Gordon Bell of Microsoft Research told us this weekend at his session on the My Life Bits project that categorizing and tagging all the data in his life would take another lifetime, so that's why he's hired an assistant.
I decided I didn't have another lifetime (or even an assistant) to clean up all the notes from this weekend's intense Accelerating Change Conference 2004. And I'm guessing you'll value immediacy over quality editing.
Realizing most of us can quickly skim even long passages, I decided to share my notes "as is" (I've clearly delinated each new speaker) with you in their entirety. Divided into Day 1 and Day 2 as that is how I took the notes.
This will allow me to also blog on what I thought the highlights and key takeaways were in my view while I still have some energy.
If you find something that strikes your interest as you peruse the notes, then go to IT Conversations to hear the session in its entirety or consider buying a DVD (all the DVDs were available at the show, so it's just a short matter of time for the order form to go online).
And there's never any replacement for being there in person (virtually doesn't cut it), so jot down next year's dates, October 28-30, 2005 at Stanford University (more info) and I'll see you there.
Day 1 notes follow. (Day 2 coming after I grab some lunch.)
DAY 1. Accelerating Change Conference 2005
Theme: Physical Space, Virtual Space and Interface
John Smart, President, ISAC - Introduction/Opening
Life is too short not to pursue our passion, are the very first words from John Smart, president of the ISAC, whom is kicking off the conference. He quotes Buckminster Fuller: You can't get an unbiased education, so the next best thing is a multi-biased education. [Great quote!] Let's look at issues from several angles to sift the truth. [I really enjoy the 'debate' format of several sessions.]
The goal of the Accelerating Change conference is to be the foremost futurist conference. And ACC sees technology as a lever, as Archimedes would say, for positive change.
John is encouraging us not to spend all our time (if you're not a blogger that is ;-)) in sessions alone. Just like in a university, half of your education comes not from the program itself but from your peers. All the amazing people in the audience have self-selected to be here - meet them.
How can change be positive? There's a lot of talk about offshoring especially to India and China. (And actually ISAC, a non-profit, outsources their own I.T. needs to India.) But the Chinese themselves have lost 10 million jobs to factory automation. Innovation is always disruptive - but is there a way to keep it creative as Joseph Schumpeter would say instead of destructive.
There is only so much this conference can cover in 2 1/2 days. There are many areas of innovation. For example...
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and now of the Omidyar Foundation, wants to innovate around the concept of microfinancing initiated by Grameen Bank and develop microcredit securities (via mortgage-backed securities) to spur local community economic development.
New Balance, the shoe company, does all their manufacturing in U.S. employing a lot of innovative automation and processes. Their market share went from 2% to 10% within last year.
Cleaned up version blogged: http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/11/accelerating_ch_3.html
Keynote speaker: Helen Greiner, iRobot
(Topic originally: Mobile Robots - Saving Time, Money, and Lives) but changed to: Business Mechanisms to Accelerate Change
You may have heard of their most popular product, Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner. They've sold a million units. [BTW, it's rare to see the first keynote speaker at a technology conference as a woman.] Her background is in mechanical engineering and computer science background from MIT.
I'm going to talk about business mechanisms to accelerate change. First ten years we didn't even talk to venture capitalists - we were busy inventing the technology.
Robotics is not like a lot of other industries in terms of capital available and technical drivers. Our uber-mission at iRobot is "freedom from tedious and dangerous jobs."
We are creating a new industry in commercial robotics. We believe it's a technology trend for the next ten years - not just for vacuums. From tractors to construction equipment to automobiles. Our vision in domestic arena is to make household chores history. Dusting, window washing, bathroom cleaning. We've been building robots as a company since 1990 with mixed results - some didn't have a good business model. It takes a lot of experimentation and innovation. We need to take advantage of other innovation not just that in our company.
Mechanisms to Accelerate Change that iRobot has employed include:
Capital. It's very difficult to raise capital in robotics.
Government sponsored research. So we also looked at other ways to raise money. We worked with DARPA to build robots to help Marines avoid going into dangerous situations. For instance, PackBots are used in cave clearing. They don't know what's in there - perhaps a land mine or weapon caches. They are using robots to see what's there first and then go in.
Tech transfer from university research. We partner with universities on research. We doing work on swarm intelligence - for instance, a swarm of 120 robots all working together and autonomously cooperating. In one case, the robots as a group are told to find specific orange items and eventually through biologically-inspired - i.e. ant colony pheronomes - algorithms when one finds the orange object they all do. Now imagine instead of a benign orange object that they are told to locate a chemical spill or a land mine.
Tech transfer from research labs. A naval lab has used their robots in research on simultaneous localization and mapping.
Taking advantage of exploding exponentials. How can the robot be more intelligent and efficient through advances in other technology?
Intel, AMD, Freescale computer chips are innovating quickly. A lot of changes in: personal storage, price of gene manipulation, wireless bandwidth and range, to the home "wired" bandwidth, backbone bandwidth, cameras in the environment, speech vocabulary recognition, power supplies, etc.
OEMs in the field.
Strategic relationships. An example is in 1998 we started working in the toy industry. We were proud to have prototypes in the $200 range. That is until we started to talk to toy industry folks and they thought we were insane. We learned from our toy industry partners to achieve a price point closer to $20.
We also partnered with John Deere for applications in industrial equipment and vehicles. You can learn a lot from folks in different industries with different core competencies. [The book, The Medici Effect states that innovation comes at the "Intersection" - i.e. where two or more different fields meet - so this sounds like a great strategy.]
New applications. We didn't start out as a vacuum cleaner company or a defense company, but as a robotic company. For instance, there are shifts in demographics toward an older population but there are not enough care-giving to go around. Can robots help people be more independent? Also telemedicine.
Cleaned up version blogged: http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/11/business_mechan_3.html
Keynote Speaker: Shai Agassi, SAP, Achieving Enterprise Agility
Shai Agassi, executive board member at SAP - one of the largest software companies in the world - is the next keynote speaker. He's responsible for SAP's overall technology strategy. His topic is Achieving Enterprise Agility.
