The World of Infinite Possibilities

The World of Infinite Possibilities

MindRDR in use

Kate Colbin, in her Online Spin Column, sees a world where, “Everything Is Now Your Responsibility.” She says we have an environment “where you have access to near-infinite possibilities and total control over where your attention goes, you have no excuses. Want to learn Spanish? Easy. Mad keen to make a sweater, but never picked up a crochet hook before? Piece of cake. Calculus? Programming? Robotics? All at your fingertips.” At least if you live in a computerized, Internet environment. However, with billions of posting daily – most of them juvenile, irrelevant and distracting – keeping up with what is possible, much less what is of value to you, is another matter.

The entropic nature of ever accumulating data is being countered by efforts to shrink the time required to communicate it. Ten-second spots are getting more common and more welcomed by TV viewers.

apple-watchA new information expediter on the scene is “Glance Journalism,” according to Dan Shanoff’s daily newsletter – as reported by the NiemanLab. “Glance” is the name of the feature of the Apple Watch that lets Watch-wearers skim through a series of not-quite-notifications. Shannoff says, “Maybe they are notifications, but only as a subset of a new class of ultra-brief news.

“Glance journalism makes tweets look like longform, typical news notifications (and even innovative atomized news apps) look like Apple Watch Sport Model 2015 endless scroll, and Seward’s list of essential Things (chart, gif, quote, stat) look unresponsive.” Shanoff foresees writers, editors and other news team members striving to develop a whole new approach to delivering compelling news in a Glance format.

Even faster is “Gist” communications. It takes about 27 milliseconds (or less) – approximate one-tenth of the time it takes to blink your eyes – for humans to comprehend the meaning, or “gist” of a scene. That’s according to Professor Bruce Hansen, reported in the Colgate University Scene. He says “Deriving an accurate understanding of rapid scene categorization has critical implications for driving safety, instrument panel design for aircraft piloting, as well as eyewitness perception and memory, and surveillance — to name a few.”

Also coming into use in the quest for speed are brain waves. InteraXon’s headband, allows the persons wearing it to move images on a computer screen. And, Laurie Sullivan in SearchPost Daily reports, “London-based This Place has developed a Google Glass mobile app, MindRDR, that uses brainwaves to take photos of what a wearer sees in front of them. It also allows them to share photos on Twitter and Facebook. In interaxon muse headbandanother article for SearchPost, Sullivan reports the people at The Viv Labs who invented Apple’s Siri are developing artificial intelligence that will process “massive amounts of intelligence to predict human needs.” Citing Wired’s Steve Levy, she reports that the more this AI is used, the smarter it becomes.

Let us hope all this high speed processing of data doesn’t as Nicholas Carr, warns in his book, The Sallows, (quoted by Gord Hotchkiss, in Search Insider) “that, rather than freeing up our brains to dive deeper into new territory, technology may just give us the ability to skip across the surface of the titillating.” Or as Hotchkiss puts it, “trade breadth for depth.” Meanwhile, 93 more magazines opened than the number that closed during the first half of 2014. Per Erick Sass’s report in Media Daily News.

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