NEWS FOR SMART DATA-DRIVEN AUGMENTED CREATIVE PEOPLE
Dear Reader – Welcome to your weekly round-up of news you need to know – for smart, data-driven, augmented, creative people.
Change the world! Brendan Harkin
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“I’ve always been careful to never predict anything that had not already happened” Marshall McLuhan.
A nice little 6-minute intro to AI. It’s important that people become generally familiar with what is happening and why it’s important. ‘Software is eating the world’, right? And here’s a nicely done ‘Periodic Table of AI’ that lists every buzzword and concept you’ll need to know about AI for that next executive management retreat.
The authoritative CB Insights (you must subscribe to them) lists imminent Future Tech Trends: customized babies; personalized foods; robotic companions; 3D printed housing; solar roads; ephemeral retail; enhanced workers; lab-engineered luxury; botroots movements; microbe-made chemicals; neuro-prosthetics; instant expertise; AI ghosts. You can download the whole outstanding report here (125 pgs). Perfect plane reading. Print it out and keep it on your desk.
“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal.” ― George Orwell, 1984.
As previously mentioned, ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers centres on an omnipotent hybrid of Google, Twitter and Facebook, and asks exacting questions about their shared vision of the future, the timing is perfect – chiming with rising angst about the digital giants’ imperial approach to information, and the sense that their power and recklessness is now having real-world impacts. Here’s the trailer for the film again, and here’s a great article from The Guardian on the insidious workplace practices now surrounding us and spying on us, veritable and creepy Big Brother practices. Remember Radiohead’s prescient ‘Fitter Happier‘?
Before VR can really hit it big, someone must build the best cameras, make the best content, find the best ways for people to consume that content, and work out a way to monetize the whole shebang. And that’s IMAX’s thing. As Hollywood begins to brace itself for what some people think will be the most important new storytelling format since movies were invented, IMAX thinks it can lead the way. It’s betting big on proving that.
Shelley Palmer identifies 5 awesome illegal uses of Alexa. Meanwhile, all those people asking Alexa to order kitchen supplies, turn on the lights, or play music gives Amazon a valuable stockpile of data that it could use to fend off competitors and make breakthroughs in what voice-operated assistants can do. “There are millions of these in households, and they’re not collecting dust,” Nikko Strom, a speech-recognition expert and founding member of the team at Amazon that built Alexa and Echo, said at the AI Frontiers conference in Santa Clara, California, last week. “We get an insane amount of data coming in that we can work on.” Lastly, Jack Ma outlines the difference between Amazon and Alibaba – one’s a Platform and one’s an Empire.
LinkedIn just gave its desktop UI the full Beverly Hills makeover. This wasn’t a nip-and-tuck or a light rhinoplasty. It was a shave-some-bone-and-redistribute-some-toochis-fat overhaul to make the professional social network look like its frenemy, Facebook. It is a welcome upgrade to a kludgy design that even company co-founder Reid Hoffman once conceded “needed work.”
Here at Sundance New Frontiers the focus is squarely on VR where the art is emerging more quickly than any entertainment value. Business Insider wonders what happened to Virtual Reality. There’s no doubt in my mind that the real opportunities are in non-entertainment applications, and probably in AR rather than VR. For example, DigiLens’ technology can enable “eyeglass-thin” AR heads-up displays for motorcycle helmets, car windshields, VR headsets, aerospace applications such as fighter jets, and AR smart glasses.
If you’re interested in the Oculus vs ZeniMax IP court case featuring Mark Zuckerberg and legendary creator of Doom, John Carmack, here’s good summary from UploadVR. And Zuckerberg is involved in another legal stoush – he purchased a 700-acre plot of land in Hawaii in 2014 for more than $100 million. Zuckerberg has begun filing lawsuits against Hawaiian land owners who own small slices of his estate that were passed down from generation to generation. As many as eight suits have been filed against hundreds of people. The Facebook chief is using a legal manoeuvre called “quiet title and partition,” which forces owners of undeveloped land to sell the property in a public highest-bidder auction. It’s a case of “When Privacy matters”, as The Verge wryly notes.
A new immersive art installation in the heart of Silicon Valley was dreamed up by David Byrne, the front man of the Talking Heads, and loosely modelled after the work of neuroscience and psychology labs at top institutions like Caltech and Harvard.
A bit of fun – PhotoSpots takes the form of a heat map showing the most photogenic and inspiring photo locations all over the world. This super useful crowdsourced interactive tool can drill up or down to any level was created by Mike Wong. Have a play here.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
Modern Masters of the ineffable, the impossible, and silence: John Cage and Samuel Beckett have had volumes of their letters published. Meanwhile, Meredith Monk, a performance artist who makes space in her work for silence, and draws together some of her overarching themes, including Tibetan Buddhism, meditative performance, and the shamanic tradition of giving voice to things that don’t have voices of their own.