Ben’s 2014

Twenty fourteen: a cold dawns over the social reality of a connected world. The year of outrage spread thick. Slate did a magnificent interactive piece that will really drive this home for you.

I found myself and colleagues at the center at one point, confronting my own sense of social security & symbolism. I spent a lot of time thinking about states (lovely experiences with immigration) and failed states (and the failure of institutions). Grey hair setting in.

The year is ending with Sunday morning news anchors openly discussing “retaliatory and offensive cyber operations,” because we are to believe that Kim Jong-Un has leveled a punitive cyberstrike at the heart of American capitalism, freedom of speech, and a right to stale dick jokes…

For me another fortunate year, though filled with challenges and opposite poles. At work, I stepped into outward strategic development role, logging many miles and growing our digital literacy focus to include Latin America, South Asia and East Africa. I architected a plan and helped assemble a team to develop a mobile creation tool for first-time smartphone users. This is part of a joint initiative with GSMA to accelerate local content creation and ensure that the web is relevant to the next wave of users.

I spoke to GCAP about customer empowerment, with a healthy dosage of skepticism. These kinds of exchanges are helping to envision a possible future for Mozilla in the developing world that integrates $25 phones, program delivery, and maybe even mobile money and microfinance…

I gave a cool talk at Tribeca Film Institute on privacy and personalized storytelling.

At ITP, I led a new graduate workshop on “Flying Robotic Journalism.” Two semesters running. No one died or arrested yet.

I’ll be spending a bit less time in New York. This started with a brief sabbatical (exile?) in Cassis over summer. Here I am in Paris in winter. But 2015 looks bright—home is where the hearth and heart is. And if I’m lucky, 2015 will be full of interesting problems, new projects, and plenty of time with the people I love.

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