Aral Balkan

Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

“People want health care and education to be social goods, not market commodities, so we can choose to put public goods back in public hands. People want the fruits of production and the yields of our generous planet to benefit everyone, rather than being siphoned up by the super-rich, so we can change tax laws… None of this is actually radical.”

Excellent article by Dr. Jason Hickel

Should Data Scientists Adhere to a Hippocratic Oath?

A growing amount of my time is being spent countering Silicon Valley spin:

Aral Balkan argues that an ethics code like that drafted this week could actually worsen societal harms caused by technology. He fears it will be used by corporations as a signal of virtue, while they continue business as usual. “What we should be exploring is how we can stop this mass farming of human data for profit…”

A little reminder that @balsamiq are an indie outfit, wonderful people (<3 @peldi), and make a kick-ass low-fidelity wireframing tool :)

“cornerstone sponsor” is people farmer and titan of , Google.

Their business model is to track you on their own services and devices, across the web, and beyond and then use this intimate insight into you, your family, and your loved ones to manipulate your behaviour for profit.

Can someone remind me what principles stands for again? Maybe Greenpeace is missing a trick by not having Exxon Mobil as a sponsor.

The last episode of the four-part The Guardian podcast I took part in titled “Digital dystopia: taking back control” is now out.

Listen online at:

“In a new project, the RSA and DeepMind are creating space for citizens to consider trade-offs in the use of AI” (

Here’s the letter I sent the RSA, both as a fellow and as someone who has presented an RSA talk on the subject, on how their partnership with Google/DeepMind/Alphabet, Inc. and this framing legitimises the false dichotomy at the heart of that there is a necessary tradeoff between modern technology and .

I want to make one thing very clear regarding

A conference on freedom-and-human-rights-respecting technology should not have a titan of like Google as sponsor. The good people in our community shouldn’t have to choose between having a platform to meet up at and having their legitimacy usurped by association to whitewash such companies. I’m attending under protest to meet and chat to some lovely members of the community.

Google doesn’t belong there.

The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants

Today, in The Guardian:

“I got into the web because I liked the democracy of it,” says Kalbag, who has just published a book titled Accessibility for Everyone… “I want to be able to be in a society where I have control over my information, and other people do as well … I think we have to have technology that serves everybody – not just rich, straight, white guys.”

I’m so bloody impressed with Nuxt/Vue

I mean, I loved my own framework, Set (, but Vue takes the same approach and hits it out of the stratosphere with reactivity and a stellar community, etc. :) Time to retire Set and point people to Vue/Nuxt.

(These ~41 lines – ~30 without spacing/debug info, render my public Mastodon timeline:

“A quick, tiny editor just for writing git commit messages,” did you say?

Well, yes, sure, there’s an app for that :)

No, please, tell me again how unbearably difficult it is to make anything because there are so many libraries and frameworks to choose from these days ;)

HT @cypnk (

Alternate realities in Merkle DAGs?

Was just thinking about the lack of deletes in Merkle DAGs and wondering what would happen if you created two equally valid branches based on whether a parent node is alive (has content) or dead (is a tombstone). Both realities are equally valid until the owner of the shell message collapses the function into a single value by officially observing one of the states as being true with a new message. The other branch then falls off…

404 → 302

A simple gesture for an evergreen Web.

What if links never died? What if we never broke the Web? What if it didn’t involve any extra work?

It’s possible. And easy.

Just make your 404s into 302s.

Thoughts, suggestions, and contributions welcome:

Mark’s 2018 resolution to “fix” Facebook: a bunch of hot air

I’ll be live on @ajenglish NewsGrid around 16:25-16:45 CET today to respond to Mark’s 2018 resolution to “fix Facebook”.

Hint: it’s not broken for shareholders; it’s hugely profitable. You can’t fix its toxicity to human rights and democracy without changing its business model. The only way he could fix it is to shut it down and start a decentralised alternative (ain’t gonna happen).

99% of programming errors are unexpected ostrich problems. (That’s when you expect a duck but you get an ostrich.)

Design or Decoration?

IxDA Berlin just released the video from my talk at September’s event (and they’ve done a great job of editing it, thank you).

Watch it here:

“Be a Coder” book bundle is a steal (~2 days left on it)

The “Be a Coder” Humble Book Bundle at $18 from No Starch Press is worth the price for the excellent Understanding ECMASCRIPT 6 book alone (the DRMed Kindle version of that book by itself was more expensive when I checked the price on Treated myself to it yesterday as a New Year’s present.

Farewell, not goodbye: leaving DiEM25 (or “We need to talk about democracy, transparency, feminism, and Assange.”)

This is not a post I ever wanted to write but it’s time to tie up loose ends before starting the new year. I’ve left DiEM25 and I’d like to explain to you why that is and what I hope DiEM will do differently in the future if it is to realise its tremendous potential to be a force for good in the world.

It’s kinda neat to open a support request and get a personal reply…

PS. The feeling is mutual. Netlify exemplifies great design – it just works and gets out of your way. Simply beautiful.

(Now here’s hoping the $12M in VC from Andreessen Horowitz doesn’t mean Google, etc. buys it at some point. Probably the best hope – unless they can buy their investors out – is for an IPO.)