“Until recently, the idea of robot rights had been left to the realms of science fiction. Perhaps that’s because the real machines surrounding us have been relatively unsophisticated. Nobody feels bad about chucking away a toaster or a remote-control toy car. Yet the arrival of social robots changes that. They display autonomous behaviour, show intent and embody familiar forms like pets or humanoids, says Darling. In other words, they act as if they are alive. It triggers our emotions, and often we can’t help it.”
Faceboook says it wants to get 5 billion more people online. That’s certainly in Facebook’s favor, but the anthropology major in me has to pose a question: do you think it is in the interest of those 5 billion more people as well? Will they want it? Should they?
“This is the point at which we reach the level of a genuine virtual PA: an assistant bright enough to understand the requirement, ask intelligent questions to clarify as required and query multiple sources to obtain the info. Couple that to interconnected personal devices and data, and you have what is to me the holy grail: the time when I can ask my phone to arrange lunch with you next week and it does it all intelligently”—
If we as citizens are going to accept bad information first, then we also must accept the responsibility to follow the story or event beyond the first headlines to facts that emerge as an often-muddled scene becomes clear. We also must pledge not to allow politicians and others to use sound bites as weapons or fact without context.
“Social media are an important part of the lives of hundreds of millions of users around the world. If you are one of them, maintaining perspective is important. Do not let narcissists set your standards. You may be lagging far behind in the social media rat race because your NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) score is not high enough. The reason you may not have thousands of followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook is because you are normal. Normalcy is a benchmark any narcissist should aspire to achieve.”—
The more I read about Google Now and Sherpa, the more I can’t help but think about how the same predictive intelligence for news apps would be so effective. If done right, it could fill many “jobs to be done.”
It could do that for a commute, a lunch line, the “lean back” hours of the evening, etc., always suggesting the most appropriate content for each context. I’d sign up right away. It’d save me some time and potentially lend itself to discovery I may have missed out on.
I know some people are experimenting with this realm of mobile location + news (Kon*Fab comes to mind). Perhaps experimentation will become easier as Google Now and Sherpa get going and we’ll be able to see some news outlets get into the game, too.
Location and time data spliced together could offer pathways to answering big relevancy questions in media (in the information overload we all recognize, how do we serve stories or information readers will want to see). And I’m sure there are a hefty plenty of possibilities for targeted advertising based on both location and time of day…
Research soon to be published in Psychological Science suggests that individual actions and habits regarding how we relate to each other and the ways in which we use technology can leave lasting fingerprints on health and empathic skills.
Looks like it’d be particularly important for children and adult interaction (as the article mentions, instances “like [parents] texting while breast-feeding or otherwise paying more attention to their phone than their child”).
This important to remember for individuals, broadly. It’s additionally worth consideration for designing for any new technology and communication.
“When you’re going about your day, in the checkout line, stepping into elevators, whatever, it’s nice to look people in the eye and let them look into yours, if only for a moment of elemental human interaction. Tell me why you must put a computer in the middle of that?”—
Thoughts from Brian Bergstein, deputy editor of the MIT Technology Review, with links to others with similar concerns about the cultural impact of Google Glass (and within that, the impact on individuals).
“These applications are the opposite of groomed; they practically require imperfection, a sloppiness and a grittiness that conveys a sense of realness, something I’ve been craving in my communication.”—
We’ve mastered success theater, according to NYT’s Jenna Wortham, and more people may be attracted to Snapchat or Facebook Poke because they are designed for the opposite. It’s tech, it’s social media— but it’s not choreographed or polished.
This is a nice, quick read that touches the reality of performing online and the reality, so it seems, that we want something more real, something unfiltered.
Adam Brault has a very honest honest assessment of how he feels compelled to check social media and what the effects are on his mental capacity. Dunbar’s number and other scientific reasoning gets some play here, but what’s perhaps most persuading is just the logic and sincerity of what he writes (also read: how he feels).
Great thoughts here about empathy and social media here and the idea that little things can affect you. There’s only so much mental space. Interesting to read and consider if you relate in any way.
In the journalism world, countless mobile efforts are platform extensions. There’s an urgency to get our branded content in front of consumers, wherever they are. Such extensions are a competitive reality, but they’re often just a new design for a new form factor. A growing number of mobile-first efforts, like The Daily, aim to rise above repurposed content with a fresh approach. But many lack a real problem to solve.
Breaking News GM Cory Bergman offers simple and smart perspective here: if you’re looking for a mobile strategy, start with how people already use mobile phones.
Corki, which Bergman mentioned, is just one problem-solving app. It helps with all-things wine. IMDB is another— it helps me find out if I was right about random movie trivia with friends. Shazam identifies the artist of that catchy tune on the radio. Apps like one of the DC Metro system help me figure out where I’m going on a train. There’s obvious utility in these apps, and as a result, there’s a reason to access them.
