A New Way to Interact With Data

MIT Media Lab

A lot of times we wait around for technology to just “appear” like we see in films. But if we continue to do that, nothing will get built. Thankfully, people are out there filling in the gaps.

There’s a set of a new sign language for controlling movement from a distance. Very intuitive and simple to learn. Especially with the rewards of being able to move things across the room without touching them.

The rest of this post is over at the CyborgCamp.com Blog, as it relates directly to the event.

Gesture Recognition Demo at the MIT Media Lab with Jamie Zigelbaum.

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist who also posts over at the Makerlab Blog, which is something you might enjoy reading if you enjoyed reading the post above. It’s about more experimental tech and activities related to pushing the limits of art and technology. If not, you can always follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.

There and Back Again: A View from MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium

I just got back from MIT, where I spoke at a conference called the Futures of Entertainment 3. It was put on by MIT’s Comparative Media Studies and the Convergence Culture Consortium. A great big shout-out to Joshua Green for organizing and inviting me to the conference. He rocks at putting together an excellent show for the brain.

Cambridge was Fascinating

The people are interesting (especially those at the Media Lab) and everyone at MIT is up to something. It was nice to meet MIT and non-MIT students as they converged on this event. Alex McDowell was probably my favorite person there. He and I joked about all sorts of things, and I showed him a bit about using Twitter. Cool things about Alex: he’s coordinating a robotic opera, he has worked on Minority Report (the tech vision for it), and Fight Club, and is currently working on the adaptation of Watchman for the screen.

On par with Alex was Henry Jenkins, who told me a lot about speaking in front of people (including using PowerPoint slides as memory palaces for storing ideas (so that one doesn’t need to use scripts). I also asked him about his Twitter account and how he manages all of it. He said that he doesn’t, and when I asked him why, he told me that his Twitter account was a fan one. I was floored. Jenkins said that he doesn’t even know how to tweet, but that he loved using search.twitter.com to look up what was being said about him online. Much amusement.

Later on, I met Kevin Slavin of Area Code. He does a lot of integrated real life games and is fantastically interesting. On the last night of the conference, he talked to me about some architects who are making fake hermit shells from recycled plastic because hermit crabs are running out of homes due to greedy beachcombers seeking serendipitous seaside souvenirs.

A lot happened. A ton was learned. I wrote a bunch about it for the Discovery Channel’s Nerdabout Blog, all of which I’m linking too here. Since the posts look better in their natural environment, I’ll provide a brief summary here before directing you over there for more detailed reviews.

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Henry Jenkins – Notes on Understanding Convergence Culture

Henry Jenkins of MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium begin with a slide that said, “If it doesn’t spread — it’s dead!” and then a picture of a Dr. Seuss-like creature with the words: “Amazed I was, it made such sense. And it was at so little expense! No press release, no ad campaign. Those days are gone, the rules have changed!” And thus began MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3.

What is the magical black box that all data will flow through? We see various images of what media might flow through. There’s the iPhone, the computer — the Mp3 Player.

Choice in New Media

“We are selectively choosing what media to pass on. There is a rational way in which we pass media along.”

Convergence as Culture

I’m talking about Convergence as a cultural rather than a technological process .We now live in world where every story, image, sound, idea band, and relationship which will play itself out across all possible media platforms. We have to understand the social context in which media is shared, because, “convergence is in our social interactions with each other — not necessarily in technological devices”.

Read the rest of the event review at Nerdabout.
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Consumption, Value and Worth – Panel Discussion at MIT

Notes from the panel on Consumption, Value and Worth at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3.
Where does value come from in the evolving media landscape?

Comsumption, Value, Worth Panel (#FOE3)

Anne White (VP Programming & Creative, PRN by Thompson): “We had a discussion of Web 2.0 in the context of retail media — but found it difficult to define. So we looked back at Web 1.0 first. We thought of a sign that told people about deals — and then decided that Web 2.0 was about creating a two way street — about contribution to media and an interaction with media”.

Anita Elberse (Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School): “When we look at the very first ads on TV, they looked very much like print ads. Maybe 2.0 is our path is the same”. We’re still making things that look like TV on the Internet – not yet fully understanding the capabilities of the networked world.

Rishi Dean (VP Product Strategy, Visible Measures): “It’s about moving from a broadcast media into a more participatory media. But it’s less about defining Web 2.0 but harnessing those dynamics — and how to leverage those dynamics. The whole concept of losing control is where Web 1.0 is afraid of”.

So 2.0 is taking advantage of fluidity and using it to get a message out.

Renee Richardson (Harvard Business School): “There is that fear of loss of control — but this is not a bad thing”.

Rishi is developing a way to understand how to measure visitor dynamics and the effects of social media. It is a way of understanding audiences (the company is called Visible Measures).

