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Robots and Bohemians: Unholy Alliance for Better Futures?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Jari Kaivo-oja (Research Director, Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku)

“Science, says Kevin Kelly, is the process of changing how we know things.  It is the foundation our culture and society.  While civilizations come and go, science grows steadily onward.  It does this by watching itself.” – https://edge.org/conversation/speculations-on-the-future-of-science Rise of the Robots is a landmark book which continues the provocative analyses of Lights in the Tunnel of Martin Ford (2009).

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford gives us new and updated arguments to the discussion of technological revolution we are facing today everywhere, in the US, in the Euro zone and in the BRICS countries. Not only developed post-industrial countries rely on advanced robotics – but also developing countries are adopting new AI and robotics solutions. Only few eminent thinkers think about the futures of corportions and nations after rise of robots. Fortunatelly – we have eminent scholar and engineer Martin Ford to think forward. Technological foresight analyses tell that next 15-20 years are meaning enormous and disruptive changes in our economies and business networks. The threat of jobless future and massive technological unemployment are real and evidence-based. Only the very fool conventional neoclassical economist doubts it.

System modeler Martin Ford provides a lot of empirical evidence from US, which indicate not marginal changes but massive technological disruptions in the US economy. Martin Ford continues the tradition of John Maynard Keynes in his discussion about technological unemployment. He also continues the tradition of Joseph Schumpeter in his discussion of disruptive technological changes (McKinsey Global Institute 2013) . Martin Ford has now updated these classical analyses to meet the grand challenges of today and tomorrow. We must give full respect to him.

AI and robotics are making “good jobs” obsolete and vanishing. Smart software, robots and AI-based solutions replace many white-collar jobs. Paralegals, journalists, office workers, teachers, health care professionals and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by disruptive technological innovations. Autonomous robotics and swarm robotics change many service architectures and service designs. Key change – identified by Martin Ford is that a tight relationship between wages and productivity does not hold any more in the US economy. This is a dangerous phenomenon for the future welfare of people. Robotics is not a novel issue in the economic history. In industries and agriculture there have been a lot of robots and automation solutions. All we know the Luddites discussion and Race Against Machine analyses of Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2011) (http://www.amazon.com/Race-Against-The-Machine-Accelerating-ebook/dp/B005WTR4Z ).

Now newest thing is the emergence of service robotics. We can see many service robotics innovations in health care, hotel and recreation industries, retailing, and libraries – and in many other service sectors. Personally, I think that Mr Martin Ford is absolutely right when he notes that we are moving towards a new economic paradigm of smart machines. He is not in bad company, because there are such research fellows like Ray Kurzweill and Michio Kaku, who think in similar way. Personally, I respect these eminent research fellows. It is also good to remember that Gardner Inc notes that “CIOs must start considering how to develop ethical programming for smart machines”. Realizing the potential of smart machines and AI — and ensuring successful outcomes for the businesses and societies that rely on them — will hinge on how trusted smart machines are and how well they maintain that trust. The trust matters. Central to establishing this trust will be ethical values that people recognize and are comfortable with. Transparency of rise of the robots will be needed.

There will be need to develop policies and social innovations which recognize disruptive innovations and their impacts on industries and services. As Martin Ford says we need transformation of higher education, new thinking in the health care sector, new industrial Industry 4.0 strategies (as Germans say it), national robotics strategies (like From Internet to Robotics, 2013) and new kind of consumer politics. We need also new social innovations for the super-intelligence solutions and for the singularity. Radical innovations cannot be managed by incremental innovations. More fundamental new ideas and inventions will be needed. These ideas must go beyond crazy year of  1848 (see De Maesschalck 2005 and  http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/888/). We are busy now to respond to these “old challenges of capitalism”. New capitalism needs BohoBusiness (2015) thinking if we want to be honest to ourselves.

It is interesting to compare our recent book BohoBusiness – Winning in the Age of Bohonomics with Martin Ford´s outstanding book Rise of the Robots. Our book shares many similar themes with Martin Ford´s book.  In our book key theme is a question: What human beings should do in the conditions of disruptive changes?  Our approach to question is linked to the analyses of learning, bohemian attitude, flexible radical organization culture, role of human creativity and social innovations. These issues are vital in the conditions of radical and disruptive changes. We are also discussion much about global trends and associated changes. In this context the ownership and distribution of wealth are not marginal issues. For example, creating a learning and creative hybrid economy in the conditions of robotics will be a very challenging social and cultural issue. Our book provides some new fresh insights to this broad old challenging issue.

Probably a biggest issue in robotics debate will be the question: “How are we organizing society when too many people are coming into the labor market and too many machines are throwing people out?”.  Our sincere answer is focused on self-organization of individuals, organizations and institutions of capitalism, because we rely on the learning capacity of capitalism. First pre-condition for this kind of self-organization is, of course, future awareness. Both Martin Ford´s book (2015) and our book (2015) have already now improved future awareness of many people and decision-makers. We need more political and economic decision-makers who understand complex social problems like robotics and AI driven society. However, a new economic paradigm is not automatically developed. We know quite well this societal challenge. One can just study the current storyline of post-modern Greece and its economy to understand this.

I just was an expert in the EU OSHA Bilbao conference in Bilbao, Spain in May 2015, where the official delegate member of Greece explained to me in EU OSHA workshop session what robotics means for Greece. I was informed that it means cosmetics robotics in isolated islands for them and they were very happy with this strategic economic growth approach.  In the session, the German delegate explained to me much more comprehensive program of the robotics strategy in German economy. To conclude …. pre-conditions on robotics matter – whether it is in the U.S. or China – just to mention it for curiosity. Of course, I know that US strategy “From Internet to Robotics” (2013) is a smart strategy and Ford focuses on it. Smart action from him, indeed. To sum up … the real character of corporations and organizations still matters. Organizations´ culture can make or break their existence and business. We still need visionaries and change makers. In many cases they are radical and bohemian game changers. In BohoBusiness we propose an unholy partnership: bohemian individuals and organizations combined with smart machines.