Is utility in news apps the filling of “open moments” based on real-life context like the solution I’d love to see and write about often? Or is there a better utility out there— maybe a way for news applications to jump on the success of problem-solving apps like Corki and Shazam? What are other real-life unsolved problems exist that using your phone can help with, and how can merge that with the news organizations are producing every day?
“Perhaps this is why we have the fanatic urge to post every emotional experience we have on Facebook, to instagram every sunset, to tweet every meaningful quote, to constantly avoid simply being, simply experiencing things, but forever outsourcing life to a realm in which in can be validated by others, and — most importantly — talked about, for in our heart of modern hearts we are not certain that our lives have value in and of themselves.”—Why No One Shuts Up
From an interesting (and well-written) explanation of why we push for connection in all areas of life, even intimacy. This is a quote from a popular young Catholic blogger on the blog “Bad Catholic.”
“I have a smartphone, too. Walking on sidewalks, in stores and malls, and maybe in a crosswalk sometimes I’m using my cellphone. But I try to stay connected to my environment. I never thought the government needed to cite me for using my cellphone in a reasonable manner.”—
A proposed ordinance on using distracting devices like cellphones while crossing tracks of the Salt Lake City light rail system may not have passed a semi-scoffing Utah Legislature, but when Philly officials taped an “e-lane” for distracted pedestrians, some didn’t think it was a joke.
It’s obvious that a wide range of folks walk and text, walk and tweet, walk and Facebook post, and walk and search for funny cats. But how serious is not distracted driving, but distracted texting? And what’s the government’s role in what we use and how we use it while we walk in public?
This is a nice WaPo piece that touches on government regulation for the purposes of public safety. I’d be interested to see another piece on public attitude. How do people feel about everyone walking and smartphone-using? And what effects does that have on how people in a city like DC get along and do things like empathize with others?
Bonus: How does smartphone use while walking in public affect community in a city not like DC, but instead one like small-town South Dakota?
“One of the last things Chance Bothe texted before his crash nearly happened to him. He was having an argument with his friend via text when he typed, “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.”—
“The conclusion I’ve come to is what makes Path so special isn’t its limited friend count. It’s not its beautiful design (which I dug into a few months ago). What I’ve realized is so special about Path for me is the consistency of tone.”—
I may write about this later, but I love this idea of tone in a social media platform.
One quick thought: The writer explicitly says he likes Path not because of the limited friend count— he says he likes it instead because of the tone, one of sharing life experiences. That’s his main point. But I wonder if it’s the limited friend count that actually makes that tone possible. He doesn’t come out and say this, but perhaps that small group is what makes the social media experience, for him and maybe others like him, more enjoyable. Perhaps it’s the intimacy?
Love the lists of what’s in the stream. Very illustrative.
“I think one of the key things is that people have begun to behave as though technology is in control of them, instead of the other way round. We can switch the gadgets off but a lot of us have forgotten how to".”—
One of the better spots to enjoy a bowl of ramen noodles here in New York is Minca, in the East Village. Minca is the kind of place just out of the way enough that as you’re about to get there, you start wondering if you’ve already passed it. A bowl of noodles at Minca isn’t quite as neatly put together as those of other ramen establishments in the city, but it is without a doubt among the tastiest. There’s a home-cooked quality to a bowl of noodles at Minca. And there’s a homey vibe to the restaurant. Minca is a good place to meet a friend and sit and talk and eat and drink, and eat and talk and sit and drink some more.
The last time I was at Minca, I had an especially enjoyable conversation with Walter Chen. Walter is the CEO of a company called iDoneThis, a quiet little service that helps you catalog the things you’ve accomplished each day. iDoneThis sends you a daily email at your specified time, and you simply reply with a list of things you did that day. It’s useful for teams who want to keep track of what everyone is working on, and for individuals who just want to keep track.
I first reached out to Walter because I was mesmerized by this koan at the bottom of the daily emails:
iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. After you email us, your calendar is not updated instantaneously. But rest up, and you’ll find an updated calendar when you wake.
iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. The Slow Web Movement. I’d never heard that phrase before. I immediately started digging around—and by that I mean I googled “Slow Web Movement”—and the lone relevant search result was a blog post from two years ago. If you run the search again today, you’ll find Walter’s writeup on his company blog, which reflects a lot of what he told me over dinner.
As we talked further, I said to Walter that as soon as I saw “the slow web movement,” I assigned my own meaning to it. Because it’s a great name, and great names are like knots—they’re woven from the same stringy material as other words, but in their particular arrangement, they catch, become junctions to which new threads arrive, from which other threads depart. For me, “The Slow Web” neatly tied together a slew of dangling thoughts.