Our diasporas make us deceptively strong

Is Canada a secret superpower?
Is Canada a secret superpower?
Photo by TKHammonds on Unsplash

This post was originally sent on October 30th 2019 as a Metaviews newsletter which I publish each weekday. Please support my writing and research by subscribing!

Canada may be on the verge of an existential crisis as the global geopolitical order is reconfigured, and regional tensions within the country threaten its future. However it is in these moments of existential angst that opportunities emerge, and in this particular moment in history, Canada faces a unique opportunity to redefine itself, both domestically and globally.

As a country, Canada has always been plagued by a sense of inferiority combined with a colonial…

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

The future of retail will require regulation or else the future of retail might as well be called Amazon.

The future of retail will be based on surveillance, predictive analytics, profiling, and personalization. With the proper protections this could be empowering and entertaining. Without the appropriate protections it will likely become ugly, invasive, and authoritarian. Perhaps it already is.

To get a glimpse into the future of retail let’s briefly break down some retail trends and ponder what rules may ensure their proper use.

Photo by Frederic Köberl on Unsplash

Governments and policy experts around the world are starting to catch up with the rapid rate of technological change, and the disruption that has been unleashed by now powerful technology companies.

I’ve been writing about this for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and I follow the rest of the work they do closely. It was with great interest that their founder, Jim Balsillie (who was also the co-founder of Blackberry) gave a talk to a recent IMF conference, in which he called for a second Bretton Woods moment.

Bretton Woods is a resort town in New Hampshire…

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk

Going viral is the holy grail of media. Attention is hard to come by. Technology makes it easier and easier to tune out anything we don’t want to hear, or even anything that might be new.

As a result, media that can rise above the noise, and pierce through our respective filter bubbles, has a kind of power and appeal unto itself. Where advertising was once about providing information about a product or attempting to persuade you to purchase, it is now increasingly focused on shareability, and the goal of going viral.

When it comes to viral holiday media campaigns…

Is a long life desirable if you end up as a head in a jar?

Technology and ethics are strange bedfellows.

Once we have a tool, it becomes really difficult to not use it.

How we use it and why we use it are key ethical questions.

Every tool shapes the task, and if you’ve got a hammer, you’re bound to look for nails.

Health technology is a great example of this, as it not only transforms how we care for ourselves, but also how we understand ourselves, and how we relate to others.

Without irony, there are some really rich people and some really smart people who are collaborating on the technology of immortality.


The court of law is being challenged by the court of public opinion. In response, automation and algorithmic decision making are an attempt by the court of law to gain velocity and regain authority. Yet at what cost, and towards what outcome?


In the summer of 2016 I authored a Master’s Thesis on the rise and regulation of algorithmic media. Earlier in 2016 I wrote an article for the IEEE on predictive policing and civilian oversight. …

This past weekend the latest iteration of the We Robot 2017 conference was hosted by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. While I was not able to attend, I was able to participate remotely by tuning into both the live video stream (now archived and available) in conjunction with the active #WeRobot2017 Twitter stream.

With a focus on robotics law and policy, the papers presented offered a wide range of relevant and pertinent questions when it comes to the role of robots and automation in our society, and the impact this will have on…

TMZ Fall 2016 Cohort Photo by Ramona Pringle

A conversation between Rough Draft editor-at-large Jesse Hirsh, and Ramona Pringle, director of the Transmedia Zone, an incubator for innovation in media and storytelling, at Ryerson University.

The big picture.

Jesse: You and I often spend time talking about the rise and role of incubators, both in the context of education, but also when it comes to fostering innovation. As you know I tend to be fairly critical of existing models, and see an important opportunity in trying to design a better experience for incubators and those who join them.

This is one of the reasons I’m excited to be part of IBM…

Grind it out Photo by Jesse Hirsh

Part eight in an ongoing series

Algorithmic transparency is a necessary prerequisite for a democratic society. Traditionally democratic societies have been based upon the rule of law. In order for this to be possible, the law had to be transparent. Any citizen had to be able to have access to the laws of the land, be able to read and hopefully understand them. While the legal profession exists to help people with this comprehension, there is still a general principle that any individual could, if they so choose, represent themselves in a court of law.

Algorithms similarly need to be…

Canadian Parliament Photo by Jesse Hirsh

Part seven in an ongoing series

Media has traditionally been subject to regulation. This is true both in democratic as well as non-democratic societies. There are a range of reasons as to why media is regulated, however the primary justification is to ensure that the public interest is preserved amidst the private interests that own and control the media (Feintuck et al, 2006; Lunt et al, 2011).

However, media as a concept and as a technology has rapidly evolved over the last few decades, and traditional regulators have struggled to keep up.

The regulation of the Internet has resulted in…

Jesse Hirsh

Futurist, researcher, public speaker, data scientist, and 1337 strategist. Rapper who doesn't need to rhyme. See also @metaviews and @impossibledotws

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