Staying Naive

Give People The Benefit of The Doubt In a Fake Fake Real Internet World

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Before I could go through the airport security-check in Tel Aviv I had to do an exit interview. Somehow I was already tense before I stood eye to eye with a girl my own age, but her stone-face smile didn’t ease me into the situation.

As she asked me about what I had been doing in Tel Aviv, why I was travelling alone, what I had done in Marocco the year before and similar unrelated questions I noticed my heart beating faster and my palms perspire.

I had done nothing wrong, yet I felt extremely uncomfortable standing there being questioned about my whereabouts. And I felt she picked up on my signals.

A few years ago I was walking around a mall in the Philippines. Usually when I walk around malls the only distraction is when the shop assistant comes by to ask whether I need help. Otherwise I am left alone to my own doing.

However, this time in the Philippines was different. Where ever I went in the store a security guard would follow me a few meters behind.

I am 31 years old. I am white. Probably that is why the stories above standout to me. Usually whatever I do or say are taken for granted. Usually people don’t question my intentions or behaviour. It is an insane privilege that I wish was standard for everyone, anywhere in the world.

In the coming years it is going to be easier than ever to fake voice, video and text. I hope I’ll be able to stay naive and give people the benefit of the doubt. Bringing good intentions and being met with mistrust is a frustrating experience. Hope it won’t win.

Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture

1. AirPods Are a Tragedy

The battery of the AirPods lasts roughly 18 months. Meanwhile it takes a millenium for nature to decompose the earphones. Sometime in the future humans are going to be shaking their heads trying to understand what was happening in 2019.

2. I Let a Stranger Watch Me Work for a Day

The writer of this article went on Focusmate to increase her productivity. Focusmate offers nothing else than a 50 minutes video-call with a stranger. At the beginning of the call, you both outline what you’ll be working on, and by the end of the call you share your progress. Anyone who wants to try this with me?

3. The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet

At first glance the dark forest looks dead, but in reality it is full of life: the animals are just super silent as they are trying to avoid the predators. In this article, one of the Kickstarter founders argues that the Internet has became a dark forest. Instead of assembling in bright daylight, each of us hide in private, gated group conversations. And may I just thank all of you reading along in this newsletter. <3

4. We Are Tenants on Our Own Devices

Zeynep Tufekci writes in Wired about one of the flipsides to the subscription and software-as-a-service model: we become tenants of our own devices. She links this development to the right-to-repair law, arguing that just like farmers should be allowed to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent, so should any user of digital services and products have right over the things they purchase online.

Related reading: Paul Jarvis - Ownership is resistance

5. Instagram’s New Stars: Crime Scene Cleanup Specialists

I often feel nostalgia for the early web days. Back then the websites felt more diverse and authentic. I miss bookmarking websites, I miss my RSS feed, I miss everything before web 2.0 streamlined the Internet.

… and then I read stories like this about true crime cleaners on Instagram with thousands of followers. The Internet is still plural, the Internet is still weird.

Your Inputs Requested: The State of Communities 2019

Together with the rest of the co-matter team (heya Severin, Natalie & Sabina), we just published our annual survey into what brings people together. We look across technology, economy and culture to explore what makes communities thrive in the coming year. I’d appreciate your answers and thoughts.

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

As always a big thanks to the six Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, Søren, Dries, Mikkel, Tina & Angela!

Last week my friend Irina launched a design challenge for the connected home. Please ping your friends if they are working on something in the IoT field! And thanks to Priszci for cool sticker in top of the newsletter.