This combination is motivated with Win + (Win*Win) logic: A manager is saying: “I” = Win. A leader is saying: “Me = Win * Win”. A social innovator is saying: “We all” = Win + (Win*Win). Our message is: Grand robotics and AI strategy should follow “We all” –logic.

BohoBusiness book tells how this strategy will be implemented in real life contexts. Mercenary futures (not fragmented and alienated) futures wait for us, if we understand this BohoBusiness -equation.

Buy BohoBusiness

References

A Roadmap for U.S. Robotics From Internet to Robotics, 2013 Edition. Web: https://robotics-vo.us/sites/default/files/2013%20Robotics%20Roadmap-rs.pdf

Andersson, Cristina & Kaivo-oja, Jari (2015) BohoBusiness. Winning in the Age Bohonomics. Talentum. Helsinki.

Brynjolfsson, Erik & McAfee, Andrew (2011) Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. Digital Frentier Press. Lexinton, Massachusetts.

Cunliffe, John and Guido Erreygers (2001) “The Enigmatic Legacy of Fourier: Joseph Charlier and Basic Income”, History of Political Economy 33(3), pp. 459–484. De Maesschalck, Edward (2005) Marx in Brussel. Davidsfonds. Louvain.

Ford, Martin (2009). Lights in the Tunnel. Automation Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. Acculant Publishing. USA.

Ford, Martin (2015) Rise of the Robots. Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. Basic Books. New York.

McKinsey Global Institute (2013) Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy. May 2013. Report by James Manyika, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Peter Bisson, and Alex Marrs. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies

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Changes, changes, changes …

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Eric Abrahamson (2000) noted in his famous Harvard Business Review –article that “To change successfully, organization should stop changing all the time.” Today we know that almost all organizations need dynamic stability and ability to change, but if there are too many changes there will be problems to manage all these changes. Often changes cannot be implemented without pain. However, an ideal change process should happen without pain.

One way to implement changes is to create modular elements of change. If change is too big, it creates a lot of stress and pain. Small change efforts that involve the reconfiguration of existing practices and business models are often the best practices of change. If we create big and massive change processes, risks are going to be bigger that planned massive change process is going to be a failure. If we can do this, change process will be organic change, not mechanic change.

To be ready for changes, we should develop change-able and learning organisations. One of the worst barriers against organic change is keen and even active refusal of learning. If we do not want to learn, all changes will be unsuccessful. Some beings are able to learn, some others are not able learn. If we want to develop change-able organisations, we must pay special attention to learning capacity of individual and social teams of organizations.

Professor Robert W. Rowden (2001) has recognized in his scientific article that there are three types of change: planned change, implementation-focused change and readiness-focused change. All these “change types” need a special attention. Sustainable, high performance depends on organisation´s ability to respond quickly and efficiently to changing circumstances in their decision environments, which are today networks, markets and crowds. Especially, our abilities and skills to make sense of changes, matter. Nowadays making sense is not easy. We must analyse a lot of data, information and knowledge. If we do not understand the nature of changes in critical networks, new markets and emerging crowds, we are out of success. Some other organisations, which do it better, will be more successful.

Today´s organizations operate in a challenging environment. In a more complex world, change has become the constant. Just add globalisation to technological shifts and multiply it by today´s volatile economic trends and the pace of change is breath-taking. Making sense of changes is today one of the biggest challenges in organisations and companies.

We should also understand that people are very interested why they need to change. Often people are very tired of changes, before planned changes. Generally speaking, the motivation of people depends on our sense making skill and abilities. If we cannot explain, in a good way, why changes are needed, we cannot motivate people to learn new things, change their habits and find better ways to work. Motivation is a key issue in change management process. If motivation level is low, change process is not going to be successful.

In change-able organizations a way of being is different. In this kind of organisation people are able to change fast, but also they are able to manage knowledge. For such learning organisations, typical characters are: constant readiness, continuous planning, improvised implementation and action learning. These characters require training and tutoring inside organisations. They do not emerge automatically in organizations.

People resist changes for many reasons. Sometimes they want to deny the needed changes. Sometimes people are anger and they blame managers and leaders. “Over my dead body” is one typical reaction to needed changes. “This is nothing new” is another reaction to changes. Sometimes people are simply confused. Then “I do not understand what is going on” is a typical reaction.

In classical Lewin´s study “Field Theory and Social Science”, he described the tendency by people to consolidate negative behaviours as “freezing”. This phenomena is still relevant for change management. Smart leaders can find ways to “unfreeze” by right messages, implementation activities and role models.

The organisational climate of change must be created every day in companies and organisations. Leaders of today need to manage implementation in ways that protect and grow business rather than destroy the very organisational skills and motivations which offer the potential for innovation and new business models. From this perspective we are living interesting times. Many organisations are not able to survive. Some others will find their ways from chaotic conditions.

Whether you are leader, manager or worker, we can ask: is your personal attitude right and mature enought to create optimal organisational climate of change?

Further reading

Abrahanson, E. (2000) Change without pain. Harvard Business Review, July-August 2000, 75-79.

Lewin, K. (1951) Field Theory in Social Science. London: Tavistock.

Rowden, R. (2001) The learning organization and strategic change. Society for the Advancement of Management Journal, 66(3), 11-16.

How to handle decision making in the management teams? In many companies’ management and leadership processes seem to work well, but suddenly something surprising happens. In spite of many cross-checks and meetings, things turn into a non-expected direction. All think that everything was in place … but then something emerges and business plans are outdated in a day. Why this happens?

