The Big Data vs Artists and Everyone Else

By David Trend:

Heard about Generation Z?  The demographic growing up in the 2000s? It’s a bigger group than Boomers or Millennials–––and it has one further distinction. “Members of Generation Z are ‘digital natives’ who cannot remember what it was like not to have access to the Internet –– no matter when, no matter what, no matter where,” according to Forbes Magazine. This is a group raised on networked “connecting” with others, sharing, and buying things. It’s second nature to Gen-Zers to upload their favorite music on YouTube, post images on Facebook, and sell things on Etsy or eBay. Much is being made in creative economy talk of how networks now blur traditional producer/ consumer roles, manifest in the new figure of the “prosumer.” In Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything authors Don Prescott and Anthony D. Williams effused over the democratization inherent in the new “Openness, Peering, Sharing and Acting Globally.”  Of course, there is nothing really new about home-made items, crafts, and people’s willingness to share. What’s different today is the ability to copy digitized materials and circulate them via electronic networks. Digitization also has made Generation Z the first demographic to be completely tracked by “big data” analytics.

Some creativity industry experts argue that this is nothing short of a revolution, driven by ongoing change more than any clear future. Evolutionary economist Jason Potts and collaborators have proposed what they term “Social Network Markets” unlike the top-down models of industrial capitalism.  Characterized by fluidity and exchange through complex fields of actors, the new social network markets are less governed by competition and profit than by communication and preference. Participants are “Not ‘buying’ the property, but buying into the social space.”  Moreover, the dynamics of these new markets are highly interactive. As the Potts group put it, “a social network is defined as a connected group of individual agents who make production and consumptions decisions based on the actions (signals) of other agents on the social network: a definition that gives primacy to communicative actions rather than connectivity alone.”  Almost by definition, this process rules out conventional manufacturing or professional services. Instead, the networks generate value through production and consumption of network-valorized choices.”

The beauty is that much of what is online now is free––seeming to arrive just in time in a tight economy. While a lot of the “free” stuff available online is user-generated (selfies, birthday announcements, anecdotal postings, etc.), a huge volume of material comes from other sources (news outlets, filmmakers, commercial music producers, artists). On the surface it looks like old Marxist doctrines are being reversed as items seem to be “decommodified” in the sharing economy. This idea has become an anthem of resistance in some circles. The Burning Man Festival, to take one example, has stated: “When we commodify we seek to make others, and ourselves, more like things, and less like human beings.  ‘Decommodification,’ then, is to reverse this process.  To make the world and the people in it more unique, more priceless, more human.”  This may be all well-and-good in the real-life sharing of food and weed at Burning Man. But when things get virtual, it’s usually a large corporation that owns the websites, servers, and networks that make sharing possible. Continue reading “The Big Data vs Artists and Everyone Else”

The body as password

You’re probably well-acquainted with one of life’s little annoyances: the password.images

Your voicemail. Your email. Your smartphone. Maybe you’ve got a different one for each — which means you’re bound to slip up, reports NPR: “Or maybe you use the same one for everything — a security no-no. The number of sites and services that demand a password or PIN seems to have grown exponentially. And keeping track of the ones you’ve got? Forget about it.

“Well, Silicon Valley titans are getting tired of them, too. At the Tech Crunch Disrupt conference in September, Google’s top security executive, Heather Adkins, declared that passwords are dead. And that’s straight from a founding member of the security team at Google, home to 425 million email accounts. Adkins says startups tying their future to passwords might as well give up now, given how much work it takes to keep customers’ passwords secure.

“But if passwords are a thing of the past, what will replace them? Wall Street is betting on biometrics. Now that Apple is adding a fingerprint sensor to its newest iPhone, companies that make similar technology have seen their share prices jump. And industry analysts say the market for fingerprint scanners could top $10 billion in the next five years. Other biometrics companies are looking more competitive as well. Take one of Apple’s partners, Nuance Communications, a voice recognition company. You’ve probably heard their technology if you’ve called an airline or reserved a hotel room — particularly if you’ve heard, “Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes.” Nuance Communications is gathering data to improve its voice-recognition technology. The goal is to eventually do away with the whole username and passcode business altogether, says Robert Weideman, one of the company’s executive vice presidents.  Continue reading “The body as password”

Oh no! Changing Siri’s voice?

Some of have gotten quite fond of Siri. You know what we mean.  Her wit and sensitivity. The ways she remembers things about you others forget. That certain sound of her voice. Now Apple has decided to to change her.

