What we read this week (19 Oct)

Our reads of the week: Alexis Madrigal on Dark Social, what makes the recently launched GOV.UK so special, how to innovate in chaotic circumstances, a man with a FitBit in Paris and the “leakiness of surveillance culture.”

Quote of the week

As the human arms of technology, we should become more human, not less.

Justin Edmund

Articles of the week

What we read this week (31 Aug)

Where innovation ends and natural behavior begins, why targeted ads are so creepy, why young people aren’t buying cars, how we use our variety of screens for different purposes, and what design fiction is.

Quotes of the week

The act of writing is for many intrinsically tied to reading, mirroring the internet itself, with its ingrained expectations of interactivity.

James Bridle

Tech is not the answer to the problems of modern politics.

Alexis Madrigal

Articles of the week

What we read this week (13 Jul)

Our selection of articles this week: the problem with patents, addressing the future ‘evolvably’ rather than sustainably, transparency or the lack thereof in various industries, business models for electric cars, and decency on the internet.

Quote of the week

Still, in talking with Madrigal, you’d find that literally dozens of online, Twitterified connections had leapt from the world of his addiction to the pure, happy world of “in real life.”

Alexis Madrigal

Articles of the week

  • Mark A. Lemley: The Myth of the Sole Inventor
    This abstract of an academic paper suggests taking an approach to patents that would encourage people to invent things while being more reasonable about dealing with simultaneous inventions. A short read, but full of good points.
  • Rachel Armstrong: The Future is Now: A Letter to Arup
    A letter in which Rachel Armstrong expresses her profound disagreement with the notion that the future is ‘over-sold and under-imagined’, and arguing for more investment in long-term strategies and research, rather than focusing on the more immediate future.
  • Transparency International: Shining a light on the world’s biggest companies
    In a global ranking across a wide range of industries, Transparency International reports which industries and companies disclose relevant information that potentially inform their business interests and thus agendas. Among these 105 largest companies worldwide, the mining/oil/gas sector is among the most transparent. Who’s at the bottom of the list besides a number of banks? Well hello, Google, Apple, Amazon.
  • Pando Daily: Better Place, Tesla, and the Mainstreaming of Electric Cars
    Better Place and Tesla are two companies that on the first glance operate in the same market: selling electric cars. But a deeper look at their very different business models reveals why it matters to pay attention to this field.
  • David Weinberger: Louis C.K. and the Decent Net, or How Louis won the Internet
    Comedian Louis C.K. started selling videos of his gigs online, both cheap and free of DRM. Anyone could (illegally, but easily) share them, just like that. And guess what – he’s selling more than ever before, proving that usability and trust in your community can beat all the copy protection your money can buy. In David Weinberger’s words: “Louis C.K. won the Internet by reminding us that the Internet offers us a chance for a moral do-over.”

What we read this week (6 July)

This week we read about the science fiction architecture, innovation on the edges, the quality of the digitalised life, the God particle and what your e-book says about you.

Quotes of the week

It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.   Tim Kreider

Articles of the week

  • Matt Jones: The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future
    That the architecture derived from science fiction has changed the urban design, is unarguable. Matt Jones talks about the proto-bloggers, the Archigram collective, about their magazines from the 60s and how it influenced the architecture and design back in the day and managed to make its way through into the present.
  • Joi Ito: Innovation On the Edges
    It is pretty common for MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito to choose the unknown paths. In this article, he speaks about his plans for strenghtening the Media Lab, and about how he plans on stimulating the innovativion processes through networking, collaboration and emergence.
  • The New Inquiry: The IRL Fetish
    The overflow of the digital content deprived us all of our real and meaningful lives. Even when we finally get to experience a real life situation, including a very private visit to the bathroom, it is still oversaturated with digitalism, as if it was insidious. The article presents reflections on the side effects of the always-on approach.
  • The Guardian: How the Higgs boson explains our universe
    While it may not be directly relevant to your digital strategy, you have to admit it’s pretty damn awesome to learn that the universe is filled, metaphorically, with treacle, and that the Large Hadron Collider turns out not just to be cool, but actually useful.
  • Alexander Alter: Your E-Book Is Reading You
    They say don’t judge a book by its cover. What they don’t say yet is that the book might just as well judge you! What was unknown back then is being served on a plate today. E-books give the publishers the possibility not only to check what books we read, but more importantly how engaged we are with the book. Read more to find out how the publishers are planning to put this data to use.