( more >>).

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Making Audiences Matter – MIT’s Futures of Entertainment Panel

Panel members:

Kim Moses (Executive Producer, Ghost Whisperer), Vu Nguyen (VP of Business Development, Crunchyroll.com), Gail De Kosnik (UC Berkeley, Strategies for a Digital Age), Kevin Slavin (Area Code), and Joshua Green (Moderator: MIT Convergence Culture Consortium).

Audiences today are not merely audiences — they are creators. And they think of themselves as such. How can audiences can be thought as participants — or fellow workers – in industry? Who is the audience for contemporary media? ( more >>).

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I’ll be posting more notes in the future. However, I’m still trying to rest up before Thanksgiving and the preparation for CyborgCamp, which is December 6th, 2008 at CubeSpace. More about these topics will invariably be discussed there. See you soon!

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Consultant from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.

A Cyborg Anthropologist’s Journey to MIT

I wanted to write about this before, but I had to wait until everything was secured and verified.

In September, Steve Gehlen invited me to speak about Cyborg Anthropology at Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conference on September 5th of this year. The conference was a refreshing and entertaining look at where entertainment, art, culture, business, and social media are going. The keynote was Joshua Green of MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium.

After Inverge, Joshua and I compared theorists and research, and had a great time socializing along with all of the other conference attendees and speakers. A month later, Joshua informed me of a conference at MIT called the Futures of Entertainment, and wondered if I would be interested in being on a panel on social media. He said that my analysis and understanding of both the academic and corporate world would provide a useful bridge between two separate fields.

Convergence culture has moved swiftly from buzzword to industry logic. The creation of transmedia storyworlds, understanding how to appeal to migratory audiences, and the production of digital extensions for traditional materials are becoming the bread and butter of working in the media. Futures of Entertainment 3 once again brings together key industry leaders who are shaping these new directions in our culture and academic scholars immersed in the investigation the social, cultural, political, economic, and technological implications of these changes in our media landscape. This year’s conference will work to bring together the themes from last year – media spreadability, audiences and value, social media, distribution – with the consortium’s new projects in moving towards an increasingly global view of media convergence and flow. Topics for this year’s panels include global distribution systems and the challenges of moving content across borders, transmedia and world building, comics and commerce, social media and spreadability, and renewed discussion on how and why to measure audience value.

I very carefully prepared two forms of submission — one on Cyborg Anthropology from the academic perspective, and another from the business perspective.

However, I feel that what I am doing pales in comparison to the accomplishments of those whom I will be participating with. I am both honored and overwhelmed by this opportunity. I hope to be able to add value to some aspect of the conference.

I’ll be participating on the social media panel, which is described as follows:

“Moving lives online, creating conversations across geography, connecting with consumers – how is social media defining the current entertainment landscape? As people not only put more content online, but conduct more of their daily lives in networked spaces and via social networking sites, how are social media influencing how we think of audiences? Video-sharing platforms have changed how we think of production and distribution, and Facebook gifts point to the value of virtual properties, how are these sites enabling other processes of production or distribution practices. Spaces where commercial and community purposes intertwine, what are the implications for privacy, content management, and identity construction of social media? How have they impacted notions of civic engagement?”

Conference Attendees

Kim Moses – Executive Producer, The Ghost Whisperer, Lost, Medium, Yochai Benkler – Harvard Law School, The Wealth of Networks (Yale University Press), John Caldwell – UCLA, Production Culture (Duke University Press), Henry Jenkins – MIT, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (NYU Press), Alex McDowell – Production Designer, The Watchmen, Kevin Slavin – Area/Code, Sabrina Caluori – Director, Marketing and Promotions, HBO Online, Grant McCracken – Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture (Indiana University Press), Donald K Ranvaud – Buena Onda Films, Amanda Lotz – University of Michigan, The Television Will be Revolutionized (NYU Press), Gail De Kosknik – UC Berkeley, How to Save Soap Opera: Histories and Futures of an Iconic Genre, Joe Marchese – socialvibe.com, Amber Case – Cyborg Anthropologist and Social Media Consultant, Hazelnut Consulting, Mauricio Mota – New Content (Brazil), Alisa Perren – Georgia State University, The Media Industry Studies Book (Blackwell Publishing)….more.

Steve Gehlen, Paige Saez (on a grant from PNCA) and Kris Krug will be flying out to join me at the conference. In case you’re in the area too, the conference information is as follows:

MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3

Friday, Nov 21 8:30a to Saturday, Nov 22 8:30a
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Wong Auditorium, Cambridge, MA

Thanks

A great big thank you to everyone in the Portland Tech community for being supportive and welcoming of interdisciplinary thought. Special thanks to Joshua Green and Steve Gehlen.

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and New Media Consultant living in Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.

