Nicholas Negroponte on the social impact of peer-to-peer

Thu, 2005-11-03 22:55.
Peer-to-peer is a much deeper concept than we understand today. We're limited by assumptions rooted in and derived from the physical world. Information technology over the next 25 years will change those limits through force of new habits.

 
Link

John Hagel about attention and the value of intermediaries

Wed, 2005-11-02 11:54.
the real value of the infomediary comes from using attention profiles to reduce interaction costs and increase return on attention. The infomediary can help customers to sort through all the options competing for their attention and to connect rapidly and conveniently with the resources that matter the most to them – not only through search but, increasingly, through recommendation services based on deeper understanding of their interests and preferences.

Unfortunately, this is a much more challenging proposition to deliver on than either blocking access to attention profiles or selling attention profiles to the highest bidder. But it is also a compelling proposition that creates interesting opportunities for increasing returns dynamics.

 
Link

Designing Complex Adaptive Systems

Sat, 2005-10-15 21:58.
As we suffuse the world with complex technical systems�”on top of the natural and social systems already here�”old-style top-down, outside-in design simply won’t work. The days of the celebrity solo designer are over. Complex systems are shaped by all the people who use them, and in this new era of collaborative innovation, designers are having to evolve from being the individual authors of objects, or buildings, to being the facilitators of change among large groups of people.

 
Quote from the great book "In the bubble" by John Thackara,

Change

Fri, 2005-09-16 20:25.
"Lots of people don't like change. Change doesn't much care" - Simon DT

Open Technology Roadmap

Thu, 2005-09-15 22:52.

Openness is at the heart of truly worldchanging systems. Transparency of process, connections and results make open systems more reliable, more accessible, and better able to be connected to other systems; it also encourages collaboration and the input of interested stakeholders. This is perhaps most tangible in the world of technology, particularly information and communication technology (ICT); open ICT systems are increasingly engines of innovation, and are clear catalysts for leapfrogging across the developing world, via reduced costs, potential for customization, and likely interoperability with both legacy and emerging technologies.


Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society has just published something they call the "Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems" (PDF), a guidebook for policymakers, business strategists and technical specialists looking to implement open information and communication technologies around the world. The Roadmap doesn't focus on any single type of open ICT, but on the greater value of the open approach, and the ways in which open systems encourage collaboration and innovation using "a potent combination of connectivity, collaboration and transparency."


One aspect of the Roadmap that I find particularly compelling is that, although it speaks only to information and communication technology needs, the majority of the principles and ideas considered could apply more broadly -- to other kinds of technologies (such as biotech and nanotech), and even to political and social systems (such as voting methods and urban planning).


It's this broad approach that allows the concepts to apply to more than ICT. Consider, for example, the Roadmap's list of Guiding Principles of Open ICT Ecosystems:


An open ICT ecosystem should be:


Interoperable – allowing, through open standards, the exchange, reuse, interchangeability and interpretation of data across diverse architectures.


User-Centric – prioritizing services fulfilling user requirements over perceived hardware or software constraints.


Collaborative – permitting governments, industry, and other stakeholders to create, grow and reform communities of interested parties that can leverage strengths, solve common problems, innovate and build upon existing efforts.


Sustainable – maintaining balance and resiliency while addressing organizational, technical, financial and legal issues in a manner that allows an ecosystem to thrive and evolve.


Flexible – adapting seamlessly and quickly to new information, technologies, protocols and relationships while integrating them as warranted into market-making and government processes.


With a few slight adjustments to the phrasing, the same list would apply well as guidelines for a distributed energy network, or as guidelines for a transportation system, or even as guidelines for cooperative biomedical research. This isn't because the guidelines are vague or overly-broad, but because many infrastructure and service systems ultimately have similar needs for sustainable success.


That said, the Roadmap does give ample detail about the particular value of open information and communication technologies. Most useful, perhaps, is the section on how open ICT ecosystems can evolve. The Roadmap authors pointedly do not expect governments and organizations to shift to an open approach in one great leap; rather, the move to openness requires a great deal of rapid prototyping and incremental adjustments, to allow the particulars of the implementation to match the organization's context. That's the corollary to the low-level similarity of needs across disciplines: the specific circumstances of each case will be highly variable. The guidelines and the Roadmap don't tell you the answer, they help you find the answer.


This is one of those documents where the short length -- it's well under 50 pages -- belies the richness of the material. Open ICT systems have a definite value for development efforts, in terms of both leapfrogging and local/regional economic regeneration (it would be useful, for example, for the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast to keep the principles of open systems in mind). Even more useful, at least for me, is the degree to which the Roadmap triggers further consideration of how the open system concept applies outside of the realm of information and communication technology. The core principles of "connectivity, collaboration and transparency" have far broader application than just ICT; they are at the heart of a robust, flexible and sustainable model of society.
Via worldchanging.com

Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization

Thu, 2005-09-15 15:40.
Danah Boyd has written a great essay on the relation between global connectivity and the need for putting this in a localized context.
Web2.0 is about glocalization, it is about making global information available to local social contexts and giving people the flexibility to find, organize, share and create information in a locally meaningful fashion that is globally accessible.

