Monday, October 30, 2006

Open-source sexuality. Compersion. Relationships 2.0

The role and function of sex and relationships has already been shifting considerably with modern life (birth control, economic empowerment of women, skyrocketing divorce rates, etc.) and could now be taking an order of magnitude shift as human life spans are increasing and technology and life accelerate.

Now that humans live 80-120 years and possibly forever, it only makes sense that relationships would evolve from the one currently acceptable model, "life-long" monogamy and the antiquated tool of political control, matrimony. What does it mean now anyway, until uploading or suspension do us part?

Physical intimacy, emotional intimacy and companionship can (and in reality do) come from many interpersonal and other sources, both physical world and digital and could be better fulfilled with greater realization of their distinctness. Polyamory, led by the tech-innovative Pacific Northwest, is an interesting alternative model, where the level of communication and personal emotional management required is exemplar. There appears to be an important self-evolution to move beyond jealousy and reap the relationship rewards of polyamory and compersion.

Higher levels of self-actualization may be possible by separating and expanding ideas of physical intimacy, emotional intimacy and companionship which have been traditionally bounded by scarcity, control and artificiality.

The future of sexuality further changes in all aspects of culture when traditional physical reproduction becomes obsolete. Sexuality could be more about authentic agency instead of bartering, obligation, power and status.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Need more widgets – Starbucks Mobile

The Internet is really going to explode when web widgets, badges, open APIs, mash-ups, etc. expand out of the Web 2.0 eco-structure bubble and into the mainstream web and onto the fledgling US mobile computing platform.

A beautiful marriage of smart-phone users and the sanctioned addiction to caffeine would be going to on the way to the coffee bar.


1) Tap one of the icons indicating a pre-saved drink combination, e.g.; short decaf soy white mocha no-whip (who wants to say that everyday anyway!) or enter a new beverage combination

2) Tap an icon for one of the pre-saved store locations or select a quick-load nearest store-finder

3) Tap to pay via pre-approved bank or credit card auto-debit.

4) Arrive to coffee bar and pick up drink.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Markets 2.0 - Social Finance. Affinity Markets.

The long tail, smart mobs and social networking are driving the evolution of economics to Markets 2.0. Social networks have been important venues for self-expression and interaction and now, with an increasingly linked online populace, are starting to add a new and important functionality, virtual aggregation for group power, both economic and political.

Two key concepts in Markets 2.0 are Social Finance and Affinity Markets. Social Finance is the virtual aggregation of dozens, hundreds or millions of people for the purpose of conducting an economic transaction. Social Finance is also known as crowd funding and crowd sourcing.

Affinity Markets are marketplaces where transactions can occur based on affinity attributes. Not just is the sweater red, woolen and made in China (legacy attributes) but under what conditions was it made, were renewable materials used, did female entrepreneurs make it (affinity attributes). Affinity Markets are also known as directed capital, cause-based capital and (in online aggregations) virtual affinity groups.

Markets 2.0 have the ability to completely disintermediate traditional financial institutions by providing instantaneous, cheaper, directed capital with more effective results.

What will it be like when people can get their mortgage and home equity loans online from peer finance, when anyone can have a local portfolio manager for commodities in India, when million-member virtual BuyGroups bid for insurance and healthcare services, when synthetic economies nominate and finance virtual candidates for physical world office, when Socially Responsible Debt means that states without measurable social progress cannot get their bond offerings financed?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Land Grab on Free Local Voice

Who is not stampeding to AOL to take advantage of free personal local phone numbers with always-on voicemail as part of the firm's roll out of new free services? AOL tops already land-breaking voice services from Skype (free Internet-based call-in and call-out, free conferencing of up to five parties), Google Talk (free Internet-based call-in and call-out) and Yahoo Messenger ($0.02 per minute call out to non-Internet numbers).

