synchronicity

09Jul15

An interesting phenomena occurs when you integrate, align, mix and match objects. The multidisciplinarity of artefacts, issues or processes has become a kind of holy grail to achieve the type of innovation that can ‘disrupt’. A few examples from art, design/media and organizational thinking.

art: Turell and Parreno

James Turell makes art of light. He studied maths and perceptual psychology and he is interested in the experience of light. To him all light (natural and artificial) is conjured by some combination of specific elements and temperature. James TurellWith his artwork he wants to make clear that the way we perceive light and colour is not fixed and constant. His Ganzfeld rooms (Whitney museum, 1980) are drenched in colour. They are designed to recreate the effect of a white-out, a total loss of bearings. In his works he ‘deconstructs through light’ – he describes it as ‘synaesthesia’: to dissect, and bring back together in a slightly different way. He is famous for his attention to detail and James Turell Roden Cratoreffects. He has been working on his masterpiece ‘Roden Crater’ for the last 40 years he is crafting the vulcano he bought in 1976 in a ‘naked eye observatory’. He burrows and pinches pricise holes in the crator to create shafts calibrated to the summer solstice or a particular lunar positioning that occurs once every 18.6 years. A large tunnel has been tuned like a flute with the assistance of an acoustic engineer. Turell gathers starlight, so you can be in that light of stars that might not even be there anymore.

Philippe Parreno: individual works function as components in a larger scheme

armoryonpark.orgParreno’s show in New York’s Park Avenue Armory (summer 2015) is an illustration of his view on ‘entirety‘. He wants to provide a communual space to bring people together and immerse them in a total experience. In the Armory show ‘H{N}YPN(Y}OSIS  various elements can play out simultaneously, the sequences and events constantly inform each other and overlap to create near endless combinations. PARRENO_armory3 ParrenoArmory2 recitals M.Rudy during hnypnosisParrento likes to play with concepts that deal with sharing, with boundaries being crossed, with different timelines and realities. The 55,000 sq ft room of the Armory is an open space or as Parrento sees it “an architecture that is created by visitors as they make their way through space”. An open space enables an architecture of attention. In the show individual objects all have their own identity but they come together to produce a new powerful whole. The idea is that the exhibition constantly interweaves live and recorded elements, designed and spontaneous gestures, reality and fiction to impart a conscious NY-flavour: the synthesis of the experiences is a single, seamlessly unified entity: a space that is animated by the city.

To produce such a multimedia extravaganza is too complex and multifaceted for any one person. True collaboration is needed, teamwork where everyone clicks and is highly respectful of other people’s abilities, makes it possible to concentrate on the process, the journey, and the result emerges from that. Parrento creates a stable of like-minded creatives: Timo Seghal works with ‘constructed situations’ using actors or dancers (dressed up as a Japanes manga character) to perform certain actions, a french sound-designer (Nicolas Becker) and recitals by the pianist Mikhail Rudy create electronic soundscapes. Together they melt boundaries and categories and create an alchemical feeling that expands beyond different labels and boxes. The term that Parrento uses the summ up the essence of the exhibition “synchronicity“: an environment where time seems suspended and you temporarily step beyond the normal diachronous flow of your live and events overlap and occur together in space.

maison et objetmedia/design: adaptive and responsive AR amplifies the intrinsic experience
melomind adaptive musicThe Retroscope (by Amana) makes seemingly ‘normal’ landscape-photography special at the digIT(eyes) Maison & Objet Paris Design show (pinterest.com/maisonobjet) with complementary smartphones (an app) that showed flocks of birds emerging. Behnaz Farahi’s 3D printed helmet ‘Synapse’ is an EEG chip that causes the headwear to change shape when triggered by brain activity. Melomind is a head-worn device that tranformes brainwaves measured by electrodes to stress-reducing ‘audio-environments’ via a smartphone-app. Phygital shopping is a mix of the best that physical and digital stores have to offer. Since 2003 we can map the whole genome sequence, according to Illumnia (marketleader in sequencing machines): “the mapping a genome costed millions, today it costs 1000 euro and will be 100 euro’s in the near future”. According to MIT technology review Apple is creating an app that can show genetic characteristics of users. Google and Amazon and the Chinese Genomic Institute are building DNA-databases because they expect to serve applications in the medical (and cosmetic) field in the near future. Decision will be emerge from collected data that can be processed in real-time, by 2020 computational power of machines will outperform human thinking.

