Uneasy listening

I had a bit of time offline today. Gave me a chance to listen a bunch of the podcasts I've been saving up for a little while.

Of those I heard, I recommend these three to listen to and absorb. If you're looking for some easy listening
Richard Clayderman-style, then these aren't for you - I'm afraid you'll have to tune in.

1. Disruption Attention

Gillmor Gang session recorded on Nov 4, a few days after the Windows Live and Office Live announcement. Given the context of today's Microsoft's Web 2.0 memo / manifesto, the ideas discussed by Steve Gillmor, Robert Scoble (Chief Attention Bunny), Doc Searls, Jon Udell, are even more intriguing, including the topic of attention and Microsoft (Joshua has some thoughts on this):

"A fresh new Gillmor Gang wraps the week where Microsoft rolls out Windows and Office Live. Dan Farber and I were on hand for the San Francisco launch led by Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie, while Jon Udell and Mike Vizard weigh in from the East Coast. Doc Searls appears not to be paying attention, but watch how he points at the centerfield stands and then drives one over the wall in the bottom of the ninth. Oh, yes, we all gang up on, and with, the Scobleizer Bunny."

Robert's last thought on the podcast is a gem:

"It's an interesting new world that were in, and it's going to play out right on your web browser."

2. RSS. Where is it going?

Interview with Scott Gatz of Yahoo by John Furrier. The interview took place following the publication of research Yahoo commissioned on the subject of RSS take up. Scott hints at things to come in this space from Yahoo. John Furrier:

"At BlogOn I had a chance to have a casual chat with Scott Gatz the senior manager for Yahoo’s personalization platform and social media. Scott is leading the charge at Yahoo in their social media initiatives which revolve around a personalized experience for users. They have a ton of stuff up their sleeve but recently they have come out strong with massive support for RSS. Scott and I talk about their view on RSS and some research that they are reporting on."

An interesting stat mentioned by Scott:

"people on average like to track 6.6 things."

3. What is the Singularity?

Further into the future now.

IT Conversations provides a recording of a Ray Kurzweil presentation providing an outline of the Singularity scenario (the audio quality is not the best, but it is worthwhile (if you can toggle your equalizer, you'll make it better)

Kurzweil takes us to a place that seems like science fiction:

"In this address from Accelerating Change 2005, Ray Kurzweil outlines his startling predictions for the next twenty-five years. Based on recent progress in the fields of neurobiology and nanotechnology, Kurzweil predicts significant strides in the fight against disease and aging, as well as the augmentation of the human mind. In the future, the line between biology and technology will blur and eventually become irrelevant."

If he didn't have such an astonishing track record of invention and commercial success I'd say you could safely dismiss Kurzweil as a nutcase. (see this bio: optical character recognition (OCR), the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed, large-vocabulary speech recognition).

So you can't dismiss Kurzweil - he's perfectly sane.

Which is scary. And exciting.


"While there are many concerns about the impact of new technologies on human existence, Ray Kurzweil presents a vision of the future that is unequivocally positive. This perspective suggests a future where humanity is aided by our interaction with technology and potential pitfalls are mitigated by smart technological solutions. Kurzweil offers an amazing picture for our future, one in which many of us will live to participate."

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