Desirable area code phone numbers can be had for a matter of clicks. Phone numbers could proliferate as have email accounts and mobile devices. Bye-bye Ma Bell. Now we are just waiting for ubiquitous wireless broadband networks, oh, and the physical implantation of miniaturized communication devices.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Countdown to 1,000,000 Second Life Residents

Metaverse World leader Second Life barely had 100,000 residents at the beginning of 2006, and enjoyed strong growth in the first half of the year, reaching 300,000 residents at the end of June.

Then Second Life makers Linden Lab changed the registration policy such that no credit card information was required. The world's registered residents began to exponentiate, particularly helped by international residents swelling from 25% to 50% of total residents. Certainly residents do not correspond to unique users, as people may have one or more "alts," alternative avatars.

The Second Life website tracks that about one third of total residents have logged in within the last 60 days and that there are an average of 10,000 residents in-world during Second Life (US Pacific Coast) prime time hours. Private estimates suggest that about 10% of total residents are actually active in-world.

$7 million of transactions were run up by Second Life residents in July and there are a factor of magnitude more SKUs available in Second Life than at Wal-Mart (hello Long Tail).

On its current course, Second Life will reach the million resident mark well before the end of October and probably even before the end of the upcoming weekend. w00t!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Premature Aperturation and other Neologisms and FlickrSpeak

Web 2.0 and tech pop culture is exploding so fast that neologisms are struggling to keep up...

Web Trash (Tr4sh)
All the great unwashed, untagged, un-meta'd information out there; text, audio, video, etc. that is dead even to the user; orphaned personal and corporate intranet pages and other data that is invisible to higher levels of indexing, identification, organization and use.

Repli-trash - MMIMPS
Massively multiple instances of Media Products
The duplication of audio and video media files all over the net; a movie clip uploaded to ten video sites, an audio file uploaded to ten podcast sites, etc. Free storage has led to ineffective usage - some high percentage of all content must be duplicates.

Authenticity Charlatanism
Grabbing a URL, group name, tag, or other web content category without having the traditional world authenticity to do so, e.g.; the Prosper Harvard and Wharton MBA Lending Groups are brand leeching; they have nothing to do with real Harvard and Wharton MBAs.

Validation to watch UGC (user-generated content) videos by dint of employment at a UGC video site.

Web 2.0 Darling Flickr invites a whole nomenclature cloud of FlickrSpeak unto itself:

The first photo to arrive on Flickr from an event (especially a Web 2.0 event), usually seconds after the event starts; attendees snapping away in competition for the FirstFlickr.

Premature Aperturation or Pre-Flickr
Being overzealous in trying to get a FirstFlickr such that the event has not actually started yet.

Flickr ADD: Attention Distribution Dichotomy
Conflicts in distributing one's attention between being present to a physical event and getting it recorded and uploaded to Flickr.

Over-flickring or FlickrSaturation
The additional Flickr photos that only replicate information on previous photos of the same dog, event, place, etc. after the Great Asymptote of Usefulness has been reached.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Life after Second Life

Why be content with Second Life when you can join ...the Multiverse Network... and access and interact in hundreds of virtual worlds all via one portal? Multiverse Network sees itself as the browser of metaverse worlds as users gatewaying through their site will have a universal sign-in, unified billing and centralized marketplace commerce. Interworld communication and travel is planned, as well as social mechanisms for world discovery and collection with personalized "world playlists,” user rankings and contests.

The few hundred development teams in the Multiverse Network's closed beta are finding the virtual world platform to be a unique, fun and high-functionality way to create MMOG worlds. The platform, soon to be in public beta, is being used for traditional game development (Force of Arms) as well as non-gaming work and learning applications (Project Mars which includes Mars-like gravity) and is described in more depth here.

The Multiverse Network's push in releasing worlds to end-user consumers in 2008 will likely trigger a further explosion in synthetic world commerce. One implication is that vendors making avatars, objects, textures, animation scripts, etc. for use in on-line worlds would no longer have to be tied to just one world, as the Electric Sheep Company, SLBoutique and Aimee Weber are to Second Life. Network content developers would have a panoply of potential customers and leveragable products and services.