transmedia storytelling:

Like games, virtual worlds are created collaboratively, and the audience exists in a meaningful way within that world. The WBI (world building institute) curated a workshop: Traversing Reality. It explored the ways that VR can bring audiences together, physically, to share meaningful social moments and how VR can ‘activate’ an audience in very physical ways.  It focusses on how VR can change how we learn and understand the world. virtual world of rilaoA polifacetic group explored RILAO to discover, study the land, dive in the mysteries of the South Pacific island and unravel its secrets and stories. The groups had to choose and describe one environment, one social or cultural structure and one artifact, from those that emerged from their process. And compile the knowledge and experiences gained during their exploration, as entries for the Rilao Universalis Encyclopedia. The multiple perspectives brought by the participants, among which there were filmmakers, scientists, engineers, architects and designers, produced a radical collaboration and a very rich Worldbuilding process, allowing unique stories to emerge from the team´s multidisciplinary nature. The poliformity favored alex mc dowell creative director 5DIand helped avoiding pre-established media practices or prefabricated narrative structures, usually present with a uniform group. With the objective of achieving a interconnected single narrative during the worldbuilding session, cross-pollination between the different working cells was part of the process. This exchange of concepts, created a perspective revision, that enriched and refined the ongoing exploration with new perspectives and research. The rhythmic switch between focused intimate work in the 5 people Worldbuilding-cells and a open sharing, during the day, propels ideas flow and triggers new levels and possibilities.

Marketing: balancing exploring and exploiting processes

Markets are more diverse, to deal with this diversity companies need to tailor their aproach to strategy and execution to each environment in which they operate. They need to constantly ‘retune’ this collage of approaches. It’s impossible to manage all these shifts using taditional top-down decision making. They need self-learning systems.

Google balancing actTriple A: Agility (rapid adjustment), Adaptation (learning through trial and error) and Ambidexterity (balancing exploration and exploitation). Algorithms (like the one’s recommendation engines from Amazon or Netflix use) strike the optimum between exploiting known preferences and exploring different items that have potential to surface new preferences. Serve up too many safe bets and users will get bored, and the opportunity to collect data that will inform new recommendations will forgo. Serve up too many exploratory options users may become unsatisfied and lose faith in the recommendations. To manage this trade-off dynamically the recommendatoin engines constantly update their suggestions, drawing on an evolving inderstanding of users.

Three interlinked learning loops are base to this. These three loops are all executed in a self-directed manner, without any human decisions, which allows triple-A systems to operate at very high speeds.

1 EXPERIMENT

  • Generate new options and create a growing library of choices (discover what works)
  • Test: provide recommendations based on knowledge of content and customer behaviour with a degree of randomness
  • Amplify what works: track (click, purchase, rating) rates to learn more about personal preferences and use that information to improve further recommendations

2 – MODULATE – adjust how and how much you experiment, adapt the rate of experimemtation to the environment f.i. with new customers higher rates of experimentation are necessary, this can be scaled back as the algorithms learn more about them. But all users should experience a degree of exploration and surprise.

3 – SHAPE – not only reinforce existing preferences, but also create new ones, f.i. being directed to a new category both reveals and shapes what a user finds interesting.

centrality and distinctiveness:  relevant components – dissected and bought back in a slightly different way – sequences and events constantly inform each other and overlap – self-learning systems
brandmap HBRIn an article (HBR june 2015) Niraj Dawar and Charan K. Bagga present their Way to map Brand Strategy. Their model shows brands’ relative position in the marketplace according to perceived ‘centrality’ (how representative a brand is of its category) and ‘distinctiveness’ (how well it stands out fro other brands) it also captures financial performance (sales volume or price). Brands are positioned in quadrants according to how customers score them on two dimensions (consumers’ perceptions). Each quadrant carries strategic implications for sales, pricing, risk and profitability. The distribution of brands across the map offer insights about competitive opportunities and threats. Asperational brands are well positioned to launch innovations that redefine the category. Mainstream-position calls for risk-averse stewardship, because of their heft they can shape markets and consumer preferences. Pheripheral positioned brands are typically bought as substitute, because they are price-attractive – a model that calls for low marketing and innovation costs (s.a. generic or privte-label players) – adding distinctive features or launching advertising campaigns mght shift their positioning but is an uphill and expensive battle. Unconventional brands are niche players: profitability at low volumes. By making the brand’s unique features more mainstream or adding mainstream features the brand can gain centrality. If it manages to also increase sales volume without compromising distinctiveness it can shift to the the aspirational quadrant. A brands position on the map can vary dramatically depending on geographic market and customer segments. Collecting data on customers’ perception of the brand’s centrality and distinctiveness yields insight but is also an intensive process. Repeatedly charting the position changes that result from marketing initiatives yields insight about what drives customer perceptions – and brand performance.

