Ficod 2011 (keynote file)


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I talk about the evolution of digital content into services, the role of sensors in the future of the web, about the idea of man-machine collaboration in internet services, and about the role of social networking in building content.

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  • I want to start out by giving you an idea of the kinds of things I do in my business. I publish technical books, both in print and online. We sell our books direct to consumer as well as through retailers, and we’ve built a production pipeline that lets us produce books in multiple formats. \n
  • We also have an online ebook subscription service that services millions of readers, and contains more than 14,000 books and videos from several dozen technical and business book publishers. \n
  • I run technical and business conferences, like the Web 2.0 Summit and Web 2.0 Expo.\n
  • Like the open source convention.\n
  • Like our Tools of Change for Publishing Conference.\n
  • We have an online technical school.\n
  • We publish a print and online magazine for technology enthusiasts.\n
  • We also have an associated event that brought more than 100,000 people to San Mateo, CA last spring. \n
  • We even have an early stage venture capital firm.\n
  • We don’t think of our business as being about books or magazines or conferences or videos, but about a mission to serve communities of users. It’s essential to think this way, because in the end, nobody cares about the form of your products. They care about the job that your products do for them. And the product needs to change as their needs change.\n
  • You have to think deeply about what job your product or service does for the user.\n
  • This is the Google driverless autonomous vehicle. It’s a really important piece of technology to think about for a number of reasons, and we’re going to return to it later in this talk.\n
  • But what I want to start with is the idea that we used to think of a map as a piece of physical media. A set of maps might be collected into an Atlas.\n
  • The first evolution of this into digital content turns it into a database. It’s much more useful than the old print version.\n
  • In addition to maps, there are all kinds of new services that used to be books - travel sites replacing travel guides, restaurant apps replacing restaurant guides.\n
  • But once you go mobile, it’s even more transformative. Your phone is more context aware.\n\nBut notice too how on mobile devices, the content is increasingly provided as a service by the platform provider.\n
  • And by the time you get to the driverless car, the service is nearly invisible. You don’t look at the map any more. You just tell the car where you want to go.\n
  • We see this with Apple’s Siri as well. Technology like this is increasingly going to disintermediate websites in the same way that websites disintermediated brick and mortar and print media.\n
  • These trends are already well advanced. You just have to look around you.\n
  • But it’s a lot easier to notice those early signs of the unfolding future if you have a framework that makes sense of them. \n
  • For the past decade, I’ve been talking about the idea that we’re building an Internet Operating System.\n
  • In 2004, we branded that idea as “Web 2.0” Now to be clear, that wasn’t a version number, but a statement about the web coming back after the dot-com bust, that it wasn’t over, as many people thought. But it was also a series of assertions about what distinguished sites that survived the bust from those that didn’t - things like better use of user participation, what I called “collective intelligence”, and the use of the internet as a platform that developers could build on, rather than just a broadcast medium.\n
  • Bram Cohen of Bittorrent still thought that the idea that the net was an operating system was silly. At the first Web 2.0 conference in 2004, he gave a talk making fun of my idea.\n
  • But it’s pretty clear today that the internet is indeed an operating system, one that provides data services to our mobile devices.\n
  • You can also see it in the data ecosystem growing up around the Facebook platform.\n
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  • A lot of people keep trying to make a case for the Semantic web as “Web 3.0” but whenever people ask me what’s next, I’ve always said that it’s what happens when the collaborative applications of Web 2.0 are driven by sensors rather than by people typing on keyboards.\n
  • You can see this with your mobile phone. It’s got all kind of senses in it that let it do its magic. A GPS sense, for example. But it’s also got eyes and ears and a sense of motion.\n
  • You can see the kinds of new services that can be possible when you use the senses of the phone to retrieve information. Shazam can listen to a song and identify it. And of course Siri listens to your voice. \n
  • And a whole host of applications use sensors to monitor your activity, and increasingly, your health. We’re going to see a lot more of these. For example, Sanofi-Aventis now offers a glucose meter that attaches to the iPhone.\n
  • By the way, there’s an interesting design pattern here that Apple first exploited with the iPod, in which the interface was separated across several devices - with the iPod interface becoming simpler because many of the functions were controlled from iTunes. Dave Stutz of Microsoft referred to this pattern as “software above the level of a single device.”\n
  • You see this coming to fruition in a new class of wearable computing devices like the Jawbone UP, which has no interface at all on the device. You use your phone to access the information it uploads to the cloud.\n\nAs digital media becomes embedded in services, you have to think about far more than just print, web, and mobile phone. \n
  • But the real thing to keep your eye on here is that sensors plus big data algorithms are leading us from the world where “content is king” to one where content is simply one component of a service.\n
  • Returning to Siri, you can see it as part of this trend for information and media to disappear into services. When Siri was first introduced, its creators called it a “do engine.” that is, rather than retrieving a web page (media) that you consume to make a decision, it just does things for you. “Find me a restaurant near here.” “Make me a reservation.” Media will become part of a database back end rather than a media front end.\n