I am considered the futurist in our company. Our company is very sales-driven so we're making futurist predictions when they talk about the next quarter - but I myself look out five years.
Nicholas Carr asks in his book, Does I.T. Matter? He equates computer industry to train industry AFTER all the train tracks have been laid. But the computer industry is different. Most of I.T. investment happened in the last 20 years reduces process execution time. We're at 200 millisecond transactions. So the question is valid, why would you invest to go from 200 millisecond to 20 millisecond.
The next challenge is "time to change."
However, products life cycles haven't moved as fast. And even change management - the corporate inertia - those events such as a merger takes 18 months in a corporation. A corporate venture can take 18 months to reflect in the business.
We look at systems that define core and context. (You have to read two books by Geoffrey Moore to work in the Valley.)
focus: differentiation focus: productivity
Mission critical advantage Innovation Standardization
Enabling activities Invention Commoditization
Source: Geoffrey Moore's book, Living at the Fault Line.
Core process is to fly the plane. We bring most of our airplanes back down to earth is not a differentiator.
It's a circle - which start at Invention -> Innovation -> Standardization -> Commoditization
we're starting to see emergence of something we call composition. There is a company in Europe that looks at the supply chain and asks every Monday what's cheap? A bit like using Google to type in what's in your fridge and getting a recipe back. And then they offer that for sale.
new I.T. capabilities required for this evolution
applistructure - the merging of applications and infrastructure
The four players microsoft, oracle, IBM and us. Our stuff makes your company run but doesn't really differentiate it. IBM says 'we'll run the stuff that's not critical to your business and we'll do it on demand". With Oracle we'll differentiate through your database - but it's one-off.
Microsoft is often where most people start with but it's arguable whether it scales.
Microsoft in the invention quadrant, oracle in innovation, ibm in commoditization, and SAP in the standardization quadrant.
There's about 10,000 objects are like the language or lingua franca of business - it's the core stuff that's in most of the companies in the world. Now at the layer above the composition platfrom (NetWeaver) will be about 10,000 companies. Composite applications are built from this platform.
SAP is in a remote place. If software wasn't dominant industry because of SAP
three tiers - database, application and client. Oracle standardized the database and Microsoft the client. In the middle there were many many applications - JD Edwards, SAP, etc. Composite solutions are what will be bought and sold. You don't buy the parts for a car, you buy a car. IT will take 5-8 years.
Linux is attacking at the desktop. And database engines will get attacked by companies like mySQL.
Longer Term Trends
Wired Tired Retired
services platform database file system
event centricity transaction batch
devices clerks not knowing
(including, RFID enabled objects)
exception handlers MRP planners
mobility desktop terminal (desktop become secondary)
modeling offshoring coding
(cheaper people not enough; we're moving away from code to visual models of process flows that can be managed by business people; as big a shift of what happened in telco industry when they were worried about running out of switchboard operators; code is hard to maintain - more system design oriented people than coders - just changes the skills not necessarily number of people; yes, less coders. You need to be close to the people to write these models.)
domain specific language java cobol
autonomous systems system integration IT management
(system monitors its own health and its own usage)
grids server farm mainframe
office office office
Cleaned up version blogged (much better tables!): http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/11/enterprise_agil.html
David Brin, Author-Physicist, Evaluating Horizons: What Limits Our Ability to Cope With Accelerating Change?
Joking about transition from astronomer/physicist to becoming a sci-fi author to becoming a pundit for openness. There are two ways to look at the future and the past. Almost every civilization the golden age of the past is romanticized - they knew more, they fell from state of grace perhaps from hubris trying to appropriate the god's power.
Difference between these worldviews are profound and to a large extent mutually incompatible. The term: Eternal human verities. True, there are some fundamental truths. Post-modernism's everything is an opinion is just as dopey as pre-set stage for someone's acid trip 2000 years ago. Buddha and Jesus said we fool ourselves. This is the allegory of the cave by Plato. Therefore, you cannot know for sure what THIS is. So give up. Seek real truth through incantations of faith, reason, meditation.
Mathematicians actually believe you can prove something. Galileo said what he wants to see interferes with what he sees. But through repetitive falsifiable experimentation and the gift of criticism...and criticism is repressed by leaders. It's a threat to their personal power. The more you repress criticism of your mistakes the more trouble you're in.
Galileo said, you are right. I don't know exactly what THIS is. My preconceptions, etc. will get in the way. With the help of criticism I can find out what it is not. [Neti] If you're not making falsiable statements - it's not science.
I have been reading Theodore Sturgeon "More Than Human" soon to be out. Do you believe that caloric restriction will double our lives as it does for lab rats? We're already the Methuselahs of the world. We already living as long as the long-lived mice.
Look forward versus look backward worldviews. I'm a romantic. Late at night, I'm Shelley screaming at God. It's great stuff but it belongs nowhere near public policy.
We carry baggage from the past - huge amounts of baggage. Why can we look forward to a Golden Age?
Before the fall from Eden what was asked of us. Before sin. There is one moment that God asks us a favor: To name all the beasts. Can you think of a better allegory for science?
The will to believe despite evidence is the romantic one. We need to talk to people - not stymize them. We only fire their ire if we don't have a dialogue. If you look at distribution of votes within Ohio, within Florida - rural American is pitted against urban American. 70+ Republican papers changed their stance for the first time. But we were were showing our bigotry by only looking at urban America - but we're not all there is, are we?
Romantics don't have to be grateful, but they do have to be dragged into this century.
The way to do that is not aggressively, it's with love. Every citizen in Manhattan should adopt a small town in Ohio and invite them to their homes for a week.
The point is that we have to think about the topic of this conversation: Horizons. One of the reasons we are capable of looking to the future golden age has to do with certain basics of human sanity. Sanity was used as a bludgeon to disparage those that were different. Post-modernists don't want us to us the world sanity or truth - ever.
How many of you would say you and your neighbors are surrounded by propaganda?
