Thursday, March 20, 2014

#TED2014 Arrives in Vancouver (Finally)

TED finally began on March 17 in the evening 6 p.m. here in Vancouver, BC.  At $7,500 per seat, it's outpriced the majority, including my own, but at least my library the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has a livestream.  It's remarkable witnessing crowds there immersed in the talks each day.

Each speaker, some of the world’s most inspirational and brightest individuals, are given 18-minutes to deliver their talk to the audience.   As a conference with humble origins, TED has grown from a simple experimental convergence of the fields of technology, entertainment and design to one that encompasses the broadest topics and an intellectual dynamism of some of the world's most in-demand speakers.  Although I might never have a chance to rub elbows with those attending, it's assuring to know the talks are made available online.  Here's some of the highlights so far from TED 2014.  (Oh well, there's always next year).
    Edward Snowden: Here's how we take back the Internet - Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it.
    Chris  Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space - Chris Hadfield paints a vivid portrait of how to be prepared for the worst in space (and life) -- and it starts with walking into a spider's web. Watch for a special space-y performance.
    Daniel Reisel: The neuroscience of restorative justice - Daniel Reisel studies the brains of criminal psychopaths (and mice). And he asks a big question: Instead of warehousing these criminals, shouldn't we be using what we know about the brain to help them rehabilitate? Put another way: If the brain can grow new neural pathways after an injury ... could we help the brain re-grow morality?
    Charmian Gooch: My wish: To launch a new era of openness in business - Anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns and controls companies, to change the law, and to launch a new era of openness in business.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Introducing "Generation C"

"Generation C" is not a new innovation - it has been around since 2004. In 2012, Zoe Fox's
Forget Generation Y: 18- to 34-Year-Olds Are Now 'Generation C' noted that Gen C is a powerful new force in consumer culture, a term describing a generation of people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection, and community.

It's not a question of whether these individuals While some might view them as Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), researchers define Generation C as a "psychographic" group, or a number of individuals who share a similar state of mind, whether that be certain personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles.  Google assert that 80% of millennials are made up of Gen C, YouTube’s core audience.  Some believe we should treat Generation C as an attitude and mindset.

Regardless, Google describes Generation C as "connected, computerized, and always clicking." A generation of change, these are lofty ideals.   There are traits that characterize this generation:
  • a love of content creation and 'mashing';
  • the tendency to form active communities rather than remain passive;
  • a gravitation toward social media sites where they can participate in discussions about different ideas and get involved in cultural conversations;
  • a desire to be in control of their own lives, and a contentedness with complexity;
  • a desire to work in more creative industries and be less restricted by rigid social structures.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Screening: Google and the World Brain

I'm really glad I attended yesterday's screening of Google and the World Brain, hosted by UBC Continuing Studies @ UBC Robson Square Theatre. The event featured a panel discussion after the film with Martha Rans, Lawyer and Director of Artists Legal Outreach and also Graham Reynolds, Assistant Professor at UBC Faculty of Law.

Dubbed as the "most ambitious project ever conceived on the Internet: Google's master plan to scan every book in the world and the people trying to stop them," the film documents Google's hidden agenda and unintended consequences behind building a library for mankind. As a librarian in academia, mixed feels

The Google Book Search Library Project, in which millions of books from libraries will be scanned and made searchable on the Web, has led to controversy and legal action. The Association of American Publishers sued Google for copyright infringement as Google claimed their use falls under the fair use privilege of the Copyright Act.
  • Pamela Samuelson is recognized as a pioneer in digital copyright law, intellectual property, cyberlaw and information policy.
  • Graham Reynolds teaches and researches in the areas of copyright law, intellectual property law, property law, and intellectual property and human rights.
  • Google Secrecy and Commercialization of Information - It's obvious that Google has been less than transparent about its projects (see Street View wifi incident or the infamous Google Barges project).  Google Books is just a similar fear that the company is plotting a scheme that will extract personal information from the Books project for its own financial benefits.
  • Digital Public Library of America and Europeana - it appears the siloization of digital materials in the guise of a consortia continues.  Who's using them?  Will it outperform using Google Books?  
  • Jaron Lanier is a writer, computer scientist, and composer of classical music. A pioneer in the field of virtual reality