It is typical than there are always some biases in management teams of companies. It is typical that for individuals it is not easy to make question marks on official agreements and strategies. Even though all nod in agreement and look happy it is not easy to say something critical. “It was settled” or “we all agreed” are typical notes on the memos of companies in this kind of decision situations.

Raising dissenting voice is not easy – especially when the chief boss decides something. It is much easier to be among “yes-sayers” than among “critical questioning men”. Self-fulfilling prophecy is the tendency to engage in behaviors that elicit results that will (consciously or subconsciously) confirm our beliefs. “Yes men” cause self-fulfilling prophecies. There can be also a halo effect, the tendency for a person’s positive or negative traits to “spill over” from one area of their personality to another in others’ perceptions of them.

In many case studies of management processes, some typical mistakes have been identified. First, there is tendency to devote attention only to those events seen as most likely. Secondly, once the team of decision makers had made up its mind as to what was going to happen, even conclusive information that the decision was poor did not change the prediction and associated decision. Thus there is typically a problem of groupthink in management teams. One reason for this problem is homogenous social and cultural backgrounds.

Often management teams have similar backgrounds: university degree holders, men with similar hobbies, career paths, middle-class people, and homogenous values. False consensus effect means the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them. Sometimes there can be anchoring decision-making biases, where there is the tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.

Another problematic issue in management teams is overcoming overconfidence. The future looks assured for them. Their judgments are made with deep confidence. However, people may feel confident that they do know the right answer but actually don´t. They don´t know they don´t know. Other options of knowing are: (1) They do know they know; (2) they don´t know they do know and (3) they do know they don´t know. Obviously the best option would be to know that they know. In reality this option is not often available for a management team.

Third typical bias of a management team is a confirmation bias. What it means? It means that we don´t place ourselves in situations where we can test the quality of our judgment. We want to seek that information that will confirm the quality of our predictions and decisions. It is quite human character of people, wanting to be in right – winning team. In this way we are selective in our observations.

Fourth bias in management teams, is so called hindsight bias, which is connected to our readiness not learn from experiences. In general, we don´t learn from experience because experience has little to teach us. That is why our recollections of our judgmental predictions confirm these to have been accurate. Some call this bias “I-know-it-all-along-effect”. Thus, our judgments are rooted to history and it cause biases to emerge.

Fifth bias can emerge because we rely on expert predictions too much. We can call this bias as an expert bias. Also experts can cause group thinking bias and other people may suffer from this kind of bias. There are many other kinds of biases, too like randomness bias, sunk-cost bias, self-serving bias and escalation and commitment bias. Projection bias is close expert opinion bias. It is the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share the same or similar thoughts, beliefs, values, or positions.

Sixth bias, randomness bias means that there is a tendency people have to seek patterns where none exist and to invent the existence of unjustified causal relationships. It is the tendency of people to make sense out of events which are so random in nature that not enough should be read into them. Close to randomness bias is Gambler´s fallacy, the tendency to assume that individual random events are influenced by previous random events.

Seventh type of bias, sunk-cost bias is often connected to too optimistic thinking. Sunk-costs are costs that cannot be recovered once they have been incurred. Sunk-costs bias greatly affects the decisions, because humans are inherently loss aversive and thus normally act irrationally when making economic decisions.

Eight type of bias, self-serving bias occurs when people attribute their successes to internal or personal factors but attribute their failures to situational factors beyond their control. The term, “self-serving bias”, is used to describe a pattern of biased causal inference, in which praise or blame depend on whether success or failure was achieved in reality.

Ninth type bias, escalation and commitment bias means tendency to invest additional resources in an apparently losing proposition, influenced by effort, money, and time already invested. The term is also used to describe poor decision-making in business, government, information systems in general. Escalations and commitment biases are typical in software project management, in politics, and in addictive gambling. To sum up: there are 9 key sources of bias in management teams:

• Overcoming overconfidence;
• Group thinking bias;
• Confirmation bias;
• Hindsight bias;
• Expert opinion bias;
• Randomness bias;
• Sunk-cost bias;
• Self-serving bias and
• Escalation and commitment bias.

It is good to be aware of these potential decision making biases in decision making situations. We could avoid these typical biases, if we were aware of these potential biases. The lessons from history can tell us that many management teams do not identify these biases and serious management failures happen. A sad truth is that we don’t always learn from experiences. There are very many historical lessons available for decision makers but we should learn something from these old lessons. From this perspective “learning organization” is a modern myth.

There is need to question some issues (and biases) in many management teams. That why bohemian persons and “out of box” thinkers may be very valuable members in management teams. It is easy to say that we should be free of biases, but in reality we are often slaves of biases and fallacies. Only personal and critical reflections can help us to be free from these biases. Open and critical discussions in management teams should be encouraged and supported too. Daily illusions about effective control should be avoided in all the decision-making situations and processes.

Further reading

Wright, George (2001) Strategic Decision Making. A Best Practice Blueprint. John Chichester: Wiley & Sons.
Goup 3: Bhavesh, Brunica, Deepak, Kane, Kiran, Lisette & Monica (2012) Biases in Decision-making. Web: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21613064/Biases-in-decision-making
Scribd, “gaea_myzticmoon” (2012) Biases. Web: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73002909/Biases

Hypercompetition and Hybrid Economy: How to Save Capitalism?

Financial Times Lexicon defines hypercompetition in a following way: ”A situation in which there is a lot of very strong competition between companies, markets are changing very quickly, and it is easy to enter a new market, so that it is not possible for one company to keep a competitive advantage for a long time”. (See http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=hypercompetition). Many economists have noted that hypercompetition leads markets to unstable conditions. Theories of general equilibrium in markets and automatic stabilization of markets do not hold, if markets are in unstable conditions. Richard A. D’aveni introduced this concept to scientific discussion of company and corporate theories. His book “Hypercompetition” is a classic book in the international management literature. One key statement of his book was that competitive advantage can no longer be sustained.