You will not find a popular movie in which the hero does not bond with audience through some small eccentricity and shows suspicion for authority and the bad guy doesn't show intolerance. No one ever wants to believe that their own beliefs are the result of propaganda.
undue authority by elites
Sanity should be adaptability - ability to take new information and change your mind. It should have tolerance built into it. And it should have satiability. If you get the very thing that you said you wanted - shouldn't it make you happier? Most therapists throughout the world agree that mentally ill relentlessly show the trait of insatiability. When they get what they said they want - it doesn't make them any happier.
Tolkien and other romantic legends don't show us democracy. They have kings. Good kings, but kings nonetheless.
This is first society that the well off out-number the poor. That children may be better off than their parents. It implies that future can be better. We're in a diamond-shaped society - where previously it was a pyramid with the base the world's poor.
Go to my website to see why liberals lost the election Tuesday.
Emphasizing guilt and never imagining praise. The only liberal that ever did that and saw glass half-full was Clinton and he never lost.
Neo-conservatives want to outlaw meetings like this. This is different from Bill Joy - the carping from within will help us find the mistakes while charging into the future - and we get across our wasteful technologies to technologies that empower 10 billion people to live comfortably.
I'm Mr. Openness and Mr. Optimism in most fields. But it's fun to be the contrarian. I'm on the SETI committee and they refuse to believe any possibility beyond aliens are friendly and benign. History has been filled with predation and quid pro quo...it's only recently that we've become more altruistic.
Exorarium by Sheldon Brown and David Brin. We're proving C.P. Snow wrong - that the two cultures of arts and sciences do get along. The visitor to a museum and you build a solar system and ecosystem and you get your own alien race. You can go to the extraterrestial terrarium to interact with other species, including humans. This could be done online as well. It's an example of a teaching tool. It's a way to get more people thinking about what we're thinking about now.
We also have to bear in mind that world is a dangerous place - and we always have to be saying "Yes, but..."
I've been a curmudgeon about "singularity now." I think we're all going to die. Replication is already happening ;-) What are the odds that this is an original event?
The satiable rich like riding the diamond out. It's the insatiable rich that flatten out the diamond to a pyramid.
Cleaned up version blogged: http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/11/david_brin_on_e.html
Gee Rittenhouse, Lucent Tech, Future of Wireless Networking
Dr Gee Rittenhouse, Bell Labs Fellon
locating people after 9/11 to locate people via their wireless
The cellphone is on your hip. That device rings to you - not your office or your home or your car - but you. People not only can get to you, but EXPECT to get to you. It has social implications and transformation. Same will occur with mobile data services. In the future, the network expects to reach you anytime, anywhere.
The future is about you. It will be your world and how you interact with it will depend on you. The network knows where you are - that can be scary. Personalization and security are important. In the future, it will occur with a richness that's just about as good as being there. If best we can do is to deliver MP3 files and video over a 2X2 inch screen it's not good enough.
In order to accomplish all this stuff, there are really four areas:
Wireless applications/personalization: In 4G, you'll have a virtual world, packet data, M2M (machine-to-machine, sensor-to-sensor), voice/IP immersion (something we call Internet immersion). Where does the intelligence lie? In your device and or in the Internet 'cloud'? Access control is also moving to the edge. Today we have applications - push-to-talk for instance coupled to a network via a network operator. In future, there will be another layer that will allow people to go to a provisioning portal where they can self-manage their preferences (via rules engine and user preferences policy management).
High-speed data: 9.6 kilobits/second is not enough. In order of increasing data rates and bandwidth, shows chart showing EV-DO, HSDPA (European) and 802.16. A lot of research is going on to improve quality of the link and provide higher data rates. About 7 years ago Bell Labs developed technology to provide 10-20 fold increase in radio transmission capacity (BLAST).
Making the Internet mobile:
Internet is very decentralized. But mobility implies moving from one basestation from another implies some control. The application is certainly I.P. The network will be simplified in future.
Self-designing networks: Now these networks are fairly hand-crafted; but the network has to design itself in the future. Network auto-configuration is necessary (for instance, leaf foliage changes over season and affects wireless response or as population density changes). The networks will be able to design, configure and repair themselves.
[Most intersecting part of talk.] Learning from spiders. How do they build a "perfect" web that is so much bigger than they are? Spiders have very small brains, they have poor eyesight and viewpoint and can't see what they have built. And yet they are able to do this. They solve a second order differential equation without even with knowing it. They use local knowledge to infer what the global network must be like. Perhaps based on cellular automata.
In future, you participate in the network whether you know it or not. Access will be personal. Social transformation will take place thorugh IP immersion that is similiar to what happened in the telephony world. The applications that we can imagine will pale to what actually occurs in the future. It's not just point-to-point between you and another, but being plugged into the community and the network.
The network in broad sense even today knows where you are. The 3G systems can get much finer resolutions if you hit "911" on your phone. That will occur with data devices.
Innovation Managers Panel
Panelist: Cynthia Breazeale, Intel, Innovation Through IT: Enabling Systemic Innovation
At Intel they looked at the skills and credentials of I.T. I made a prediction that I.T. as a function about five years ago would move outside the corporation and that it would become a service - and we would pay for level of reliability, efficiency, security, etc.
Delivering solutions. Integrate and support the complex, critical, invisible "plumbing". Deep understanding of customer needs.
distribution of innovation centers throughout world - Ireland, Malaysia, Israel, and Folsom, CA (didn't get all) . Many of the disciplines of Clayton Christensen, Complex Adaptive Systems and Knowledge Management for creating global "innovation pipeline". Use of the unique IT-engineer skillset applied to developing novel technology uses and new solutions, influencing future product designs. Looking at transformational business models (I.T. business value indexing).
Global centers serve as a catalyst of disruptive technology development. Disruptive technology prototyping lab. Developing new usage models. We do a lot of showcasing - bringing in students, teachers, and employees. An environment to conduct training and executive seminars.
Unlike most systems that go from convergent to divergent funnel. This looks at business value of each opportunity.