Interworld connection will allow massive cross-world collaboration networks based on affinities to evolve; what would it be like to be with 1000 avatars online in the same space? While virtual space allows for smaller avatar form factors, communications challenges will likely abound with multi-channel chat streams erupting with some predictable asymptote of crowd participants.

Identity (that temporary and anachronistic human construct) will be different in a multiverse network with larger identity and avatar portfolios to manage (this theme is already occurring in Second Life whose nearly 1 million "residents" correspond to far fewer biological equivalents). Identity experimentation will be fun in multiverse worlds too, such as by being able to be multiple avatars in multiple worlds simultaneously and by permissioning avatars for independent tasks and activities with low-level AI methods.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

AGI, IPTV and Video Search

Video sites (no names please - YouTube!)and video search are early stage red hot. Video Search 1.0, the current available methodology for searching for video content includes meta data, tags, audio transcripts and image search but nothing to aid in identifying and categorizing the context and meaning of videos.

AGI viewing video UGC (user-generated content) would have the same problem humans do: there is no value without meaning and context. Two people playing basketball on a trampoline are ... two people playing basketball on a trampoline. Video search further highlights the challenges found in getting to the next levels in text search, and more broadly in AI, moving from explicit information representation to the abstraction, recognition and representation of concepts. The road forward is not clear.

Meanwhile, other early stage opportunities exist. For IP video to be a true TV replacement and fully arrive as an entertainment medium, rights issues must be resolved so that video playlists can be subscribed to, downloaded and stored automatically (anyone remember RSS?) for big screen viewing. Advertisers also need to shift to a content-providing mindset to extend and invite user experience. If IPTV cannot be TIVO'd, the advertising model better not be traditional or annoying.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How did geeks become so cool?

It is really very simple, first, in the wave of IPO booms and the Internet bubble, geeks became rich. That always gets people's attention.

Tech-driven modern life
Second the PC, Internet, broadband, gaming, media center, mobile device and self-expression consumer-created content revolutions brought completely tech-driven and tech-enabled lives. Just to be alive in today's increasingly interconnected society requires tech-savviness. In fact, there is a great opportunity to make technology relevant to older tiers of society who feel increasingly excluded. Today, the more you you know about your gadgets and technology, the more fun you can have! Everyone, not just nerds, has to do tech.

Technology provides hope to society
Third, the coolness of geeks has been horse-powered even more by trends at the ideological and psychological level. Technology is one of the few recent areas where there can be collective societal hope. The political, economic and social spirit of the US and by extension the increasingly westernized flat world has had the tenor of limitation, circumscription, control, and immaturity. Technology provides a bright spot of innovation, progression and hope. Much psychic leadership has shifted away from its more traditional source, political leaders, to technology innovators.

Also critical in a newly self-actualizing society, technology is providing a realm where people can take action and drive results to the extent that does not currently seem possible in political, religious and social realms.

Go Geeks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

To Web 2.0 or not to Web 2.0

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others are making their APIs open and increasingly easy to use. Often with only a few lines of copied and modified code, a Google map swatch or search bar or Flickr photo cloud providing visual accompaniment or now Yahoo mail information can be added to any website. Google's code is primarily client-side so can run more easily, Yahoo's mainly runs server-side and requires ISPs to have Apache 2.0 and PHP 5 installed.

Those sneaky software companies! At a basic level, open APIs expand the outsourcing trend from user-generated content to user-generated applications too. This actually benefits both the software companies and users.

At the more important conceptual level, open APIs are extending the componentization of software, which has been progressing in fits of cohesion and rollbacks of proprietary standards. As Jaron Lanier and others have long pointed out, the software industry lacks an effective standardized component library and rebuilds the wheel each time. The same point is made in global productivity speak by former McKinsey consultant William Lewis in "the Power of Productivity;" industries that standardized components early became leaders, homebuilding is a notable example.

Users featuring more prominently in the development process as well as other current factors such as Web 2.0 applications being organized in chunkable components may provide a stronger more fungible foundation for software development from which we can all benefit.