What we read this week (8 Jun)

The cutting edge of innovation, an ifttt for the physical world, using teamwork to manage your work-life balance in hyperconnected times, the story behind tech share prices and emotionally sensitive gadgetry.

Quotes of the week

The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us.

Piotr Czerski

Articles of the week

  • Fast Company: Does Your Phone Know How Happy You Are?
    As phones, TVs, GPSs and assorted other bits of ubiquitous technology become increasingly clever, their abilities approach the threshold of creepiness. Kit Eaton suggests some potential implications and benefits of gadgets that can sense how we’re feeling and act accordingly.
  • Monday Note: Decoding Share Prices: Amazon, Apple and Facebook
    Jean-Louis Gassé gets behind the stock market numbers associated with major tech companies, and explains what the share prices reflect in each company’s strategy and business model. An interesting insight into the financial workings of the tech industry.
  • New York Times: 32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow
    This colorful piece gives an overview of innovative technologies – some easy to imagine, some more adventurous – that could be arriving in the near future. Shirts that can charge your iPod using variations in your body temperature, new coffee, nicer flight conditions. A nice bit of brain fuel.
  • Inc.: How to stop sleeping with your smartphone
    Many of us suffer from a compulsion to check our interwebs constantly, and this can drive us to work when we really shouldn’t be working. This article looks at some research on the matter, and presents a way members of a team could help each other switch off properly.
  • TechCrunch: on{X}: The Coolest Thing to Happen to Android
    We here at Third Wave are big fans of a service called ifttt, or ‘If This Then That.’ It provides an easy interface for connecting various web services to each other – you could, for instance, take all the articles that pop up in your Google Reader feed and save them to Evernote. It’s very helpful that way. So, it comes without surprise that we are also very curious about a new service that Microsoft released for Android: on{x} seems to be very much like ifttt with one key difference: it’s for real life situations. We will be testing it for sure.

What we read this week (18 May)

This week’s reads: Quantified Self tools for brain activity, shirts that make you work harder, microloans and the Internet, the future of the digital arts, innovation explained in terms of evolution, and the impact of the Internet and social media on society.

Quotes of the week

Privacy is intrinsic to democracy; it is necessary for discourse to happen.

Lane DeNicola, on The Digital Human

I interface from a database, and my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive, and from time to time, I’m radioactive.

George Carlin

Articles of the week

  • The Creators Project: Are Brands The New Medicis?
    The Creators Project is opening up a discussion about the digital arts, and whether the ‘cross-pollination between art and advertising’ can be profitable. An interesting exploration of the influence of branded projects on the evolution of new branches of art, and the relationship between brand and artist.
  • Matt Webb: FuelBand for alpha waves
    In this post, Matt Webb, co-founder of BERG, outlines his vision for a product that does for brain activity what the Nike FuelBand does for exercise – a brilliant line of thought.
  • Boston.com: Northeastern students create a shirt that knows when you’re slacking off on your workout
    As body sensors become more and more ubiquitous, we see them integrated in more day to day products and in some highly specialized niches. In this case, we see a prototype for a shirt that’s packed with sensors to monitor your body (heart rate and all) for further analysis. While for now this is aimed at elite athletes and other gym rats, we expect to see the technology trickle down to more consumer grade goods quite soon.
  • BrainJuicer: Insects, Innovation and Instagram
    For companies, ‘adapt or die’ is one of the guiding principles of the digital age. But since innovation is ‘really, really hard,’ suggesting adaptation is much easier said than done, as is illustrated here by way of bug-related metaphor.
  • Kiva: Annual Report
    Kiva is an organization that enables peer-to-peer lending. Users can give microloans to individuals and small businesses, see what they’ve helped to support, and finally get paid back. The annual report gives a great deal of insight into the nature of the market that Kiva is working in, and what can be achieved through this clever use of Internet manpower.

Also interesting: Aleks Krotoski is currently running a seven-part series on BBC Radio 4 called The Digital Human, addressing the impact of the Internet on society and human behavior. Three episodes are up online so far, and are well worth a listen.

