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Tag Archives: wired

A história que inspirou o sumiço desse maluco é bizarra, assim como a “engenharia reversa” na foto do flickr do cara. E a palestra é foda.

Last year, Wired magazine writer Evan Ratliff decided to disappear. For one month, he left behind his identity, home, and friends, setting out to develop an entirely new life somewhere in America. Wired challenged anyone to find him – for a $5000 prize – prompting thousands of people to dig into his life and track his location. What happened next may change the way you think about privacy, social media, interactive journalism and identity in the digital age.

A propósito, o telão do PICNIC é muito foda.

É velho mas é de uma genialidade constrangedora, embaraçosa. Parabéns a Wired.

Tirei esse trecho de um post, como de hábito excelente, do Tiago Dória, e só com ele (não o Tiago, o trecho) se pode entender toda a grandeza deste jogo.

Cutthroat Capitalism é sobre a ação de piratas na Somália, durante o ano de 2009. No jogo, você é um pirata (ladrão/sequestrador de navios) que tem como missão conseguir uma certa quantidade de dinheiro e recrutar novos integrantes para a sua “equipe de piratas”.

O jogo foi publicado junto com uma matéria correspondente na edição da Wired. Enquanto a versão impressa mostrava a ação dos piratas na Somália, do ponto de vista das empresas de transporte marítimo; Cutthroat Capitalism registrava-a, do lado dos piratas.

E seguia além – forçava os leitores a entender a pirataria a partir da experiência simulada pelo newsgame. No fim das contas, mostrava como o sistema de pirataria funcionava como um todo. E é neste ponto que está um dos diferenciais dos newsgames, ainda pouco explorado. Poder ir além do hardnews, do factual.

Os dois cabeçudos trocaram uma idéia sobre inovação nas páginas da Wired:

Steven Johnson: We share a fascination with the long history of simultaneous invention: cases where several people come up with the same idea at almost exactly the same time. Calculus, the electrical battery, the telephone, the steam engine, the radio—all these groundbreaking innovations were hit upon by multiple inventors working in parallel with no knowledge of one another.

Kelly: It’s amazing that the myth of the lone genius has persisted for so long, since simultaneous invention has always been the norm, not the exception. Anthropologists have shown that the same inventions tended to crop up in prehistory at roughly similar times, in roughly the same order, among cultures on different continents that couldn’t possibly have contacted one another.

Johnson: Also, there’s a related myth—that innovation comes primarily from the profit motive, from the competitive pressures of a market society. If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.

Kelly: Really, we should think of ideas as connections,in our brains and among people. Ideas aren’t self-contained things; they’re more like ecologies and networks. They travel in clusters.

Kelly: In part, that’s because ideas that leap too far ahead are almost never implemented—they aren’t even valuable. People can absorb only one advance, one small hop, at a time. Gregor Mendel’s ideas about genetics, for example: He formulated them in 1865, but they were ignored for 35 years because they were too advanced. Nobody could incorporate them. Then, when the collective mind was ready and his idea was only one hop away, three different scientists independently rediscovered his work within roughly a year of one another.

Johnson: Charles Babbage is another great case study. His “analytical engine,” which he started designing in the 1830s, was an incredibly detailed vision of what would become the modern computer, with a CPU, RAM, and so on. But it couldn’t possibly have been built at the time, and his ideas had to be rediscovered a hundred years later.

Kelly: I think there are a lot of ideas today that are ahead of their time. Human cloning, autopilot cars, patent-free law—all are close technically but too many steps ahead culturally. Innovating is about more than just having the idea yourself; you also have to bring everyone else to where your idea is. And that becomes really difficult if you’re too many steps ahead.

Johnson: The scientist Stuart Kauffman calls this the “adjacent possible.” At any given moment in evolution—of life, of natural systems, or of cultural systems—there’s a space of possibility that surrounds any current configuration of things. Change happens when you take that configuration and arrange it in a new way. But there are limits to how much you can change in a single move.

Kelly: Both of us have written books on this idea, on the primacy of the evolutionary model for understanding the world. But in What Technology Wants, I’ve actually gone a bit further and come to see technology as an alternative great story, as a different source for understanding where we are in the cosmos. I think technology is something that can give meaning to our lives, particularly in a secular world.

Johnson: I was particularly taken with your idea that technology wants increasing diversity—which is what I think also happens in biological systems, as the adjacent possible becomes larger with each innovation. As tech critics, I think we have to keep this in mind, because when you expand the diversity of a system, that leads to an increase in great things and an increase in crap.

