Of Course Facebook Will Want Your Credit Card -- And Of Course, You'll Give It To Them

Published in Online Spin, April 15, 2016


I’m at the counter and I’ve just ordered my coffee. “That’ll be five bucks,” says the lady at the register. I hold my credit card to the machine for a second or two, it beeps, and I turn to go.

“You use that system?” my friend asks, dubiously. “You bet,” I say. “It’s amazing what I’ll do to save a few seconds.” It’s something I only noticed once I started using Uber: the startling feeling of luxury and sense of satisfaction I get from arriving at my destination and simply emerging from the vehicle like a movie star at the Oscars. No pedestrian wallet-fumbling for me, thanks. My people have it covered.

AlphaGo Might Be The Most Effective Marketing Campaign Ever

Published in Online Spin, April 1, 2016


The Los Angeles Times  said, “The results are in and history has been made… [This development] brings to a close the era of board games as benchmarks in computing.”

The milestone “was supposed to be 10 years away,” said Vox. “In Two Moves,” trumpeted Wired, “AlphaGo And Lee Sedol Redefined The Future.”

Today Pizzabots, Tomorrow The Future: Autonomous Cars Coming Fast

Published in Online Spin, March 18, 2016


I think we need a new word for “future.” When I hear people talking about “the future,” I usually make a couple of baseless assumptions: It’s in my lifetime, but far enough away that I don’t really have to worry about it. Maybe 20 or 30 years. Maybe more.

No More Moore? Don't Be So Sure

“The chips are down for Moore’s Law,” read the headline in last month’s Nature.  Finally, the semiconductor industry was going to admit “what has become increasingly obvious to everyone involved,” and the party will be over. After 50 years of riding an exponential wave, we’re maxing out on our ability to double the number of transistors on a chip.
From the Nature article: “The doubling has already started to falter, thanks to the heat that is unavoidably generated when more and more silicon circuitry is jammed into the same small area… Top-of-the-line microprocessors currently have circuit features that are around 14 nanometres across, smaller than most viruses. But by the early 2020s… ‘we'll get to the 2–3-nanometre limit, where features are just 10 atoms across…’ [A]t that scale, electron behaviour will be governed by quantum uncertainties that will make transistors hopelessly unreliable.”

Waze, Google, Facebook: The Observer Effect And Our Interconnected, Co-Created Reality

“[L]ooking into a flower, you can see that the flower is made of many elements that we can call non-flower elements… [C]loud is part of flower, and if you send the element cloud back to the sky, there will be no flower… And earth, and gardener… if you continue, you will see a multitude of non-flower elements in the flower. In fact, a flower is made only with non-flower elements. It does not have a separate self....
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Hey, Movie Studios: You Can't Force Us To Love You

A long, long time ago, when CDs and MP3s were still a thing, I decided to make a compilation of songs as a holiday gift to my customers. Although Napster beckoned, I didn’t want to steal the music, so I set about trying to purchase it legitimately.

The Death Of Media In The Age Of Trump

“An informed citizenry,” said Thomas Jefferson in 1816, “is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.” (Or something to that effect; other versions include, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.”) America’s third president was aware that representative politics call for more than just representation -- after all, without understanding what is going on, how can we know how we want to be represented?

The Online Ad Ecosystem, Along With Others, Is Unwell

“The perfect business is a computer plugged into the Internet. Starting with me, every human thereafter is overhead.” -- Henry Ward, eShares CEO
The year is 2010. In the small town of Ashburton, New Zealand, a young lady named Jade Temepara has an insight. The insight involves old people, young people, inexperience and wisdom. It involves food and self-sufficiency, connection to the land and to each other, the ability to create and the ability to provide. Hand Over A Hundy is born.

A Seven-Year-Old Could Predict The Consequences Of Ad Blockers

“Your Aunt Trudi is coming over today,” said my mom. “And she always brings you chocolates. But I don’t want you to eat them. Give them to me instead. If you eat them, I won’t let you compete in the gymnastics tournament.”
“No problem!” I replied cheerfully. I was seven.
Aunt Trudi arrived, and handed me the chocolate box. I promptly took it to my room, ate half of it, and hid the rest in my drawer.

Move Over, Doc Searls: It's Time For A New Intention Economy

We live, so they say, in an attention economy. Attention is the fundamental scarce resource we’re fighting over, the key unit of value, the One True Ring.
Facebook has our attention. Google has our attention. And they are monetizing it, either through selling us stuff directly, or selling our attention to others.
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