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Volume 295

It’s coolsh*t time, and this week we’re steaming in with luxury lavs, Stormzy being a WickedNiceMan, and some robots who build decent houses but questionable toys. And speaking of robots, there’s a realsh*t tech special at the end.

Take a cool sh*t.

Transparent toilet cubicles. Genius innovation, or everyone’s worst anxiety nightmare? The jury’s out, but the people of Tokyo are going to find out how they feel about them real soon. That’s thanks to the Tokyo Toilet Task Force (not their official name), spearheaded by Pritzker prize-winning architect Shigery Ban, along with a dozen other leading designers. Think Jesus and his 12 apostles, but with more squatting and hopefully less crucifixion. Apparently the idea behind these new bogs is to allow prospective patrons to peruse the toilet’s cleanliness before entering. Which I suppose makes somesense… Although, you could have always just opened the door and looked – but hey, I’m not about to tell Shigery Ban, Grandmaster of the TTTF, how to do his job. But suppose they really aren’t clean – now everyone who walks past has to take in that dirty protest, rather than just the few people who dare peak inside? Fortunately though, some privacy is restored when the user is actually getting down to their horrible business, as each cubicle is fitted with “smart glass” that turns opaque when the cubicle is occupied. Let’s just hope nobody ever forgets to lock the door then.

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Ricoh Renovations.

Not being particularly tech-savvy myself, I don’t really understand 3-D printers. But I sure do find them impressive. I remember at school being shown a key fob that had been made using one, and even that seemed pretty mind-blowing. It appears that we’ve moved on a smidge since then, as Belgian construction company Kamp C have just achieved a world first by completing the building of a 2-story house made entirely on one site, and in one piece, using a 3-D concrete printer. Now all they need to do is print a family to live in it and they’re all set. Christ, we’re probably not too far away that. I’m old school though. Yeah, this printer’s done a fine job – but can it take its shirt off and chain-smoke cigarettes in the sunshine whilst charging an exorbitant hourly rate? Didn’t think so.

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Honourable Menschen.

A-Level results days are usually a weird mix of delight and despair – but regardless of what grades you received, you would probably end up in the pub to either celebrate your achievements or drown your sorrows. Sure, plenty of people would be disappointed and probably end up vomiting outside a Wetherspoons, but at least you could be fairly certain that you got the grade that you deserved. This year has been slightly different. In lieu of exams, the government made the decision to award grades based on an algorithm. And seemingly Mr. Algorithm is a bit of dick, as he decided to award thousands of students with results well below their predicted grades. This was a problem all round, but one that was most pronounced in impoverished and under-resourced areas. Well, the algorithm may have let them down, but Big Mike is doing his best to help out. Stormzy’s charitable organisation‘#Merky’ has just donated £500,000 to fund higher education for young people from those communities most under-represented in the university system, marking the first of many donations as part of his foundation’s pledge to tackle racial inequality in the UK. This just once again proves that not only is Stormzy a WickedSkengMan, he’s also probably just a very sound bloke.

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The Toys of 2020.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that AI frightens me. But sometimes I see something that momentarily quells my fears of our inevitable impending doom at the metal hands of the machines, and makes me think that they’re actually just a bunch of dumb robots. For example, if you task AI with the challenge of coming up with some ideas for children’s toys, you get some pretty bizarre results. This is precisely what intelligent marketing tech company Adzooma attempted, as they asked an AI program to predict the top-selling toys and gadgets of 2020. Some are pretty run of the mill, such as ‘Goggle’, an internet-age version of Boggle. The intellectual property police might have a thing or two to say about it, but you could at least imagine it being a real thing. With others, not so much. ‘Hairy Babies’ immediately jumps out as one that probably won’t be picked up by Hasbro any time soon. Forget the toy though; with the way 2020 is headed, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if hairy babies become the next global catastrophe to strike. An entire generation of half-human half-yeti abominations hell-bent on world domination. Oh God, it all comes back to world domination… what if the yeti-babies joined forces with the machines? We really are screwed.

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Speaking of random crap that probably shouldn’t exist, the Supreme AW20 line just dropped. I’m kidding – for better or for worse, I actually like Supreme. They make some good sh*t. Saying that, while the clothes are nice and all, it’s the accessories where they really come into their own. This is largely thanks to a decision that was clearly made years ago to test just what people would be willing to buy if it had a box logo slapped on it. And the answer, as it turns out, is basically anything. Previous favourites include the Supreme Oreo, the Supreme Nunchucks, the Supreme Crow Bar, and the piece de resistance, the Supreme Brick. And after this latest drop, we’ve got a few more blinders to add to that illustrious list. The standouts of the class of 2020 include a very responsible Collab with Colgate to remind hypebeasts that ‘drip’ (I think I used that right) is no substitute for solid dental hygiene. And let’s not ignore the Supreme Jerry Can, which could be a real combustion hazard to fill with petrol since it’s already so ‘lit’ (again, think I nailed that). And last but not least, the Supreme Chucky Doll, which will probably cost about the same as an Audi A3. We live in a strange time.

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Realsh*t: Technology Special.

Is tech a necessity? Is a technological revolution inevitable or is there a resistance to iteration and versioning? Are people happy to surrender their data freely or are there bigger concerns around the issues of privacy and trust?
We asked our SELFHOOD network how important technology is to them, and where they think the future of tech is heading.

Go To SELFHOOD page.