We're heavily engaged in peer-to-peer technology. We've driven down WAN utilization into tens of millions (see smart networks). We're aggressive about WiMax technology in communities - wireless Israel.
Industry solutions. Skoool.ie - works will with standardized curriculums. quickly being adopted in many countries with that education model; also learns the user's learning style. China, Portugal, Spain, and more.
PC Basics CD courseware in 12 languages.
Assisted Living. Video of Indian family. They have elderly parent that lives in another city. She forgets to take her medicine. Videoconferencing. "I can see right away if she's ok - if she's taken her medicine. She has a bracelet that communicates with sensors in the house. She has a light that goes on when we get home as well. "With this technology we know she's safe," says father (his mother I believe).
Innovation Manager Panelist: Steve Jurvetson, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Discovering a Renaissance in Innovation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You're going to be learning more than in next 20 years than last 100 years. But there is a glacial change of human nature compared to technological change.
We funded in Internet in 1995. And now we feel that nanotechnology is the next wave. We think that entrepreneurship is global and there are talented people everywhere. DFJ is a network. Each one is locally run and locally managed. It's a network of networks. Surprisingly, no other venture capital firm is doing this.
We try to be a magnet rather than looking for needles (many of these are still stealth, they don't have a website). We speak at conferences, especially emerging technology conferences. And we try to pick the right haystack.
We did only one e-retailer, only one B2B exchange - so we look for diversification. We explore the edge - most venture firms deride the edge in the beginning. If something is unanimously 'good' then it's too late. So all the partners aren't going to agree to fund a firm.
We seek unlimited upside - not just doubling our money - because we have so many losses. It's rare event, but we look at billion dollar markets.
We look at 750 first meetings, 150 follow-ons, 12-24 funded
Similar to IDEO - 4000 brainstorm early drawings -> 200 detailed design work -> ???
Similar to Edison.
If there is a market research firm talking about it - we're not interested.
More eye-popping innovation happening now than 1999. Moore's law has not been repealed. Education primarily and then secondly immigration imperative are most important things we can invest in as a country.
Skype is growing faster than ICQ, Hotmail or Kazaa.
12 million registered users.
IT - look at how biology will inspire or influence and the blending of I.T., nanotechnology, and biology. It's leading to a renasisance in medicine. Leading to renaissance in material science, etc.
nanotech is interdisciplinary renaissance, it is a nexus of the sciences.
"We just try to bet on mammals and hope for the best."
Innovation Managers Panelist: Christine Peterson, Foresight Institute, Championing Nanotech Innovation: Lessons
Also author of Leaping the Abyss: Putting Group Genius to Work
Championing Nanotecch Innovation: Lessons Learned, by Christine Peterson, VP of Foresight Institute (really part of the public policy creating community)
creating and using structures, devices and systems that have useful properties and functions because of their structure at the 1 to 100 .......molecular ......
U.S. Nanotech is investing 3.7 billion over next 4 years (plus military) authorized. Near-term products is mostly new materials. It's defined to be nanotech now. Near-term: Nanoparticles (one example: gold-coated particles with biological functionality bind to tumor cells and then heated, to treat cancer). Concern about toxicity side-effects.
4th generation nanotech is molecular manufacturing. A new way to view matter. Today we can have atomic precision or ability to build large, complex systems - but not both.
These are machines - they are just at the molecular level - and they already exist in nature.
Extreme decrease in direct manufacturing costs (not including insurance, IP, legal, etc.). Very clean no-waste.
Lessons learned that are applicable to other areas of substantial innovation from 1976-2004.
In very early stages, doesn't matter what you do as few will understand. No one will steal your idea because they don't care or pay attention. Don't talk to the public and popular press at this point. Don't call it too sexy a name.
In 80s. Still pre-competitive. Really early research stage attracts odd people - some brilliant, some flakes. Teach a Stanford class on your work so that a Steve Jurvetson will attend and later fund relevant work. You want to reach out to younger people. Publish proceedings, etc.
Early research stage. 1990s. Engage with government research funding process. Deal with politics and just have a strong stomach.
2000's. Don't put nano- in your company name. Like have e- or i- or dot-com in your name.
Social benefits is what foresight is about.
we put together guidelines for responsible development
Q: what can you do in terms of education for 'accelerating change'?
A: SJ: "Interdisciplinary studies are important, so much of education silos you. Some of that is occuring in places like Stanford, but most Ph.D.s aren't and primary education must improve. Many math and science teachers don't have the college level."
CP: We can't expect that teachers to improve in quality that quickly. My hope because of the small amount of time to improve is the internet-type education that [1st speaker] showed.
SJ: emergent properties come from simple design. you're steering evolutionary processes or more like raising a kid, but it's not strict control.
Debate: The Cost and Benefit of Transparency, David Brin vs. Brad Templeton
David Brin, author of The Transparent Society
[Couldn't take great notes for a bit since I was eating lunch in the room.] David Brin basically says that his version of Moore's Law (Brin's Law) is that cameras are getting better, cheaper and smaller. We had a very small slice in time where anonymity was very possible; but most of history has been more like a village. Some say I'm for all of us being naked and watched all the time - so actually I'm a moderate. I'm for privacy at home. We use the concept of accountability all the time. If you think you are anonymous in a mall try going in wearing a trench coat and face mask.
Q1: I outline in the book a successful scenario of a transparent company. The idea isn't stolen because it can't replicate feudalism.
I think there needs to be a way for more whistle-blowers to come out. I don't see any way to prevent elites (where power gathers) from trying to cheat and creating a feudal system. Elites will have them if we ban them.
Name one civilization that was able to go forward by restricting information.
I want you to go to a zoo and pick up a pointed stick and try to gouge out the eyes of the biggest baboon. He won't let you, but he will let you - if grudgingly - observe him.
There is a difference between a good village and a bad village. When the village comes back it could be the village of Babbitt - of busybodies and gossips.
The part of the Patriot Act that bothers me is that John Ashcroft gets to do more un-supervised.
