Author: Melanie Baker

M-Theory: Here’s what life looks like on crutches Time for tech to help fix the holes in our social safety net for those with mobility issues

Being holed up with a broken ankle this month has made me grateful for the world’s well-developed dedication to e-commerce. I ordered groceries, booked dog walkers, even rented a scooter. I’m doing pretty well, thanks to helpful friends and having a phone/computer, internet connection and credit card. It’s very different from where I might be if I was very old, had a major or chronic medical issue, or lacked financial or tech resources. What we need, though, and what we’re going to need a whole lot more, isn’t a more efficient way to get burritos delivered. While in a...

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M-Theory: Ready to meditate? Wait, while I check my app

I have been fascinated lately with how tech likes to position itself as the solution to problems that it has had a significant role in creating. Because, of course, there’s an app for that. I am entertained and a little impressed by the fact that apps designed to help people become more “mindful,” to get over phone addiction, to help focus or sleep, etc., all seem to require you to: Turn on functionality to enable your phone to track everywhere you go and everything you do. Keep the phone on your person all the time. As I see it,...

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M-Theory: TIME’S UP for tech to balance the gender playing field

Another week, another batch of powerful, high-profile men in the entertainment industry accused of sexual misconduct. One of them even wore a TIME’S UP pin at the Golden Globe awards. Awkward. If you’re not yet familiar, TIME’S UP is an initiative spearheaded by prominent women in the entertainment industry. It has legal, legislative, and policy branches to address sexual harassment, assault, and inequality in the workplace, in Hollywood and beyond. For some hard numbers around why change is desperately needed, this piece in The Atlantic, about the hard math of women’s status and involvement in the entertainment business, makes...

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M-Theory: Charting tech’s path forward for 2018

I spent a lot of 2017 alternating between being angry and tired, which I say as someone with privilege out the wazoo. So when a coworker sent me this Wired piece, The Other Tech Bubble, picking apart tech’s ongoing issues, foibles, and cluenessless, I was all ready to put my snark on blast. Snark is fun, but it’s content junk food, and 2018 is supposed to be our year of action. (Don’t worry, there will be future opportunities for snark.) So instead: some critical and (hopefully) constructive analysis. We already know that diversity makes for better businesses, that harassment...

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M-Theory: St. Nick and the Christmas tech crisis

’Twas days before Christmas, when all through downtown. A commotion was brewing, and rumours swirled ’round. Tech firms had partied and toasted good cheer, And prepared to wind down at the end of the year. But as they were pouring that last glass of ’nog, They started to notice that something was wrong. Websites stopped working; code wouldn’t compile, No e-commerce transactions rang through for a while. Everything had gone missing, an enormous heist. The victims? The naughty, but also the nice. Dozr – no ’dozers, and Kiite couldn’t fly. Axonify – no axons. Bartesian ran dry. Alas, Plum...

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