MIT’s Pattie Maes and her sidekick Pranav Mistry set out to bridge the divide between the real and digital world. Their goal: leverage the vast amounts of data currently living on the web and in our social networks to aid real-time, real-world decision-making. The results of their work, demonstrated at TED, are jaw-dropping.
There is certainly humor to be had watching, sprawled out in the comfort of another century, the way previous generations handled – or didn’t – destabilizing changes that we now take for granted. We are now obligated to live in a culture of conversation with its simultaneous flattening of things like expert culture and its ever-expanding choice of content providers and options.
The co-founder and executive director of MIT's Auto-ID lab, Kevin Ashton, proposed to apply the logic of the web to objects in the physical world: to connect everything that exists physically to the Internet through the application of ubiquitous tags and sensors. Fifteen years later, we are seeing Ashton's vision play out.
Sherry Turkle, has been an ethnographer of our technological world for three decades, hosted all the while at one of its epicenters: MIT. A professor of the social studies of science and technology there, she also heads up its Initiative on Technology and Self. Her new book, Alone Together, completes a trilogy of investigations into the ways humans interact with technology. It can be, at times, a grim read. Fast Company spoke recently with Turkle about connecting, solitude, and how that compulsion to always have your BlackBerry on might actually be hurting your company's bottom line.
The fundamental tensions which companies must manage well was the primary topic of a panel I spoke on last week. We discussed H2OAudio, a company which makes waterproof cases, waterproof headphones/headsets, and waterproof armbands for iPods and MP3 players. The panel was part of the MIT Enterprise Forum, a regular gathering of business leaders in which a case study method is used to uncover valuable business insights. Each month a presentation is made by a CEO of an innovative technology company and then panelists discuss the key challenges the company is facing. An audience of nearly 250+ people attended this month’s forum which focused on “re-starting the start-up” H2OAudio. The discussion ended up focusing a lot on the tensions which most growth companies have to figure out how to manage well.
Besides the top ten overall brands in our 2010 Good Brands Report, we had members of the Purple List rank brands according to different criteria, such as imagination, or responsibility.
When it started four years ago, Futures of Entertainment (FoE) was grappling with wild problems. Everything seemed hard to think. What was social media? What was trans-media? What was blogging and (later) tweeting? It wasn't just that we didn't have the answers. It was hard to prosecute the argument. Every so often, we (or at least me) would have to go back and ask, "Ok, what's the formal definition of that term again." It was like learning to ride a bicycle. You would make a little progress and then suddenly forget even the fundamentals and come crashing down. They were very wild problems indeed. Four years later these are tame problems.
You've probably heard by now that "your brand is no longer yours." The assertion's based on simple math. In the era of blogs, discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools, virtually everyone can get online and talk about your company and its offerings. As a result, the amount of information your marketing and PR departments can generate is only a small percentage of the total volume of content on the Internet about your firm. What's more, if some of the external voices become as popular, or perish the thought, more popular than your official voice, then they're going to show up high in organic (as opposed to paid) search results.
MIT's Media Lab has designed a way to help you understand the economic and ecological implications behind different products you buy--it's an interactive map that displays where each component came from. Specifically designed to be a "collective tool for transparency and sustainability," SourceMap's intended to demonstrate how important supply chains are, and what the consequences of each part of the chain work out to be. It's set up like a social network, so that anyone from producers to end-users can take part (as long as you're a registered member).
This is Cambridge, Massachusetts, one rainy autumn afternoon in 2005. Fantastic? Or totally spectacular? You be the judge. It was created by Burak Arikan and Ben Dalton at MIT's Media Lab. It designed to show the color of clothing in motion in the many neighborhoods that make up Cambridge. Arikan and Dalton rigged up cameras, capture color data and converted it to this astonishingly useful piece of data visualization. To be fair, Cambridge is not the most fashion forward place in the world. Indeed, I have seen people on the MIT campus who look as if they just walked out of explosion at Goodwill. I'm not talking hipster refusal of mainstream fashion. I'm talking completely random. This is a wonderful thing from an anthropological point of view but somewhat at odds with the clothing conventions that rule our world. So the Chief Culture Officer may not care about these data as data. The Arikan-Dalton visualization will matter more as proof of concept.
For a long time, the idea that language might shape thought was considered at best untestable and more often simply wrong. Research in my labs at Stanford University and at MIT has helped reopen this question.
Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (IBM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As sad as it sounds, most of us experience the world through photographs. Now MIT software engineers are taking that idea literally and mapping Flickr photos to regional maps in The World's Eyes project.
Students at the MIT Media Lab have developed a wearable computing system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen. The wearer can summon virtual gadgets and internet data at will, then dispel them like smoke when they're done.