innovationtypes
maturity_bizzdigital-maturityBased on Schumpeters innovation typeMIT Sloan and Cap Gemini Consulting (2012) reported about The digital advantage with their model that identified ‘digiraties’

cross pollinationIf you think of an enterprise as a nested set of processes: the vision articulates the direction and ambition of the firm as a whole, the company deploys businessmodels that bring together capabilities and assets to create advantageous positions. It uses: organizational structure, information systems and culture to facilitate the effective operation. If you take an evolutionary approach, the organization is no longer viewed as a fixed means of transmitting intentions from above, but rather a network that shifts and responses to external feedback. Some draw anologies with music, others (josphine green) call it flat pancakes or like IDEO that calls this: structured cross-pollination. With the acceptance of the holistic networked organization in which cells, workgroups or tribes autonomously work on projects or in units to contribute to the whole or the clan. The question that arises is: Who is accountable for identifying, cultivating and coordinating network effects inside the enterprise and out? The opportunities are clear; the responsibilities are not.

The theatre of the human spirit will become backstage

Neuro Info Bio CognitiveSince four disciplines have found eachother: Information- (BITS) and Nano- (ATOMS) Neuro/Cognitive- (NEURONS) and  Bio-Technology(GENES) an exponentional area of new insights has been developed. With it our ethics (value systems) has to mature. The convergence of these sciences can impact our society when the output starts interfacing with the real world. How will we cope with active intelligent environments, will it change our view on autonomy and freedom? Do we want to become dependent on technology that acts for us? How much vulnaribility do we allow in private/public connections, when ubiquitous systems also include tracking and tracing of out behaviour and mental processes. If we except a limited transparency on our privacy how do we prevent social inclusion and defend justice when tracking devices can be used to controle others? Will bodily integrity influence human integrity when we can change human nature with artificial organs, do we also accept a (re)definition of human beings? And who will be responsible when intelligent systems fail?

Nice questions to keep in mind if you watch Black Mirror – be right back video.

rilao expandedBoth designer/engineers and organizational thinkers boil down to the same question: who or what is responsible (and accountable) when emergent systems become more interdependent (less transparent)? Who can you blame when your smart-sensor did not pick the right data because you didn’t give it the opportunity to learn enough? It is still future technology, but it will creep up, first slowly then suddenly – because exponential developments tend to engulf their context.

Have we build in enough triggers to ensure that transpancy is still an option? Will we know when biases get out of balance and systems overrule emotions (when you’re not with the system, you are against it) Can you affort not to be on social media, nor respond to someones tweet or will the benefit of getting along with the new etiquette? Would you make the same choice as the Mae Holland (main character) in Dave Eggers book?

What we can learn from smart systems is not to monitor the results but the process, the flow or the patterns that emerge. Which indicators we should use, is still a debate. It might be – like in art – dependent on the context to identify those components that create an architecture of attention and true synchronicity.

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curves of flow

28Apr14

flow: complexity & skill. You grow into flow by mastering challenges, or in the words of the big guru on flow: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a single-minded immersion in performing and learning. You need a combination of progressive complexity and skill to reach the ‘flow-state-of-mind’. 

flow mental statesIn fact flow is already there when the challenges we encounter match our ability. In this situation you experience a state of control or relaxation. If you stay in this comfort zone you will fall out of flow. You have to challenge yourself and pick a more difficult task to get back into flow. The concept of flow is closely related to motivation, its components being: activation, persistence and intensity. A subject well researched – and much looked-after by organizations who long for engaged employees. gartner hype cycle gamificationIt is the core of gamification that uses playful interaction to persuade users to become superusers. In essence gamification creates a learning curve and a ranking structure by providing small steps to reach a goal. Motivational techniques are intrinsic: supporting mastery (complexity & skill) and extrinsic: joyful recognition (feedback & status). If you compare the hype cycle of gamification with big data its not surprising to spot the connection of the emerging technologies that support their useful application. Both thrive on the professionalization of data-information. Having the data is not enough, you need to gather, interpret and use the data. In the words of Mike Wu : “raw data are not suitable for human consumption“. It would be too easy to merge technology innovation with business innovation.

