Archive for 2008

Subliminal pattern recognition and RSS readers

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I’ve done one statement a number of times: information overload is an opportunity for pattern recognition and thus leads to better abilities to sense what is going on and how to respond to it. Therefore, information overload is actually a good thing. Obviously it brings anxiety at certain times, but if you position yourself with it in a different attitude based on the flow/perceiving metaphor rather than collection/consumption metaphor, you will have much easier time coping with it.

Check out this video below. It’s about subliminal advertising and the result might surprise you:

This is exactly why those people who use RSS readers to scan through thousands of feeds, read blog posts from various decentrally connected sources and who engage themselves into assembling multiple unrelated sources of information into one (probing connections between them) have much greater ability to sense and respond to changing conditions in increasingly complex environments than those who read only the major newspapers, watch only the major news networks and don’t put themselves into a difficult situation of being hammered with a lot of stuff at once.

Linear, intentional learning was how you learned in the past. Enter nonlinear, visually active way of learning of the future.

The blogosphere is like a digital photograph: one pixel is one blog post. The details don’t make any sense but once the pixels appear to be connected, it forms a pattern, a picture perhaps that you can recognize. This is exactly what happens if you swim in information overload and try to perceive how things fit together. As a result, you might think that you have almost psychic capabilities to know what is happening at the market right now and how to respond.

If you are an individual, start using RSS readers and expand your field of subliminal vision. Use sources that regularly provide insight into your life. If you are a corporation, create information overload inside your organization and give people tools to follow and perceive patterns. Otherwise your competitors will soon know better than you what to do next.

Mobile Monday Amsterdam show

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Mobile Monday Amsterdam was a blast. Me and Bruce Sterling were the last keynotes. I did three pecha kucha style talks in a row (20sec per slide, 20 slides, slides advancing automatically) with surprise cross-media feats in between. Bruce preached like a pope from the pulpit (the venue was an old church converted to a conference center). Some of my points are written in my previous blog post on this event.

A few photographs tells more than a thousand blog posts, so see below.

Photos linked to respective owners.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show

The only blue-haired finn at the conference.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show

Walking on rope while doing three pecha kucha speeches in a row (20 slides, 20 sec per slide, automatically advancing).

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show 

Some more talking with a 20 sec per slide limit.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show

Playing flower sticks in the beginning of round 2.

  Mobile Monday Amsterdam show

More stick skillz.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show 

Some contact juggling in the beginning of round 3.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show 

Bruce Sterling addressing the crowd like a pope.

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show 

“Mobile sinners!”

 Mobile Monday Amsterdam show 

The speakers and organizers after the event, right before going to the bar. Thanks folks, I enjoyed every moment of it.

How Mobile is Changing our Society

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

In a couple of weeks I will be talking at the Mobile Monday Amsterdam in the context of how mobile is changing our society. The 400-seat event was “sold out” in just 2 hours. People will come and listen what I, Bruce Sterling, Raymond Perrenet and Johan Koolwaaij have to say about the topic. The presentations will be recorded.

The popularity of the event for me points towards increased interest of people to know more about the mobile world. We are at a brink of transformation due to new market entrants (giants like Google and Apple are now Nokia’s new respectable competitors), convergence of the existing social web with the mobile (the web embracing functionality within the iPhone or new Nokia devices as an example), increased volumes, increased number of users and increased complexity in our society.

It’s all about emergence. An entirely new thing is emerging from this interconnected electronic mycelium.

I have a feeling that the question we pose today is wrong. It’s not about mobile anymore. For some people, mobile means the devices that we carry around as we move, usually hooked up to a cellular network. The truth is, the activities we go through online with computers and what we do with our “mobiles” cannot be seen as separate anymore. This convergence means our language needs to change or our culture will never understand its future.

As ordinary physical items enter the same network, it’s not going to be about virtual or physical activities anymore. Both will be different faces of the same coin. It’s not going to be about context or not. Context will be the primary component of everything. The primary device will no longer be a “mobile”, but more like something that interacts with the network in a highly contextual way. Ideas, people and physical objects will be part of the same network in a very literal sense.

“Mobile” providers and operators will face competition from many unpredictable directions. In addition to cellular networks, the devices will interact with a wide variety of other networks, starting from physically fixed WLANs to constantly changing MANETs (mobile ad-hoc networks), where every node in the network is moving arbitrarily. The internet of things seldom stays stationary. In a world where everything becomes densely connected, you cannot clearly define the market and opportunities within. Magic wands, cyborg technologies or matrix aside, what we are going to see is not the future of mobile but something entirely different.

The mobile is like the horse wagon. If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses”. It’s the language and our experience of the past that limits our understanding of the future of “mobile”. We need to drop the word and come up with new metaphors to open our eyes. We need new telescopes, binoculars and cleaner eye glasses.

