Fellow blogger Mlle. A. pointed out that this kind of discussion isn’t new.
A couple of days ago she sent in an article by Ann Blair on “Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload ca. 1550-1700” published in 2003 in the Journal of the History of Ideas.
As more and more books were published, academics worried about keeping up: they discussed the effects of reading manuals and encyclopedias or reading “only in parts”. And discussed strategies to classify information, added indexes and used cut and paste to arrange the information they received.
Blogging isn’t new either:
“Reading is useless, vain and silly when no writing is involved, unless you are reading (devotionally) Thomas a Kempis or some such. Although I would not want even that kind of reading to be devoid of all note taking.”
With all of the FOG posts regarding Google Maps street views, I decided to have a closer look. It’s a cool tool. I like it very much and can easily imagine using a Wifi-enabled smart phone and this to navigate thru cities unknown.
I remember there was a North German company that had similar visions back in dotcom times (I faintly remember a presentation at the Conti Technology Park in Hannover, but I forget the company name). And at LIFT 07 there was a workshop where people headed out onto the streets of Geneva with their GPS.
Side comment: negative news and criticism often raises awareness for a new service or product just as much as good news. Maybe even more. In a TV interview I heard recently, a Phonak official claimed that the company profited immensely from last year’s “Tour de France” sponsorship despite the Floyd Landis doping scandal.
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.
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.
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,
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.
Who do we turn to to get the settings changed and corrected?
Sessions which I didn’t go to, but I wish I had:
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:
Joost TV / The Venice Project Magnatunes
Disclaimer: this is my interpretation and view. If I get something completely wrong, please leave a comment 😉