Monday, July 29, 2013

Smartwatch Killer App: Meeting Entertainment!

Smartwatches have popped onto the scene and just like tablets (the world’s fastest adopted platform, even faster than the cell phone), the key killer app that could drive extremely fast penetration is…meeting entertainment! Like tablets, smartwatches (less obtrusively worn with the face on the inside of the wrist) are socially-acceptable gadgetry to attend to during meetings, and serve as a real-time notification and entertainment console. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Real Question is How to Further Develop Autism-related Skills

On the topic of autism, the two biggest areas of societal focus are first, the growing population of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) individuals (1/88 live births in the US; 66% college graduates on the ASD spectrum are unemployed), and second, providing resources for normalizing ASD individuals into day-to-day life activities such as work, housing, and dating.

However, there is a more forward-looking neurodiversity view of ASD. Two key points:
  • ASD is a growing societal trend, and it is unclear what this means to humanity overall
  • Part of the ASD disposition is is a unique and profound skillset, and it is a question as to what this means for the possible mental tasks and undertakings of humans
What would it be to focus on the further development of ASD skillsets in individuals as opposed to (or perhaps in opposition to) exclusive ‘normalization’ to neurotypic standards. If ASD individuals can do certain kinds of projects well (e.g.; like focusing intensively a single detailed topic, and finding patterns and exceptions), what can they do really well, and enjoy developing more fully.

One of the first deployments of the ASD skillset is commercial, in software programming where employers are well aware of the benefit of 3% error rates in computer code created by ASD programmers (vs. 18% by neurotypical programmers). Job sites like NonPareil, Semperical, and Specialists Guild are already catering to ASD programming skills. 

A more comprehensive suite of employment-related services for the ASD market was presented at the Autism Hackathon held in San Francisco July 20-21, 2013 by MindFlower. MindFlower is the idea for an eLabor marketplace that proposes to offer two kinds of ASD-skillset related activities: Mechanical Turk-like projects in the vertical markets of big data analysis, life sciences omics, and patent and literature search, and Kaggle-like data science competitions on supercomputer-unsolvable problems. Spectrum skill assessment and development are other features of the site, along with ASD-friendly advertising.

CNET article covering the event is here
Image credit: Kimberly Pickard

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Future of Collaboration

The Future of Collaboration hackathon was held intercontinentally in Silicon Valley and India on July 12 and 13, 2013. While demos necessarily focused on technical solutions (using communication-based APIs from WebRTC, Media Network Services, vLine, and Twilio (most of which do not yet work on most au courant wearbles computing platforms)), several other interesting qualitative considerations arose.

E-labor Marketplaces for Teams or Groups 
One team proposed the idea of elabor marketplaces for teams or groups. This could engender a new conceptualization of ratings regarding qualitative factors (for dating, friends, employer recruiting) – to develop a more specific understanding of how teams work well together. New dimensions and metrics could be articulated to provide detail about team forming, storming, and norming steps, group dynamics, how people develop affinity and respect for each other, and intrinsic and extrinsic reward systems.

Live Interaction MOOCs (massive open online course platforms) 
Another team suggested the next wave of functionality for online elearning environments: live interaction with two-way video for group discussions. Similar to elabor marketplaces for groups, the concept of the new functionality brings the underlying activity into sharper relief. Here the underlying activity shifts to ‘what it is to be a good discussant’ - the different qualities and roles that discussion participants may exhibit, become explicitly aware of, and improve. Some examples of good discussant skills are restating the issue, extending the topic in useful ways, bringing in resources and examples, empathizing, engaging in active listening, encouraging others to state their views, peer acknowledgement, and topic closure. One can imagine the ‘Top 10 Discussant Qualities’ certificate that could be peer-evaluated and useful to list on a resume or sought by employment recruiters.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ethics of Perception and Nanocognition (Nanorobot-aided Cognition)

It is not too soon to consider what kinds of ethics nanorobotic cognitive aids should have, and what kinds of ethics our QS (quantified self) gadgetry in general should have. Ethics is meant in an Ethics 2.0 sense of enablement, empowerment, and coordination of new ways of living as opposed to an Ethics 1.0 sense of judging and circumscribing behavior.

Cognitive nanorobots, an analog to medical nanorobots, could have applications in cognitive enhancement and perceptual aid such as bias reduction, memory management (access, suppression), and personalized ethics optimization.

In defining an ethics of perception, a number of core philosophical questions arise such as the possibility and desirability of knowing a true and objective reality, and selecting different realities.

Hear more and discuss this topic:
"Ethics of Perception and Nanocognition (Nanorobot-aided Cognition)" Terasem's 9th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology, July 20, 2013, 1PM – 4PM EDT, Terasem Island, Second Life