree with the statements and I want to take them apart (without malice).
There was an article in Wired a week or two ago that was doing the rounds.
I think it is utter bunk for many structural reasons. I’m going to pick out some big quotes and ideas from this and try and demonstrate why.
That the internet has transformed politics, there is already no doubt. But now a second political revolution is happening. It is driven by people who want to reach into the basic sinews of democracy to change how it works. They question not how to use technology to win elections, but whether we need elections at all. …
2019 man. There was a lot of it. Like this note. It is comprehensive.
I drank a lot of coffee in Brew in Oxford. They have a little record player in the corner and the disc that is regularly spinning is Transformer, so let’s soundtrack this with that.
I’ve worked on two big projects this year. The first was three months of consultancy for the ODI looking at Data Trusts.
Since July I’ve been at Cabinet Office looking at how we can use machine learning to support subject categorisation of emails and documents.
Both of these have been challenging. They’ve raised the problem with contracting for me: you can’t fix fucking anything in 6 months. I think next year I’d like to find something permanent to do. …
It’s been a difficult month or two. I’ve had a lot of health things go wrong and that has been both stressful in terms of worrying about not being able to work (no sick leave for contractors) and dealing with the most pain I’ve ever had. But here we are again. More notes, more chat about where things are right now. Let’s kick off.
I’m working on something interesting at the moment that we’re about to start development work on. How do you classify emails for the future? How do you deal with massive unsorted piles of data that need to be sorted. There’s a lot of the implementation of that that I’m going to talk about as the project goes along, but for the moment, I’d like to say how interesting I’ve found this. Archives are full of power. That power is often tempered often by how hard they can be to find and use. The internet is making some massive changes to our proximity to large amounts of data. Imagining a civil service with a digitally supported institutional memory requires a lot of consequence scanning. …
I’m grateful to a number of people (Dan Barrett, Richard Pope, Mevan Babakar & Sym Roe) who’ve helped to shape my thinking on this question over the past few months (although, don’t blame them for where it ended up) and especially thankful to Irina for giving me some space and free beer to talk about it at Citizen Beta. Video link at the end.
Politics feels conceptually polluted. It might not do for everyone, but many people lack trust in politicians, institutions and civic society.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that we analyse power in technology, and how it doesn’t quite match up with the reality around us. I’m also going to paraphrase massively and probably elide some important nuances of both theorists’ positions. …