The hope is to create a society that we forgive each other the small skeletons we find in the closet and we see the big skeletons. I base my entire faith in human civilization in my children being smarter than me. I know I just sounded like Pollyanna - prove me wrong.
Instead of the left-right political spectrum that was forced on us by the French it's really more of a split among those that want pyramid versus diamond shaped economic strata.
Q2: I'm on the side of transparency because the point I'm trying to make it - how are you going to stop it? You are just creating illusion of privacy? How do you know anonymizer isn't backed by NSA. Most of the people know what is going on most of the time. There is a limit to the size of plots before a whistle-blower alerts us. Smart mobs. I have faith in us. [basically faith in our value in diversity and tolerance]
I wrote The Transparent Society while living in England since I was appalled at the amount of cameras there.
Brad Templeton, Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Near-panopticans have existed in past.
Why haven't we seen a fully transparent company? Why aren't the investors flocking to it?
Shy people. Gay people in 60's might be o.k. with government knowing but not everyone. Being watched subtly changes your behaviour - it dampens the edges and fringes.
Surveillance has never worked completely. Not even in China or prison camps (where they were able to build a plane).
Other nation-states will take the technology and create a police state.
Cory Ondrejka, VP of Product Dev, Linden Labs (creators of Second Life), Living the Dream: Business, Community and Innovation at the Dawn of Digital Worlds
When people talk about Digital Worlds, they often talk about:
John Perry Barlow's quote [slides too fast] - or singularity - or virtual reality
But I'm not going to. Four building blocks to Internet: There was one just one node, then four nodes in Arpanet.
Large scale, distributed creation (wikipedia is classic example)
But, the Internet doesn't really have a sense of place. Text doesn't really do that for us.
MUD - Bartle and Trubshaw (1980) was modeled on Dungeons and Dragons. Today, MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game).
Intangible goods - worldwide digital goods trade of US $1 Billion.l Small, open economies. GDP is at least 10 times trade (thus $10 B)
"The primary business challenge we face with art is that the costs for first-class art continue to rise faster than our market is expanding, and the MMOGs require tremendously ...." [basically can't create content fast enough]
"You may not exploit [ ] or any games or services offered on [ ]" - many clauses prevent trading in most MMOG games [Everquest comes to mind]
VR, haptics is really cool stuff. But you don't need these to get sense of place. Simply staring into a screen is enough. About the same time was explosion in CAD/CAM. The Crystler ME-412 is a show-car. It was an almost collaborative creation (2003). It took a year to come to production. They share all their data in an online space. It's not fully collaborative because of the sequential hand-off.
Farmer and Morningstar (1986) was running in Commodore64 - online chat. Only other one with some commercial success is ActiveWorlds; their mistake is that they allowed some amount of user-creation - but they didn't focus on it.
Skydiving is fun in a virtual world. So they (ActiveWorlds) built airplanes, created skydiving clubs, skydiving classes, and a store to buy good parachutes. And most of this was built by the users.
Atomistic construction. Prior to atomistic construction you took what the designers gave you to work with. Other thing to think of is from point-to-point, to many-to-many, to many-to-many synchronous. In Second Life they are interacting as avatars; and [amazingly] people don't flame in these worlds as they do in boards or chatrooms.
Collaborative creation. Building and optimizing as they go.
Second Life runs on a distributed global grid of 500 machines. This is a contiguous world. 500 CPUs allows for 32 square kilometers. 15,000 customers. Example of user creation: Some users decided it would be a better world if there were alien abductions - and they gave you anal probes and you got a T-shirt saying "I was abducted by alien." But this only happened about every two weeks.
The Second Life designers make it easy to create. When users figure something out, they sell it to other users. Second Life is only game to allow property rights are owned by the users. Influenced by Hernando de Soto's book: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
Cheap transportation and communication. Governance.
Thomas Malone, author of The Future of Work, saw mom-and-pops to multinational to decentralized business processes.
Decentralization is where you want to live in a virtual world: i.e. Do you want to live in the Magic Kingdom (brief reference to Cory Doctorow) or New York City?
Creation as expression. The person with a haunted mansion tells you something about themselves (and charge admission). The person with the cat who stalks the fish tank is expressing themselves.
Creation as communication.
Creation as community (Their uses created avatar-protesters saying "Give us Havoc 2" exactly in the area where new users arrive). And there are always people in community that want to teach others how to create and improve the world. Creation unleashed. What happens when the only real world constraint is time?
Users realize they have power. Flexing digital muscles. They are their own PAC.
Digital cool hunting. People are creating fashion all the time within these worlds. Can pull back into the real world some of the innovations occuring in the virtual world. What else can we send out besides fashion? You can explore business models?People come in with the express purpose of learning.
What's next? Collaborative design - you put designers around the car as they are building it and then take it out for a drive in the virtual world.
There was a medical building where you can experience what schizoprenia or other mental illness are like (to develop empathy for your patients or family members).
There are economic pressures in these environments. You see people building better places. People ask about myth and monsters and dragons in Second Life. The myth in second Life is teaching people, sharing and creating a better world. It's a teaching and experimental platform.
Q on if user's creations are monitored or approved. A: We don't approve content when they make it other than if there are legal reasons. This is a world driven by the users.
Q on destructive A: I can get attention by doing good things and make money in the process, so griefing (any destructive action to get attention) is less. There are designated safe and unsafe areas in the game. We don't buy and sell currency ourselves but there are other trading networks out there.
Q on open sourcing their code/world A: Open source has been effective at creating certain things. Not so good so far for artwork and games. Sometimes its because methodology is different when hardware comes into the play. Having economic motivation we're finding is very helpful.
Q ? A: We don't scale as well as our users do. There are profound discussions if we want laws, if we want arbitration, or other ways to resolve disputes. We have no idea what's going to happen in the real world around legal issues in these worlds.
Q on don't people want to be entertained passively A: If you put people in front of easy and fun to use tools, they'll use them.
Gordon Bell, Microsoft BARC, MyLifeBits: The Memex Vision and Implications
MyLifeBits software quite intensive just some of the components include: TV capture tool, voice annotation tool, text annotation tool, all the web pages you've ever visited, telephone capture, IM capture, location as a function of time (via GPS). All goes into the MyLifeBits store.
