Archive for August, 2012

The Economist roundup: 6 degree, driverless cars, privacy, london, radio ga ga

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Six degrees of mobilisation. Technology and society: To what extent can social networking make it easier to find people and solve real-world problems?

Look, no hands. Automotive technology: Driverless cars promise to reduce road accidents, ease congestion and revolutionise transport… Assuming that autonomous vehicles make journeys quicker and use road space more efficiently, how should planners exploit the benefits of automation? On the one hand it would allow cities to get bigger, by reducing the time and stress associated with commuting. On the other, it could allow cities to become denser, by reducing the amount

of space that needs to be dedicated to roads and parking. Alternatively, space allocated to roads in city centres could be used for bike lanes or parks.

A knight in digital armour. Chris Soghoian, the most prominent of a new breed of activist technology researchers, delights in exposing security flaws and privacy violations

Personal data. Shameless self-promotion Britain wants to lead the world in exploiting consumer data…. Transactional data helps businesses make money, and the government thinks consumers should profit from it too.

Changing London.  Brixton is now a black shopping destination.

Radio Ga Ga. A small radio station in Sierra Leone offers big lessons for the UN.


Mobiles are ringing the global changes

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

from FT article.

About 2.5bn people in emerging markets have mobile phones. … Consider what happened two-and-a-half years ago when the Haitian earthquake struck. …researchers at Columbia University and the Karolinska Institute took a different tack: they tracked Sim cards inside Haitians’ mobile phones. That helped them to “analyse the destination of more than 600,000 people who were displaced from Port au Prince”

Twitter and Facebook. These are strikingly popular in emerging markets; Indonesia, for example, has one of the world’s most Twitter-addicted populations. Thus a sudden increase in certain keywords can provide early warning of distress. References to food or ethnic strife may indicate incipient famine or unrest.