I'm at Aula, a meeting of creative minds, in Helsinki. Always wonderful to be in Helsinki, especially in the summer. Here are some bits and pieces, an open note pad (but note I didn't blog the best sessions from folks like Clay Shirky, Joi Ito, Dan Gillmor, danah boyd, Alastair Curtis, Martin Varsavsky and others):
UPDATE: Teemu has good notes from the public session.
Jim Griffin gave an impassioned talk about Me Media. His view of media fragmentation is that it is destructive towards communities. Finland happens to be the last bastion, where most people get their news from the same TV channels. While generally in the blogosphere we decry such Cronkite culture, We Media provides a basis of facts that enable people to debate value or policy. With Me Media fragmentation we all get our own Cronkites, preferred by advertisers, we argue about facts. Jim's hope is that we use social media to help defend existing and create new communities. Jim uses language counter to Dan Gillmor's definition of We Media, but they share the same concerns.
Un-wiki: gets quotes from Wikipedia
the free encyclopedia's Deletion Log The Deletion Log is a list of all the
pages that have abused Wiki's democratic remit; it is the last stop on
the way to destruction.
It has small amounts of the offending texts. I'd like to see a wiki comprised of deleted pages.
While on the topic of wikis, David Berlind has a thoughtful and researched post on wikiCalc.
Instructables: Going through time linearly means there is always a sequence of steps for documentation.
Adam Greenfield has a new book on ubiquitous computing called Everywhere. C. Weiser from Xerox PARC: the mainframe is powerful and central instrument that supports community. From sharing one computational resource, to a future where computation will "be invisible, but everywhere around us." Ubiquitous computing is embedded, wireless, imperceptible, multiple and post-gui. Dissolves in behavior. A technological substrate that tends to colonize everyday life, such as the Panopticon or an internet toilet that analyzes your waste and transmits to your doctor. This changes the presentation of self. Alan Finder: for some online persona disrupts a resume. We don't choose to interact with ubiquitous computing, sensors engage you. Proposes five ethical principles:
- default to harmlessness
- be self-disclosing
- be conservative of face
- be conservative of time
- be deniable
Saul Griffith: Computation is 1-2% of energy cost, this will substantially increase with Ubicomp. Cory suggests we should have the right to falsify our RFID data.
Some personal reflections... the larger pattern between the
media and fab movements seems to be that
with both media and computation we used to have central constructs that
built community around it, but now may work against it. I liked how
Adam began his talk with mainframe as community, but I would have liked
to explore Ubicomp as community further. For example, right now I am
sharing a computing resource, the wifi and limited connectivity off of
a tiny little island with 40 people in a round room. We are sharing,
but there is little coordination on how to use this resource.
Recognizing as I write this, I turn off Skype to stop sharing in-room
resources with my extended network. Having a resource be an organizing
construct for a community is of course, a model of scarcity. It wasn't
just consumption as time sharing that fostered community, but what they
built together, the abundance of their ideas and social capital. I'm
interested in how Ubicomp could at the least help us share resources
when scarce, and at the most, discover our ambient abundance.
Joshua Ramo: works for Henry Kissenger and travels often at high speeds. Unlike understanding, Knowledge is falsifyable. It's possible to understand things without knowing them. Studying enlightenment means studying how we move from knowledge to understanding. Kissenger's internet ignorancy theory: you used to have to learn a lot to understand things, but now knowledge is easier to get, but harder to get understanding. Invading Iraq was a Google-compliant decision. Budda reached enlightenment at 36, at an annual average velocity of 0 miles an hour, mostly sitting under one tree. The new speed of enlightenment must be greater than 0. Velocity is not a guarantee of enlightenment. Dominant feature of the world today is constant and accelerating change. If you want to be enlightened you This leads to a corollary observation that modernitys greatest charm and greatest terror is the unpredictability associated with ceaseless innovaiton No one 100 years ago predicted the web or Al-qaeda. A rlife of rapid change is good because it puts you in harmony with the fundamental truths of the world. Side effects: hard to hold on to emotional attachments, have shocking moments of intimacy. The kind of enlightement you get at 0 or high speed: the faster you go, the more you have to be internally stabliizing. Modern life is a ceaseless earthwuake; rapid velocity is the best way to train your own stabilizing mechanism.
Matt Jones brought along a backup Matt just in case. There are a lot of Matts on the internet. Cities and digits are the two megatrends. Parkouriustes, the French notion of moving through cities with mad skillz: The most important element is the harmony between you and the obstacle; the movement has to be elegant... If you manage to pass over the fence elegantly—that's beautiful, rather than saying ‘I jumped the lot.' What's the point in that? Cities are our new nature. Practical superhumanity. Matt Webb talks about supersenses: using information is nothing like moving through space, yet we persist with using direct navigational metaphors. Quinn embedded magnets into her fingertips, and now starts to gain a different sense of information flow, stickiness and texture from metals. Rhinos see the world through smell. How to create a robot-readable planet. Parkours doing a tour of London had to feel out the difference of the streets with their feet compared to Paris. Why only create eye candy when we can create foot candy? Buckminster Fuller: Make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone.
At lunch someone showed me the new Nokia E61 device that looks like a Blackberry-killer.
WidSets: wireless widgets
Jyri Engeström and Mika Raento on social peripheral vision. Phones are designed with the assumption that you know who you want to call before you do. You need to process social signals before using the device. Jaiku, their startup is looking to augment basic functions of a phone by pasting onto it what is happening on the internet. If you can't find anyone in your contact book, you can search a directory made of everyone's contacts. Calendars let you share future events to let you plan together. The demo shows very rich profiles based on phone usage (automatic data) and more social signals (more manual) -- which provides a different form of Presence. In usage, people still call regardless of presence, but when someone doesn't answer, you leverage the presence to understand why. Integrated IM is more convenient than SMS, and includes group messaging.
Justin Hall plays a lot of video games and surfs the web a lot, today he is talking about Bud.com. Games should understand you and adapt to you. Justin is a one man fishing machine on WoW. Oblivion is a massively single player online game, all the scope of WoW and none of the socialization. It watches the way you walk around the world and increases stats depending on how you move. Active Timer is my-ware to do your own data mining. What would you learn about me from how I use the web? Justin is prototyping a system that profiles you, adapts the UI, rewards you (congrats! you leveled in using email!) to create Passively Multiplayer Online Gaming.
Habbo Hotel is a browser based virtual world for teenagers. Now they are prototyping "Mini Habbo" for mobile use. Prototype one focused on the UI, prototype 2 focused on network performance. The demo is really cool, you could see playing with that thing in your pocket. Commercial challenges: teens dont have fancy phones, data traffic costs, missing internet access settings and use context aspects of mobile virtual worlds are still unclear. There is room for exploration: potential for new products and relatively easy to develop.
Similarly, Stardoll is a site for teenage girls, where they design toys, not games, with 100k visitors a day.
Alice Taylor talks about gaming and broadcasting. BBC is transitioning from broadcast to digital media. Broadcast is playout, games are playin. In-world broadcasting is delivery of existing material, such as listening to the real radio while playing a car racing game, or showing TV on a big screen in Second Life. Environments recognize that WoW is an established environment...so now the movie is in the pipeline, film what they are doing within the game. In your average American household 28 hours of TV is watched per week -- which drops to 6 hours per week when there are games (played an average of 24).