Piers Dillon-Scott


The cashless economy is changing the criminal economy, and other things we learned this week

Digital technology is changing many industries, but it's also changing the criminal economy. Find out how one pickpocket fears his craft won't survive the digital age.

How much cash do you have in your pockets right now? Is it more or less than you would have had five years ago? As cash becomes increasingly scarce, we're changing how we think about, and interact with money. Our cashless future is also changing how we (well, others) steal money. Fifty-eight year old Wilfred Rose is considered by New York's Finest as one of the best pickpockets working in the city. After decades in the business, he was finally caught by subway cops in March. And this might be one of the last arrests for pickpocketing those cops make. According to Rose, he is one of the last in the business; technology, and the social changes it has brought, has made the game harder, while making alternative forms of petty crime more inviting,

"People carry more credit cards and less cash; men wear suits less, and tightfitting pants more. The young thieves of today have turned to high-tech methods, like skimming A.T.M.s."

With more people carrying cards rather than cash, his job has forever changed. But that doesn't mean that we've eliminated such crime – it just means that criminals must adapt to the new digital environment, like the rest of us. Also this week, Al Jazeera looked at how social media is changing how we view the Israel/Gaza conflict; we see how one guy redesigned the Bible to improve the user experience (you decide how successful he's been), and we look at how the BBC responded to viewers' changing expectations, by building a massive multi-sensory theatre in Japan.


Dispatches from the front line

Smartphones and social media are giving us greater access to the Gaza conflict, but how do we separate information from misinformation?

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76,897 genres and still nothing to watch

Netflix reversed-engineered Hollywood's catalogue of films into 76,897 'micro-genres' so it can make better recommendations (via Geoffrey)

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Psychological obsolescence?

Why do searches for 'slow iPhone' dramatically increase when Apple releases a new one? Is Apple messing with older devices, is it planned obsolescence, or is it just psychological?

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#User Journeys

A labour of love

This guy redesigned the Bible for a better user experience. But does it work?

Watch »

#Experience Design

BBC: Modern audiences demand better experiences

Saga and the BBC built a massive multi-sensory room in Japan that recreates different regional environments.

Read More »

#Beautiful Web

The giffiti of London

What if you could animate graffiti?

Watch »

#Internet of Things

Technology has been killing newspaper for 160 years now

A brief prehistory of the Internet of Things

Read More »

#Digital Transformation

The next generation of pickpockets are hackers

He's considered "one of the best" pickpockets in America, but Wilfred Rose fears our reliance on credit cards, and our digital-media-induced shorter attention spans, are putting off the next generation.

Read More »

Illustration: Patrick Cusack

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