Sunday, September 26, 2010

Future Art

Art interprets, defines, and responds to the social and intellectual milieu of any era.

Impressionists reacted to the precise definition of the day, somewhat from the newtech, photography, by making things more blurry. Modern art reacted to everything having been made visible by transcending into the conceptual and abstract. What is the iconic reaction that could drive the contemporary art of today into a radical new era?

Computers, data flows, communications, machines, computation, and software are the hallmark of today’s culture. Their ubiquity and influence invites rejection and commentary, and the anticipated response has been portrayed in dystopian machine art.

Beyond the obvious rejection of the machine era, computers, software, and data provide a vibrant new medium for art. For example, data visualization could be seen as art modulated with information.

Sentiment engines have become the art and barometer of worldwide emotion, for example We Feel Fine (blogs), and Pulse of a Nation (Twitter).

The time lapse photography concept used for flight pattern visualization (US, worldwide) could be extended to other areas.

Software code base data visualization
One form of contemporary art could be the sped-up visualization of code commits to software repositories for large-scale projects. The code might look like living organisms, possibly interesting new species. The fast flash of DOS is the prokaryote to Windows 7 and Mac OS X eukaryotes. iPhone could be the raptor to the Android’s human.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Real-time economy feeds and ambient economics

Social economic networks are just one part of the broader context of the transformational economics that may eventually lead to a post-scarcity economy for material goods. In addition monetizing alternative currencies and unlocking previously inaccessible value, social economic networks are also generating a critical meta asset: billions of data points which can be aggregated into real-time economy feeds.

At present, the pulse of the real-time economy can be read first through crowd-sourced websites such as Blippy, where users automatically post personal economic transactions as they occur, and consumer prediction markets sites like the Hollywood Stock Exchange and the simExchange, where users opine on box office receipts of new movie releases and the sales levels of new video games.

Aggregated longitudinal comparisons can be made, for example getting an early look as to whether this is a slower quarter for a particular company, or whether consumer spending in general is lower in this period compared to another.

Just as social media ‘likes’ and status update commentary can be used to infer consumer values and preferences with a sentiment engine for anticipatory demand, this data too can be aggregated. While many dismiss ‘I ate a hotdog’ as meaningless social media drivel, when aggregated at the macro level, it could be more broadly meaningful as a leading indicator of pork consumption.

Connecting social economic networks with real-time location through mobile networks and smartphone applications could be another significant step in shifting economics as buyers and sellers connect seamlessly in an ongoing process of ambient supply and demand interaction and automatic markets.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Personal genome: data analysis challenge

Five themes emerged from the material presented at the 3rd annual personal genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory held September 10-12, 2010.

First was the trend of family sequencing becoming more of a norm; looking at genetic disease as it is represented in trios, quartets or other family groups.

Second was the trend of increasingly common multi-level analysis, investigating traditional genotype data together with structural variation, expression data, pathways, and cell lines.

Third was the trend of greater breadth and sophistication in cancer genome analysis; the fledgling field of a few years ago now including dozens of sequenced cancer tumor genomes, the first cancer methylome, and cancer transcriptome analysis.

Fourth was the trend of the oft-heard challenge of scaling personal genome interpretation, making it automated, affordable, and actionable.

The fifth theme was the continued improvement in genome sequencing technology through new approaches such as quantum dot nanocrystal sequencing and strobe sequencing.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Crowdsourcing: labor-as-a-service marketplaces

The dynamism of the information economy, the internet, and the recession have forced and allowed the flowering of labor-as-a-service marketplaces. Individuals can self-direct their professional activity with greater empowerment, and service-consumers can be more selective and focused in their purchase of labor services through crowdsourcing. More productive use of time can occur for both service-providers and service-consumers.

Work is becoming quantized.

The big shift is to labor-as-a-service generally, where in the past marketplaces were more focused on software coding and other vertical markets. The new labor marketplaces include oDesk, CloudCrowd, CrowdFlower, ClickWorker, crowdSPRING, LiveOps, and editLift. These startups broaden the existing affinity marketplace landscape of companies such as 99designs, Justmeans, TopCoder, RentACoder, Elance, and Guru.

You know an industry has arrived when Freelance Camps and conferences (CrowdConf2010) start happening!

Thought-leadership provided by Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation, the ROWE (ROWE (Results Oriented Work Environment) concept, and Tom Malone’s The Future of Work is finally coming to greater fruition.