MadHATTERS HATTERs Bulletin Board Free trial

Simply The Best

3 June Subscribe
Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 128

Biosphere Westworld?

We do research sometimes (you may have heard). Or at least, HATLAB does (and the rest of us just gets to learn from it 😉). 

Personal data represents "a source of considerable economic utility" because it's, you know, infinitely renewable and infinitely reusable. Without oversight it tends to go all over the place, generating all kinds of content for this newsletter, and frequently the ICO and tech for good powers-that-be are frustrated by how hard it is to responsibly leverage the stuff.

How productive are the sectors that leverage this resource? The stuff's increasingly relevant in both market and consumer contexts. You could argue the effective and efficient deployment of personal data is essential to resilient and profitable business ecosystems across the whole board, both small firms seeking to position themselves digitally and medium-sized and large scale businesses for whom it is / can be new revenue and reinforced customer loyalty.

Knowing the value and utility of personal data promotes efficient choice-making at the individual level and empowers intelligent consumerism within social networks, and macroeconomic observations of data trends provide collective insights at the societal level. 

But learning how these things are going to work is haaaaaard. Combining a knowledge of the regulatory environment with an understanding of the economic incentives and opportunities around data is hard. Marrying these to the role played by digital technologies and data science is hard. Understanding them with an appreciation of modern digital personhood is hard. Identifying the interdisciplinary knowledge from the social sciences and humanities, computer science, and engineering that is needed to ensure good digital technology is created is hard. Doing all of this to achieve maximum impact from personal data usage -- it's all very hard.

But it now seems that HATLAB is going to have a go. They are proud to announce that they are project managing and coordinating a research initiative that creates a simulated digital environment called DataSphere: An Interdisciplinary and user-focused digital environment for data mobility, pursued by researchers at the Universities of Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial, Exeter, and Surrey. There are expected to be 10,000 ‘netizens’ in DataSphere. Exciting.

A briefing will be held first, announcing the project and expanding on some of these listed themes. If you're engaged in this space, HATLAB is inviting partners and the date for your diary is  on the 25th June at 1400 - Imperial College London. 

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The present

Editorial had competition this week. Apple announced "Sign in with Apple" at its WWDC, and is (controversially question mark) forcing appdevs that offer sign in with Google / Facebook to offer it alongside them. Apple's policy is that this be a privacy-forward SSO, which is great and all. Certainly better than "for the low, low price of not having to remember a new password, you can get gross invasion of privacy." But I still don't know that the pinnacle of our innovative achievement in this area has to be "here's some other corporate overlord who will promise to take care of you." I'm sure it's better than an evil corporate overlord? But absolute power man, it'll get to them eventually. Anyways, obviously Single Sign On with your HAT instead is the answer.

A metal deposit the size of Hawaii's large island lives on the moon. (I'm not sure why you need to know this but NOW YOU DO)

The whole world just got a bit more anonymised - fellow Cambridge data innovator Privitar raised Series B last week.

An infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters. (No pejorative connotations intended whatsoever, this looks the best)

The past

How interesting (ish?) companies in big markets can take over the world. Salesforce is buying Tableau to get into data visualisation (for stupid amounts of money). 

Soooo govmoney. Good or bad for fledgling startups?

IPOs be broke.


Double lolz. The Daily Maily saw a 50% (!!) drop in traffic after the latest Google algo update. (What on earth were this people searching for?!)

The future

The doghouse

Friendly HATTER Alan Rothman pointed us to Amy Webb's new book "The Big Nine". The tremendous power wielded by the tech titans and their thinking machines.

Omg stop sexually harassing people, powerful white a$$holes.


Amy Webb being a boss

HAT News

Announcing. DataSphere (it's a whole new Data-S thing). A new research proposal for the Digital Economy is being launched by our brethren in Academia. Briefing is on the 25th June and it is gonna be TIGHT.

Berlinnovation. I survived Germany. It was close, but WeAreDevelopers is the BEEEEEST honestly such an interesting conference. I watched Kasparov play chess. He looked alot like most people do playing chess (but perhaps a bit more bored).

W3W. These guys are the best. Got to meet them Friday for lunch, and could not be more impressed. Hope we can do even half as well. 

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

Previous Issues