The Future of Entertainment will be Discussed at MIT on Nov 21-22

MIT's Futures of Entertainment 3Convergence culture has moved swiftly from buzzword to industry logic. The creation of transmedia storyworlds, understanding how to appeal to migratory audiences, and the production of digital extensions for traditional materials are becoming the bread and butter of working in the media. MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3 once again brings together key industry leaders who are shaping these new directions in our culture and academic scholars immersed in the investigation the social, cultural, political, economic, and technological implications of these changes in our media landscape.

The speakers and audience will be a mixed industry and academic crowd, and the diverse topics grouped together will give the conference both broad coverage of the new media and entertainment space and deep engagement across industries and disciplinary boundaries. This year’s conference will work to bring together the themes from last year – media spreadability, audiences and value, social media, distribution – with the consortium’s new projects in moving towards an increasingly global view of media convergence and flow.

Topics for this year’s panels include global distribution systems and the challenges of moving content across borders, transmedia properties, franchising and world building, comics and commerce, social and spreadable media, and renewed discussion on how and why to measure audience value.

The conference is on the 21th and 22nd of November at MIT. It works around a talk-show style model with panelists participating in a moderated discussion. Over the last two years this produced great, thorough treatments of the subject matter, getting industry and academic speakers together but avoiding product pitches. For a sense of what to expect, you can check out the site from last year’s event.

This will be the third conference of this kind.

Confirmed speakers for this year’s conference include: Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman), Alex McDowell (Production Designer, The Watchmen), Kevin Slavin (Area/Code), Donald K Ranvaud (Buena Onda Films), Amber Case (Cyborg Anthropologist and Social Media Consultant), Mauricio Mota (New Content [Brazil]), Alisa Perren (George State University), Amanda Lotz (University of Michigan), Sharon Ross (Columbia College Chicago), Nancy Baym (University of Kansas), Alice Marwick (New York University), Vu Nguyen (VP of Business Development, crunchyroll.com) with more to come.

Thanks to Joshua Green of MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium for hooking me up with this excellent opportunity!

CyborgCamp 2008 | A Conference Born in an Afternoon

Note: Dates and venues are pretty much set for CyborgCamp!

You can now:

I never saw it coming

CyborgCamp occured at around 10Am from a shoutout by Kris Krug and Dave Olson of RainCityStudios. I met them both at Gnomedex and we got along really well.

The only problem was that they both lived in Vancouver B.C., and I live in Portland, Oregon. Normally, it is difficult for me to travel unless there is a conference. So I told them that.

To which Dave replied “just have a Cyborg Camp!”.

And CyborgCamp was born.

Once Kris Krug retweeted the news, 30 or so people immediately jumped into high gear. Nate Angell built a Wiki with all sorts of capabilities, and more people got on board to discuss all aspects of Cyborgs.

Meanwhile, the Twitterverse was coming up with all sorts of speaker and venue suggestions, and by 6Pm that night, the first planning meeting for CyborgCamp 2008 occured as an offshoot of an Android Developers meeting at the Lucky Lab Pub SE.

…Whew.

That was only two days ago. Now we have a venue, a sponsor, and some potential speakers. Also a @cyborgcamp Twitter account, which Bram Pitoyo has been handling amazingly, as well as a preliminary poster design.

Now what?

If you think this sounds like something you might be interested in, Sign up —> CyborgCamp2008 for Wiki access. Or follow the @cyborgcamp Twitter account for updates, general inquiries, speaker suggestions and sponsor ideas. Or you can directly E-mail caseorganic if you don’t use Wikis or Twitter.

What is a cyborg?

A cyborg (shorthand for “cybernetic organism”) is a symbiotic fusion of human and machine. Join in our pre-conference discussion about what is a cyborg?

What is CyborgCamp?

An unconference dedicated to exploring cyborg technology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy.

Who should come to CyborgCamp?

Cyborgs, hybrids, androids, robots, and the people who love them!

When is CyborgCamp?

Nov. 21-22 2008

Proposed Topics

  • Space and Time Compression
  • Cybernetic Organisms – The emergence of technological systems, control and feedback in biological life
  • Online Presence and Boundary Extensions
  • What is Cybernetics?
  • The Future of Mobile Technology
  • Artifical Intelligence
  • Technology and Culture
  • A Brief History of Cybernetics
  • Cyborgs Around & Within – How humankind takes for granted our lives as, and among Cyborgs
  • Top 10 Modifications you can make to be a better Cyborg
  • Cybernetics and Morality
  • Wetware Hacking
  • Pimp My Avatar

Hyperorganization

This should be an interesting event. It needs a lot of film and audio coverage, as well as live casting and projection screens. As many channels as possible so we can exist in as many places at one time. Our minds can supply the rest.

You can follow along at CyborgCamp.org or on Twitter by following @cyborgcamp.