Public Google Hangout on Air: Energy

Today at 2PM PST (5PM EST, 11PM CET) join our second public Google Hangout on Air to talk about Energy.

What is the role of distributed and decentralized technologies in providing next generation solutions to the challenge of sustainable energy policies worldwide? Attend this online event to hear David Orban and Alex Lightman, Network Society US West Coast Ambassador converse on this topic.

You can follow the event via YouTube, or on its Google+ event page and ask questions or vote on questions asked by others during the conversation itself.

The nimbler learn faster

Screenshot 2015-03-26 16.41.07

Making sustainable and meaningful change happen in large organizations and countries is naturally hard. And while it is not necessarily true that smaller ones have it easy, there are some that try to understand what to do, and how to do it.

Today we met with Deputy Kevin Stewart, Minister of Commerce and Employment of Guernsey and other deputies, at a breakfast organized by Marc Winn, right before the start of TEDx St Peter Port. An island nation of 64000 people, Guernsey wants to understand the future, and how the technology based transformation of society is going to shape the well-being and opportunities of communities around the world.

Nimble and lean decision making, crafting policies that are fit for today, and reevaluated for tomorrow, to be updated as needed, is within the reach of those who are eager to play an active role in this complex, but exciting future. We are looking forward to proceeding with this project, applying the Network Society Readiness Index framework and methodology to Guernsey, and deriving the appropriate policy and strategy recommendations from it.

Is society fostering or hindering change?

Argentina discussion

Does your society hinder, or foster the adoption of decentralized and distributed technologies in the areas of energy, manufacturing, food, health, learning, finance, security and policy? An informal panel of participants at the Network Society meeting in Buenos Aires established the following scores for Argentina:

Energy         1
Manufacturing  0
Food          -2
Health        -2
Learning       2
Finance       -2
Security       0
Policy        -2

The scores mean:

-2  opposing
-1  hindering
 0  neutral
 1  fostering
 2  promoting

Of course, this is a non representative and non-scientific method, but a sample of smart, proactive people, who care to understand the state and the dynamics of their society. The discussion around each of these points was very illuminating and worth a post on their own.

The country scores are going to compose a global ranking of Network Society Readiness for nations to be published later this year.

Launching the Network Society Arts Council

Network Society Arts Council

The fundamental message of the Network Society Project of technology based inclusive socio-economic change is articulated through numerous online channels and in events and publications worldwide. Its impact on those who are analytically inclined and readily absorb complex subjects is profound. The necessity is clear to widen this effect through additional means.

Art has always been a premier channel to interpret reality and to provide a deep understanding of issues and currents in society. Expressions of performing arts, visual arts, music, digital media and more can each play a role in interpreting the meaning of the phase changes and transformations that the vision of Network Society unfolds.

We are now launching the Network Society Arts Council to achieve this goal and are looking forward to the creative and exciting ways that we will be able to engage a wide public!

Some of the artists that participate in the initiative:
Ines Flammarion, storyteller
Shane Hope, poet and generative artist
Linda Pollack, performance artist and political hacktivist
Alessia Sacco, dancer
Chris Ford, singer and songwriter…

Background art by Shane Hope


Are you human? Or a mere user?

hi-project network society blog post

Data is the new crude oil. That is well known. And refining it to form information, then knowledge, and perhaps wisdom if we’re lucky, is tantalizingly nascent courtesy of the World Wide Web and related technologies. Except it isn’t.

Power resides with those with the servers.

Historically complex and expensive to acquire, configure and maintain, servers have been the domain of Big Gov and Big Co. Yet such organizations could derive more value by empowering each citizen, each customer, each employee, etc. with similar capability, particularly as servers are much transformed from those of old. Indeed, it’s one of those delicious situations where one gets richer by giving something away.

We have a way of looking at this we call the human interface.

The hi:project pioneers the human interface (HI), the successor to the user interface (UI). We celebrate the human not the user, the individual not the worker, the person not the consumer, helping everyone contribute more value to and derive more value from society and the organizations in their lives. The architecture this creates improves aspects of our use of the Web including privacy, decentralization, digital inclusion and accessibility. It’s empowering. It helps inculcate a citizen-centric Internet of Things rather than some Skynet dystopia.

