As people have become more and more dependent on the Internet, some have concerns that all that information (and the devices that help us connect to it) could be doing seriously damage to the way we think, interact and learn. But Nick Bilton, lead writer for the New York Times Bits Blog, explains in his new book that he’s lived his whole life connected and managed to turn out just fine. He says scientific research backs up his experience.
There are seven species of great ape on the planet. How did the weakest ape come out on top?
With breathtaking scope and depth, archaeologist and prehistorian Timothy Taylor presents a new and much-needed theory of technology. It not only turns Darwinian theory on its head, but also argues that (alongside physics and biology) it is the human relationship with artifice that has as powerfully framed and formed human evolution.
Taylor compellingly displays how from the moment this weak bi-pedal ape chipped its first stone and slayed the stronger mega-fauna, the process of ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ was undermined. From birth to death, from fire, tools, weapons, gifts and image making to screen technologies, it is our innovations that have allowed us to nurture immature offspring, increase protein intake, prioritise innovation, confer strength, define culture and spread ideas.
Taylor goes even further, and asserts not only that technology evolved us, but that it is driven by its own unfolding logic. That the entire system of technological inertia is by now so immense that the sorts of choices left for us to make in the future are essentially trivial.
Join Timothy Taylor at the RSA as he traces our relationship with artefact and technology, from the Venus of Willendorf to Anthony Gormley, referencing a huge range of culture and scholarship, casting a critical and surprising light on what is currently happening to our bodies and minds - why they are progressively and inevitably weakening, and why it may not ultimately matter.
Speaker: Dr Timothy Taylor, reader in archaeology, University of Bradford, editor-in-chief, Journal of World Prehistory and author of The Artificial Ape (Palgrave Macmillan, 9 September 2010)
The year was 1998. Cher’s autotune anthem Believe was one of the year’s biggest hits, Titanic had swept the Oscars, and in some sterile software campus in the Northwest, Bill Gates was rehearsing a deposition.
It’s been over 12 years since Gates’ and Microsoft’s anti-trust battle with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission first hit the courts. It is still seen as a watershed for the management of technology companies in the dot com age.
But in the dozen years that have passed, people are still speculating whether the anti-trust case against Microsoft made any difference, and whether the software and technology companies of today are engaging in anti-competitive practices similar to or more risky than the ones that got Microsoft in trouble.
Who are the Microsofts of today? Facebook? Apple? Google? And how do we manage competition in the digital age?
Today, two of the leading minds on the internet and law, Jonathan Zittrain and Larry Lessig, take on competition.
This is just the pilot of a new monthly feature we hope to have with Jonathan and Larry. Any thoughts on the show? Compliments or criticisms? Share them with us in the comments. We’re also looking for a name for this series. If you have any brilliant ideas drop us a comment!
In one story, a man tries to set the record straight about his life’s achievements, which he says include inventing thumb wrestling and popularizing the eating of shrimp in the New York area. And the story of a seven-year-old old boy trying to figure out where he comes from.
In an era of fast-moving markets and leap-frogging innovators, companies can no longer merely “unlock” wealth. Today they have to actively “create” wealth, or end up in the fossil layers of business history. As a result, brand-builders have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a key role in the next management revolution—the rise of the designful company.
In his session, Marty will explain why design thinking—in its broadest sense—will become the new best practice, and how you can leverage your unique position as a brand-builder to transform the way business does business in the 21st century.
Marty Neumeier began his career as a designer, but soon added writing and strategy to his repertoire, working variously as a designer, copywriter, journalist, magazine publisher and brand consultant. Having developed brand identities for companies such as Apple, Adobe, Kodak and Hewlett-Packard. He has also authored three bestselling books (‘The Brand Gap, ‘Zag’ and ‘The Designful Company’) which discuss how organisations can bridge the gap between business strategy and customer experience.
Between The Alexandrian War of 48 BCE and the Muslim conquest of 642 CE, the Library of Alexandria, containing a million scrolls and tens of thousands of individual works was completely destroyed, its contents scattered and lost. An appreciable percentage of all human knowledge to that point in history was erased. Yet in his novella “The Congress”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “every few centuries, it’s necessary to burn the Library of Alexandria”.
In his session James will ask if, as we build ourselves new structures of knowledge and certainty, as we design our future, should we be concerned with the value of our ruins?
With a background in both computing and traditional publishing James Bridle attempts to bridge the gaps between technology and literature. He runs Bookkake, a small independent publisher and writes about books and the publishing industry at booktwo.org. In 2009 he helped launch Enhanced Editions, the first e-reading application with integrated audiobooks.
Why is it that some projects never rise to the level of the talent of those who made it? It’s oft said regarding good work that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts—a company or team comprised of good people, but yet which produces work that isn’t good.
In his session, John will explain his theory to explain how this happens—in both directions—based on the longstanding collaborative art of filmmaking. Learn how to recognise when a project is doomed to mediocrity, and, more importantly, how best to achieve collaborative success.
John Gruber writes and publishes Daring Fireball, a somewhat popular weblog ostensibly focused on Mac and web nerdery. He has been producing Daring Fireball as a full-time endeavour since April 2006.
He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.
Featured Guest: Matthew Dixon, managing director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice. He is the coauthor of the HBR article Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.
Inclusive Design is currently the domain of people who design physical things, like product designers and architects, but Sandi Wassmer is firm in her belief that Inclusive Design applied in the online environment just makes sense.
The principles of Inclusive Design encompass so many of the practices, principles and guide lines that web designers are already using – Accessibility, Usability, User Centric Design, Progressive Enhancement and User Experience – but unlike each of these discrete practices, Inclusive Design gives desigers the ability to offer choice, as a single design solu tion will never accommodate all users.
Sandi will talk about how the principles of Inclusive Design can be easily adopted by web designers right now. By the end of the session you’ll have the frame work for becoming an inclusion activist!
The games we love also love us back — mostly, by reflecting our successes and failures in delicious ways. This talk will explore the concept of feedback in game design, using examples drawn from both personal & professional experience. We’ll examine a variety of feedback mechanisms (good and bad), and discuss how lessons drawn from these examples can be applied to any user experience.
Robin is a Game Designer and Producer who specializes in new IP aimed at reaching new players. Her titles include MySims and Steven Spielberg’s BAFTA award-winning BOOM BLOX franchise — both made for Nintendo Wii. She recently joined thatgamecompany, whose recent Playstation Network releases Flow and Flower are celebrated for their beauty, whimsy and zen-like economy of action.
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