Kelly: Right. This is a big theme in your book, too—the idea that the most creative environments allow for repeated failure.

Johnson: And for wastes of time and resources. If you knew nothing about the Internet and were trying to figure it out from the data, you would reasonably conclude that it was designed for the transmission of spam and porn. And yet at the same time, there’s more amazing stuff available to us than ever before, thanks to the Internet.

Kelly: Ten years ago, I was arguing that the problem with TV was that there wasn’t enough bad TV. Making TV was so expensive that accountants prevented it from becoming really crappy—or really great. It was all mediocre. But that was before YouTube. Now there is great TV!

Johnson: This is another idea with a clear evolutionary parallel, right? If we didn’t have genetic mutations, we wouldn’t have us. You need error to open the door to the adjacent possible.

Johnson: Life seems to gravitate toward these complex states where there’s just enough disorder to create new things. There’s a rate of mutation just high enough to let interesting new innovations happen, but not so many mutations that every new generation dies off immediately.

Kelly: In this way and many others, technology is an extension of life. Both life and technology are faces of the same larger system.

Mais um texto foda da The Atlantic. Dessa vez, sobre a banda Grateful Dead e seu impressionante legado.

The Grateful Dead Archive, scheduled to open soon at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will be a mecca for academics of all stripes: from ethno musicologists to philosophers, sociologists to historians. But the biggest beneficiaries may prove to be business scholars and management theorists, who are discovering that the Dead were visionary geniuses in the way they created “customer value,” promoted social networking, and did strategic business planning.

ODDLY ENOUGH, THE Dead’s influence on the business world may turn out to be a significant part of its legacy. Without intending to—while intending, in fact, to do just the opposite—the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America. One was to focus intensely on its most loyal fans. It established a telephone hotline to alert them to its touring schedule ahead of any public announcement, reserved for them some of the best seats in the house, and capped the price of tickets, which the band distributed through its own mail-order house. If you lived in New York and wanted to see a show in Seattle, you didn’t have to travel there to get tickets—and you could get really good tickets, without even camping out. “The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value,” Barry Barnes, a business professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida, told me. Treating customers well may sound like common sense. But it represented a break from the top-down ethos of many organizations in the 1960s and ’70s. Only in the 1980s, faced with competition from Japan, did American CEOs and management theorists widely adopt a customer-first orientation.

As Barnes and other scholars note, the musicians who constituted the Dead were anything but naive about their business. They incorporated early on, and established a board of directors (with a rotating CEO position) consisting of the band, road crew, and other members of the Dead organization. They founded a profitable merchandising division and, peace and love notwithstanding, did not hesitate to sue those who violated their copyrights. But they weren’t greedy, and they adapted well. They famously permitted fans to tape their shows, ceding a major revenue source in potential record sales. According to Barnes, the decision was not entirely selfless: it reflected a shrewd assessment that tape sharing would widen their audience, a ban would be unenforceable, and anyone inclined to tape a show would probably spend money elsewhere, such as on merchandise or tickets. The Dead became one of the most profitable bands of all time.

Much of the talk about “Internet business models” presupposes that they are blindingly new and different. But the connection between the Internet and the Dead’s business model was made 15 years ago by the band’s lyricist, John Perry Barlow, who became an Internet guru. Writing in Wired in 1994, Barlow posited that in the information economy, “the best way to raise demand for your product is to give it away.” As Barlow explained to me: “What people today are beginning to realize is what became obvious to us back then—the important correlation is the one between familiarity and value, not scarcity and value. Adam Smith taught that the scarcer you make something, the more valuable it becomes. In the physical world, that works beautifully. But we couldn’t regulate [taping at] our shows, and you can’t online. The Internet doesn’t behave that way. But here’s the thing: if I give my song away to 20 people, and they give it to 20 people, pretty soon everybody knows me, and my value as a creator is dramatically enhanced. That was the value proposition with the Dead.”

Porra, o texto desse John Perry Barlow na Wired, de um distante ano de 1994, começa com uma citação foda!

“If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”

O autor? Thomas Jefferson, lá pelos idos do século 18 ou 19.

Steve Jobs em entrevista a Wired, em um distante 1996:

When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.

Mais um post instigante do BBH Labs sobre Singularity e Inteligência Artficial. A citação abaixo, de Bill Joy, em 2000, é para deixar pedaços do cérebro entre as teclas:

“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.”

Tem vezes que eu me questiono se as mais de 100 abas de chrome abertas sobre os mais díspares temas são efetivamente produtivas dentro do meu trabalho.