  • A lot of this magic comes from algorithms - what we used to call “artificial intelligence.” No one seems to think that the machines are actually intelligent, but they can certainly do a lot of things that used to be hard for computers.\n
  • In that regard, let’s return to the Google driverless car. It’s really important to understand just how the car works.\n
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  • You see, back in 2005, when a car named Stanley won the DARPA Grand Challenge, it went seven miles in seven hours.\n
  • Yet here, only six years later, the Google autonomous vehicle has driven hundreds of thousands of miles in ordinary traffic. What’s different? Peter Norvig says that the AI isn’t any better. Google just has more data. What kind of data? It turns out that Google had human drivers drive all those streets in cars that were taking pictures, and taking very precise measurements of distances to everything. The car is actually remembering the route that was driven by human drivers at some previous time. That “memory”, as recorded by the car’s electronic sensors, is stored in the cloud, and helps guide the car. As Peter pointed out, “picking a traffic light out of the field of view of a video camera is a hard AI problem. Figuring out if it’s red or green when you already know it’s there is trivial.”\n
  • All of this is an example of something that JCR Licklider called “Man-Computer Symbiosis” in a 1960 paper. By the way, Licklider was the DARPA program manager who originally funded all of the early work that led to the internet.\n
  • All of this is part of a long term trend that is taking us towards what we could call a global brain.\n
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  • Now, we all have images from popular culture of what a global brain might be - an inimical AI that is out to get us, as in the Terminator movie series.\n
  • But instead, the global brain is a human-computer symbiosis. The google vehicle is only the latest of a long series of developments that show how we are augmenting ourselves and connecting ourselves into something bigger. This picture is a routing map of the internet. It’s striking how much it looks like a map of the synapses in a human brain. It’s nowhere near as dense yet, but the imagery alone is suggestive. But there’s a lot more here than just imagery.\n
  • It was our communications technology that shared knowledge of Sanka’s brand color, and turned it into a common image for decaffeinated coffee. The ability of communications to share ideas from mind to mind is at the heart of all human culture.\n
  • But what’s different now is the way that electronic media speeds up that process. Using twitter, we can instantly learn about trending topics around the world, and share in the responses of others.\n
  • Even Google has become a real time source of news. And increasingly, as humans are augmented with cellphone cameras (electronic sensors again), the ability of events to become a shared experience is vastly increased.\n
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  • That leads me to the whole topic of feedback loops. It isn’t just that this information is going mind to mind. We are increasingly taking this information and creating electronic feedback loops, which might include humans in different ways. Increasingly, technology is solving what we can call “the Wanamaker problem.”\n
  • the shift from pay per impression to pay per click advertising was a watershed moment in advertising. Again, it’s important to understand just how much this is man-machine symbiosis. Google’s Adwords were always more effective than competitors because Google was better at learning from human input - instead of selling ads to the highest bidder as competitors such as Yahoo did, they used machine learning algorithms to predict which ads were more likely to be clicked on. They might choose an advertiser who only wanted to pay half as much if their ad was 3 times as likely to be clicked. Google was the first to harness the collective intelligence of their users to improve ad results.\n
  • We’re now seeing this same idea spread to other areas of the economy. For example, in healthcare, personalized medicine requires new kinds of diagnostic feedback loops.\n
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  • In the city of San Francisco, you’re seeing something similar, where all the parking meters are equipped with sensors, and pricing varies by time of day, and ultimately by demand. I’m calling these systems of “algorithmic regulation” - they regulate in the same way our body regulates itself, autonomically and unconsciously.\n
  • This shift requires new competencies of companies. The field has increasingly come to be called “Data Science” - extracting meaning and services from data - and as you can see, the set of skills that make up this job description are in high demand according to LinkedIn. They are literally going asymptotic.\n
  • That by the way is the focus of our Strata conference, which focuses on cloud data and the skills required to make services that work this way.\n
  • OK. Moving on to another of the big trends in digital media - social media. \n
  • I’m a big user of social media. Google Plus is my preferred network for sharing extended content. It’s growing very fast, and the level of engagement is extraordinarily high. After only a couple of months, more than160,000 people have me in circles.\n
  • And of course, twitter is my network of choice for sharing links. I do, by the way, often link to my own Google plus posts, and the two networks work well together.\n
  • I want to talk briefly about how to use social media. Someone did a word cloud once of my tweets, and you’ll see that far and away the biggest Word is RT (retweet). That is, I’m always passing on other people’s content, not my own. This is, after all, a social network.\n
  • You can only push so much through a single channel. How do you deal with this? You use YOUR channel to build others. I build up the reputation and strength of those in my network by showing off SOME of their work; you go to the source for more. Think of my tweet stream as a sampler from an amazing community\n