Hypercompetition results from the dynamics of strategic maneuvering amongst many competitors. It is the condition of rapid escalation of competition based on price-quality positioning.

Corporations and companies want to use other tools to compete under conditions of hypercompetition. They do not want to start price wars. In such conditions corporations want to be Cost & Quality (C-Q)-leaders or followers. They may want to create Timing and Know-How (T-K)-Value chains and build new efficiencies. In some case they may rely on Strongholds (S)-Core or on Distinctive Competencies. Deep pockets strategy is based on the availability of financial capital. (see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/archetype/archive/2006/07/24/677222.aspx).

To escape disastrous price wars, modern companies try to occupy different locations on the price like brand strategies, offering mass customization, quality axis, using micro-marketing, and shifting strategies based on the changing anatomy of industry trends.

To sum up, new arenas of hypercompetition are:

  • Cost & Quality (C-Q),
  • Timing and Know-How (T-K),
  • Strongholds (S), and
  • Deep pockets (D).

Hypercompetition is emphasized on several occasions – in particular, in the creative economy in the context of organizational development. Success is based on the fast changes in hypercompetitive business environment. Agents and leaders must change rapidly and understand and internalize weak signals in their decision environment. For a company to stay alive and competitive it must very innovative. It mean that a company delivers novel and advanced products and services for which there is little or no equal in the marketplace. Commodity differentiation and branding are key aspects of hypercompetition.  Hypercompetition is focused on is new ideas, inventions and innovations.

Now many experts have started discuss about hybrid economy. What is hybrid economy? How it is connected to hypercompetition? A hybrid economy is any type of local, state, or national economic system that involves a more or less equal focus on two or more different types of economy.

This hybrid economy model is a relatively common structure that has been utilized in many different settings over the history of humankind. For example, in traditional agricultural society there were exchange and storage economies. Some examples of a hybrid economy may include a creative economy, a military-industrial based economy, a university-industry based economy, or hybrid economy based primarily on a mix of business and government. Thus, there are various forms of hybrid economy. New forms of hybrid economy include typically e-business and internet economics.

These forms of hybrid economies are not fitting well to pure exchange mechanisms of market economy. The reason for the existence of hybrid economies is that they promote stable systemic mechanisms than market economy or unstable hypercompetition.  The element of public good is typical for hybrid economies. We can even claim that in the future we need more elements of hybrid economies to make capitalism work better. If we want that capitalism delivers benefits and positive values to everyone, there is need to develop more innovative patterns for the hybrid economy. New forms of hybrid economy can also include dynamic elements of social innovation.

The transition to a hybrid model of competition does not mean that the market would disappear, and markets would not be relevant for transaction mechanisms. This is something that should be emphasized. Also hybrid economy is based on competition. Hybrid competition is a very important new element in the global hypercompetition. Hybrid competition is also connected to good governance systems and to trust of democratic agencies and institutions.

We can take a number of reasons why the hybrid competition has risen and continues to rise as an important part of people´s and organizations´ wealth creation processes:

• Globalisation and its associated cultural interactions;

• The penetration of the Internet and related digital networking;

• Digital technology innovations (Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 etc.);

• Pressures and unstable processes of  the hypercompetition;

• Ubiquitous r/evolution, the Internet of Things and other digital forms of evolution like Cloud Computing and Big Data), and

• Co-creation (co-creation processes) with the growing economic importance.

The global economy means a new division of labor in the world. Workplaces are lost in some countries and regions and in some other places people are creating new jobs.

Frequently asked question is what kind of new work places can be created after old work places are lost? One obvious answer is: “Something else”. People have always developed something else after the loss of permanent jobs. The big problem is that it may take too much time to find new jobs, if we do not make systemic changes to the postmodern societies.

If we rely only on the hypercompetition and market mechanism, our societies will be very unstable and cause a lot of social losses. If we really can develop new social innovations and new forms of hybrid economy, we can expect that social and economic transition processes will be faster, less unstable and cause less welfare losses.

Today we must allow multiple stakeholders to negotiate over how to attain a desirable future. Developing new innovative forms of hybrid economy will require new forms of dialogue and debates. The only option is not unstable hypercompetition, which mostly delivers benefits of exchange and markets unethically and unequally.

It is worth of underlining that people create their economies and systems of governance. It is worth of noting that in capitalism people are allowed to think freely. These two things are relevant if we want to save capitalism and re-invent it as a dynamic form of global governance.

Further reading:

Anderson, Theresa Dirndorfer (2011) Beyond eureka moments: supporting the invisible work of creativity and innovation. Information Research. Vol. 16, No. 1., Web; http://informationr.net/ir/16-1/paper471.html

D’aveni, Richard A. (1994)  Hypercompetition. Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering.  Web: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Hypercompetition/Richard-A-D’aveni/9780029069387

Florida, E. (2001). The Rise of the Creative Class. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Howkins, J. (2001) The Creative Economy. London: Penguin Books.

Howkins, J. (2009) Creative Ecologies. Where Thinking is a Proper Job. St Lucia, Queemsland: Queensland University.

Lessig, Lawrence (2008) Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. London: The Penguin Press.

Palmer, Tom G. (Ed.) (2012) The Morality of Capitalism: What Your Professors Won’t Tell You. Ottawa, Illinois: Students For Liberty & Atlas Network Jameson Books, Inc.

Wolff, Richard D. & Barsamian, David (2012) Occupy the Economy. Challenging Capitalism. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

Media and Ubiquitous Computing

Mark Wiesner, HCI chief scientist at Xerox PARC, formulated that ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) can be called “third wave” of the computing revolution, where computing culture moves off the desktop and out into the world.