But for knowledge workers charged with transforming ideas into products — whether gadgets, code, or even Wired articles — goofing off isn’t the enemy. In fact, regularly stepping back from the project at hand can be essential to success. And social networks are particularly well suited to stoking the creative mind.

Studies that accuse social networks of reducing productivity assume that time spent microblogging is time strictly wasted. But that betrays an ignorance of the creative process. Humans weren’t designed to maintain a constant focus on assigned tasks. We need periodic breaks to relieve our conscious minds of the pressure to perform — pressure that can lock us into a single mode of thinking. Musing about something else for a while can clear away the mental detritus, letting us see an issue through fresh eyes, a process that creativity researchers call incubation. “People are more successful if we force them to move away from a problem or distract them temporarily,” observe the authors of Creativity and the Mind, a landmark text in the psychology and neuroscience of creativity. They found that regular breaks enhance problem-solving skills significantly, in part by making it easier for workers to sift through their memories in search of relevant clues.

That doesn’t mean that employees should feel free to play Minesweeper at will, however. According to Don Ambrose, a Rider University professor who studies creative intelligence, incubation is most effective when it involves exposing the mind to entirely novel information rather than just relieving mental pressure. This encourages creative association, the mashing together of seemingly unrelated concepts — a key step in the creative process.

Pronto, não me questiono mais.

O Noah Brier, de quem eu roubei o título do post, destaca um trecho interessante:

A random scrap of information can trigger just the right conceptual collision. It’s hard to know which scrap might do the trick, but that’s the beauty of social networks — they constantly produce potential sparks, for free.

Da Wired

A Canadian company has created what it calls the “largest thought-controlled computing installation.” It’s an experiment that lets visitors to the Olympics use their brainwaves to control the lights at three major landmarks in Canada, including Niagara Falls.

“When people put on the headsets and find themselves increasing the brightness of the lights by just thinking about it, you can almost see their brains explode,” says Trevor Coleman, chief operating officer for InteraXon, the company that has created this installation.

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The headset measures the brain’s electrical output and reacts to alpha waves, associated with relaxation, and beta waves, which indicate concentration. As users relax or focus their thoughts, the computer sends a message to the site they are viewing. InteraXon’s software translates users’ thoughts to commands that will change the lighting display. For instance, by concentrating, users can make the lights at the CN Tower spin faster or change the brightness of the lights at Niagara Falls.

“To achieve the beta state we ask users to focus on things like an object ahead and its details, while for an alpha response we ask them to take a deep breath and relax to let their mind go,” he says. “But after a minute or two of trying it, we found most users no longer require the physical cues,” says Coleman.

Via Wired e GSP

In yet another analysis of the causes behind the current financial crisis, it turns out that vehicle ownership and a lack of access to public transportation may be just as predictive of mortgage foreclosure rates as low credit scores and high debt-to-income ratios.

Such are the results of a study, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, of foreclosure rates in San Francisco, Chicago and Jacksonville, Florida. The survey found mortgage holders were less likely to face foreclosure (.pdf) if they lived in “compact” neighborhoods with sufficient public transit to make owning a car optional. For example, a hypothetical borrower in the Chicago area with a credit score of 680, a debt to income ratio of 41 percent and a 20 percent down payment would be 2.7 percent more likely to default if the home is in a sprawling suburb instead of a compact urban area.

According to the study authors, living in a location-efficient area provides a greater buffer against volatile transportation costs, which even before fuel prices spiked in 2008 accounted for as much as 17 percent of an average household’s income. This also may explain why vehicle ownership was predictive of mortgage default. The term “location efficient” refers to communities with several transportation options beyond owning a car.

Economia é um assunto fascinante.

Via Wired

Besides my interest in storytelling for its own sake, I also feel a strong responsibility to help shape what the web can be. I believe in technology, but I think we need to make it more human. I believe that the internet is becoming a planetary meta-organism, but that it is up to us to guide its evolution, and to shape it into a space we actually want to inhabit—one that can understand and honour both the individual human and the human collective, just like real life does.

Over the past several years, the web has witnessed an astounding aesthetic homogenisation, with leading websites converging towards an increasingly uniform “aesthetic of the web”. A quick look at sites like Google, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Amazon reveals basically the same aesthetic solutions to very different problems. Aesthetic homogeneity makes (some) sense when building tools like web search or shopping. But when building digital homes that increasingly house our lives, this aesthetic homogeneity crushes human individuality, and makes us all look the same. This is a problem I feel it’s important to solve, and what I will be working on next.

Esse maluco é MUITO foda.

Via Wired