What we read this week (2 Mar)

What it means to innovate, TV and the generational gap, the medical patient of the future and more, this week in our Weekly Reads. Wishing you a great weekend.

Quotes of the week

The future is sooner and stranger than you think.

Reid Hoffman

The times ahead will surprise us. I will continue to search for the perfect hot chocolate mix.

Dannie Jost

Articles of the week

  • Patrick Rhone: TV is broken
    Beatrix, age 4, is baffled upon seeing a TV commercial for the first time. “Is it broken?” she asks, unable to comprehend what has happened to her movie. An anecdote that colorfully illustrates the changes technology is currently going through.
  • New York Times: True Innovation
    “Revolutions happen fast but dawn slowly”: the New York Times’ Jon Gertner looks back in time to the 20th-century “idea factory” Bell Labs to draw conclusions about what it really means to innovate.
  • Wired UK: Forget real time
    Sure, we can find out really, really quickly what is happening right now, but isn’t it far more interesting to predict the future? Tom Gray shows us why ‘real time’ has been superseded by ‘next time’ with a collection of the fascinating and frightening predictions we can already make from the data we generate from our daily online wanderings.
  • Findings Blog: How we will read
    In a series exploring the future of reading, Craig Mod explains how modern readers are “turning into book squirrels, acquiring a variety of nuts to dig into in the cold, lonely winter months.”
  • MIT Technology Review: The Patient of the Future
    Revisiting the topic of the Quantified Self: Larry Smarr helped doctors to diagnose his chronic illness through his constant collection of data on his own body. Author Jon Cohen discusses what cases like these mean for the future of medicine.

What we read this week (9 Dec)

This week our weekly reads feature thoughts in innovation and neoteny, the post-digital world, on magazines as brands, an institutional crisis as well as the internet of things.

Quotes of the week

The Internet isn’t really a technology, it’s a belief system – a philosophy.

Joi Ito

The problem isn’t you. The problem is the problem.

Steven Pressfield

Articles of the week

  • The Internet, innovation and learning
    Joi Ito regularly writes about innovation, particularly the cultural aspects inside organizations that foster innovation. The internet as a whole is facing issues similar to many institutions – concretely through regulation efforts. Here, he points out how neoteny – the retention of childlike attributions in adulthood – can help us both innovate and save the internet.
  • The Guardian: Welcome to the post-digital world, an exhilarating return to civility – via Facebook and Lady Gaga
    “Post-digital is not anti-digital. It extends digital into the beyond. The web becomes not a destination in itself but a route map to somewhere real.” Simon Jenkins on the post-digital.
  • Megan Garber: The personal(ized) brand: Yet another reason The Economist is trouncing competitors
    The Nieman Lab looks at the way the Economist adapts to a rapidly changing news marketplace, with a focus on the magazine as a brand, and on emerging consumption and sharing patterns. A must read if you work in media.
  • More than just digital quilting
    The Economist compares the maker movement with their Arduinos and 3D printers to the hobby computer movement of the 70s. Could it also change how science is taught and foster innovation? We think so.
  • Institutions, Confidence, and the News Crisis
    Clay Shirky, one of the most prolific researchers on all things media & business models, shares his view on the future of news. Particularly, he sees a risk in trying to back the established news institutions and rather calls for open-minded experimentation instead. We couldn’t agree more.
  • In Defense of Friction
    Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a Berkman Fellow, on why automation of social behaviors – the frictionless sharing that Facebook is building – can be harmful for social relations.
  • The New York Times: Reveal
    The New York Times R&D Labs came out with a quite interesting prototype. Combining an internet-enabled screen/mirror, a Microsoft Kinect and some speech recognition in one case, they created a bathroom mirror that can show you the weather, news, or your personal health data. This is something we’ve seen as design studies for years, but here it is, and it looks surprisingly smooth and, well, unobtrusive. This is one to watch, and there will soon be more like it. In fact, we expect a whole new market segment to emerge here over the next few years.
  • Homesense: Final Report
    Georgina Voss and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino ran the Homesense project for two years, and helped a number of households enhance their homes through networked technology. (No internet fridges, though!) Here’s the final report with their key findings.