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Big Revolution - Riding a 'Wave' of blind optimism

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Welcome to Tuesday's newsletter, back with you after the long weekend. There was a flurry of signups
 
May 28 · Issue #430 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s newsletter, back with you after the long weekend. There was a flurry of signups over the past 24 hours, so if you’ve just subscribed and you heard about this newsletter somewhere interesting, please hit reply to this email and let me know where it was.
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • GDPR rulings have clocked up €56,000,000 in fines in the regulation’s first year. Meanwhile organisations in the EU have appointed a total of half a million more data protection officers.
  • TikTok’s parent company is reportedly planning to launch its own smartphone. There’s no word on where ByteDance’s phone would be made available, but it seems unlikely right now that the Chinese company could launch it in the US.
  • US Navy pilots saw UFOs off the coast of Virginia in 2014 and 2015, the New York Times reports. They could stop, start, and turn suddenly, and travel at supersonic speed – apparently sometimes while invisible. One report describes one craft as looking like “a sphere encasing a cube” 😲
  • Huawei has accused FedEx of mysteriously redirecting packages intended for its offices in Asia to the US and elsewhere. In the context of the accusations flying around about Huawei, this is intriguing.
The big thought
Google Wave
Riding a ‘Wave’ of blind optimism
Today marks 10 years since Google stoked great excitement in the tech community by unveiling a new product called Wave. I remember it clearly, because that day I sat down on my sofa 5,000 miles away from Google’s developer conference and wrote my first ever post as a paid tech journalist, trying to make sense of what exactly Wave was.
To this day, it’s difficult to explain Wave. Essentially, it let you collaborate with others in real-time — a first for the web of a decade ago. But when users got their hands on it, they were left confused about what they were supposed to do with an impressive tech demo that failed to clearly spell out real-world use cases.
Ten years on, Wave is dead but its legacy lives on every time you collaborate in real-time with someone else on a Google Doc. What sadly hasn’t lived on is the blind, dumb enthusiasm we had back then.
Back then there were new apps and toys to play with online every few days (remember all the apps that were built on Adobe Air?). We all enthused about how social media and new technology could change the world, and wrote optimistic pieces about how much better the world could be.
Now, we’re much more cynical. While that’s healthy to an extent, I do think we focus too much on the negative now.
I’ve written a piece that expands on this over on TNW. Go have a read.
One big read
It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning
The New York Times has launched a new series of speculative fiction in its Opinion section, presented as opinion pieces written in the future. The first piece looks at where gene editing may take us.
One big tweet
Rob Pegoraro
Android Messages app's suggested responses to a text from a friend saying he thought his wife and their kid had left behind their sunglasses at our house: "Great!" "Excellent" "Yay!" I'm gonna say this software is not ready to pass the Voight-Kampff test.
8:44 PM - 27 May 2019
That’s all for today...
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