Shoshana Zuboff - The Support Economy

Thu, 2005-09-15 15:23.

Q: Under what conditions do new episodes of capitalism emerge?


A: Each new episode of capitalism emerges from the complex interplay of three forces: (1) New human yearnings that create a new approach to consumption and new kinds of markets, (2) technologies capable of addressing the demands of the new markets, and (3) a new enterprise logic that can link employees, technologies, and markets in new ways.


Q: Do these conditions exist today?


A: Yes. First, today's people are pioneering a new approach to consumption that we call the individuation of consumption. They want to be treated as individuals, not as anonymous transactions in the ledgers of mass consumption. They want to be heard and they want to matter. They no longer want to be the objects of commerce. Instead, they want corporations to bend to their needs. They want to be freed from the time-consuming stress, rage, injustice, and personal defeat that accompany so many commercial exchanges. They seek advocacy in place of adversarialism, relationships in place of transactions. They want to take their lives in their own hands and they are willing to pay for what we call the deep support that will enable them to do so.Deep support, as we describe in our book, is not just an enhanced version of conventional customer service. It is an entirely new way of doing business, a radically different approach to the realization of value in which the very purpose of commerce is redefined around the objective of supporting individuals.


Deep support enables psychological self-determination. It produces time for life. It facilitates and enhances the experience of being the origin of one's life. It recognizes, responds to, and promotes individuality. It celebrates intricacy. It multiplies choice and enhances flexibility. It encourages voice and is guided by voice. Deep support listens and offers connection. It offers collaborative relationship defined by advocacy. It is founded on trust, reciprocity, authenticity, intimacy, and absolute reliability. Second, there is a new digital medium whose networked intelligence, flexibility, ubiquity, and complexity make it ideally suited to meeting the demands of the new markets for deep support. Until now, though, it has been bent to the purposes of the old consumption, according to the principles of the old capitalism. The new medium will not fulfill its historic destiny without a new enterprise logic capable of liberating its revolutionary potential.


The fire is laid. What's needed is the match. These conditions create the urgent need for a third force-- a new enterprise logic capable of marrying the new markets for deep support and the new digital medium. We call this new enterprise logic distributed capitalism. Watch the flames when these three forces finally combine. That will mark the real discontinuity between the economy of the twentieth century and that of the twenty-first.


Full interview
Further reading

Small Businesses

Thu, 2005-09-15 13:08.
The 23.7 million U.S. small businesses are seen as prime candidates for the expansion of search marketing beyond the roughly 200,000 now using it. According to The Kelsey Group, the market for local search marketing could reach $2.5 billion in 2008. Jupiter Research, however, thinks it will grow much more slowly, anticipating $824 million in 2008.

Linda Stone on Attention

Thu, 2005-09-15 13:04.
In 1997 I coined the phrase "continuous partial attention". For almost two decades, continuous partial attention has been a way of life to cope and keep up with responsibilities and relationships. We've stretched our attention bandwidth to upper limits. We think that if tech has a lot of bandwidth then we do, too.
With continuous partial attention we keep the top level item in focus and scan the periphery in case something more important emerges. Continuous partial attention is motivated by a desire not to miss opportunities. We want to ensure our place as a live node on the network, we feel alive when we're connected. To be busy and to be connected is to be alive.
We've been working to maximize opportunities and contacts in our life. So much social networking, so little time. Speed, agility, and connectivity at top of mind. Marketers humming that tune for two decades now.
Now we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled.
... We're shifting into a new cycle, new set of behaviours and motivations. Attention is dynamic, and there are sociocultural influences that push us to pay attention one way or another. Our use of attention and how it evolves is culturally determined.
... So now we're overwhelmed, underfulfilled, seeking meaningful connections.
... Attention captured by marketing messages and leaders who give us a sense of trust, belonging in a meaningful way. Now we long for a quality of life that comes in meaningful connections to friends, colleagues, family that we experience with full-focus attention on relationships, etc.
The next aphrodisiac is committed full-attention focus. In this new area, experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, trusted protectors, trusted concierge, human or technical, removing distractions and managing boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections, that make us feel secure, are the opportunity for the next generation. Opportunity will be the tools and technologies to take our power back.

 
Source

The Digital Identity Big Bang

Thu, 2005-09-15 12:07.
Every website has parts of your personal information: your name, your address and phone number perhaps, and often your credit card number. Some allow you to send messages, some are just for checking your 401k balance. Many have information about you that you wish they didn’t have. And if you and I meet at a party tonight, it’s just about impossible for either of us to find each other again in cyberspace because, well, while Google is good at finding Amazon, it is very bad a finding you. Because there isn’t a place on the internet where you can be found.
Digital Identity technologies intend to change all of this. Instead of having multiple personality disorder on-line, these technologies promise to give you a digital identity that is the same everywhere. Instead of having to update dozens of websites with your new address – if you can remember them all – you’d have to update it only once. Instead of being spammed or phished because somebody got a hold of your e-mail address and pretended to be somebody else, you could set your communications preferences once and technology would enforce it for everybody.

 
Full article