gamification human needsIf you put gamification and big data together you and up with a dashboard. It is a hype much scrutinized because it not always puts the focus – what you want to innovate – at the center. Dashboards have the potency to lure people with surface-design of nice metrics and markers. But beautiful graphs don’t equal meaningful insights: “by visualizing data people can view things differently – in new, more innovative ways. It can help data-democracy – we depend on each other’s data and walls between departments should be crumbling. You can create dashboards that sync perfectly – and beautifully – between desktop and tablet.” crmbuildingblocksThink of your dashboard as a keyhole view into your data. If the keyhole is large enough to show you the full picture, then the data visualizations that are reflected will also show you the full picture. If the keyhole is small, as only a fraction of your data can be taken into account at a time, then the data visualizations may paint a pretty picture, but are entirely meaningless if you are trying to grasp a new insight. The CIO-blog perpetually points out that innovating is a lot like trying to build a campfire. Wild gusts of wind will blow out the initial flames. On the flipside, if a fire doesn’t have room to breathe, it’ll die. Properly stacking the wood is essential. Freedom and structure are equally important to the success of innovation, striking the right balance between the two requires incredible discipline. To match the emerging technology pipeline with specific business goals is work and not following the pack down the latest rabbit hole. It is not about the tool, nor the technology. They both can enable goals, but it is the insight in how you can reach that goal that sparks true magic.

Metadata about data. HBR and others show that there is exponential data growth especially on the part of unstructured data. AIIM found that 70 percent of company information is unstructured. And recommends (not surprisingly) to hire information professionals. viscosity_of_liquidsData growth comes in V’s: Not only: Volume, Variety, Velocity but also: Viscosity, Virality and Value. These last three are about the resistance to flowSymian-Virus in the volume of big data, the spread between unique nodes and the adde value – the contribution to insight. With ECM systems (enterprise content management) you can manage your content and applications and turn static into dynamic content delivery. Creating new ways of working collaboration and social capabilities will be embedded across the application portfolio to support the system of relationship. This all sounds too beautiful to be true. And it indeed is if we take Clay Christensen‘s lesson serious. He points out that we aggregate things in order to understand the world with our limited minds. And that it is our choice of measure that defines success.

Choice of measure
benjamin verdonck 2008Back to the data then, there are three types of analysis: Descriptive (event counters) condense big data into smaller more useful nuggets of information. Predictive: scores or labels what happens based on studying recent and historical data. In short it forecasts what might happen in the future. (f.i. sentiment-analysis, the input is plain text, the output a sentiment score, the sentiment-label predicts wether it is a positive or negative sentiment). Prescriptive: recommends what needs to happen. It predicts possible consequences based on different choice of action and recommends the best course of action for a pre-specified outcome. You need a predictive model and actionable data and feedback system to track the outcome produced by actions.

Data can make us smarter and/or more efficient. It can support us to understand what certain merged datasets accomplish us to strive for. But strategic planning does not also produces novel strategies. Instead, it perpetuates the status quo. Integral to scientific methods are the creation of novel hypotheses and the generation of tests of these hypotheses – two elements that conventional strategic planning typically lacks. according to Roger Martin in HBR. Big Data brings along the use of prescriptive analysis for the analysis. A bit like watching the watchers. It might help us to see our Galilean paradox – view of perspective on patterns. But it should not make us prisoners of the system. Although we can accumulate and merge much more data then before, it will not make us superusers. We need to be able to understand the connection between our skill or behavior (use of data) with the score, otherwise we will not be motivated or worse unleash a disengaged flow.

