"The actual path of a raindrop as it goes down the valley is unpredictable, but the general direction is inevitable," says digital visionary Kevin Kelly — and technology is much the same, driven by patterns that are surprising but inevitable. Over the next 20 years, he says, our penchant for making things smarter and smarter will have a profound impact on nearly everything we do. Kelly explores three trends in AI we need to understand in order to embrace it and steer its development. "The most popular AI product 20 years from now that everyone uses has not been invented yet," Kelly says. "That means that you’re not late."
Tagged with “innovation” (36)
How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."
The Creator Economy
Media innovations drive economic shifts, Saffo began.
“We invent new technology and then use it to reinvent ourselves.”
The Industrial/producer Economy.
At the beginning of the 20th century the leading scarcity was stuff, and so manufacture was systematized.
By 1914 one of Ford’s workers could buy a Model T car with four month’s salary.
Production efficiency won the Second World War for the allies.
In 1944 the US was producing 8 aircraft carriers a month, a plane every five minutes, and 50 merchant ships a day.
The process became so efficient that its success ended the dominance of that economy.
That always happens.
“Every new abundance creates an adjacent scarcity.“
The Consumer Economy.
The new scarcity was desire.
1958 brought the first credit card.
The CEOs of leading companies shifted from heads of production to heads of marketing.
Container ships doubled global trade.
The Creator Economy.
In 1971 Herbert Simon predicted, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently.”
The new scarcity turned out to be engagement.
The mass media television channels that had dominated the Consumer Economy were overwhelmed by personal media—YouTube, eBay, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Google, Etsy.
Hollywood was overwhelmed by video games.
(The blockbuster movie “Avatar“ opened in 2009 with a $73 million weekend.
The previous month, the game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” sold $310 million in 24 hours.)
Mass participation became the new normal.
Stuff is cheap; status comes from creation.
Value is created by engagement—-from Wikipedia entries to Google queries to Mechanical Turk services to Airbnb to Uber to Kaggle analyses.
Burning Man sets the standard of “no spectators.”
Makers insist that “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.”
Saffo advised recalling four warnings for revolutionaries.
1) There are winners and losers.
2) Don’t confuse early results with long-term outcomes.
Successful insurgents become over-powerful incumbents.
Technologies of freedom become technologies of control.
If we want privacy now, we have to pay extra for it.
As with our smart phones, we will subscribe to self-driving cars, not own them.
With our every move tracked, we are like radio-collared bears.
Our jobs are being atomized, with ever more parts taken over by robots.
We trade freedom for convenience.
Over the 30 or so years remaining in the Creator Economy, Saffo figures that we will redefine freedom in terms of interdependence, and he closed with Richard Brautigan’s poem about a “cybernetic ecology” where we “are all watched over by machines of loving grace.”
Walter Isaacson | The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Bestselling biographer Walter Isaacson’s portrait of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, released just weeks after the tech guru’s death, became an international bestseller and broke all records for sales of a biography. Isaacson has also penned “energetic, entertaining, and worldly” (The New Yorker) bios of Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger, and Albert Einstein. The president and CEO of the Aspen Institute for educational and policy studies, he has also served as the chairman of CNN, managing editor of Time magazine, and chairman emeritus of Teach for America. The Innovators is the revealing, century-spanning saga of the people who created the computer and the Internet.
Walter Isaacson’s passion lies at the intersection of American culture and technology. Most of his biographies—of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs—examine the innovators behind the devices and programs that lie at the heart of our society.
His latest book, "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution," focuses on the community dynamics that have helped build the technology that drives the United States today.
At the event "Science and Story: The History of the Future," produced by the World Science Festival in collaboration with the New-York Historical Society, Issacson told John Hockenberry that one of the driving ideas behind "The Innovators" was to dispel the "lone wolf" myth of modern technology.
"We give a little too much credit to the lone inventor who, in the basement or the garage, comes up with a lightbulb moment and innovation occurs," he says.
Isaacson also explores the intersection of culture and technology in American history and in our lives today. "There are two distinct strands, I think, in the American character, which you can read [Alexis de] Toqueville on," he explains.
"One is our maker culture character, the quilting bees and barn raisings and everything else. The other great strand in the history of technology and the history of America is to form community and to make connection," he says. "And those two strands interweave interestingly, because the do-it-yourself culture in America is really a do-it-ourselves culture in which people love to get together and sort of do a barn raising together or a quilting bee together or a Maker’s Faire together."
In which George goes to China, George and Justin undertake an informal (covert?) ethnography of cat-based surveillance, and Dan Williams drops by to talk about intermodal container shipping, satellites, and GPS. Intro and outro music courtesy, as ever, of Chris Arkenberg.