We're trying to build what Vannevar Bush talked about in a paper in 1945. He's using himself as the guinea pig. Was paperless throughout 2002. Now recording: phone, radio, TV (movies), web pages, conversations and meetings to come. As a data squirrel, it's a comforting feeling knowing it's there.
Fifty-year-old newspaper clippings are falling apart; on the other hand, I have some 400-year-old books and they are quite good.
Why bother? As a technologist, because we can. As an environmentalist, it eliminates paper, CDs, etc. For business, this is a lot of discoverable information - let content analysis and data mining discover trends and correlations of our lives that even we didn't know. It often costs more to delete than it costs to store. Preservationist: You and others may want it some day. For aging/failed memory (I think it's a great stretch, it's actually a huge UI problem): surrogate memory.
So you've got it? Now what do you do with it and make use of it?
Using my life bits [btw, Bell is using his own life and his stuff as example - he himself is the research guinea pig]:
1. Beyond folders. Up until now, (even before computers) you file it by folders. One item, one place in a hierarchical system.
2. Add more content via annotation. It's just bits until you annotate it and create story.
3. "I remember when..." Locate by timeframes or chronological 'lifeline'. Another project at Microsoft is "Stuff I've Seen".
4. When is another way to find things. You can drag and drop photos onto a world map.
PhotoFinder - Schneiderman and Kang, U of Maryland, has good UI work going on.
7. Classification of everything. Is there any gain from non-automated classification? Metadata is very expensive to do - if you want to add metadata, double the cost of anything. Librarians voted "access to electronic resources requires controlled vocabulary and classification" to the other extreme - Google.
Einstein's stuff is online - alberteinstein.info ?, joshua lederberg's papers and artifacts (you name it - even business cards and greeting cards).
My great hope is that I will hand you a document and you put the Dublin Core metadata. In some cases personal taxonomies can be very useful.
8. Ontologies? Useful..or fool's errand? (Let me not go into this ontology hole right now.)
10. CARPE: Continuous archival recording of personal experiences. Capturing meetings and experiences. SenseCam, body media, deja view (records last 30 seconds).
(Also appear to be working on capturing physiological metadata as well - just need input devices. Looked at one device that measures burning of calories, but he was more interested in what he was consuming.)
Q on whether if they're finding the classification and metadata tagging to be worthwhile. A: The classification thus far we're doing is not worth it; but it probably dependent on the situation for instance, in Quicken there is certainly value in the classification. To really add the metadata would take another life, so I hired an assistant.
You can disable the tracking whenever you like. Every file is that's open on the PC is being tracked. But it doesn't know what window you're really looking at, but it does know that it's open. It's all tracked and captured on the PC.
The calendar is so important in this data capture - it's time posted as well.
Clark Aldrich, SimuLearn, Simulations and the Future of Learning
At Gartner, I became focused on education around professional skills.
Skills like creating and using boards, risk management, turning around bad situation, negotiation, nurturing/stewardship, etc. Most organizations are hunters and gathers of the critical skills - we can find people with these skills - but we have no ability to develop these skills.
[Professional] Development is unscalable, unpredictable and often of very poor quality, and very expensive.
One that came up as a solution is simulations. What is a simulation - it's a safe place to practice business skills - it's like the flight simulator for business skills.
I found there are four traditional types of simulations that business schools and organizations use today (and they foreshadow what he'll talk about later).
1. Branching story based simulations; first story perspective. They show exact behavior to imitate. High fidelity output (with low fidelity input).
2. Interactive Spreadsheet-Based Simulations. Most people that have been to business schools have played with these. Introduces the concept of systems. You can have multiplayer situations. The goal is to understand the system and leverage it to your advantage.
3. Game based model. How do I take an existing game and make it a learning environment. For instance, game show format like, Jeopardy.
4. Virtual product-based simulations. Kinesthetic, open-ended. This learning maps to real use. These started in the marketing world. They've evolved to virtual labs. Important point here is learning is kinesthetic. I have a 10-year-old son and he doesn't learn anything unless he is using his hands.
Other takes on simulations.
- Role play. Emotional, hard transformation. Real stuff comes out. Expensive to set up, no technology necessarily involved.
- CAD/CAM based.
- Marketing Mini-Games. Flash-based games with marketing messages.
- Computer games.
Built Virtual Leader simulated training. How do you take leadership content and put that into a computer game context? One of the hardest thing to do in computer gaming industry is to create a new genre.
Experience Elements: Simulation, Game, Pedagogy (pedogagy originally was underused, today too overused)
Content Types: Systems, Cyclical/Kinesthetic, Linear
A Leadership System. They built a systems model of leadership. How do you take this content in linear models into system based models?
One of the most controversial things about virtual leader is that we have to think about the user interface as a high-value add.
Cyclical Content - Possible Actions in a Leadership Situation
Criticize an active party, ask for more information, encourage an active person/party, work against a goal, etc.
The point is to impact the world - but a lot of trainers view that goal as vocational.
Three planes: actions/tactics, priorities/mission, leadership styles. Also important to teach magnitude and timing.
We use a lot of linear content but as a culture we've probably OD'ed on linear content.
In the experience elements, we were really good at the simulation element but it wasn't much fun to play and it was easy to get lost. Game elements can include: a speed-up/slow-down, a replay option, presenting a mystery or puzzle to solve, competition between learners, including lists of high scores, accessible communities for competition, and/or sense of belonging, a pause button, having access to privileged information
There are 30,000 lines of artificial intelligence code in this program. West Point compared success against their textbooks and other training methods - and Virtual Leader yielded better results. [Other clients mentioned briefly included Pfizer, appears some universities are using it.] Most of us are more dedicated to exercising our body than our minds. If we didn't break a sweat in a gym, we think something is wrong. If learning is difficult, we think something is wrong.
