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Columnists

Crowdsourcing the world

When Vancouverites gathered at the W2 Media Arts Centre for the second Fresh Media Remixology social, myself and the other organizers expected that conversations would be focused on crowdsourced media making. What we didn't anticipate was that attendees would have a hunger to talk about the implications of what this new form of media is making in other spheres of society.

We shouldn't have been surprised. After all, several of us conceptualized the Remixology series as something that would forward the idea of remixing our roles and society at large (society as an open platform). But it was a surprise nonetheless.

Columnists

Learning from nature's design

Admit it, it's been quite a summer. Epic rains flooding swaths of Pakistan and China, fires ravaging Russia, while on this continent the plague of viscous black death has seeped into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's barely capped Deepwater Horizon, its true toll unlikely ever to be fully tallied.

Tragedy poses the basic questions: What is life really all about? Is nature trying to tell us something?

Funny you should ask.

The young discipline of biomimicry is coming into being based on a deep biological read of exactly these two questions. The good news is that this approach opens the door to radically hopeful new solutions to profound human problems.

Columnists

Is Canada a mobile laggard?

There is something uniquely powerful about everyday people having access to the Internet from tiny devices in their pocket. That ubiquitous access to each other creates possibilities that are worth fighting for and saving. The mobile and wireless accessed Internet, combined with emerging open web and open data applications, has the potential to usher in a new era of connectedness, and with it dramatic changes to social practices and institutions. If we get digital public policy right, Canada could become a leader in mobile communications, leading to empowerment, job creation and new forms of entrepreneurialism, expression and social change.

Redeye

Wikipedia not welcoming environment for women

October 26, 2014
| A survey by the Wikipedia Foundation discovered that more than 85 per cent of editors are men. Wikipedia Edit-a-thons are one attempt to address this imbalance, but women are still holding back.
Length: 11:52 minutes (10.88 MB)

Missed call: The influence of cell phone culture on accuracy in political polls

Photo: flickr/Moyan Brenn

Politics and prophecy have ancient mutual origins in military tradition. It is obvious why knowledge of the future confers strategic advantage.

Once a tradition of mysticism and ritual, prophecy now involves the application of algorithmic calculation to large data sets for the production of useful extrapolations. This is how finance capitalism evaluates companies, how Target uses sales data to know about a woman's pregnancy before she does, and how campaigning politicians know which doors to knock on or avoid.

In the era of big data, we should not be surprised that big money remains the dominant influence.

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MsRepresent

The brain and the ballet dancer: Dr. Crystal Dilworth on the co-dependency between art and science

September 16, 2014
| Does art need the structure of science? Can science grow without creativity? For Dr. Crystal Dilworth, the attraction between opposites is all about the brain and a little bit of chemistry.
Length: 28:06 minutes (51.46 MB)
Columnists

Consumer electronics and the miracle of materials

Photo: Kenny Louie/flickr

Who, three decades ago, would have imagined that the materials that would change consumer electronics would be glass, ABS plastic, sapphire, graphite and aluminum?

Back then folks might have said silicon, tin and polypropylene, since that's what made up the majority of cheap computers, cassette decks and mobile phones. Back then, most consumer electronics weren't cheap, they just looked it. High-end materials and elegant industrial design went into luxury cars and watches, not video consoles and desktop computers. 

Columnists

Photographs and the illusion of the frozen moment

Photo: remediate.this/flickr

What's a photograph? If you answered: "a moment in time captured on film or as a digital image" your answer would only be right for the last hundred years or so. Back in 1839, when the Daguerreotype process was announced to the world, an exposure on a glass positive would take 20-30 minutes. When, two years later, Henry Fox Talbot introduced his calotype method of creating a film negative, the exposures were shorter, but still measured in minutes, not seconds or fractions of a second.

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