In a ubicomp world, everything is animated. Today, we still live in a world where objects count themselves. In the future, whether it is radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags or another kind of sensor, one finds information systems that in real time track objects whose presence can be read by satellite, radio or scanner. The Internet of Things is the name of the growing movement in ubicomp design in which sensor-linked objects, actions and capacities are tethered to a network. The Internet of Things describes a consortium of web-designers who are creating sense-able objects that can be located and interacted with across a network. Implicit in the logic of the Internet of Things is also an idea of the sensible object.

For media houses ubiquitous revolution means big challenges. Already multimedia included many challenges for the media and journalists. One of big challenges will be increasing mobility of media coupled with an increasingly consequential relation to space, place and time where the physical world and virtual platform intersect. Some people are talking about X-reality engagement in the ubicomp context.

Pervasive computing is leading us to pervasive media, to the world of the Internet of Things, where media houses are operating fluently. Before we are facing the era of pervasive media, there will be a transition period. With ubicomp the computational work of information processing is integrated to objects, activities and sites of the everyday. Such obvious objects and activities are smart media houses, home studios of journalists and their smart cars. The ubicomp has not yet achieved the full scale of pervasive computing to which it aims.

The term pervasive media is used to describe a global culture that engages a spectrum of networked technologies. The pervasive media includes many issues, especially many novel ubiquitous technology platforms. Such issues are virtual worlds, voice-over-Internet protocol, mobile rich media and texting, microblogging formats like Twitter, Web-based video (You Tube), social profile pages (Facebook) and web logs (blogs). Together this spectrum of media technologies is leading us to transmediated communication. There will be convergence of pervasive media technologies. This converge process can lead to surprising results with many technological affordances. Probably pervasive media as a whole simulates presence, where ability to be authentic matters. Digital technologies change conventional static media and multimedia. As Marshall McLuhan said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools.” Key concepts of pervasive media are:

  • Social networking
  • Social media
  • Social bookmarking
  • Blogging
  • Wiki
  • Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0.
  • Structural modularity
  • User-generated content
  • Content sharing
  • World Wide Web

The word media means “ways of transmission”. It encompasses all of the various technologies we use to record information and transmit it to others. The era of pervasive media means hyperconnectivity, whereby people and machines stay perpetually connected via an ever expanding network of diverse communication channels. New digital devices provide new possibilities for hyperconnectivity. Hypermedia is a term which refers to a host of digital technologies that enable the presentation of multimedia content in a nonlinear form.

Hypermedia is probably a key future issue in the pervasive media development. Media will almost never be a standalone kind of product any more. Multiple touch-points are available for the consumers of media content. Interaction with the audiences will be two way creating a conversation media. Some pieces of news are serial and some media content are tailored for very sophisticated global audiences. Hypermedia is used as a logical extension of the term hypertext in which audio, graphics, plain text, video and other hyperlinks intertwine to create a generally non-linear medium of information.

Sources

Costello, V., Youngblood, S.A. & Youngblood, N.E. (2012) Multimedia Foundations. Core Concepts for Digital Design. USA: Focal Press.

Coleman, B. (2011) Hello Avatar. Rise of the Networked Generation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Ameba Organizations, Serendipity and the Multiverse

Serendipity is not a new concept, because Horace Walpole committed the word serendipity to paper for the first time about 250 years ago.  Horace Walpone said he formed the concept from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip. In the book, three successful princes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. Today serendipity is widely accepted concept with 5 670 000 hits in a 0,20 second in the Google (evaluated 11.6.2012).

Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”. Serendipity is an accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. It is not easy to see when serendipity is really happening, because it is not easy to define when human behavior unintentional and things happen like an accident. Thus serendipity is the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. The concept of serendipity is connected to innovation theory. In innovation research, authors have found that sometimes also innovations are discoveries by accident. If people are very active, sometimes happy accidents really happen.

Only one sure thing in serendipity is that activity of people matter. And proactivity matters even more. If people are active there will more possibilities, more accidental discoveries and more pleasant surprises. Various thinkers discuss the role that good luck can play in science. Good examples are Colombus’ discovery of America, Nobel’s discovery of dynamite and Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. The serendipitous quality of innovation is highly recognized by many professionals of innovation research. It is also linked to the success of corporations and companies to their ability to create knowledge not by processing information but rather by tapping the tacit and often highly subjective intuitions and insights.

The higher the probability of an event is, the more certain we are that the special event will occur. Thus, probability in an applied sense is a measure of the confidence a person has that a random event will occur. Serendipity as a concept is closely connected to the concept of probability. A probable action or opinion was one such as sensible people would undertake or hold, in the special circumstances. Typically happy accidents have a low probability level. If an event has a high probability level, it is not a happy accident, it is an expected event. If there are some intentions behind an event, it is not a serendipity issue.

So intentionality is typically a elementary part of strategic and visionary thinking.  Serendipity is relevant in such a business environment where agents do not have special intentions – they just act without intentions.  They just act somehow and try to survive. From this perspective the concept of serendipity is an evolutionary concept.

An interesting question is whether a corporate or small company can do serendipity management and also have some strategies and vision, which are intentional ones. My personal answer is: Why not? If some things cannot be planned properly, why try to do these things with stress and lose much scarce resources? It is not worth of try too much. It is good to work like an ameba. Better way to success is to be relaxed and give serendipity a free room in organizations, whether they are small companies or large corporations. This kind of free and flexible organization can be called an ameba organization.

In the future many organizations will find this kind of flexible ameba organization a good solution when they operate in the multiverse. The term “multiverse” was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. The multiverse or meta-universe is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them.