360 degree feedback pre and post at a F10 company that put their supervisors through the Virtual Leader program. Six months after the course, they saw an increase of positive behaviors: the supervisor's peers saw 33% increase in their value, 62% more value to subordinates, 40% more to their superiors.
Virtual leader is now in over 35 universities, in several branches of the military. There are international programs (China, Korea). It's changing corporate training program. $250 per seat.
My takeway: Most learning material is linear and pedogagical which doesn't can't necessarily teach systems.
Virtual Learning and Community Panel
Panelist: Nova Barlow, Themis Group, The Art of Community Management
Community management is not necessarily a core competency of many of game companies (their primary clients). Cory mentioned the protest in Second Life earlier today. The developers listened to the inhabitants of the community; you can't just pay lip service.
The developers need to find a way to communicate with their inhabitants in a way that is not technology jargon-filled. Community management is also internal and external. An ideal cycle: Developers -> Customer Service -> Community Relations (and back to Dev). Often players help players, so have processes in place for that so it's not all top-down community management. New paper later this month on paper on this topic at their site: www.themis-group.com
Panelist: Robin Harper, Linden Lab, Real Learning in Digital Worlds
A big question that we have to deal with is we've given them tools to build this place and they feel that this is theirs. What are ethical situations to learning from them and watching and observing them (i.e. research and university research)? [They get a lot of requests from universities and researchers to do sociology, etc. observations; including study by entire classrooms.)
When I was at SimCity we got questions about the game (game about being mayor). And we got questions from students wanting to learn more about zoning, and budgeting and this was amazing. People engaged and learned through mastery and personal creativity. Instructors would ask: What's the black-line master? They offer something special. Experiential, reality-based learning communities. In Second Life we gave users a scripting language to add behaviors to what they've built. Scripting classes were created to teach this. A business created in Second Life, Mrs. Jones Clothing Design (via marketing firm, Rivers Run Red) brought master classes in clothing design into Second Life. Even people that never thought of themselves as programmers started creating.
Virtual Hallucinations is a building created by former employee now at UC Davis where you get a glimpse of harrowing world of their clients, patients, family members. For instance, voices won't stop. You start to have empathy for people for whom this is a daily reality.
"You can have fun without learning, but you can't have learning without fun." - Will Wright
A graduate student who did a study of myth and ritual development in virtual worlds, focused particularly on weddings and marriage. Classes are learning about online community and identity as well as game design classes. About 10% of users are from universities. One of the university student wrote in a public classroom blog about her experience, with negative commentary about some of the people she had met. So there was a lot of controversy in the community about allowing classrooms to participate in Second Life. Privacy has to be given priority; users are guaranteed privacy by our policies and our terms of service. To resolve: A mediation session was held in Second Life.
If someone is being abusive, the other person can file an abuse report. On second time, they can be banned from "your" land. The person who fire-bombed a wedding was temporarily banned entirely from Second Life. Q about if there is a "legal/court system" in SL. A: Eventually we might see development of a dispute resolution system; but there is no court system.
We have two rules. No hate speech allowed. You need to follow the community standards; there is no harassment in designated "safe areas." They [Second Life employees] alert members in a space, like a store, that they are giving a demo and they don't go into private spaces, like homes.
People explore different aspects of their personality in their avatars. People pay a lot of money for land, etc. we had an individual that destroyed 16 acres. We decided to ban the individual but he owned a lot of land; we foreclosed and put it up for auction and sent him a check for $1600.
Robin mentions in talking to her later that membership is a one-time fee of $9.95. If you want to own land to build upon that is extra and varies. Essentially they are in the "virtual real estate" business. [I believe she said one CPU provides for each 16 acres.)
Panelist: Robert Gehorsam, There, Inc., Earth: A Persistent World Simulation
We're going straight to Q&A. If anyone needs convincing on learning in this environment: Videotape someone after a simulated experience learning and real-life classroom learning you can see the difference in their enthusiasm.
Jerry Paffendorf, Rise of the Virtual-to-Real Labor Force: 5 Free Ideas—from Underwear to Architecture
Cory Ondrejka already made some of my points earlier.
- Large-scale groups of people collaborating to make interesting things
- Significant market in intangible goods (nearly $1B)
- Digital cool hunting
- Easy-to-create tools encourage extending the virtual world
- Users consume content faster than the developers can develop them
The primary behavior has been virtual-to-virtual. To the lesser extent there's also real-to-virtual sneaking the real world's language through its signs.
- Players routinely spend upwards of 20 hours a week in virtual worlds
- People have a passionate interest in doing more than "crafting"
- Virtual worlds are ideal spaces for "mass-customization"
Transition from Massively Multi-Player -> Massively Multi-User (there for community and communication) -> Massively Multi-Maker. I read Terra Nova blog almost every day. Most hard-core gamers may not be main users of Second Life, so when Cory from Second Life discusses user creation and other concepts they don't understand.
Threadless (www.threadless.com) is an Open Call Fashion Model. (Sort of an Emergent Design Process.)
Open Call Model: (For instance, in Chrysler example) Anyone can submit a digital proposal for something to be made in the real world, creating a large, nearly free work force where what doesn't work is disregarded and what does work gets made.
COPS Productivity Backdrop
When Second Life decided that users would own their own created 'property' the sophistication of the models significantly improved from clip-art style.
Two Umbrella Categories:
- Pre-visualizing concepts (film, storyboarding, choreography) to model after, to practice with, to demonstrate with.
- Prototyping objects (fashion, architecture, product design)
At Threadless, you submit T-shirt designs you'd like to see made; other people critique and you can improve the design and eventually perhaps your shirt can bubble up to the top and get made by Threadless. The designer gets prestige by having their name embroidered on shirt and they get Threadless store credit. The artist keeps the rights.
Another business in Second Life is called Mrs. Jones. They just had a design contest where the best design is really be going to be created in their real world fashion business.
Maybe some of you remember Mario Paint? It came out in early 90's. Suddenly you realized it also came with a platform - you can make music, animations, etc. with it.
Jeff throws out idea for a Reality TV show called "Digital Entrepreneur" that follow businesses created within Second Life.