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  • You can only push so much through a single channel. How do you deal with this? You use YOUR channel to build others. I build up the reputation and strength of those in my network by showing off SOME of their work; you go to the source for more. Think of my tweet stream as a sampler from an amazing community\n
  • I want to talk a little bit about the idea of privacy, and how that is changing.\n
  • Let’s return to this idea of the global brain.\n
  • The global brain is enabled by some technologies more than others.\n
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  • When you think about social media, you don’t usually think about Wikipedia, but it’s important to look a little more deeply. Consider the Sendai earthquake in Japan earlier this year, which created such problems with Fukushima reactors. Here’s the wikipedia page as it first appeared, a simple note that the earthquake had happened.\n
  • Let’s watch that in action.\n
  • Through the efforts of about 1300 contributors making over 5000 edits, it quickly grew into a full featured and detailed encyclopedia article.\n
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  • Every wikipedia entry has a talk page. Here’s a discussion of why they changed the page to be about the Tohoku earthquake rather than the Sendai earthquake. It turns out that’s how it’s referred to in Japan.\n
  • Michael Nielsen\n
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  • It’s about harnessing micro-expertise. There was an earlier game, Karpov vs the World, in which Anatoly Karpov handily defeated “the crowd.” But that was a speed game where there was no time to organize the community. In Kasparov versus the world, the game took over four months. There was a group of moderators who managed the community - much like Wikipedia - even though anyone could suggest a move, and the moderators argued for them, it was the popular vote that decided each move. It was thus an exercise in persuasion. A key point in the game occurred on the tenth move. One of the moderators, Irina Krush, an American champion, had studied a particular possibility and had even written a paper about it. So on that one move, she had more expertise than even Kasparov. \n
  • This idea of harnessing distributed micro-expertise is also what’s behind corporate social networking sites like Yammer and the various sites used to do brainstorming or petitions. I think the We the People site introduced by the White House is a good example. \n
  • They’ve built some great social dynamics into the site. Anyone can author a petition. But you have to get at least 500 signatures on your own before it becomes publicly visible. Then anyone can vote on it. If enough people vote it up, the White House responds - it doesn’t mean that they take action, but they do have to take a public stand in response.\n
  • Here are some of the trending petitions on the site right now.\n
  • Here are some statistics after only a few weeks of operation.\n
  • As an example of harnessing micro-expertise, we develop a number of our books collaboratively online. \n
  • Here you can see the web version of the book\n
  • But it’s also connected into Github, just like a software project, and readers can file bug reports, suggestions for improvement, and corrections.\n
  • They can even pull down their own copy of the source files and make changes. You can see that someone has begun to do a spanish translation.\n
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  • It isn’t just about how many people you get to follow you - it’s how you engage them, and who you engage\n
  • You are all inside the application!\n
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  • This whole idea of building community leads me also to the idea of platforms, which create value for a whole ecosystem. Steve Jobs talked about the value created for iPhone and iPad developers. The App Store itself was the killer app for the iPhone, the thing that has made the phone a worthy rival to the web as the platform, and made paid content cool again.\n
  • Google also thinks hard about their economic impact. Their key business model depends on the success of others - driving traffic to their sites, and producing ad results. Google only does well if their partners do well. Of course, there are signs that they are forgetting this point, as they substitute their own services for those of other companies, and directing traffic to themselves.\n
  • Contrast this with how financial firms, who once positioned themselves as the enabler of the economy, creating liquidity and trading on behalf of clients, began to trade against them, and increasingly created products - from the mortgage backed loans that brought down the global economy to even more reprehensible trading practices that drive up the cost of food for starving millions. This is capitalism gone wrong.\n
  • I want to return in that context to our Safari books online service. We started it in 2000 as a joint venture with our biggest competitor, and now offer books from everyone in our field. We knew that for publishers to survive, we had to create paid content business models, and not just rely on the idea that “free” was our destiny. Safari is now one of our largest channels. But more than that, it is creating value for everyone in our segment, not just for us. For authors, for readers, and for other publishers.\n
  • Henry Ford is a great example. It’s easy to forget that in addition to being the Steve Jobs of the automobile era, he understood that an economy is an ecosystem. He didn’t just invent the assembly line, he invented the 40 hour week and the weekend, and he paid his workers above prevailing wages, because he realized that he needed to create a class of people who could afford his products. That’s system thinking - so far ahead of the financial firms that are today turning our economy into a wasteland by extracting profits without concern for the consequences.\n
  • In the end, a company is most successful when it makes all of its stakeholders successful, not just its shareholders.\n
  • Ficod 2011 (keynote file)

    1. Some Context for Thinking About the Future of Media Tim O’Reilly O’Reilly Media Ficod 22 Noviembre, 2011
    2. You may know me as a computer book publisher
    3. You may know me as a computer book publisher
    4. A diversified media company that focuses on emerging technology communities and what we can do for them
    5. Steve Jobs on Design “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service." commodity.html?hp=&pagewanted=all
