Archive for August, 2017

Things to Hang on Your Mental Mug Tree | Edge.org – some great morsels from Rory Sutherland

“There’s a rather lovely company in the UK that pays people who are housebound—whether for medical reasons, or are caregivers—to handwrite envelopes and letters. You could regard this as a very silly thing to do, but in costly signaling theory terms, it makes perfect sense. The open rate of these letters, and the response they generate, is an order of magnitude higher than for laser-printed letters.

Another thing worth bearing in mind is countersignaling, which, unlike signaling, seems to be uniquely human. There aren’t cases of peacocks who demonstrate their extraordinary genetic quality by having really shitty tails. What seems to happen with humans is you have multiple parallel status currencies, and quite often you will signal your position on status by adopting none of the status currencies of the class immediately below your own, or by essentially demonstrating zero effort in standard status currencies. An unwashed bass guitarist in a cool rock band, for example, can get away with poor levels of hygiene, which signals: “I’m so sexy by dint of my bass guitar playing skills that I can get away with not making an effort in any of these conventional areas.” Sometimes it’s done as a positional thing, and sometimes it’s done as a pure demonstration of handicap.

Relevance theory [from Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson] might be another thing that’s interesting. In other words, replacing the “conduit” idea of communication with this idea that we communicate the minimum necessary for the recipient to recreate the message within their own head using context as a very large part of the information. Those interesting new theories of communication, which don’t always sit with the Claude Shannon theories, are worth exploring. A very simple manifestation would be jokes which, like IKEA furniture, demand some self-assembly on the part of the recipient.”

Things to Hang on Your Mental Mug Tree | Edge.org
https://www.edge.org/conversation/rory_sutherland-things-to-hang-on-your-mental-mug-tree
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This is how Big Oil will die – NewCo Shift (must read)

“It’s 2025, and 800,000 tons of used high strength steel is coming up for auction.

The steel made up the Keystone XL pipeline, finally completed in 2019, two years after the project launched with great fanfare after approval by the Trump administration. The pipeline was built at a cost of about $7 billion, bringing oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US, with a pit stop in the town of Baker, Montana, to pick up US crude from the Bakken formation. At its peak, it carried over 500,000 barrels a day for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

But in 2025, no one wants the oil.

The Keystone XL will go down as the world’s last great fossil fuels infrastructure project. TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, charged about $10 per barrel for the transportation services, which means the pipeline extension earned about $5 million per day, or $1.8 billion per year. But after shutting down less than four years into its expected 40 year operational life, it never paid back its costs.”

This is how Big Oil will die – NewCo Shift
https://shift.newco.co/this-is-how-big-oil-will-die-38b843bd4fe0
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Martin Seligman: We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment (why we are all futurists) via NYT

“What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilization and sustains society. It usually lifts our spirits, but it’s also the source of most depression and anxiety, whether we’re evaluating our own lives or worrying about the nation. Other animals have springtime rituals for educating the young, but only we subject them to “commencement” speeches grandly informing them that today is the first day of the rest of their lives.

A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise. Looking into the future, consciously and unconsciously, is a central function of our large brain, as psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered — rather belatedly, because for the past century most researchers have assumed that we’re prisoners of the past and the present.”

Opinion | We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/opinion/sunday/why-the-future-is-always-on-your-mind.html
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Human ingenuity will be the genesis for IoT prosperity: thoughtful piece by Jeanne Beliveau-Dunne (Cisco)

“As business leaders, we must think beyond the fiscal bottom line and technological advances in products and services and ask ourselves, how will IoT affect the communities we operate in and whatwill our role be in readying society and the workforce for this digital phenomenon that is rapidly proliferating? Technology itself has no ethics. It is only when people apply purpose and innovative thinking beyond revenue and profit that we will be able to reap collective benefits and security of the digital world.

We explored this topic in depth at the recent IoT World Forum in London, where renowned futurist Gerd Leonhard provided us a stunning window into the ethics of IoT and the critical role of human ingenuity in designing and shepherding its outcomes. (Watch the replay of Gerd’s keynote, moderated by Cisco’s CMO, Karen Walker: “Beyond Business: A Holistic View of the Societal and Human Impact of IoT.”)

As the IoT World Forum team put its agenda together for an influential community of C-suite executives in London, there was a realization that we needed to address this topic, as provocative (and sobering) as it might be. We recognized that we had to acknowledge the “elephant in the room”: that we are in unchartered territory, as we enter into this new era of exponential change together. When we think about what the implications are of a rapid surge in IoT innovation, we must all collectively consider the potential effects on the geopolitical and global economic landscape (in both advanced and developing nations); on global challenges such as wealth inequality, aging populations, healthcare, and the environment; and on the global workforce. Of course, no one has all the answers, but we must be bold in exploring these issues as a global business community. I will explore this in more depth in my next blog, but I will say that we know we need a global unified approach to succeed. No one can go it alone, and a “head in the sand” mentality is not an option.”

Human ingenuity will be the genesis for IoT prosperity
http://www.cio.com/article/3212868/digital-transformation/human-ingenuity-and-iot-prosperity.html
via Instapaper