Cross-posted from Where There's A William by Will Brown.
In his 2005 book FAB, author Neil Gershenfeld introduced the world to the possibilities of our potential near future.
If I could talk to TED, I would remind them of this and point out that there is likely to be a longish wait for whole-object fabrication technology to be affordable and reliably available to the general public. And, that it isn't really necessary to wait for that happy day either. We humans are long established tool users already, so how unreasonable is it to seek to develop the fab technology to create replacement parts for our existing technology and simply replace the worn bits as necessary? The technology already allows for the used parts to be de-constructed on-site for re-use in later fabrications as well.
If I could talk to TED, I'd remind them that guys like me, in our 50's now, along with our wives and children are the initial target market for this technology to achieve ultimate universal acceptance and application. I would suggest to my fellow TEDsters that a useful mechanism for achieving that goal would be a video campaign that visually demonstrates the technology and its application process to any potential additional user. I would also point out that there is a wide-spread lack of understanding of why adoption of new scientific advances takes so long to come to market; watching as the early attempts fail, and explaining the complexities involved, will be an express objective of this video campaign also, with the eventual objective of showing ultimate success of course.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today announced that "150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day."
This brings Facebook to just over 2% total global penetration in just under 5 years time (the company was founded in February 4, 2004) and, based on the shape of this diffusion curve, confirms its status as a major Interactive Communication Technology, as defined by communication scholar Everett Rogers.
Furthermore, it lines up nicely with the history of ICTs, as demonstrated by business and comm professor Vijay Gurbaxani, in which the diffusion of subsequent ICTs gets steadily sharper (telegraph, telephone, web connections), which supports the conjecture that either Facebook, a mirror technology (MySpace, Linked In, Microsoft Live, Orkut, iGoogle), or a combination thereof (most likely) will quickly attain much greater adoption. Obviously this ongoing trend has some serious deep-rooted consequences for the near-term accelerating future.
Equally as interesting is Zuckerberg's observation that, "If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria."
While I'm sure the statement was carefully considered and is meant to innocuously communicate the significance of the milestone, it also reveals the immense power inherent in social networks. These structures are among the primary drivers of a flattening world, exerting change on existing culture as they permit a new form bonding across distances, generations and (in just a few years) across language barriers. As such, they are in fact a new type of Massive Meta-Nation that transcends borders and increasingly affects law-making, behavioral norms and personal identity (just as international companies have done for many decades).
Enter Serious Value Creation/Facilitation: If you think the Facebook and social networking phenomenon is just peripheral to real culture and business, you are dead wrong.
The University of Michigan announced recently that they had made artificial bone marrow that can continuously make red and white blood cells. According to Nicholas Kotov, the PI of the lab, it uses 3D scaffolding that mimics the tissues that support bone marrow in the body.
In addition to possibly providing an inexhaustible source of blood for transfusions, which in and of itself would be great, it has the potential to simplify the pharmaceutical drug-testing process. As the world of discovery speeds up, the process of safely testing and bringing to market drugs and treatments in less than the standard 7-10 years is a difficult obstacle to overcome and one which is in great demand.
he Future Scanner Weekly Top 10 highlights some of the best scans submitted to the Future Scanner during the previous 7 days.
Scanned by: Adam Cutsinger
Scanned by: Andriod
Scanned by: Garry Golden
Scanned by: smarteconomy
Scanned by: Jeff Hilford
A lot of people keep telling me that if one has nothing to hide, then why worry about wire-taps or security cameras? If you're not planning to rob a bank or kidnap a spoiled celebrity then you should be fine, right?
I have to admit, that argument is pretty solid. I don't plan on doing anything like kidnapping rich kids (at least until the economy gets worse) so I shouldn't worry. But the real issue here is privacy. Humans love privacy, and yet we're afraid of just about everything. Finding a balance between the two can be difficult at times and rarely easy. You might not be doing something illegal that would cause you to fear security cameras, but think again.
Chances are you've done something that could be construed as illegal and fined. Not coming to a full stop at stop signs lands you a ticket for every mistake. Urinating in public when you're coming home from the bars at 2am could land you an indecency ticket and possible jail time. Any prank you've ever pulled from toilet papering a house to stealing a road sign would be prosecuted (for those that notice these crimes are kinda specific examples, I've never TP'd a house, it's a waste of paper).
Someone will always be watching and to think that minor offenses will be ignored is naive since cities are always looking for new sources of revenue. And as it becomes clear that the cameras don't actually prevent any crime (London has 1.5 million CCTV cameras and bombings still happen) people will rely more and more on security cameras which do more. Facial recognition is the next step, following people from camera to camera, tracking their paths. Your entire path from when you leave your house to when you finally return is on record. Great for Alzheimers patients, but I think I'll pass.
I prefer a world where I can enjoy anonymity and freedom to do silly things like hit golf balls off my front lawn, or drop water balloons from a parking garage, or streak on campus. Would I like to find out who broke into my car? Yes. But not at the cost of killing my privacy.
I mentioned in my post yesterday that we were moving towards a time when the powers that be that influence tech Zeitgeist are seeing their reach and effect increase in a profound fashion. One manifestation of this can be seen in the nimble teams of developers that are and will assemble to make a proposed or roughly designed product or prototype quickly. This coincides closely with the trend towards DIY and making. In this post by leading gadget blog Gizmodo, they lay out a mock-up of a next generation Iphone. The Dream IPhone Pro basically combines the features people would like to see most in today's personal communicators - a Blackberry style qwerty keyboard combined with the full size touch screen beauty and facility of the Iphone (plus a couple of other requisite additions such as wholesale improvement of camera/video). It's a pretty simple idea and one that would satisfy a lot of folks (me included). As a result, there are probably a bunch of people tearing apart Iphones, Blackberry's and Nokias as we speak trying to create a hack.
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch predicts that Google will soon release an advertising service for their Friend Connect application (a program that "enables any website to offer social applications and content from Facebook, Hi5, Orkut, Plaxo, MySpace, Google Talk and other social networks" wikipedia) that will allow developers who place Friend Connect widgets on their respective sites to earn revenue in the same manner that websites earn money through Google AdSense. Though it's not all that surprising, such a move will mark another big step in the race to monetize the information contained in social networks, while at the same time greatly spurring the ongoing networking of online information by rewarding the placement of social widgets all over the web.
Just imagine it: Millions of bloggers who place social network widgets on their posts will be able to monetize those. Retail websites that use Friend Connect to show you what your friends have purchased will be given the option directly monetize that webspace (in addition to increasing the likelihood of purchases). News sites will be be given the option to monetize their comment entry forms or entire comment streams by embedding ads there. And so forth.
The Future Scanner Weekly Top 10 highlights some of the best scans submitted to the Future Scanner during the previous 7 days.
Scanned by: Jeff Hilford
Scanned by: Adam Cutsinger
Scanned by: Marc Cobb
Scanned by: John Heylin
Scanned by: smarteconomy