New technology will make multiverse a very relevant concept. In the future technological development with ubiquitous technology, nanotechnology, robotics and material technology change our relation to time, space and matter. This process will lead us to different realms of multiverse. There will be 8 realms of multiverse: Reality as such, augmented reality, physical virtuality, mirrored virtuality, warped reality, alternative reality, augmented virtuality and virtuality.

Multiverse will create for us infinite possibility for serendipity and ameba organizations. Business gurus B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore have noted in their updated  book “the Experience Economy”, that work will be theatre and every business is a stage. This is a working principle of serendipity management.

Index

Serendipity: How the Vogue word became Vague

Web: http://livingheritage.org/serendipity.htm

Multiverse

Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/onMultiverse

Infinite possibility

Pine II, B.J. & Korn, K.C. (2011) Infinitive Possibility. Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier. San Francisco: CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Experience economy

Pine II, B.J. & Gilmore, J.H. (2011) The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage. Updated Edition. Boston (MA): Harvard University Press.

DIY – A Bohemian Lifestyle

Great artwork and handicraft – or artisanry – are in the very heart of the Bohemian Culture.  We have seen pictures of beautiful and extremely skillful embroideries, laces and knitwear. Artisanry is a growing trend. Sudip Dutta, the founder of Aporv – Empowering Artisans and Promoting Culturally Rich Art Forms via eCommerce says there are 23+ million artisans in India. Based on the amount of  artisans in India, the number of them worldwide must be enormous.

German journalist and the digital boheme Holm Friebe wrote 2008  “The end of mass production is in sight. Its demise is a creeping guerilla movement inspired by self-initiative and self-organization. This new type of production recognizes the value of human work and the dignity of the producer. It will change the landscape of more than just our economies.”

We cannot reverse the course of globalization or stop the development of artificial intelligence. But what we can do is to develop our abilities to do what the robots can not do and use the tech to our benefit – of which the least is not the opportunity to connect with interesting and likeminded people worldwide.

DIY do-it-yourself is a trend, perhaps a megatrend that extends not only to handicraft and home equipments. DIY can and it will and it has also bring about great business opportunities. Often in greenfields where there are outstanding chances for remarkable benefits and revenues. In 70’s a few people gathered together in a club called “The Homebrew Computer Club”. Two of the members were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Well, I do not need to say more.

DIY extends more and more to all areas of our life. The technology provides us with new tools to help ourselves with health and well being. Participatory Medicine will help more and more people to cure from disease and injury.

As a Vice President of an Inventor’s Association I oftentimes hear the inventor’s complain about how difficult it is to get instutional funding for the inventions. The problem is that if the invention is really great and groundbreaking, the institutions have very little abilities to understand the invention. Actually if they did, the invention wouldn’t be especially radical. A Homebrew Club would be  a solution for inventor’s too. A place where the brains meet to find solutions that money cannot buy. In that sense our association,  “Inventor’s Factory” aims to be such a place.

So, we are writing a book to help the people win in the world where robots get more and more intelligent with capacities to learn and express emotions. A machine can write books too, we naturally hope that humanwritten literature will hold it’s position because of it’s creative, visionary, deep, meaningful, artistic and insightful content. In other words writing is a part of the DIY trend!

My writing process includes times when I need to concentrate on learning new material. The most effective way for me to learn is to listen and at the same time do something with my hands. So I crochet. During the time of writing the BohoBusiness my aim is to crochet a half curtain to my mother in law. Here’s is a pic of the first half. I am sure the robots can do the same and even better but what they cannot do are the mistakes and pitiful attempts to repair them afterwards. The imperfections make the curtain personal and I hope that in her summer house the mother in law thinks sometimes of me, her ex daugther in law. Besides, hand-made is luxury.

The first half of the half curtain that Cristina crotchets for focus and therapy during the writing process of the BohoBusiness.

Source: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think Highly recommended reading!

by Peter H. Diamandis , Steven Kotler

Towards A New Capitalism In The World Of Bohos

Think about yourself walking in a thick jungle. In a jungle where the branches, bushes, lianes and the thick undergrowth makes your progress hard. Bristling with fear and anxiety you bulldoze your way forward with a help of sticks and knives. The knowledge that there might be dangerous beasts lurking among the vegetation doesn’t make your race any easier. You must constantly be prepared to attack and protect yourself.

Now imagine, that the jungle is finished and you entered a deciduous forest. The vegetation is still lush but not stickingly thick. However you keep your knife and stick ready and from time to time you cut a low hanging branch. And you are hoping that you’d get out of the jungle one day.

You are not ready to adopt the new environment even though you are in the middle of it. You are in deciduous woods clamouring for a change in the jungle.

We are so used to live depending on one big truth. To believe in one big truth. Not necessarily because it would be the only one but because it makes our lives easier.

The world has changed from a space divided with frontiers to a boarderless web of people. Different truths and ideas can wander freely and meet people also there, where the one truth nepotism has selfishly built isolated societies.

The discussion about the morality of capitalism is a sign of the change that is already going on. A crowd of people has left the jungle capitalism and moved into a grove of new economics. Yet many cry “it’s a jungle out there”, dangerous and hard.

”Capitalism is a system of cultural, spiritual and ethical values” says professor Tom G. Palmer in his book “The Morality of Capitalism”. Yes. And the mission for the people is to create for that system a content that serves the highest purposes of the human kind. Then capitalism can be a system where the right to ownership and the freedom to make agreements in the spirit of free will can be realized.

Marc Luyckx Ghisi a professor of Future Studies from Belgium says “Truth is in the empty center of the common table around which all cultures are sitting on an equal footing. Women and men are also equal. The urgent scope of life is to care together for our survival. But the main goal in life for everyone is to reach the center, the “divine light” or the “absence of light”. And the more you approach the center, the less you can define what the illumination is. You are only able to experience it. And nobody owns or controls this “empty” truth. It is impossible.” The nature, animals and plants are part of this consciousness and thus respected.