Possible business ideas: Fashion * Pre-visualization of film (storyboarding) * Education * Games Design * In-World Services (creating custom avatars, etc.)
The Massively Multi-Maker is someone that is there to experiment, create value and then take it to real world.
John Smart, President of ISAC, Simulation, Agents, and Accelerating Change: Personality Capture and the Linguistic User Interface
The extraordinary present. The dominant word is: Surprise. "There has never been a time more pregnant with possibilities." - Gail Carr Feldman
Quiet happiness, careful confidence, and flow are the natural state of the human animal. (see Flow, by Csikszentmihalyi). Thus we will adapt to change.
ISAC is a nonprofit community of scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, administrators, educators, analysts, humanists, and systems theorists discussing acceelerating change in a dialogue.
Evolutionary Development - Complex Systems, Evolution and Development. The marbles (systems) roll around on the landscape, each taking unpredictable (evolutionary) paths. But the paths predictably converge (development) on low points (Matter-Energy-Space-Time compression)- the attractors at the bottom of this basin.
How many eyes are developmentally optimal? Prediction has a poor history because evolution isn't predictive. Some reptiles still have a parietal vestigial third eye.
References' Carl Sagan's Cosmic Calendar (how most change has occured in last moment in the 'day'). Eric Chaisson's book is the best book.
Understanding the Lever of ICT (Information and Communications Technologies):
Smart's Law of Technology:
1. Tech learns ten million times faster than you do.
2. Humans are selective catalysts, not controllers, of technological evolutionary development.
3. The first generation of any technology is often dehumanizing, the second is indifferent to humanity, and with luck the third becomes net humanizing. (Calculators, Mathemathica, (augmented) virtual reality system where a bird flies by and you have choice to get more information on how that works)
Productivity per U.S. worker hr has improved 500% over 75 years (1929-2004, 2% per yr). Scientific publications have increased 40% over 13 years
In 1929, Business Week's first edition had an ad for "electric sorting machines" (HUGE) and PG&E has an ad announcing natural gas pipeline powered factories in SF. Could we have predicted the change in the 75 years then?
Areas of Accelerating Innovation (1929-2004):
Microcosm: Materials Science ("Substrates"): Synthetic materials, transistor, microprocessor, fiber optics, laser and optoelectronics, wired and wireless networks, quantum wells/wires/dots, exotic condensed matter
Systems and Software: TV, mainframes, minicomputers, ....
Macrocosm: Defense and Space ("Security-oriented human-ICT"), Manufacturing ("Engineering-oriented-human-ICT), Social and Legal ("Fairness-oriented-human-ICT") (John says: Humans don't want disruptive change in social arena.) Agrotech/Biotech/Health Care ("Bio-oriented human-ICT") (John says: accelerating regulation) Finance ("Capital-oriented-human ICT"), Transportation and Energy ("Infrastructure human-ICT")
ICT: A 2030 Vision
"Human-ICT" computational domains are saturating. Microcosm ICT is not. Human populations flatlines in 2050 (First World effect). 2nd order derivative of world energy demand is negative. ICT acceleration continues.
Defense, Security, Space, Finance, Social, Legal, Agrotech, Biotech, Health Care, Finance, Transportation, Energy and Envirotech all will look surprisingly similar in 2030 (with major ICT extensions).
We see evolutionarily more and better of the above, but now global, not local. Our Generation's theme: "First World Saturating, Third World Uplifting."
Condensed Matter Physics, the Nanoworld, and Cosmology have continued to surprise us.
ICT (Sensors, Storage, Communication, Connectivity, Simulation, Interface) now look and feel very different.
You're going to be in a city 20 years from now. You might have a retirement or vacation home in country; or take a sabbatical there.
We are creating a technological 'cephalization' as Teilhard would say.
Deep biologically inspired design.
RFID for paper currency. Is biotech a physical substrate? 21st century neuropharm and neurotech won't accelerate biological complexity (seems likely now).
Virtual Space: Is Inner Space the final frontier? Mirror Worlds, David Gelernter, 1998.
In 1964, there was one refinery in Tyler, Texas that completely robotically automated their oil refinery. (A multi-acre automatic factory.)
Understanding Process Automation:
- Perhaps 80-90% of today's first world paycheck is paid for by automation ("tech we tend")
- Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel in Economics (Solow Productivity Paradox, Theory of Economic Growth), 7/8 comes from technological progress
- Human contribution (10-20%) to a First World job is Social Value of Employment + Ccreativity + Education
- Developing countries are next in line (sooner or later)
- Continual education and grants (taxing the machines) are teh final job descriptions for all human beings
See Brain Control by Elliot Valenstein.
An ICT Attractor: The Linguistic User Interface.
- Google's cache (2000, % non-novel like "Britney")
- Watch Windows 2004 become Conversations 2020 (kdis today play video games - outselling films)
- Convergence of Infotech and Sociotech
What would it take to create a machine that talks back to you in a pigeon language that's useful to you. Hardest problem is natural language processing. I suggest it'll come from search.
By proxy, most users are going to be accessible to internet within 30 years. 2% of U.S. order clothing online; in Korea, it's more like 23-24%. Today, we talk to Google at average of 2-4 Hertz...that's going to change.
Personality Capture. In the long run, we become seamless with our machines. You want to talk to an avatar rather than a computer - it approximates and parallels the real world. We always do it because it helps us build skills in the real world.
Your Digital You. Would you upload your consciousness into a machine? (Someone, a researcher? asks his grandmother) "Oh no." Would you enjoy leaving behind stories about your life to your children? "Sure yes." John notes, any person that answers yes to second question, that person is an uploader.
When your mother dies in 2050, your digital mom will be 50% her and you can ask her for advice. By 2099, it will be 99% you. Will this feel like death, or growth?
When you can shift your consciousness between your electronic and biological components, the encapsulation and transcendence of the biological will feel like only growth not death. (Like a neural prothesis.)
[It is now about 12:15 a.m. - yes, past midnight. This conference is relentless ;-)]