We need to go to the roots of what mobile (latin: mobilis) truly means. Let’s see what the dictionary says about this.

Mobile: Changeable in appearance, mood, or purpose

Adaptable, versatile and migratory. From the point of view of the devices we will see rapid change in appearance and purpose. The mobile devices of the future bear little or no resemblance with the mobile devices of the past. The functionality will be context dependent. From the point of view of our society, we will have tools that help us to adapt to changing conditions and increase our connectedness. We need abilities to migrate from one situation to another in the increasingly changing environment. Yesterdays concepts, tools and metaphors will not work as-is. We need new ways to sense what is changing and adapt accordingly. That’s called effectiveness.

Mobile: Undergoing a shift in status

The social groups we belong to are no longer physically fixed. Electronic tribes will cross cultural and physical boundaries in ways never seen before. The traditional social levels connected to status, merit, power, race and relationships embedded in the fabric of our society will undergo major reconfiguration. The bottom-up and decentralized way of getting things done will become easier as we go forward. In a very McLuhan way, the electronic medium will profoundly involve men with one another.

Time will define our communities: long-term, short-term or ad-hoc. Boundaries will also define our communities: physically connected, ideologically connected or virtually connected. It will be harder and harder to experience the boundaries in a traditional sense. The boundaries blur, therefore time and experience of being connected becomes primary.

We will live in multiple metaverses. Meta+universe implies there are layers to our universe hidden from the previous paradigms of experiencing. Instead of multiple lives – in the metaverse – we will live through multiple personas. In latin, persona means mask. Our masks will be undertaken and carried by avatars. In Sanskrit, avatara means a descent from higher spiritual realms, a god. We will have god-like abilities and our lives will be an interplay between different personas fabricated by ourselves or emerging from our interaction in these contextual virtual worlds. The mirrors of ourselves will reflect who we truly are. Digital environments are capable of extending our experience of being.

Mobile: moving or changing quickly from one state or condition to another

Frequent relocation, fluidity and flowing freely. Increasing complexity implies we are no longer machines, or cogs in a machine. Our organizations will become organic; our tools will support this organic nature. Organic enterprises are like organisms, capable of adapting to changing conditions. Contextuality in learning, knowledge work, collaboration and business strategy requires dynamic and modular behavior. Static cause-and-effect, predictability and tight control are an afterthought. Albert Einstein once said, “a person starts to live when he can live outside himself“. The same could be said about organizations. The unpredictability of complex systems means that there are non-linear changes in time and there will be no silver bullet.

As you may see, by examining the roots of mobility and reflecting the changes we face today, we can no longer go forward by just talking about mobile devices and other devices. There is no need to separate ourselves in two groups, one of them being mobile and one of them being the fixed web. We no longer need to separate our developer communities to mobile developers and the rest. Engineers, programmers, visionaries and designers from various fields are tackling with the same problem. We need new avenues unifying the creativity and passion of people doing basically the same thing: building a better technologically empowered future for mankind. We need a revolution – of language and mind.

We need to reframe the question. With every new technology, it’s not the technology that changes us, but the frame that changes along with it.

Presentation: Social Media Developments in the Real-Time Economy (in finnish)

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Here is one of my latest presentations delivered at the Real-Time Enterprise Summit 08 held at Finlandia Hall on 6th of October 2008. The presentation is in finnish, but the slides are available in english. This is related to my previous post on real-time economy community.

Video recording synced with slides available here.

Real-Time Economy Community wins at WSA Finland

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I’m a the MindTrek conference in Tampere, Finland. Great news is that we won World Summit Award (WSA) Finland in e-Business & Commerce category with a project called the Real-Time Economy Community. It’s a service my company Dicole created together with a great team from Tietoenator and Helsinki School of Economics from concept planning to technical implementation in a Tekes supported project.

RTE community idea is to bring together private sector (companies & service providers), public sector (policy makers & related associations), researchers (Helsinki School of Economics has a competence center around Real-Time Economy issues) and the crowd of people, who struggle with digitalization in their daily working life.

Real-Time Economy points towards a world where transactions, interaction and processes happen simultaneously in real-time. The industrial era of linear cause-and-effect is behind us, organizations need to understand non-linearity, complexity and agility in increasingly changing conditions. The first step is perhaps wide adoption of electronic invoicing to save time and trees, but Real-Time Economy also includes the way collaboration is done in the future and how businesses work with their customers.

Real-time doesn’t mean things that happen literally in real-time, but depending of context things should happen without any unnecessary delay in an integrated, simultaneous and networked manner. We believe this kind of world for business and commerce is not yet very well understood and we want to bring together different players working on this arena.

Real-Time Economy Community will represent Finland in the World Summit Award (WSA) 2009 contest next year.

“We might already be beyond the age of speed, by moving into the age of real-time. The move towards real-time is one way out of the world of speed” – Ivan Illich (1996)