The truth, the light in the middle of the world-table, is a common emotional experience that the value that the individuals bring to the table creates something big and meaningful when it is integrated into the common flow of values.

This is the new world we are living in. Call it transmodern or post-post modern or a world of people, without definition… I kind of a world where “… the value grows by mobilizing the energy and capacity for invention of the people in an unprecedented scale, so that wealth is created to a common man…” in Tom’s book the sentence begins with the word “capitalism”.

Why do we need words? We need ideological vehicles so that we can realize in what kind of woods we are walking in. The word capitalism is difficult to accept for many. It is loaded with heavy accusations  but perhaps it is the right word when we seek for a vehicle to express the economics of this new world.

But if capitalism has made damage to people’s souls then we need to find a new vehicle to describe the system of freedom, spiritual values, the uniqueness and talent of the individuals, creative projects of societies, tribes and movements, holism without reductionism in the name of economics, wealth building without exploitation and robbery. “Substituting power with persuation and envy with achievements” says Palmer. Yes. Palmer emphasizes that capitalism does not include greedy exploitation and robbery because they lack the element of mutual free will.

My credo is ”we are built to win”. A human being is endowed with unique potential and her/his life is a work of art that we all must respect. The world is simultaneously a collection of talents and a shared, cooperative performace, “a concert of a globalized planet” *, where each and every one adds value with her own talents and uniqueness. In a cocreative process an awesome tapestry with thick value is formed combining the spiritual and the material. The economy is a part of that performance and that, the economy,  must be made to serve the human kind with the understanding that everybody is important and equally valuable.

Professor Bjorn Wahlroos talked about India. He reminded that it is not that long time ago the news we heard from India were those of famine. Nowadays we are hearing more and more good news from India. About flourishing businesses, great universities and exciting innovations. When the economy grows there will be space to handle other issues as well, human rights for example.

It would be unwise to push capitalism aside because of the greediness that has ruined it’s good parts. We need creation of economic value so that we can continue to develop well being of both people and the earth. But the capitalism must change. It must see that people have come out from the jungle.  I’ll quote John Mackey who was interviewed by Tom G. Palmer:

”Capitalism is a source for value. It is the most awesome tool for cooperation. This is the story we need to tell. We must change the way we approach it. From the viewpoint of ethics we need to change the description of capitalism so that we can show that capitalism is about creating shared value, not for some but for all. If people would see capitalism as I do, they would love it as much as I do.”

*) The great concert of the globalized planet”, Mario Vargas Llosa,  in Palmer’s book.

Tom G. Palmer, ed., Morality of Capitalism, 2011.

“We are built to win” you can find also from Mike Babcock’s book Leave No Doubt

From Baby Boomers to Bohemian Late Bloomers

“Demographics is the single most important factor that nobody pays attention to, and when they do pay attention, they miss the point”.  – Peter Drucker

“Why does longevity matter?” asks Professor Amlan Roy at the seminar “People Plan: Designing For Finland’s New Economy” organized in the Helsinki City Hall by AmCham  and Mandatum Life.

The governments’ answer is that we need to rise the age of retirement and invest in healthcare. But that is not the answer we hear from Professor Roy. Whilst he does not deny the need for the action presented by the governments he says that the most important question we must ask is “what are people doing during their at least 20 years of life post retirement”.  Prof. Roy repeats “don’t look at people’s ages look at what they do and what they consume” so many times that you cannot but think that he has a point there. Not only does he say it but he presents an impressive study to support his words. Yes, what he says is truly disruptive – yet so Bohemian: people indeed are not groups of different age categories; they are individuals, consuming and working on different things.

The fingers are often pointed at the Baby Boomers. Younger people say that they are afraid what happens when the Baby Boomers retire. Who is going to pay for their terminal care? Seldom, hardly never, have I heard anybody ask: what will they do on their years of post-retirement?

The Baby Boomers is a most interesting group. They are people who perhaps sacrificed fulfilling their dreams to the common purpose of building great societies, infrastructures, markets and democracies – countries and states where it would be good to live in. And they succeeded. Take Finland for example. From a war-torn wreck of a country to a blooming economy, and in a reasonably short period of time. Many thanks go to the Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers saw the rise of the Bohemian. They experienced  the golden age of the music and movies. On their holidays they travelled to Rostock, Woodstock and Human Be-In.  They saw the rise and fall of the Hippie movement. They shared the vision of world peace and contributed to a better world by working in factories to create the wealth that the nations needed to keep up with the development of the markets and social systems. They wanted to see their children educated with better possibilities for good life than they had received in birth.

But the also the hippies are retiring. What will they do? Is the dream still alive and strong? Will they re-invent the movement? Unite to a powerful tribe with flowers in the hair?

From the Boho point of view the Baby Boomers might just be the best thing that is going on in the world. The Baby Boomers are still looking for a chance to start living the dream they once had. The dream where they will make a difference as a human being, as an individual – as a person who does something that has meaning and value. They are one of the key ingredients of the Generation M. M for Movement, a definition by economist Umair Haque. Haque says: “… generation M is a… growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. ” Generation M is obviously the generation of the Modern Bohemians, Bohos, and we believe that a vast number of Baby Boomers are included in this generation. We might as well call them the Late Bloomers. People who make their talent bloom in the late phase of their lives.

There are already learning programs clearly aimed at the Late Bloomers. Such as The Swing which purpose is to teach the world to sing with a target group of Late Bloomers. Surely many of the Baby Boomers wish to make their artistic talent bloom once they have the time and many also the necessary resources.

