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Living Technology: la(te)st installment of Wii Max Granu Boids tomfoolery

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This piece shows the latest and last of my experiments in Wii-based gestural control of image elements (MaxMSP-generated pixels swarms using a modified version of Craig Reynold's venerable boids algorithm).

The soundtrack features complexity theorist Norman Packard speaking about his work and views regarding synthetic biology -- the creation of life from basic elements and information. Created for Professor Joshua Goldberg's class in physical interactive media production at Brooklyn Polytechnic (now part of New York University).

Wii Max Granu Boids gestural interface demo (featuring Howard Rheingold on Cooperation Theory)

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This performance demonstrates my evolving Wii-Max/MSP gestural interface prototype.

Beginning with Howard Rheingold's brilliant interview on cooperation theory, I used the Wii controller to manipulate audio with a granular synthesis patch, and filled the video track with flocking pixels based on Craig Reynold's famous Boids algorithm in an OpenGL Jitter implementation.

Are Designers the Enemy of Design?

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Patrick Keenan from The Movement sent me this provocative link, which underscores the arguments Bob Logan and I are making in the Designing for Emergence papers:

From Businessweek.com's
Nussbaum on Design

March 18, 2007
Are Designers The Enemy Of Design?
Bruce Nussbaum

Here's the speech I gave at Parson's on Thursday that deals with the backlash against design. I've edited it just a bit. It's designed to provoke design management students and show how I've redesigned my job at Business Week from the Voice Of Authority to the Curator of the Conversation on Innovation. We all live life in beta now.

“Theoretical Primer for Emergent Media” presented at Enterprise 2.0 event

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I'll be giving my Hyperpolis presentation and leading a discussion on the idea of "emergent media" as part of a Toronto event beginning 6:30 tonight at the Gladstone Hotel.

Hosted by Tom Purves, the gathering will feature speakers and general discussion on the idea of "Enterprise 2.0" The idea is to look beyond today's mostly consumer-oriented applications of "Web2.0" and "social media" and ask, What do these same technologies portend once they infiltrate the business world? How will these new media forms change everyday work, the structure of firms, and the way companies innovate?

The event has attracted a lot of interest from the Toronto area tech community who are plugged into these ideas, and has been scaled up from a smaller venue to the stately Gladstone.

For more information or to sign up for (free) attendance, visit this wiki: http://barcamp.org/Enterprise20Camp

Designing Systems with Emergent Behavior at BayCHI

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A recent Bay Area ACM SigCHI panel on "Designing Systems with Emergent Behavior" featured Tim Brown (IDEO), Peter Merholz (Adaptive Path), Larry Cornett (Yahoo), and Joy Mountford (Yahoo), and was moderated by Rashmi Sinha.

Peter Merholtz blogged his thoughts here: www.peterme.com/archives/000793.html

Core77 offers a rundown of the event here: http://www.core77.com/blog/events/design_for_emergent_systems_4821.asp#more

And the organization's event page is here: http://www.baychi.org/calendar/20061010/

“Designing for Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design” Accepted for Publication

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Along with my co-author, Robert K. Logan, I'm pleased to report our theoretical research paper "Designing for Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design" has been accepted for publication by the journal Artifact.

The reviewers said the paper makes a significant contribution and found it "challenging and thought provoking... I really enjoyed the acedemic style -- it got my brain cells working."

With editors from Copenhagen, Illinois and Indiana, Artifact is an international peer-reviewed academic journal targeted to researchers, practising designers, and manufacturers. It is focused on the vast changes that computers have brought to design.

Viewpoints Research Institute

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"Nonprofit organization dedicated to improving both general education and understanding of complex systems, especially through the use of new inventions in interactive constructive computing." Founders include Alan Kay.

Metabolism: The sum of all biochemical processes involved in life

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Definitions of "metabolism" from Answers.com


1. The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.

2. The processing of a specific substance within the living body: water metabolism; iodine metabolism.

[From Greek metabole, change, from metaballein, to change : meta-, meta- + ballein, to throw.]

Designing for Emergence at Harvard U

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Here's a Harvard University engineering and applied science graduate class that asks, "How do we engineer robust behavior from the cooperation of vast numbers of unreliable parts? Biology hints that there may be significant power to be achieved from building things out of cheap, imprecise parts with limited life."

CS 266: Biologically-inspired Distributed and Multi-agent Systems

Research topics include: swarm behaviors and robotics, amorphous computing and smart materials, reconfigurable robotics, immune-inspired systems, synthetic biology.

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What is the Beal Centre for Strategic Creativity?

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The stated mission of the Beal Centre for Strategic Creativity is: to enhance education with new methodologies in imaginative thinking; to contribute to the development of knowledge and economic wellbeing; and to explore new ways of improving the human condition.

Bruce Sterling’s Speech at ETech 2006

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This item links to the transcript -- or the script... not sure which -- of Bruce Sterling's speech at Emerging Technology 2006, San Diego, CA, March 2006. In the author's words, "Delivered at alpha-geek central, it may include indecipherable techie in-jokes. Well over 6,000 words. Includes illustrations." The audio, which is quintissentially Sterling and thus more fun to consume, is available at http://www.itconversations.com (keyword search for Sterling). [del.icio.us/gva]

Innovation vs. Invention

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I'm not so much interested in creativity, imagination, or invention on their own, but rather in how these can lead to new, useful ideas and systems in the world, i.e., in how a new design is adopted by large populations. In short, I'm interested in adoption. (There is a literature on the subject that goes by the name "diffusion studies" or "diffusion research" -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations)

In keeping with this idea I distinguish between invention and innovation. Invention signifies the moment when novelty arises, when something new is created. For example, Edison invents a light bulb. I do not apply the word "emergence" to this moment, because at this moment there is not yet a complex dynamic of adoption or diffusion in the picture.

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