If we really want to challenge ourselves we might dig deeper in the complex field of data-analysis. We have always known that the representation of data chooses a frame to look at reality. Gamification and Behavioral Science use these frames to influence our choices and motivate us to keep on track. Behavior is the result of beliefs and value systems. Can we nudge these cultural components with the help of the right measures? Or will we create a Kowloon walled city – an ecosystem that is so complex that if you get lost you better stay inside? A cradle of which you never know what will happen if you take away one sliver. Do not build one layer over the other but take the time to really understand what metrics matter. And do build room for experiments (emerging patterns) and progressive insight (the perspective to see acceleration – not motion) to alter the data and type of analysis for success. Enable superusers who can exploit the data to improve themselves, not users trapped by the system to perform according to the rigor (mortis) of statistics.kowloon

Kowloon: City of imagination in Games and Entertainment from HongKong to Japan

also: video of bird-nest performance by Benjamin Verdonck


Wandering through the forest you wonder about why those tall friends – who have been there for ages – need to be brutally sliced from their feet. It is reassuring to think that they will be re-used as furniture or art. Actually most wood ends up in flames. A very green area in Germany (the romantic valley Lauthentahl: Harz) is known for its monolithic culture (all trees the same age), mining activities and world wars scraped the slopes which made reforestation necessary to prevent landslides. wood_lumberjackA forest and the trees within it tell stories about the future and sometimes when the trees are all dotted by lumberjacks they tell a little bit about their future. I always regret not taking spray-paint with me to add a few colors to the dots to mystify the woodworkers and save a few of my friends. Though i might worsen their fate since i am not familiar with the deeper meaning of the color-scheme. wood_vincentkohlerVincent Kohler creates perfectly sliced-up logs. These wooden sculptures are sleek and modern, but they’re also informative. The geometric forms include almost all elements with which you can build a treehouse. In the witch-forest of Pendle (UK) you can find Philippe Handford‘s sculptured tree, embodying the history of a place with an impactful visual, and making that visual part of the narrative. He reconnects cut trees to their stumps. fungiscape backbonePhilippe calls himself a environmental artist and makes big and small objects from his observations of nature. It gives you a different perspective on nature, nurture and our impact on it. Lee Jae Hyo takes a Lee-Jae-Hyo-innersouldifferent route to reveal the power of trees and their adaptable power. He reshapes and uncovers the inner beauty of branches and trunks. His round shapes play with your bias that a bundle of wood is a stack. He calls himself an alchemist. He makes variations that urge you to reach out and touch the solid energy of the wood that is captured in a simple shape. But it does not always need this mastery or work to accentuate the beauty of nature that we too often take for granted. pierre-piedIain Blake shows us with his cute fieds that all it takes is a good eye and some imagination to create a moment of reflection for others. You never know it might save the forest from extinction because it drew the attention from the next passer-by and made him care just a little bit more. So next time you take a walk in the forest pick up a branch or a pebble and create and inspire others to take a second look at nature. Then you can say like H.D. Thoreau: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. “

 


waterhorseIt is not the seahorse (hippocampus) that sparked my imagination, but real horses (equus) splashing through the water. For some reason it is connected with words as: freedom, pure joy and for some romance. The natural image of a horse would be on land because it has four legs and no special flippers. It’s an earthbound and grounded animal. A domesticated horse is bridled and girthed -the connection with freedom is made if you loosen the reines. water-horseBut the horses in fountains or the waterfront often show the untamed , free-roaming version preferably a wild horse (equus ferus ferus). This link with authentic or primitive drivers spark the more emotional connotations. And apparently water is needed to support the image. It might be the combination of gentle and brutal which applies to both water and horses. The wonder that something can be heavy and fluid. Help or destroy us. Carry or overthrow you.

kelpries_andyscott_falkirkwild becomes furious when the connection with horse powered heritage is made, like the 30 metres tall Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland.

Or it might be that because we are bored watching art in contained spaces that we look for new experiences moving art to the shore. This new environment evokes the free spirit of the horses.

Gormley_CrosbyBeachLike Gromly’s english men at the Liverpool shore. And take it even one step further: in the sea. A new trend (Mexico, Granada) seems popping up: underwater statue-gardens. It makes a nice combination with adaptive art since the water will change the surface and texture of the sculptures underwater sculpture of lionand the environment in which the sculptures are presented enfold a variety of colours and shades, more than is possible in the above-world. It transforms even the most dominant symbols to tranquil gatekeepers.

Adaptive art? That term is coined by the people faced with physical or cognitive change that have to adapt their method for creative expression. So i guess i meant to say: contextual art. Since the traditional elements of art: line, shape, form, space, texture, value and color also incorporate the context, experiments with these are made. Artist had discovered this element already in the last century in combination with conceptual art, where the art becomes an act that can only be experienced on the moment itself.