Yes indeed. The Late Bloomers are a most potential group to make the Boho vision come true. They once helped to build the material world now they can contribute to the mental and spiritual powers of people. As robotization and automation strongly progress the Late Bloomers will be needed as artists, athletes, inventors, leaders, mentors, thinkers, celebrities, philosophers, scientists, role models, supporters, serendipitors, networkers, connectors, authors, readers. Bohemians. Yes we need them mostly as free souls who detach, break loose from the old patterns. People who come out of the closets and boxes, and show that embarrassment is only a stupid word that can be translated as “barrier to creativity”.

Talent is capital for all, not only for the children and the young. Hidden or latent talent can be awakened at any age and also turned into economic activity and – why not – a career. In fact we need to do so in order not only to help the retirees to enjoy a good life but also to help create a new competitive edge for nations, companies and entrepreneurs.

latebloomer

The Trans-media Challenge, Ubiquitous Technology and New Bohemian Culture of Creative Class

Trans-media Challenge, Ubiquitous Technology and New Bohemian Culture of Creative Class

A key element of creative work is storytelling. Today many media channels are interconnected. In the future media channels are even more linked and interconnected because of ubiquitous technologies, machines and robots. Trans-media storytelling is a technique of telling novel stories across multiple formats and platforms. Trans-media storytelling is also known in some communication contexts as multi-platform storytelling, cross-platform storytelling, or trans-media narrative. Ubiquitous technologies make this kind of trans-mediation possible.

Many platforms are today a part of social media. In the future they will be a part of ubiquitous media. Traditional media formats like TV, radio, video, game, film, magazine and newspaper are today facing new challenges of trans-media development. Already now many movies like “Year Zero” are trans-media projects. The new internet solutions and applications Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 will lead us to new kind of internet era. Especially for creative class and for journalism emerging trans-media is a big challenge, which changes work life and work culture.

Ubiquitous technology is not a neutral trend for societies. It will change many things, leading in an extreme form to technological singularity. As we know technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means, very probably resulting in explosive super intelligence. In this kind of techno society humans must develop new social positions, different from the positions of robots and super intelligent systems. We can expect that new kind of social and cultural structures will emerge.

Humans cannot compete with super intelligence, where already now new markets are in conditions of hyper-competition. Technology historically has fostered agility. Hyper-competition results from the dynamics of strategic maneuvering amongst competitors and from new technologies. Strategic maneuvering is more and more based on robotics and super intelligence. Many experts criticize these kinds of developments, especially in financial markets, where robotized gambling casinos without any rules (or not many rules) are possible to be run.

Many futurists say that it is very difficult or impossible for present-day humans to predict what a post-singularity world would be like. Raymond Kurzweil has discussed about this topic widely. However, we can expect that human beings must define their relationship to super intelligent systems and robots. Many complex ethical issues need answers.

The start of ubiquitous era means that we shall need new social innovations, which define new rules of societies. Also new business and technology innovations are needed to manage change in this kind of environment. We can also expect that the time of average is going to be over, because robots define the code of average from new technological pre-conditions. Accordingly, humans must re-define their positions from this novel perspective.
Ubiquitous technology development means also that the borders between real reality and virtual reality become vague. In real environments actual events, material substances and real places matter. In virtual environments virtual places, digital substances and autonomous events matter. The new trans-media emerges when these 6 key real and virtual elements will be linked by ubiquitous technologies and tech applications.

This is a future vision of global trans-media.

The trans-media includes both real and virtual elements. Authenticity will be a strategic key issue in the experience society, which is the next society after service economy. In the experience economy attention is scarce, time is limited and money is consumable. These are also the basic rules of trans-media.

There seems to be more questions than answers concerning our common future. Creative class members and especially bohemian persons are probably finding new answers more probably than the “average class”. One working hypothesis is that robots will destroy the “labor class” in the future. If this hypothesis holds, it means that population rich countries will face the era of mass employment. Also other smaller countries will have social and economic problems, because local and global markets do not work well. How much this process takes time, is another open question.

Humans have an obvious challenge: to be creative persons who find answers to open questions. People are forced to find the bohemian element of their minds.

Index

1 Social media
Safko, Lon & Brake, David (2010) The Social Media Bible , Tools & Strategies for Business Success. Tactics Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
2 Trans-media
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmedia
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmedia_storytelling

3 Year Zero
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Zero_(game)
4 Internet evolution: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 & Web 4.0
Web: http://www.marcuscake.com/economic-development/internet-evolution
5 Singularity
Good, I. J. (1965) Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine. In Franz L. Alt and Morris Rubinoff (Ed.) Advances in Computers. Academic Press 6: pp. 31–88.
Kurzweil, Ray (2005) The Singularity is Near. New Jersey, USA: Penguin Group.
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity
Tainter, Joseph (1988) The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6 Raymond Kurzweil
Web: http://www.kurzweilai.net/
7 Ubiquitous technology
Jurvansuu, Marko (2011) Roadmap to a Ubiquitous World: Where the Difference Between Real and Virtual Is Blurred. VTT Research Notes 2574. VTT: Helsinki.
Web: http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/tiedotteet/2011/T2574.pdf
Web: http://sandbox.xerox.com/ubicomp/
8 Creative class
Florida, R. (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class: And How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Perseus Book Group.
Rindermann, Heiner & Thompson, James (2011) Cognitive capitalism: The effect of cognitive ability on wealth, as mediated through scientific achievement and economic freedom. Psychological Science 22 (6), pp. 754-763.
9 Hypercompetition
D’Aveni, Richard (1997) Waking up to the New Era of Hypercompetition. The Washington Quarterly, pp. 183–195.
Plant, R. (2006) Hypercompetition and differentiation. Web: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/archetype/archive/2006/07/24/677222.aspx
10 Robotized gambling
Web: http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/565-human-traders-automated-extinction-markets.html

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