Lift 07: Fragments of Captured Attention

Back from Geneva. Here are a couple of short, offline notes I took during the various sessions.

I don’t want to provide a write-up of the sessions I attended. See Stephanie’s or Bruno’s excellent write-ups instead. And in addition, the LIFT 07 videos and presentations will be available online some time soon.

So here’s a list of concepts / ideas / websites I heard about in my usual bullet-list style, i.e. my “fragments of captured attention”:

Lee Bryant: Collective Intelligence
The next development: joined-up social tools.

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Social Funneling – social reading, writing, filtering and eventually information will find me.

Adoption of social tools in corporations: IT is an issue, there are various perceptions of dangers and risks. The default position should be “open”. Practical advise how to introduce social tools: set up pilot projects with small groups.

Users will generally fall into 3 categories:

  • 1% – heavy users
  • 10% – synthesizers
  • The rest – readers (*not* lurkers)

It’s not easy to “create” shared content on a company or corporate level.

Stowe Boyd: Social = Me First
The individual is the new group

There’s a lot of Web 2.0 companies dying off, because their mindset is exactly inverse. Stowe refers to himself as a software psychiatrist.

Discovery is the primary driver. Things like music, places, people, self. If you’re building an app, you need to keep this in mind. In many apps this is often an after-thought.

Paola Ghillani: What kind of Humanity do we want?
She challenged us to think about the technology of our soul, who we are and what is our purpose.

Profit maximisation vs profit optimisation

Apparently even Swiss producers would like to enter fair trade agreements with Max Havelaar.

Favorite quote:

quote i liked

Daniela Cerqui: Towards a Society of Cyborgs?
Daniela, anthropologist, interviewed Kevin Warwick and presented her views and findings on RFID tags, etc.

In 2004, night clubs in Rotterdam and Barcelona introduced membership implants instead of membership cards.

In our society, technology is considered a value. It is an ideology. We need to step back and question developments. We’re part of a social context and we’re on the same path. The line between therapeutic use and social convention is easily crossed.

Julian Bleecker: When 1st Life Meets 2nd Life
Julian mapped 1st life to 2nd life games:

  • Motion: Nintendo Wii
  • Time: Animal Crossing for Nintendo DS
  • Distance: Teku Teku Angel, virtual pet pedometer


Ben Cerveney: The luminous bath: our new volumetric medium

Like Tom, I’ll need some time to reflect and read more on this. Essentially we’re living in a huge bath of data. Media objects or artifacts get meta-tags. Within the bath of data more complex data structures form. There’s some kind of a low-level ability to organise itself. Compare to memotaxis in chemistry.

Aggregate morphologies = mashups

Decanting – take some part of the meta-data
Crstallize – form crystal of data flow which melts away when no longer required
Acculturate – simulate and iterate various paths of evolution applied to different social context.

The data already has an existence of its own. Previous AI models were too abstract…

Adam Greenfield, Everyware: Further down the rabbit hole
The downsides and upsides of pervasive computing, which Adam calls everyware.
Huge new possibilities of surveillance and control,
e.g.

  • Identifying approaching person by their characteristic foot steps and blocking access to building, or
  • Identifying a dangerous area (e.g. high murder rate) in the city will influence our behaviour.

There’s an internet toilet in Japan that analyses body wastes. Developed for medical use but the information could very easily be posted to the net.

Inadvertent: Regarding geospatial data, there are times we don’t want everybody to know where we are. If we click the wrong button (by our own mistake), everybody who asks will know.

Unwilling: Buying a sweater with an RFID tag.

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Who do we turn to to get the settings changed and corrected?

Sessions which I didn’t go to, but I wish I had:
Nathan Eagle
Fabien Giradin

Conclusion:
Working in an IT-centered company, I’d like to point out that there’s an important development going on: the rest of the world is using technology and they’re shaping it. Coders and engineers need to adapt and consider the needs of users. It’s no longer their sole domain.

Unlike typical developer conferences with their usual implicit Windows vs Mac, or Sun vs Microsoft/Eclipse/* religion wars, LIFT has a much wider scope and a diverse audience. I met very different people from diverse backgrounds. There was no talk of which blogging tool or platform to use, etc. Instead, it was more about the ways we’re using technology and the impact it will have on society and on us. It was good to get out and reflect on the big picture, the overview.

Other websites to check out:
Digg Swarm
Joost TV / The Venice Project
Magnatunes

Disclaimer: this is my interpretation and view. If I get something completely wrong, please leave a comment 😉

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