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“Today Apple unveiled a new look for Siri that came with new voice options, actions, and some hot integration, including in-car options and music streaming, reports C/NET.

“The voice command technology has new voices, female and male — also available in French and German. Siri’s display includes a new look that shows a sound wave at the bottom while its detecting a user’s voice and full-screen results.

“Users can instruct Siri to complete functions like “turn off my Bluetooth,” or “increase my brightness,” according to software VP Eddy Cue. The digital assistant also has a slew of new integrations. These included Twitter, Wikipedia, and Bing search results, as well ascar integration with maps, music playback, and iMessage. But the highlight of Cue’s presentation was Apple’s long-awaited music streaming service, iTunes Radio.

“Apple highlighted Siri as part of its iOS 7 showcase, iOS’s biggest refresh yet.”

 

More at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57588315-37/apples-siri-gets-new-voices-display-and-actions/

Watch for the apple iwatch

imgres-1People wonder whether Apple can continue its innovation winning streak in the post-Steve Jobs era, and certainly the stock market is losing patience waiting to find out with Apple shares at about 50% what the once were.

Now news is beginning to leak out of a kind of watch-like thingy in the works, as described by the BBC today:

“Fresh evidence that Apple has been working on a smart watch concept since at least 2011 has emerged in a patent filing.The document describes a flexible touchscreen display which would communicate with a smartphone or other electronic device. Continue reading “Watch for the apple iwatch”

Apple stops using teen labor in China

imgres-2Apple said a Chinese labor agent forged documents on behalf of underage workers as the world’s most-valuable technology company seeks to improve conditions at suppliers making iPhones, iPads and Macs. Bloomberg News reports that

“The electronics company also stopped doing business with a manufacturer that employed 74 people younger than 16 who used the faked papers, according to its annual Supplier Responsibility Report released today. The recruiter was reported to provincial authorities, fined and had its license suspended. ‘Underage labor is a subject no company wants to be associated with, so as a result I don’t believe it gets the attention it deserves, and as a result it doesn’t get fixed like it should,’ Jeff Williams, Cupertino, California-based Apple’s senior vice president of operations, said in an interview. Continue reading “Apple stops using teen labor in China”

Where the Apple falls

Not that everyone follows financial news, but dropping Apple stock prices have dampened enthusiasm about the company so many love (and others hate). Recent reactions could well result from a number of factors: the inevitable fall of any huge success, suspicions about the company without Steve Jobs, or simply the fickle nature of a stock market driven by flash-trading and emotion. Today’s Slate.com added a few more ideas:

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“On Wednesday afternoon, Apple announced that during the last three months of 2012, it earned more money than any other non-oil company has ever earned in a single quarter. (Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil have each topped Apple’s earnings one time.) What’s more, during all of 2012, Apple’s profits topped $41.7 billion, which is also a record for any firm outside the oil industry. (ExxonMobil earned a few billion more in 2006, 2007, and 2008.) Continue reading “Where the Apple falls”

Unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple online

Apple has begun taking orders for unlocked versions of its iPhone 5 through the company’s U.S. online store. While the unlocked phone probably will seem a bit pricy for the average consumer, the $659 price may make sense for people who frequently travel internationally or simply want to be free from contacts to service providers. Unlocked version had been available at some Apple stores. According to Apple, the unlocked units are seeing ship-by times of one week, identical to Verizon, AT&T and Sprint iterations, while orders are limited to two handsets per customer. Continue reading “Unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple online”

Goodbye “Boyfriend-Maker”

“Boyfriend Maker” is a virtual dating app developed by Japanese game maker 30You and released in February. DailyDot reports that “The app quickly shot to the top of the Asian iPhone app markets, and earlier this month, the developer announced it was the #1 app for the iPhone in Japan. And it’s easy to see why: Boyfriend Maker is smart, pretty, customizable, and quick to learn based on your conversation and the conversation of the millions of others who’ve downloaded it.

Continue reading “Goodbye “Boyfriend-Maker””

Siri refuses to find prostitutes in China

In response to criticism in China that Siri could find local prostitution services, Apple has removed escort services from search results in the region. According to AppleInsider, “Though as of Wednesday Siri can still find local escort services in the U.S., that functionality has apparently been removed in China, according to The Times of India. A customer service representative for Apple explained that the company has blocked information related to ‘escorts’ in response to ‘reports from our users.’ Elsewhere in the world, queries such as ‘Where can I find Continue reading “Siri refuses to find prostitutes in China”