Post-monetarist outlook

Much to my surprise the most popular image I have on flickr is a chart I made up:

This was back in 2006, at the start of web2.0 and in a sense I can see why the image attracted the views, as looking back, this is exactly what came to be as the Internet giants of google, facebook, Apple, Amazon and Twitter etc. and those equivalent in China and other parts of the world grew to dominate economics, attention economics. What does the current outlook look like? What should we chart in the next image?

Answer: A doughnut

I am not the author of this image, its the creation of Kate Raworth and I think it is the right image for the outlook. Now such diagrams originate from the environmental movement so it is interesting to see an economist now putting it forward for a post economic growth society. How does an Attention economy fit in with the doughnut? As the name implies, it draws focus to information and social interactions. It is far superior than money at this, as I explain. However, as Kate rightly talks about, we need a Peer to Peer Knowledge Commons. What knowledge do we want to address our attention at and contribute too, what is most urgent or speculative? As I have written on before, we need to have a future looking Doughnut too. Another great thinker and philosopher of our time is Jaron Linear who also paints a picture of a doughnut for an AI commons. Without the ability to look forward, Jaron warns of how the machine learning algorithms will be left with no human collective intelligence to learn from. The same can be said about our ecosystems, soils etc. When they collapse they will not be able to e.g. clean our air or provide us with food, so we need to look forward to prevent such outcomes coming to be.

Attention is timeless, equally happy to look back and forward in time but we still need help on where to focus and apply our contributions to society. New currencies need to emerge. These will be post-money, or information currencies e.g. an immune system index or a soil index etc. These new currencies will allow us to learn from the past and simulate the future in any level of detail ensuring the doughnuts boundaries are kept too.

entrepreneurship evolution

I think the word entrepreneur is the first in my twitter profile.  But for a while now I have been thinking the role of the entrepreneur is evolving.  In a political context I have always found it mildly amusing that both the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ were ‘friendly’ towards entrepreneurs, the job creators, builders of businesses or engines of wealth generation or even progress are sound bites that come mind.

Where is entrepreneurship evolution heading?  To a post start up world.  Start-up has become the term of starting a business but I like to broaden it out to any entity, for profit or not, vocation to a think tank etc.  The individual entrepreneur being the master of crafting ideas, people and capital for a purpose.  Lets focus on the capital part.  It seems clear we are heading towards world where only capital flows will exist.  In economics we talk about stock of capital and flow.  Raising a seed investment is an entrepreneur receiving a stock of capital (money) to spend on people and assets to make their idea/opportunity come real.  However, it is clear to me the amounts of capital has declined dramatically recently, talk of lean start-up.  Yes, vast sums of Venture Capital continue to be raised and invested but the fabrics of innovation environment is changing.  Crypto-startups I will call them are going straight to IPO’s and the stock of bitcoins are not just tokens of exchange (money) but a connection of human ingenuity, skill and ability to collaborate to make some thing together.

I can only see this trend expanding and accelerating.  Less and less stocks of capital or even crypto-capital will be needed up front.  Collaboration will flow, all the time, innovation all the time, in short entrepreneurship happening all the time, a post startup landscape.

Transhumanism philosophy & book reviews

Earlier this year I had a series of panic attacks over a couple of weeks.  Makes you think more about your own mortality. Given this unexpected nudge I have taken some time out to read on the topic of transhumanism. Living in the geek ecosystem / culture you hear the word from time to time along with the technological singularity and even talk on post human beings.  There is much to read, listen or code to review online but my online searches got to me to two books.

The first by Ben Geotzel, A Cosmist Manifesto. Ben is the founder of the open source AGI (artificial general intelligence) project, OpenCog .  Written with many headings and quick burst of thoughts, explanations and philosophy history or own opinions.  The second book was authored by an Economist, Ted Chu, Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential. This was a more demanding read with the breadth and depth of content, thinking and reasoning and sheer range of topics, including putting religion equally at the heart of the book.

Religion and especially religious history would not normally be my choice of reading but I found Ted’s global vantage point, from East to West, believer to atheist, he covered it all and beyond.  The rigor of research and references is impressive although I have not had the time to follow any of it to source yet. Before expanding on the main thrust of the topics of both books, I found myself seeing part of my own personal path through the Universe or cosmos being described.  How pioneers or those providing a different view point and thinking are not always embraced and often the opposite of encouragement put in the way.  Both achieved a person connection along with the big future looking visions.

Both books are putting the case for a post human future, as Ted puts it, Cosmic Evolution.  A Universe full of CoBe’s (cosmic beings).  AGI could well be one of the technologies that takes us to this state of being.  Ted, builds on the thinking of Darwinsm in the context of biological evolution, cultural evolution (which if I understand right includes technology, religion and social forces) and conscious evolution or consciousness 2.0 which will take the the lead in evolution and us humans will ‘give birth to it’. Ted ties all these stands together into a coherent argument to describe the future.

