Sorry, Mr. Baffert. Your horse is not a victim of cancel culture

There will be no Triple Crown champion in 2021. On a clear spring Saturday in May, 11–1 shot Rombauer stormed past Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, to win the Preakness, the second leg in the premiere series of races for American thoroughbreds.

Bettors who staked their hopes on Rombauer walked away with a nice payday. The rest of us heaved a sigh of relief that Medina Spirit, currently under a cloud of suspicion following a positive drug test, won’t be running for Triple Crown glory in the Belmont.

Will AI replace us or become our next best friend?

Go on the Internet these days and you’re probably going to run into someone or other touting artificial intelligence as the next big thing. To hear some people talk, it’s the key to curing cancer, reshaping the American workforce, and disrupting ecommerce all rolled into one.

While executives envision profit margins boosted into the stratosphere, the state of the union between AI and big business is a little more down to earth. Cognitive technologies have come a long way and continue to develop at breakneck speed. …

Can Big Tech disrupt the global economy?

If you’re like me, you may remember that bygone era when Americans rolled up to drive-through windows and exchanged money with live bank tellers. Then ATMs arrived and forever altered the banking industry. Today, financial services is undergoing another revolution as consumers bypass visits to brick-and-mortar branch offices in favor of mobile and online banking.

To meet changing demands, a new breed of players is getting in on the action. A recent Experian report reveals that a rising number of personal loan balances are going to non-traditional lenders. Unencumbered by outdated legacy software…

The potential and peril of facial recognition

In the beginning of George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, the novel’s everyman protagonist, Winston Smith, encounters a poster with a now infamous slogan. “Big Brother is watching you,” the poster ominously warns. In the bleak world of Airstrip One (formerly known as the UK), the slogan is ubiquitous, popping up on posters and television to reinforce the inescapable gaze of the surveillance state.

When Hollywood released a movie version of Orwell’s novel in 1984, moviegoers found solace in the gulf between Orwell’s dark vision and the sunny optimism of Reagan’s “morning in America.” The Soviet Union’s economy was crumbling and…

Data privacy’s very busy month (October 2019)

October has been a busy month for data privacy. Things kicked off on October 1st when the CJEU issued a landmark ruling on that clarifies consent requirements for cookies. Not to be outdone, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed six CCPA amendments and a related bill requiring data brokers to register with California’s Attorney General. Within days, California’s Attorney General released much-anticipated regulations establishing requirements for implementing the CCPA.

Now that the dust is starting to settle, companies are taking stock of what these developments mean for their business. For many, the new regulations have business leaders breathing a sigh of…

Realpolitik and the double-standard of pandemic stockpiling

I will always remember the day the COVID-19 pandemic became real to me. I was standing in the checkout line at Costco with a case of facial tissue to fill in for toilet paper. When I got to the checker, he confirmed my fears.

“Toilet paper’s all gone. If I were you, I’d come back first thing tomorrow. Everybody’s stocking up for COVID-19.”

I nodded as my eyes swept the checkout line. The checker wasn’t kidding. …

Disney+ won its first head-to-head against Apple TV+. Here’s why Apple still has a path to victory.

Long, long ago, before Baby Yoda became a pop culture phenomenon, in a galaxy that spanned Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Disney and Apple were destined to merge their respective companies to create an unstoppable media empire. At least, that’s the provocative claim Disney CEO Bob Iger makes in his forthcoming autobiography.

In the waning days of 2019, Disney and Apple are no longer playing nice together. Last month, the two companies launched streaming platforms within two weeks of each other. In anticipation of the launch, Iger resigned from Apple’s board, signaling an end to a formerly cozy relationship.

To be…

When it comes to data privacy, the US government holds the winning hand

On November 18th, sometime sparring partners Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook laid down their boxing gloves to tour a facility in Austin, Texas that assembles Macs. For Cook, the tour was an opportunity to showcase Apple’s activities at the three-year-old plant. Trump, apparently, had other ideas. To hear the president speak, the afternoon marked nothing less than the grand opening of a new plant.

We’re seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant. And anybody that followed my campaign, I would always talk about Apple — that I want to see Apple building plants in the…

Narrative as thought experiment

Halfway through November, I’ve come to an important realization. I’m not looking forward to the holidays.

Don’t get me wrong. I love roast bird and pie as much as the next person. My lack of holiday spirit has nothing to do with my disdain for tradition or my dread of family gatherings. This year, I’ve been a little distracted by a media event that has crowded out the visions of sugar plums and chestnuts roasting on open fires. On December 13, Season 4 of The Expanse will drop and the anticipation has reduced my favorite holiday traditions to mere afterthoughts.

How less-than-glowing feedback is making me a better writer

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

I have a confession to make. In the ten years I’ve been writing fiction, I’ve received more negative reviews than glowing ones by roughly a 3:1 ratio and that’s okay, because even brutally honest criticism is making me a better writer.

Trial by Fire

I remember the first writer’s group I attended the way you remember getting picked last for dodge ball in your middle school gym class. The writer’s group met on a biweekly basis and I’d finally screwed up enough courage to submit the…

Heather Havens

I am a thinker, writer, and sometime activist who writes about data privacy, technology, mental health, and entertainment, as well as the occasional novel.

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