Monday, October 02, 2006


From my notes on Mark Pesce's presentation on You-biquity at Web Directions conference.

Virtual reality isn’t the television of the future, it is the telephone of the future.

Part 1: Human Essence

Right now anything is possible. Humans and chimpanzees are at least 98% identical. We have now found the gene that gives us a bigger brain than our chimpanzee cousins. Both chimps and humans are incredibly social creatures. These social qualities we have as humans are essential to our lives. We build our relationships, we build social hierarchies, we are very social. Social modeling happens in the neocortex of the brain, of which we have more than any other animal. The Dunbar Number: the number of people you can hold in your head is directly relative to the size of neocortex. The reason we have a bigger brain than chimpanzees is to hold a bigger social network in our heads and that is what being human is all about.

Part 2: Virtual Networks

Social network needs to be fed fresh data, otherwise it dies. We need to spend time to feed them the data and the time is the non-renewable resource in the 21st century. My social network could be used as my spam filter – if an e-mail is not from a third-degree contact then it's highly suspicious. Wouldn't that be cool! E-mail forwarding is an ad-hoc social network. We find things, we filter them and then we forward them – three F's. For every moment we spend on-line we create a massive amount of data – a data shadow. This data tells a lot about us but at the moment all of then is wasted, not used at all. The mashups are in the right directions, but we need more to use our data to the maximum. The Web is the universal glue.

Part 3: The Center of the World

People form a strong relationships with their mobile phones. The phone has become seamlessly integrated into our lives. And the relationship is very emotional. We say we don't have an emotional relationship with our phone but we all lie. Just drop your phone down to the toilet or on the floor and see what happens. I lost my social life! The phone ultimately meets the physical and virtual worlds. For most of the time the phone does nothing. It just waits. What a waste! Imagine if we could use it as a device that listens actively and automatically connects us with the friends that are near.

The street finds it’s own use for things, uses its makers never intended.

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