For the last six months I haven’t written anything. During this thrilling, terrifying, exciting and nerve-wrecking journey I haven’t read any thought-provoking books nor have l listened to any mind-blowing podcasts or engaged in heated debates about inequality and injustice (as I used to). So I simply no longer knew what to write about. I was blocked.
In 2010 I left my comfortable life in Sweden for a job opportunity in Belgium that I could not resist. I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and live abroad. I started working for the largest European network of civil society organizations, advocating for human rights. Before moving on, I would like to share three valuable things I have learned.
The digital development has changed the way we watch movies. We are far away from the time when we used to go into an actual physical shop to rent VCR-movies. While the online world has made consumer’s life much easier, video-on-demand, private copying and piracy has made the screenwriters and directors reality much more complex.
Did you know that the only people who refer to their customers as “users” are drug dealers and technologists. Dopamine plays a role not only in sex and drugs, but also in swiping and tapping the way we do on our smartphones. Changing our online behaviour and getting bored is the way to generating bigger and better ideas, writes Manoush Zomorodi.
Recent years terrorist attacks has led to a political ‘fight against terrorism’, which is fuelling a European populist and nationalist image of a secular and progressive western culture that is being threatened by Islam and migration. LGBT-people and women are being used as part of neoliberal rhetoric to argue that these groups have to be defended by modern nationalism, writes Sörberg.
“Design my Privacy” by Tijmen Schep turned out to be a fascinating reading about how to design services and products to make sure that they strive to make our environment both smart and privacy friendly. Design has to be safe, privacy aware, ethical and socially responsible. If not, big data can be misused to carry out crimes or to discriminate.
Why should you care about the Muslim head scarf ban? One could argue that I shouldn’t bother as at it does not concern me. Some would say Muslims would not agree with my Jewish background, sexual orientation, or my lack of religious faith. I care because when we speak up against discrimination and exclusion of others, we speak up for ourselves too.
Did you know that one of 60 million Europeans have never used the internet, and 45% of Europeans don’t have enough digital skills? This made me think about the fact that I take for granted both internet connection and my digital literacy. It also made me reflect on how much my offline life is a result of my online communication and activities.
I spent the winter holidays in Canada visiting friends in the city I once was a student, Toronto. Going back, more than a decade later, gave me the same feeling I had then as now. A sense of belonging to the city, regardless if I was visiting for a week, a year, or whether I happened to be born there.
Half of the world’s population use the internet. More than 200 billion emails are being sent each day, but very few understand how they reach their destination. Most of us are afraid of complicated technical language and do not realise the issues at stake. Edward Lucas tackles this ‘cyberphobia’ in his recent book, which made me both more aware and interested.