Most importantly we’re not asking anything of individuals, for that would lead to very slow and far from universal adoption; witness the failings of personal data stores in recent years. Rather, the hi:project is designing an architecture that places new emphases on existing technology and Web standards to deliver advantages to organizations as they deliver the advantages of the human interface to the individuals important to them, most obviously their customers.

Here’s a presentation that gives you an overview. Do join our project – we’re open, decentralized and non-profit.

This post is by Philip Sheldrake, UK Ambassador of Network Society, architect of the hi:project.

Voyage To Antarctica

Voyage to Antarctica.001

I was worried it was a bad start to my trip when the taxi drove the wrong way up a one-way street to pick me up then the driver didn’t know his way to the airport. The crease of worry on my face grew more pronounced when, once we’d arrived at the airport, the driver got out of the car while it was rolling backwards because he’d left the handbrake off. But, we survived the trip to the airport and my nerves were set at ease when I locked eyes with Ian Thorpe at the check-in, there’s something about the thorpy gaze that sets the heart at ease.

After almost 2 hours of watching kids high 5 each other as we weaved our way through the customs queue and following a young Chinese guy with an enormous santa sack full of shoes through bag check I made it to the waiting lounge where I was begrudgingly served a long black, my first coffee for the day.

I was texting my parents from the plane when flight attendant Peter leant over asking if my phone was on flight mode, he then grabbed my phone and texted “I’ve dumped you” and pressed send. When I told him I was texting my dad he fell over laughing before calling his mate over to tell him that I had broken up with my boyfriend. Classic.

I’m now sitting in the lounge room of the Kombi hotel in Santiago, I’m here for a few days before traveling to Antarctica with the Unstoppables. The Unstoppables are a brand new initiative founded by Julio De Laffitte, kind of like a glorified incubator I guess. This is the first of three scheduled events, the other two being trips to Uluru and The Amazon. The basic idea is to take entrepreneurs, investors, thinkers, engineers and people who just get things done out of their usual routine and environment, out of their ‘normal’ sphere of reference so they can discuss some of the big challenges we face today, find business opportunities and plan their commercialisation. Julio believes that business can solve problems that governments can’t and so the Unstoppables initiative is his attempt to provide an ecosystem in which innovation and start-up enterprise can thrive. He intends for The Unstoppables to evolve into a community of forward thinking, innovative entrepreneurs and business owner / managers who all help each other develop solutions to complex problems and get to the future first.

I was awarded a scholarship berth on the boat on behalf of CarCrowd, a ride share app with some distinguishing features. I’m not technical but I’ve surrounded myself with technical people in Sydney, I pay friends for consultations so I can ask tonnes of questions about coding and new tech. I’ve partnered up with a team of developers called PLYCODE whose founder is an ex Somalian refugee, a really inspiring guy. CarCrowd has developed a novel check-in method for which we have a patent pending. This method will prove particularly useful when autonomous vehicles become the norm. Last year I had several meetings with state government about my ideas which were received well. We’ve set everything up to target the needs of governments and councils, including setting up the back end so that it can very easily integrate with smart card accounts.

As the Australia Ambassador, I see this expedition as a really great opportunity to speak with people about the Network Society Project, to raise awareness about our goals. I believe the Network Society Readiness Index will have enormous value to enterprises and to governments, and these are exactly the sorts of people who would find it useful.

PS: If you are in around on Feb 1, please come to our Antarctica Meetup!

The most astounding scientific and technological discoveries of 2014

As we wave goodbye to 2014, let’s take this opportunity to marvel at some of the most astounding scientific and technological discoveries of 2014. As the infographics highlight, a large proportion of these stories fall into a few critical Network Society pillars: Energy, Manufacturing, and Health. Not only that, but these breakthroughs are increasingly coming from small research teams and individuals distributed worldwide as opposed to from within the confines of corporate giants.