Berndnaut Smilde creates clouds his intrest in impermanent states of being Commercial research practice only recently (re)discovered the impact of the momental and situational factor. The importance of being there at the right moment lures the exclusiveness of something. Preferably the timeline of the interplay is not exactly known therefore stretching the moment and spicing the tension for the big event, creating a bigger resonance and inevitable relief when the WOW-factor is there.  BJ Fogg (persuasive design) and AL Barabasi (situational network design) use context as an enabler to create an opportunity to influence behavior. I personally like Barabasi’s term ‘granular media‘ referring to the property that granular materials (like sand or social communities) conform to the shape of a container and will flow when pressured. And that is my cue back to the water and the horses: when pressured they build up uncontrollable power. And that is an image we have been trained to detect immediately because it even helped our ancestors to survive and given water and horses a bigger meaning than their physical being.

horses

Magic of Horses‘ (2011) by British-born sculptor Susan Leyland.

Still Water at Marble arch London by Nic Feddian Green.

Driftwood Horses by Heather Jansch.

“Stick-to-it-ive-ness” by Richard Morse. Quote: “The visual representation of horses running on the river’s surface, symbolize the struggles and perseverance, the simple grace yet powerful attitude that everybody needs in difficult situations.” And this needly summarized this post also because Richard Moss is not a copycat but an adaptive artisan.


ImageImageAntifragile coined by N.M.Taleb (also author of black swans) describes things that benefit from shocks, grow when exposed to randomness and that are beyond resilience or robustness. Allowing us to do things without understanding them. It’s a mechanism by which the system regenerates itself continuously by using (rather than suffering from) random events. If you cannot predict the random events, you can detect fragility – or state with confidence that a structure is more fragile than another should a certain event happen. Concepts like ‘solidity’ and ‘resilience’ stifle growth and evolution where ‘antifragility’ stimulates growth and evolution. The beauty of this slight differentiation of meaning struck me when i realized the power of Motoi Yamamoto’s work. By making his creations a performance and therefore non destructable although a blow of wind can easily change the art but not the concept.

MotoiYamamato05 MotoiYamamato_flowerMotoi Yamamoto meticulously creates labyrinths. You can take home the building-crystals if you promise to return them to the sea. His craftsmanship not only cradles the ingredient of his masterpieces, but also his memories of his sister. Salt, to him, has become symbolic of life and it’s perpetual circle.

other snippits:

niritlevav_tuzzidogs

Nirit Levav has discovered that rusty old bicycle parts can be molded into sweet emotional forms.

inverse heroes

While in the past people of rank and status were those and only those who took risks, who had the downside for their actions, and heroes were those who did so for the sake of others, today the exact reverse is taking place: the rise of a new class of inverse heroes; people with too much power and no real downside and/or accountability. They (members of the IAND = Internat. Association of Name Drppers) game the system while others pay the price. (from antifragile by NM Taleb)


Dan Ariely wrote a book about the honest truth about dishonesty. On his blog he comments “The irony of illegally downloading a book on dishonesty is painfully obvious”. He argues that “once we start thinking of ourselves as polluted, there is not much incentive to behave well, and the trip down the slippery slope is likely. But if we have the opportunity to admit and apologize, receive amnesty for the material already illegally obtained, you can start fresh”. Confessing, to articulate what you have done wrong, is an incredibly effective mechanism for resetting your moral compass.teapot creamer The Grand Old Lady – the Waldorf Astoria in NewYork – probably had this in mind when it started it’s amnesty campaign. Although Matt Zolbe, director of market at the Waldorf-Astoria gives two other drivers: “The amnesty program has two goals: to provide us with the elements as we build our archives and to project the Waldorf to Generation Y through social media.”

bookcover_stapeldutch professor who was caught framing and inventing his research data wrote a book in which he reflects on his fraud. The book was received with much dedain since in the eyes of the criticasters he just found another way to make money while making up stories. The book was soon to be found at ShareSend for free (not anymore). The rationalization was that since the professor stole the data for his research-papers, it was justified to ‘steel’ the (online)book. Although the argument: i can do to you – what you did to me is not fully correct, since not all the downloaders will have suffered themselves from the ‘made-up’research-papers, his actions can be seen though as a general attack on our faith in science. A case of double-morals? 1) it is wrong to disgard copyrights 2) it’s allowed to illegally download if we think the beneficiar has impacted our worldview without our consent. In a world where ‘co-creation’ and ‘wisdom of crowds’ is gaining popularity there should be clear rules about how we decide on what is just and what is wrong. We could choose straight but dynamical rules that keep up with the progress of the real world. Or should we decide on more contextual rules – where the interpretation of the rule – depends on the social setting that is it is applied upon.