    6. This was once a book!
    7. The continued evolution of digitalcontent: increasingly richer, butalso more context-aware.Content disappears into services.Customer is owned by platformplayers, not content providers.
    8. The information vanishes into the device or service
    9. “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” - William Gibson
    10. “The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” -Edwin Schlossberg
    11. The Internet as Platform
    12. How can you call it an operating system? • No kernel • No memory management • No processorPhoto: Patrick Tufts
    13. The Internet Operating System Controls Access to Data An application that depends on cooperating cloud data services: - Location - Search - Speech recognition - Live Traffic - Imagery
    14. What’s Next?
    15. 3.0?The Semantic Web? The Sensor Web
    16. A device that augments our sensesas well as our ability to retrieveinformation.
    17. A device that augments our sensesas well as our ability to retrieveinformation.And a device that maps sensorydata onto a machine learningdatabase.
    18. The spread of sensors• sensor platform slide
    19. Software Above The Level of A Single Device
    20. Getting Beyond “Information Retrieval” Sensors + Algorithms = Services
    21. Artificial Intelligence “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines” -John McCarthy, 1956
    22. The Google Autonomous Vehicle
    23. 2005: Stanley Wins the DARPA Grand Challenge
    24. The “intelligent” devices of the future are cloud-connected “We don’t have better algorithms. We just have more data.” - Peter Norvig, Chief Scientist, Google
    25. Human-Computer Symbiosis “The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.” – Licklider, J.C.R., "Man-Computer Symbiosis", IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, vol. HFE-1, 4-11, Mar 1960. Eprint
    26. Towards a global brain
    27. A few key assertions• We are building a network-mediated global mind• It is not skynet• It is us, augmented
    28. Harnessing Collective Intelligence “global consciousness is that thing responsible for deciding that pots containing decaffeinated coffee should be orange” – Danny Hillis (via Jeff Bezos)
    29. “Would you be willing to cross the streetwith information that was five minutes old?” -Jeff Jonas
    30. “Half the money I spend onadvertising is wasted; thetrouble is I dont knowwhich half.” - John Wanamaker (1838-1922)
    31. “Only 1% of healthcare spend now goes to diagnosis.We need to shift from the idea that you do diagnosis atthe start, followed by treatment, to a cycle of diagnosis,treatment, we explore what works.” -Pascale Witz, GE Medical Diagnostics
    32. • strata
    33. “How can applications bebetter when they aresocial?” -Mark Zuckerberg
    34. retweetradar
    35. nivi and the @timoreilly bump
    36. This is important!• In social networks, you gain and bestow status through those you associate with• A key function of a publishing brand is the bestowal of status by what you pay attention to• If you only pay attention to yourself, you aren’t as valuable to your community – You don’t learn as much from your readers – You don’t bind them to you by amplifying their voice
    37. “People tell me: Its greatyou played such a big role inthe Arab spring, but its alsokind of scary because youenable all this sharing andcollect information onpeople. But its hard to haveone without the other. Youcant isolate some things youlike about the Internet, andcontrol other things youdont.” -Mark Zuckerberg
    38. The Web Has an “Architecture of Participation”• Small, modular pieces• Joined by open communications protocols• An open, standard data format• Extensibility by design
    39. The Web Has an “Architecture of Participation”• Small, modular pieces• Joined by open communications protocols• An open, standard data format• Extensibility by design This is also true of open source software projects like Linux and Apache, and open content projects like Wikipedia This is what makes emergent behavior possible, with no prior agreement between the parties
    40. wikipedia
    41. “Wikipedia is not anencyclopedia. It is avirtual city, a city whosemain export to the worldis its encyclopediaarticles, but with aninternal life of its own.”
    42. “The architecture ofattention”
    43. Kasparov vs. The World (1999) “The greatest game in the history of chess.” -Gary Kasparov “Although Krush was inferior to Kasparov in nearly all areas of chess, in this particular area of microexpertise, she surpassed even him”
    44. Getting Beyond “Information Retrieval” Don’t forget about the community that creates your content
    45. The power of platforms: Create value for others
    46. The power of platforms: Create value for others 4
    47. Getting Beyond “Information Retrieval” Create More Value Than You Capture