Futurism Header Engineers Destroy Metastazing Cancer Cells Water Vapors Found On Ceres First Genetically Modified Monkeys Born In Lab Gene Therapy Improves The Vision Of Six Patients Pieces Of Cerebral Cortex Grown In Lab Largest Solar Thermal Plant Constructed Flashes Of Light That Modifies The DNA Of Neurons Can Stop Chronic Pain Kepler Discovers 715 New Exoplanets Gravitational Waves Are The First Ever Direct Links To The Big Bang Stem Cells Created From A Drop Of Blood Synthetic Yeast Chromosome Created From Scratch Asteroid With Its Own Set Of Rings Discovered Genome Editing Cured A Mouse Of A Liver Disorder New Form Of Matter Found Cloned Stem Cells From The Skin Of Two Adult Men Scientists Discover Kepler-186f Superheavy Element Ununseptium Discovered Graphene Provides Unlimited Heat Conduction High Powered Lasers Convert Light Into Matter Camera That Detects Planets Quantum Teleportation Achieved Suspended Animation Trials Are Now Possible Flashes OF Light Can Erase And Restore Memories In Mice Lasers Create Scaled Supernova Explosions In A Lab Mini Beating Hearts Created By Stimulating The Brain's Claustrum The Consciousness Can Be Switched On And Off The Genetic Mutation That Causes Autism Discovered Voyager I Reaches Interstellar Space Bone Marrow Cells Reverse Damage Caused By A Stroke Lasers Can Record Quantum Behavior Spin Symmetry Theory Confirmed Scientists Turn Negative Memories Into Positive Ones In Mice New Gene Identified That Can Slow The Body's Aging Process Skin Neurons Perform The Same Calculations As Our Brain Skin Cells Converted Into White Blood Cells Curiosity Reaches Mt Sharp NASA Wants To Put Astronauts Into Deep Sleep On Maned Mars Missions New Platform For Quantum Computing Developed At Yale X-37B Returns To Earth After A Two Year Flight Clinically Dead Hearts Successfully Transplanted Google X Announces The Nanoparticle Platform Tiny Particle Accelerators Created Philae Lands On A Comet Two New Particles Discovered At The LHC DNA Survives A Trip To Space And Back Artificial Evolving Chemical System Created By A 3D Printer Quantum Teleportation Reaches New Distance Wave Particle Duality Mistery Solved Futurism Footer Image Map

— Alex Klokus, who created this composite image, is US East Coast Ambassador of Network Society.

Futurism Header Illumina Inc Shows The First $1.000 Genome Google Announces Smart Contact Lenses UCSC Developed Robotic Nanobiopsy RoboEarth Is An Online Platform Where Robots Learn New SKills First Single Molecule LED Developed Robots With Insect Brains Nanomotors Controlled Inside Living Cells Quantum Computers Are A Step Closer Paper Microscope Capable Of 2K Magnification Biodegradable Implantable Battery Created Facebook Buys Oculus VR Entaglement Of 103 Dimensions Created With Only 2 Photons Technology That Converts Seawater Into Fuel Created 10 Houses 3D Printed In One Day Google Patents Contact Lenses With Micro Camera Microbots Rapidly Build Objects On A Micro Scale Circuit Board Modeled After The Human Brain Created IBM Invents 3D Nanoprinter Liquid Metal Used To Reconnect Torn Nerves Electrical Stimulation Helps Four Men To Move Their Legs Electrical Stimulation Induces Mind Control In Mice Raptor Robot Runs Faster That Any Human Brain Driver Allows You To Control A Car With Your Thoughts Quadriplegic Man Moved His Hand For The First Time 3D Printed Blood Vessels Created India Launches A Low Cost Rocket SpaceX Soft Lands The Falcon 9 First Stage Move Freely In Virtual Space With the Virtualizer Self Assembling Nanoparticles Created IBM Announces New Cognitive Chip Architecture Largest Robot Swarm Created Lockheed Unmanned Helicopter Completes Its Test Mission Anti Aging Partnership Finalized New Wireless Radio The Size Of An Ant Created Male Reversible Birth Control Created 3D Bioprinter Created Image Map Glass DARPA Deepmind Fuel Cell Goog Contact Guard 3d chip Haptic Shape printing amputee Futurism Footer Image Map

The Economic Impact Of The Maker Movement

How is 3D printing, together with other technologies in the maker movement enabling creativity, and entrepreneurship? Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, shares some astonishing numbers: in the Bay Area, TechShop catalyzed $10B in shareholder value, $2B in annual sales, $200M in annual salaries, created by members.

