Clive Thompson is researching for a Wired article on Radical transparency, and what better way to do it than post a note on his blog asking for input, or, as he puts it tapping the hivemind:
Normally, I don't post about magazine assignments I'm working on --
because the editors want to keep it secret. But now I'm researching a
piece for Wired magazine, and the editors have actually asked me
to talk about it openly. That's because the subject of the piece is
"Radical Transparency". And, in fact, I'd like your input in writing it.
The piece was originally triggered by a few postings on the blog of Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, and
the thesis is simple: In today's ultranetworked online world, you can
accomplish more by being insanely open about everything you're doing.
Indeed, in many cases it's a superbad idea to operate in highly secret
mode -- because secrets get leaked anyway, looking like a paranoid
freak is a bad thing, and most importantly, you're missing out on
opportunities to harness the deeply creative power of an open world.
Interestingly, much of the discussion refers to scientific process, which seems to tie in nicely with Kaleidoscope's notion of an open research community.
The thing about openness, is to know where it works, where it doesn't and how to tell the two apart. Its just like its absolutely great to be radically transparent with your spouse, but not always a great idea with your mother in law. But then, Clive means radical. Open to all. Again, sometimes, for some things, its great. As the LA times realized, it doesn't work so well for writing editorials. Then again, maybe it could - if you carefully designed the right technology and the right social practices to use it.
I have seen it, touched it, and played with it. The final industrial
design prototype for the XO, the device that the One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) Initiative is going to start shipping to countries across the
world this summer. AMD hosted a luncheon on Monday to give the press an
update on the project, and to unveil the completed design.
Although the exterior form factor is now pretty much set
("Unless," said OLPC official Michalis Bletsas half-jokingly, "Nicholas
has another late-night inspiration.")
The Milgram experiment
always sends a shiver down my spine. I say it should be a part of any
national curriculum. A reminder of what we're all capable of. Luckily,
you can't do that kind of thing any more. Well, at least not to humans.
A new study
replicated the Milgram experiment with Avatars. The results are..
creepy. Sorry, I can't find any better word. Just look at the videos.
(I shouldn't say that, you should read the paper). What gives me the
creeps is not the fact that people relate to Avatars in much the same
way they react to humans, although I'll get back to that soon. It's
just watching a human administer the electric shock, even if he's
sending it to an avatar. The Horror. The Horror.
This sheds a new light on the potential of interactive narrative environments (such as 'Façade') for learning.
If we react to avatars as if they were humans, then their influence on
us - for good and for bad - could be similar. We would pay attention
more to an avatar we trust and respect, be offended by their insults,
and reflect on moral dilemmas they present us.
But this also puts ideas such as human rights for robots in a new perspective. No, I haven't gone bonkers. I'm not anthropomorphizing
Aibo and Sonic the hedgehog. Its us humans I'm worried about. Our
experiences have a conditioning effect. If you get used to being cruel
to avatars, and, at some subliminal level, you do not differentiate
emotionally between avatars and humans, do you risk loosing your
sensitivity to human suffering?
Remember the rumors about Google getting into the OS business? Well, here's another way to look at is.
Google's just launched Docs. Add that to Calendar and Gmail (which has embedded contacts and Talk) and what do you get? Just about all you need, for most users, most of the time. So why would they ever bother with your machine? Who needs the headache of updating drivers and warding off spyware.
Google has launched its Literacy Project. Is this a noble contribution to human welfare, or a corporate attempt to dominate learning?
My 5 minute test suggests that it is niether, and not much in general. It is simply a new front end on existing services. In fact, its quite pathetic - somthing like an exersice in highschool HTML 101: create a web page which looks like an education portal using standard education services.
Try it out, put some 'uneducational' keywords in the search boxes and see what you get: the same 'ol internet, served by google.