Nigel Portwood, the Chief Executive of Oxford University Press, which prints the Oxford English Dictionary, has observed that thanks to the ease of googling for dictionary definitions or searching online on oed.com, demand for printed dictionaries is falling rapidly, “by tens of percent each year”. He speculates there may be no printed dictionary market left by 2020.
Lytro – Start of a photography revolution?
An innovative new type of camera being developed in Silicon Valley offers the potential to refocus and explore photos in 3D after they are taken.Read more »
Can computers help us remember?
With more and more things to remember every day, will we trust computers to back up our brains? Find out in this interview with Sunil Vemuri, e-memory enthusiast and founder of reQall, the digital memory aid.Read more »
We apply sentiment analysis to social networks to understand what communities think about a particular brand. What if we applied it to a person? Could we tell when they’re in a good mood, or angry, or ready to buy?Read more »
Behavioral Analysis and the Age of Metrics
Product design has always involved watching people. But now, armed with detailed real-world data, researchers can understand and visualize human behavior (such as gameplay) better than ever before. But what will happen when we analyse our everyday lives in this way?Read more »
Tablets, unions, and education – part one
Tablet computing could save our educational system. But tablets aren’t just a digital textbook — when you learn from a tablet, it learns from you. What if it learns that your teacher is bad? This four-part series looks at the coming war between teachers’ unions and the digital classroom.Read more »
Balancing taste and novelty: The spaghetti fetish problem
When our communities are online, our tribal brains get tricked into thinking we’re all in the moral majority. If we’re going to find common ground, we need to start thinking about the moral minority instead.Read more »
Bitnorth 2010: The Human 2.0 Weekend
On August 27th to 29th, the third annual Bitnorth event in Quebec adopted Human 2.0 as its theme – resulting in some great ideas, presentations and discussions about the ways in which technology is changing society, for better and for worse.Read more »
Is photography a human right?
There is growing fear over the photographing of police by citizens and journalists. Should such recording be criminalized? Or should we re-assert our fundamental right to capture anything we experience?Read more »
Who owns your voice online?
If I want to “friend” you, I can only do so if we both use Facebook. New digital forms of communication that did not exist before the Internet are now controlled by corporations and the messages you send with them are restricted in audience and reach. We are in a poor state for a free, open exchange of ideas.Read more »
Computers make better decisions than humans because they aren’t weighed down by biases, ego, and the need to rationalize decisions after the fact. An economically rational player would make more money on Deal Or No Deal than a stupid human. We can’t help it: it’s the way we evolved. Everything from shopping, to teamwork, to the way we elect our leaders is tainted with the stupidity of how we make decisions.
Just as external storage can become a form of prosthetic memory, so computers can become prosthetic decision-makers. If we were to make them understand the dilemmas before us, computer assistants could advise us on the economically rational thing to do.
Would we be able to deal with being told we’re wrong so much of the time?
Today we photograph more than ever before – and thanks to the negligible cost, we film situations that would never have been captured before. But police and other authority figures do not want to be recorded, and all over the world a battle is playing out between officials pushing current laws to extremes to prevent such recordings, and citizens who fight back with equal vigour to protect their freedom to photograph.
Should photography be criminalized and recording devices banished from any situation where that recording might be used for ill? Or should we assert our right to capture anything we experience as a fundamental right?