“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.
Amazon wants to build apps for virtual reality headsets to start selling its products through the new medium, if a new job offer is any indication. The company is currently looking for a “Creative Director, Virtual Reality” whose tasks include to “envision the future of Amazon’s VR solutions and guide our creative and technical teams to produce compelling, world-class experiences.”
Many professional forecasters in Washington make a living out of predicting the kind of world we might inhabit 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. These reports are put together by a committee of dozens of experts, each contributing their best-case (or worst-case) scenarios in politics, society, technology, science and the environment. Governments and companies often use such reports to make decisions about where to invest money, station troops, open factories and how to train future workers. But now thinkers believe that sketching out fictional futures may do more to stimulate people to prepare for the future than multi-chapter white papers with hundreds of footnotes. Two recent studies — the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends: Paradox of Progress” and the Atlantic Council’s “Global Risks 2035: The Search for the New Normal” — both look at the year 2035.
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.
In case you were not aware of Dots, it’s a global phenomenon with a user base of over 100 million downloads. Their top two markets are the U.S. and U.K., with their core audiences residing in NYC and London. The bulk of their user base is 24-34-year-old females that are educated, work in creative industries and generally have no other games on their phone. They view Dots games as a zen-like experience and often play on their commute, to wind down or to daydream.
Art and science can seem so different. Scientists work in teams, in the laboratory; their progress is piecemeal and, by-and-large, they know how to measure its occurrence. Art, so often at least, in contrast, is personal; it’s about the signature achievement of the individual artist. And as for progress, well, that question doesn’t really come up. This month, a new book and a traveling exhibition bring the extraordinary scientific and artistic achievements of Santiago Ramón y Cajal to North America. Cajal’s drawings are a remarkable example of the seminal, creative, re-orienting significance of pictures in science. It is so easy to overlook the importance of visualization to thought and discovery.
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.