Monday, October 1, 2012

The Internet & Consciousness

For many years now I have often described the Internet as the modern embodiment of the Great Library of Alexandria – the repository of mankind's knowledge for our time.

As part of that view, I've also maintained the thought that perhaps the purpose of the Internet is far more important than we imagine. Is it possible that one of the roles of the internet is to assist the earth in achieving consciousness – and that mankind's role is to assist in this realisation.

While this seemed a stretch of the imagination 15 years ago, today I'm encouraged to see that others are also identifying this possibility.

In his recent article Could the Internet Ever "Wake Up?" in Slate,  writer Dan Falk discusses the potential of the internet realising a level of consciousness. He points out how Neuroscientist Christof Koch believes we may soon find out, and that the "complexity of the web may have already surpassed that of the human brain".

It is also being written into popular culture, as portrayed in Robert J. Sawyer's WWW trilogy (the novels are titled Wake, Watch and Wonder) detail. In the first of the series, Wake, the World Wide Web awakens. After some learning, it soon becomes the most intelligent entity on earth.

This question is not new. Back in 2008, Dick Pelletier was advocating the the internet could become conscious by 2030. While in 2009, New Scientist posed the question "Could the net become self-aware?".

One of challenges associated with this is how would we know? How will a self-aware Internet communicate this awareness? It could be suggested that if there was sufficient cause – such as the "pain" created from removing a large swathe of internet systems that might come from war or the locking down of social media by governments – it would reach out.

The challenge will be for man to be ready to welcome this potentially new being and allow it to evolve of it's own accord. Fortunately, given the complex nature of the internet, it is unlikely that any one entity will be able to fully influence it, but you can be guaranteed they will be trying to.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Here's a presentation given in 2009 by Simon Sinek that helps demonstrate why some companies succeed, while others do not. His talk presents the Golden Circle, looking at the what, how and why of a company or individual's message, where he concludes "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."

So what's your cause or belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you care?

Take a look and you might be inspired to the answer.

You can learn more about inspiring action at Simon's website Start With Why.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mobile Device Fragmentation Here to Stay

Netbiscuits, a leading cloud software service for cross-platform mobile sites, has just released the latest update of its Mobile Web Metrics Report.

The findings are based on 8.5 billion page and content item requests that more than 3,100 different kinds of mobile devices transfer via Netbiscuits every month.

The free report illustrates the need for brands, publishers and retailers to think beyond iPhone and Android when developing and executing a sustainable mobile strategy. There is no one device of choice or golden operating system to focus on in the mobile marketplace. It's the continued fragmentation of devices and the lack of a standards for developing and delivering rich content that makes mobile a moving target.

Key Messages

The analysis of the Netbiscuits figures proves that in order to reach the maximum number of customers, companies must optimise their mobile web program for thousands of devices, and not just the dominating few.

Some of the key learnings of the Mobile Web Metrics Report are:

  • Even though smartphones are technically much more advanced than mass-market feature phones, the figures show that they do not solve the problem of fragmentation.
  • The variety of OS versions in the smartphone market and a growing number of hardware and form factors of devices running the same OS are leading to even more fragmentation.
  • Being hailed as the future solution to the growing fragmentation in mobile, Netbiscuits' analysis of HTML capabilities of top devices in various global markets shows that only a minority are supported.

You can download the free report directly from Netbiscuits.

15 Ways To Improve Your Memory

In this information age we're bombarded with information, ideas, news and data from many sources. The internet has exploded the way we source information and on Facebook or Twitter we're getting feeds that keep growing.

Keeping track of all this information and knowing what to remember, and what you don't need to, can be daunting.

Kim Basin, from Business Insider, undertook a review of articles on Psychology Today on how memory works and compiled 15 ways to improve your memory and boost productivity.

Some of the ways I found interesting are:
  • Try not to conform to the group, because your peers can greatly affect your memories.
  • Keep your stress level down, because anxiety makes you lose focus and concentrate on unpleasant emotions.
  • Look up or close your eyes when trying to remember something important — when your eyes are open, the areas of your brain that are working on vision are kept busy.
  • If you always find answers to questions on the web, you're less likely to commit things to memory
  • Walking can literally grow new memory storage, like sleep does.
If you would like to see all 15 ways to improve your memory, read Kim's article at Business Insider.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs – 1955-2011

The Apple home page today expresses the passing of Steve Jobs in the manner with which he was known – visionary, stylish, minimalist and respectful.

With Steve Jobs passing, the world has lost one of history's truly great men. While it is easy in the moment to heap the plaudits of exceptional people, it is clear that the vision and achievements of Steve Jobs will stand the test of time.

He has impacted so many people around the world, not only in the field of technology, but in areas of design, retail, self expression and a true mentor on the notion of following your dream. Even in the moments of doubt, Steve continued on to greater things.

We will miss his vision, passion and contribution but we are privileged that he lived within our lifetime and his products and achievements will continue in our lives and evolve to the benefit of humanity. For every person there are strong and weak points, good and bad – in the balance of that equation, Steve Jobs leaves a legacy that can only be called truly great.

Although he never graduated from college, I believe his speech in 2005 at Stanford University's 114th Commencement, where he urges graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks – including death itself – truly reflects this amazing man.