“We are living in an era where you can go through your own personal industrial revolution in ninety days. You can come to a TechShop, take twenty to thirty classes, spend ten hours a day, and in ninety days you are going to be able to go from not knowing how to make anything, to knowing how to make almost anything.

And what happens when you get a group of like a thousand people that are doing that, you fundamentally change the economics in the city. So what’s happened in the Bay Area? Ten billion dollars in shareholder value, two billion dollars in annual sales, two hundred million dollars in annual salaries have been created by members who have come in and picked up the skills that they needed to start a business or to start an educational institution or to pursue their dreams.

We are living in a completely new era. It’s been completely unknown to man, until literally just the last four-five years. We are part of the maker movement, and it’s really a grassroots, ground-up kind of activity, where individuals start to realize these are the things I need to understand, these are the tools that I need access to. So they reach out and they get the particular thing that they need. There is no hierarchy that says that in order for you to be an engineer, you have to take these many classes in engineering, these many classes in French, these many classes in world history. You don’t have to do that anymore! You can go to a TechShop or a General Assembly, or you can go on to MOOC, and you can get the minimum amount of information you need to move your project to the next stage. That’s very much personally driven, and you own it yourself.

The primary issue is that people have never heard of them. They don’t know what it is. They’ve never visited them. What they imagine, and what it actually is is radically different. And so I need more people to actually visit the locations, to see the videos, to see what it is. That’s one, because it is completely different than anything that they’ve seen before. And the next one is access to capital. It takes ten million dollars over five years to get one up and running, and thriving in a major metropolitan area.

We have three primary funding entities: it’s either a major educational institution, like Arizona State University in Phoenix, or soon Wichita, or Washington University, or Dublin City University, or the Technical University of Munich. These are five universities that we are engaged with. Or it is a major corporation like Ford Motor Company, who’s seen a one hundred percent increase in high quality patentable ideas because they put a TechShop next to their facilities. Or it’s a government entity, like the Veteran’s Administration in collaboration with General Electric, who helped to fund our two locations in Pittsburg and DC.

Let’s change the world!”

3D Printing Makes Complexity Free

In traditional manufacturing processes the cost of a complex object increases the cost of the plant and of the process itself. This makes the design and prototyping of complex objects worthwhile and available to only those who have the capital available to then create the corresponding production line.

With 3D printing a fundamental difference is that, apart from the time that the printing takes, there is no change for the printer in creating a complex object from creating a simple one. Beyond a certain fixed level, proportional to the cost of the printer itself, complexity becomes for all practical purposes free in the manufacturing process.
3D Printing Makes Complexity FreeA direct consequence of this is that the value flows from the production process, the production line, and the capital required for its deployment, to those capable of designing, and adapting the designs to different needs and circumstances.

Since 3D printed designs can be digitally transferred, and turned into atoms where it is most needed or most convenient, this frees up the creative and valuable part of the process to be executed wherever is best suited on the planet. Wherever it is most stimulating, convenient to live, 3D designers can flock in areas of the world to churn out valuable designs, in constant communication with their clients, iterating and perfecting the products in the smallest production batches possible.

The speedup of this process is beneficial to traditional processes too, which can incorporate the best designs in high-volume productions, and accelerate the discovery of optimal solutions.

(Photo of 3d printed object credit Hal Gottfried)

New Layers of Innovation Become Foundational Infrastructure

Roads, phone lines, the electric grid: each of these components of modern life, which we take for granted, together with uncountable interlocking parts, have once been innovations at the edges. Innovations, that were little more than experiments, blossomed, peaked, and then faded into the background, without losing importance, but stopping from being the focus of attention.

Universal adoption of a tool or a service guarantees widespread value to be generated, and it also makes it so that nobody has a specific differentiating advantage using it.

Mainframes still exist

In the computer industry mainframe computers made by IBM were dominating and newsworthy. Do you read about mainframes these days at all? Are they in the news any day? Mainframes still exist, they just don’t matter anymore, in the eyes of those who want to innovate at the edges of technology, and create new layers of value.

The transformation of the pillars of the Nation State will shift the focus of attention and innovation away from centralized systems. It will not eliminate the infrastructures that deliver value to everybody, as much as make them less relevant, taken for granted but not newsworthy.