A future not with out many risks.  The risks discussion takes up large parts of both books. Morality, playing god or human extinction are all big hitting subjects that both authors rationally discuss from various stance points.

Both authors bring much to think on about the future.  By sharing their knowledge, more general awareness is brought to us new or newer to the topic.  What gets me is the time scales are not eons away.  The most optimistic predictions are a 10% change of transhumans in the next 10 years, 50% chance in the next 20 years.  Time will produce the date if ever.  Finally, the personal role we each can and do play in the future is brought up by both authors and I found renewed focus and commitment to the part I want to play in the future.

Both books have all or a couple of chapters open sourced and free to read.  Invest your attention and mind in one or both.



Self Engine

My main opensource project is called LifestyleLinking.  Describing what it means has proven difficult over the years, half due to my poor explaination of it and half because of it visionary nature back when it started.  But now the Quantified Self movement and BIG data have brought a context to explain it better.  What is being built is a Self Engine.  What is a self engine?  We all know a search engine brings back results based on keyword inputs,  a self engine makes suggestions on information to ‘consume’ based on the authoring of your life.  Life captured by web publishing tools, to sensors to your very own DNA.  A self engine terms has be used by the folks at Wolframalpha. It think this term will become more common in use as hardware sensors explode in daily life.

Suggestions will ultimately be integrated to make future simulations that can be passed to the make tools to achieve the desired outcomes.

Doug Engelbart – intellect game changer

It was sad to read that Doug Engelbart had passed away. During my time in Silicon Valley I was lucky enough to meet with Doug. The SuperHappyDeveloperHouse  SHDH had invited him along to surprise him with a demo of his original mouse.  When I arrived the house was a buzz with software engineers configuring modern computers to act like those back in the day when Doug invented the mouse and they succeeded. Doug was delighted.  And the mouse was not just a pointer device with a click button but a full communication authoring tool complete with hypertext markup that provided machine readable structure as the human input text.  Genius and “ahead of his time” describe Doug, with the latter disappointingly making him ‘too risky’ for mainstream venture funding.  But that would be look at the world through the glasses of money.  Doug stood above that culture and raised the expectations to sheer intelligence itself.  He provided the thinking theory, practical delivery of ideas and most importantly the inspiring vision and an exciting vision for tomorrow, that fuelled those developers that evening in SHDH and a whole generation of developers out there on the web today and no doubt tomorrow too.

Doug was driven by a goal to  “augment human intellect.”  A goal I share.  RIP Doug.

oss css drupal camp scotland 2012

bootstrap    design use for twitter.  sets out the guidelines

need to think modular design ie. style guide modlue



show independent elements of design, get client involved and adapt to display device.     user driven visualization

google search   drupal design guides     pds  files    design guide

phpnw12 keynote

Open keynote 2012 conference empathy for API developer users user personas in api very good apis in the world.  Motivate engagement, e.g. python rss  reader library.

Open Sport – open source sport project

Those reading my twitter stream will see sport plays an integral part of my lifestyle.  Hill walking, skiing and not forgetting swimming.  Swimming is my no. 1 sport and with my Quantified Self recordings, its has been the place I have focused the beginings of my open sport project endeavours, the open sourcing of sport.  It started with a Drupal module to enter swimming training times and those recorded at competitions.  But this failed to capture efficiently they training data so I have been working on a real time network application to address this issue, TrainTimer is on Github.

Open sourcing sport is something that has been brewing in me for a while.  Just like open source software,  open sourcing sport brings transparency and the opportunity for all to participate in evolving the applications etc.  The key ingredients is to provide a range of tools that enable individuals to capture their sporting data and share it real time anywhere they choose, on their privacy terms.  As a data junkie, it is the opportunity to apply data ‘science’ or ‘data’ analysis and discovery to those willing to share and combine their sporting data that makes things exciting.

I enjoy watch sport on the TV from time to time, especially the World and Olympic swimming but there are so many amateur or masters competitions going on all the time too and  I am sure provide just as much excitement and sporting endeavour.  This project aims to provide the same range of technology tools to these sporting events.  As an individual sporting data becomes increasingly and more frequently under scrutiny with dope testing etc.  Hopefully, this open sourcing of sporting data will give the individual the ability to transparently show all when need their sporting story.  I think it will be this transparency in competition that will provide the ‘test’ of comparison in the future.

Sport brings much fun to my life and hopefully some of the tools we can build in this project will being additional opportunities for fun to flourish too.