It is not easy to decide wether we should use black&white rules or a more adaptive-justification dialogue to decide what is right or wrong. But I do know that we should always be aware of our infinite ability to find warped arguments that straightens our crooked views on reality. Another question of course is whether we should we have a global view on ethics in our global world? Or will this always be diluted by our different cultural views?

To make it specific: If you played Phylo, the DNA puzzle that helps solve real medical problems, and your input reveals a new insight for medication. Should the pharmaceutical company pay you for your input? Should they pay the Phylo community? Should you receive bonuspoints from patients using your solution? Should you be freed from paying tax or be granted extra social services since you helped the society? And will it help if we would reward crowd sourcing to steer the world to a more collaborative state? Or should this depend on wether your solution is applied in developed or underdeveloped countries?

knowledgegraphMaybe we could make a kind of ethics-graph, like Google is making his knowledge graphs. In that way even our morality will become a semantic technology. Allthough it does sound scary that our moral is made up by an algoritm, it might be as simple as that you will be asked to periodically answer questions about wright and wrong and from all the answers our global moral code is generated.

citizen science

fold.itZooniverse launched Galaxy Zoo in July 2007, asking its users to help classify galaxies archived by NASA’s Hubble Telescope. The project’s developers expected a small core of committed users to slowly but surely identify the galaxies in the images. It must have been quite a surprise, then, that within 24 hours of launching, Galaxy Zoo was accumulating 70.000 classifications per hour. In the first year, the platform helped crowdsource 50 million galaxy classifications. Zooniverse also introduced Seafloor Explorer, which asks users locate underwater creatures. Given the project’s popularity, Zooniverse decided to apply the concept to other areas of science. Today, it features nine projects and three “laboratories,” all asking for the crowd’s input on a range of topics. These range from studying explosions on the sun to helping researchers understand what whales are saying. Other examples: fold.it, polymathprojects.org


willard_wiganWillard Wigan creates micro-sculptures that you cannot see with the naked eye. He creates his sculptures from a grain of sand and he uses eyelashes to paint. The sheer complexity of the task to create these tiny worlds of wonder inside the eye of a needle or on the top of a pin, generates deep respect for the man who has the patience and skill to create this. His work is shown in galleries and exhibitions all around the world. If his art is on show you’ll see people bending over looking through a Schermafbeelding 2012-12-10 om 13.22.31 microscope. In january 2013 the watchmaker Greubel Forsey will put the outcome of their combined effort on the market. In the video the partnership is explained as a complementationary partnership between the artist W.Wigan and the craftsmanship of the watchmakers. Arts & Crafts brought together to create something better then before. But in what way does Wigan’s work differ from the watchmakers? The sculptures Wigan creates are duplicates of images we know and recognize from the world of Disney or from the real world.

wigan

wizard of oz

To say it crude, if they were a little bit bigger we would probably think they were cheap-china-made- tombola-gifts. The value of the objects is in the impossible seize and the focus with which a human hand has mastered these materials. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s grandioze! But it also does raise the question of the very thin line between arts and crafts. And in a way it boils down to the marketing of the objects. In a gallery it’s art, in a jewelry it’s craft? Or maybe the categories are derived by their functionality: if you can only look at it – it’s art, if you can also use it – it’s craft (or design)? Does it matter? Not really. But in our society the artist has become a kind of new gold. Creative thinking looks like the solution to almost all problems and funny enough it is taken for granted that all artist are capable of creative thinking and therefor an answer to all your (business) problems.  And more worrying – if you want to be a successful business-student you should behave like an artist. That’s fine – as long as behaving as an artist also includes that you train and practice the skills necessary to create your images. Greubel + Forsey made a good PR-decision: Wigan’s fame as an artist will leverage to their brand. And Wigan was very happy to discover that their tools were a lot like what he has created for himself and how he can professionalize them. In short it’s a win-win for both of them. And maybe it underlines that arts and crafts are two sides of the same coin. The success of this partnership was based in their shared interest of working in tiny-contained spaces and that – because of their dedication – they could learn from each other how to make the impossible possible.