posts about or somewhat related to ‘future’

One of the things that we do is ask product managers to go travel to an emerging-market country to see how people who are getting on the Internet use it. They learn the most interesting things. People ask questions like, ‘It says here I’m supposed to put in my password — what’s a password?’

Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A with Farhad Manjoo, Can Facebook Innovate? 

Covers a lot of questions about the company and what it’s trying to do. Also see his column, The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’.

Walter Cronkite’s Home Office of the 21st Century (circa 1967)

Check out the Smithsonian’s Paleofuture Blog (which documents the history of the future than never was) for a full tour of the home of 2001.

Video: via paleofuturist Matt Novak.

The Future’s Getting Freaky
Via The BBC:

It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers announced something that could be equally historic: the passing of messages between two rat brains, the first step toward what they call the “brain net”.
Connecting the brains of two rats through implanted electrodes, scientists at Duke University demonstrated that in response to a visual cue, the trained response of one rat, called an encoder, could be mimicked without a visual cue in a second rat, called the decoder. In other words, the brain of one rat had communicated to the other.
"These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle."
Whether or not the Duke University experiments turn out to be historic (some skepticism has already been raised), the work reflects a growing Pentagon interest in neuroscience for applications that range from such far-off ideas as teleoperation of military devices (think mind-controlled drones), to more near-term and less controversial technology, like prosthetics controlled by the human brain. In fact, like the Arpanet, the experiment on the rat “brain net” was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

BBC, Ten extraordinary Pentagon mind experiments.
For the rats, see, One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.
Image: Turning insects into drones with implanted systems, by Darpa, via The BBC.

The Future’s Getting Freaky

Via The BBC:

It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers announced something that could be equally historic: the passing of messages between two rat brains, the first step toward what they call the “brain net”.

Connecting the brains of two rats through implanted electrodes, scientists at Duke University demonstrated that in response to a visual cue, the trained response of one rat, called an encoder, could be mimicked without a visual cue in a second rat, called the decoder. In other words, the brain of one rat had communicated to the other.

"These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle."

Whether or not the Duke University experiments turn out to be historic (some skepticism has already been raised), the work reflects a growing Pentagon interest in neuroscience for applications that range from such far-off ideas as teleoperation of military devices (think mind-controlled drones), to more near-term and less controversial technology, like prosthetics controlled by the human brain. In fact, like the Arpanet, the experiment on the rat “brain net” was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

BBC, Ten extraordinary Pentagon mind experiments.

For the rats, see, One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.

Image: Turning insects into drones with implanted systems, by Darpa, via The BBC.

Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.

Sophocles, as quoted by Tiffany Shlain, director of the film Connected and founder of the Webby Awards, in this new Pew Internet Report.

This survey is fifth in the series “Future of the Internet” conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. Results from past surveys can be seen here and here

The survey was conducted from August 28 to October 31, 2011 through an online questionnaire sent to selected experts who were encouraged to share the link with other informed friends. The task: consider the future of the internet-connected world between now and 2020 by selecting a choice in each of eight “tension pairs,” pairs of scenarios that might emerge by 2020. The overall finding:

In 2020, the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are “wired” differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields baleful results.

55% chose the statement that this rewiring yields helpful results.
42% chose the statement that this rewiring yields baleful results.

The study does note that, 

We did not offer a third alternative – that young people’s brains would not be wired differently – but some of the respondents made that argument in their elaborations. They often noted that people’s patterns of thinking will likely change, though the actual mechanisms of brain function will not change. 

Strong, consistent predictions listed the most desired life skills for young people in 2020. These include:

  • public problem-solving through cooperative work (sometimes referred to as crowd-sourcing solutions)
  • the ability to search effectively for information online and to be able to discern the quality and veracity of the information one finds and then communicate these findings well (referred to as digital literacy)
  • synthesizing (being able to bring together details from many sources
  • being strategically future-minded
  • the ability to concentrate
  • the ability to distinguish between the “noise” and the message in the ever-growing sea of information

Answers were supplemented by narrative elaborations, which are the fascinating portion of this study. One of the insights I found most interesting came from Barry Chudakov, a Florida-based consultant and a research fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto.