Links and works referenced:
Fail Better (Science Gallery Dublin)
It’ll Never Work (BBC)
The Monopoly of Legitimate Use (Tobias Revell, Lighthouse Arts)
The Secret Life of The Cat (BBC)
Mongolian Death Worm: Caught on Camera (National Geographic)
Autographer wearable camera
Data Protection Act 1998
Spiders (Electric Sheep Comix)
Sleep Dealer (2008)
Google Trekker to put the Galapagos Islands on Street View, one tortoise at a time’ (Engadget)
Strayed, C. 2013. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage Books)
The Business of Ferrets
‘Shanzhai’s Role in Innovation Strategy’ (Design Mind)
‘China’s Absorptive State’ (NESTA)
‘Hai gui’ (New York Times)
‘Making in China: Maker Faire Shenzhen highlights the global politics of the ‘maker movement” (Guardian)
The Mission to Seafinders
Clare, H. 2014. Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men (Chatto & Windus)
Appel, H. 2012. ‘Offshore work: Oil, modularity, and the how of capitalism in Equatorial Guinea’, American Ethnologist 39 (4): 692-709.
Maersk Line Triple-E (Lego)
Little Emma (Dan Williams)
Maersk Line (Vimeo)
HMS Lutine (Lloyds of London)
‘The Wireless Operators, the Distress Call and the Rescue Ship Carpathia’
European Satellite Navigation Systems (EU)
GPS (James Bridle)
Where You Are (James Bridle)
‘NASA Signs Over Historic Apollo-Era Launch Pad to SpaceX’ (Space.com)
In which George talks about copper in Zambia and China, and James Bridle drops by to talk about museums, party balloons, surveillance, and his experiences flying a blimp (‘kite’) over London. Intro and outro music courtesy, as ever, of Chris Arkenberg.
Links and works referenced:
‘Mining Copper in Zambia’ (Fast Company)
‘China’s giant pile of copper is inflating its credit bubble’ (Quartz)
‘Why a collapse in copper prices is a worrying sign for China’s financial system’ (Quartz)
‘Americans and Chinese are buying houses so you should buy copper’ (Quartz)
‘Chinese mining firms in Zambia under fire for mistreating workers’ (Guardian)
‘FTSE4Good Index Series: measuring environmental and social standards’ (Guardian)
Mollas-Gallart, J. 1997. ‘Which way to go? Defence technology and the diversity of ‘dual-use’ technology transfer’, Research Policy 26 (3): 367-385.
Grätz, T. 2003. ‘Gold-mining and risk management: A case study from Northern Benin’, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 68 (2): 192-208. [Benin rather than Zambia, and gold rather than copper; whoops.]
Rapid Response Collecting (V&A)
‘Rapid Response Collecting at the V&A’ (Icon review)
‘3D-printed guns: easy to print, a nightmare to import’ (Wired.co.uk)
‘Why all the fuss over the V&A’s 3D-printed gun? It’s a symbol - not a threat’ (Independent)
Digital Revolution (Barbican)
Talk to Me (MoMA)
‘@ in Context: Criteria for an Acquisition’ (MoMA)
Right to Flight
‘The right to flight: why I’m flying a balloon over London this summer’ (Guardian)
Where do the boldest innovations, with the deepest consequences for society, come from?
Many business leaders, entrepreneurs, and libertarians claim that the private sector leads the way always, and government at best follows by decades and at worst impedes the process with bureaucratic regulations.
Mariana Mazzucato proves otherwise. Many of the most profound innovations—from the Internet and GPS to nanotech and biotech —had their origin in government programs developed specifically to explore innovations that might eventually attract private sector interest. Ignoring this entrepreneurial risk taking role of government has fuelled a very different story about governments role in the economy, and also fuelled the dysfunctional dynamic whereby risk is socialised—with tax payers absorbing the greatest risk—- but rewards are not. Mazzucato will argue that socialization of risk, privatization of rewards is not only bad for the future of innovation eco-systems but also a key driver of inequality. What to do about it?
Mazzucato is a professor of the Economics of Innovation at Sussex University and author of The Entrepreneurial State: debunking private vs. public sector myths.
Michael Nelson, Associate Professor at Old Dominion University, developed, along with colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, “Memento,” a technical framework aimed at better integrating the current and the past web. In the past, archiving history involved collecting tangible things such as letters and newspapers. Now, Nelson points out, the web has become a primary medium with no serious preservation system in place. He discusses how the web is stuck in the perpetual now, making it difficult to view past information. The goal behind Memento, according to Nelson, is to create an all-inclusive Internet archive system, which will allow users to engage in a form of Internet time travel, surpassing the current archive systems such as the Wayback Machine.
Journalist and academic Aleks Krotoski presents the second of her three guest curated events on the theme of ‘Connections’.
James Burke takes a sideways look at the connective nature of innovation and its social effects. Two ideas come together to produce something that is greater than the sum of the parts. The result is almost a surprise (in the way, for instance, the first typewriters boosted the divorce rate!).
Innovation has usually attempted to solve some aspect of the problem with which we have lived for two million tool-using years: scarcity. As a result, our institutions, value systems, modes of thought and behaviour have all been shaped by the fact that there’s never been enough of everything to go around.
However, thanks to the internet and a radically-accelerated rate of connective, inter-disciplinary innovation, we may be on the verge of solving the problem of scarcity once and for all. In ways that may really surprise us. What will abundance do to us? And how should we prepare for it?
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