10 stories this week (w/e 28 Mar)

3:10-min read

Hello from 20 Minutes into the Future. Welcome to our weekend complement to the normal weekly commentary. Below you’ll find 10 links to stories that also take a critical look at how technology is shaping our lives today.

⓵ Wired asks “why don’t we just ban targeted advertising?” I ask that an awful lot too. Like a lot a lot. Slapping advertising on everything is a staggering lack of imagination. We desperately need new models.

⓶ Really proud to have co-authored this manifesto for society centered design. Please give it a read and share. Then reach out to co-sign.

We’ve had enough. We must advocate for civic valueequity, the common goodpublic health, and the planet. We need a new framework for design and data that is purpose-built for the 21st century. We want to move beyond human-centered design to society-centered design. We must design for the collective. We must design for society.


⓷ The Covid-19 pandemic makes this effort from Code for America even more important:

How can government agencies make it easier for people to receive public benefits online and through mobile? The San Francisco nonprofit Code for America has a blueprint called “Human-Centered Safety Net.” It’s a set of five design principles that government agencies can use to improve the usability of a range of programs and application processes.


⓸ Improving the usability of application processes is a band-aid on a gaping head wound however. We need a real safety net for Americans. And healthcare that cares for all. It’s an appalling shame that GoFundMe has tried filling that role in recent years. Saying that however does not denigrate the good that people are doing with the platform:

People have created more than 35,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe campaigns in recent weeks, raising more than $60 million already. They are raising money to buy medical supplies and protective equipment, support jobless workers, pay for medical treatments and more. Those are unprecedented numbers for GoFundMe, and people are making more COVID-19 campaigns every day.


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⓹ It’s rare to hear good news about warehouse workers at Amazon...

⓺ …because bad news is all too common.

⓻ Of course, Amazon isn’t the only big tech company failing to look out for the safety of their workers. Uber remains remarkably terrible in that regard too.

⓼ Twitter has recently made bold moves to remove Coronavirus misinformation from its platform. Sadly the continue to unevenly enforce their policies. Profitable shitheads like Elon Musk are above the tos apparently.

Sick and tired of big tech behaving badly? 20 Minutes into the Future is about holding the bastards to account. One way we can do that is by spreading the word of their misdeeds.


⓽ Rachel Coldicutt and other designers and technologists (myself included) Are calling upon the “NHSX leadership and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ensure new technologies used in the suppression of Coronavirus follow ethical best practice.”

⓾ And this is why: NHSX has contracted vital data ops for the UK’s Covid-19 response to Palantir. A company best known for running America’s concentration camps. Regardless of the crisis and whatever perceived safeguards are in place this is a monstrous moral decision.

Dig deeper with these stories from 20 Minutes into the Future:

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20 Minutes into the Future is a critical look at how technology is shaping our lives today. And what actions we can take for a better tomorrow. If you're not already a subscriber and found this newsletter worth your while then please sign up.

My name is Daniel Harvey and I write 20 Minutes into the Future. I’m a product designer and have written for Fast Company, Huffington Post, The Drum, & more. If you're pissed about the current state of tech and want to see us do better then you’ve found a kindred spirit.

You can email me at daniel.harvey@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @dancharvey.