He wrote that by 2020, “Technology will be so seamlessly integrated into our lives that it will effectively disappear. The line between self and technology is thin today; by then it will effectively vanish. We will think with, think into, and think through our smart tools but their presence and reach into our lives will be less visible. Youth will assume their minds and intentions are extended by technology, while tracking technologies will seek further incursions into behavioral monitoring and choice manipulation. Children will assume this is the way the world works. The cognitive challenge children and youth will face (as we are beginning to face now) is integrity, the state of being whole and undivided. There will be a premium on the skill of maintaining presence, of mindfulness, of awareness in the face of persistent and pervasive tool extensions and incursions into our lives. Is this my intention, or is the tool inciting me to feel and think this way? That question, more than multitasking or brain atrophy due to accessing collective intelligence via the internet, will be the challenge of the future.”

FJP: Sounds frightening and fascinating at the same time. Now, our question to you. What impact might this have on innovation? A repeated theme in the study is summarized by this comment:

Young people accustomed to a diet of quick-fix information nuggets will be less likely to undertake deep, critical analysis of issues and challenging information. Shallow choices, an expectation of instant gratification, and a lack of patience are likely to be common results, especially for those who do not have the motivation or training that will help them master this new environment. One possible outcome is stagnation in innovation.

FJP: Is this true? Stagnation in innovation? The whole report is worth a read. Really insightful comments from great thinkers.

6 Proposals for Journalism Education Today

Social Media and Participation

Just about everyone who teaches journalism is trying to figure out how to integrate social media into the mix. We all know that young people are already active users of social media — but that doesn’t mean they understand how to use those media ethically and effectively to do journalism.

Proposals: (3) All journalism students need to learn how to use social media for specific journalistic goals. Assignments should focus on distinct uses such as identifying experts, crowdsourcing, and crisis mapping. (4) In any journalism program, the instructors must work together to eliminate unnecessary repetition in the program — for example, two or more required courses might have almost identical Twitter assignments or blogging assignments. This is a particular danger because it’s easy to integrate social media into almost any course — but redundancy risks trivializing the experience for students.

This is just a snippet of a post written by Mindy McAdams. For the whole article,  see Teaching Journalism Online [Blog]



Looking Beyond Investigative Journalism (a Case for Solution Journalism)
(excerpt)  Some journalists will respond by saying, “That’s not our job. We expose corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence. It’s up to society to figure out how to fix things.”

But at Dowser, we believe that journalists need to go a step further: if we are going to spend energy exposing serious problems – especially problems that raise questions about the integrity and competence of people in public systems – we should also present examples of how these problems can be solved – and how they are currently being solved in other situations. Why? The press should be a mechanism for the self-correction of society. This isn’t a particularly new or radical idea. It’s the whole rationale behind investigative journalism.



Read the whole article at Dowser  article was written by Blair Hickman (@amandablair)

(excerpt)  Some journalists will respond by saying, “That’s not our job. We expose corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence. It’s up to society to figure out how to fix things.”

But at Dowser, we believe that journalists need to go a step further: if we are going to spend energy exposing serious problems – especially problems that raise questions about the integrity and competence of people in public systems – we should also present examples of how these problems can be solved – and how they are currently being solved in other situations. Why? The press should be a mechanism for the self-correction of society. This isn’t a particularly new or radical idea. It’s the whole rationale behind investigative journalism.

Read the whole article at Dowser  article was written by Blair Hickman (@amandablair)


What does journalism of the future look like? 
…

Filloux’s blog post, entitled “Jazz Is Not a Byproduct of Rap Music,” is a response to something Jarvis wrote several weeks ago, in which the author and New York University City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism professor argued that the news article — the central unit of storytelling that we have become familiar with in newspapers and other forms of media — should no longer be the default for every news event. In many cases, Jarvis said, the article or story should be seen as a “value-added luxury or byproduct” of the process of news-gathering, rather than the central goal in every situation.
Via GigaOm 

What does journalism of the future look like? 

Filloux’s blog post, entitled “Jazz Is Not a Byproduct of Rap Music,” is a response to something Jarvis wrote several weeks ago, in which the author and New York University City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism professor argued that the news article — the central unit of storytelling that we have become familiar with in newspapers and other forms of media — should no longer be the default for every news event. In many cases, Jarvis said, the article or story should be seen as a “value-added luxury or byproduct” of the process of news-gathering, rather than the central goal in every situation.

Via GigaOm 


In four short years, how different will our online lives be?

-Via Fast CoDesign

In four short years, how different will our online lives be?

-Via Fast CoDesign

Information has never been so cheap; our choices have never been so numerous; the cacophony has never been quite so grand. Everyone knows this, and everyone is right. It’s why we’re fascinated, if not obsessed, with Google and Twitter and all the rest of their oddly named species. We know that information poses as many challenges as opportunities.

— James Gleick, interviewed by the the Guardian’s John Naughton, about his new book The Information.