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Gideon Rosenblatt
Works at The Vital Edge
Attended Wharton School
Lives in Seattle
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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Human Behavior, as Guided by Artificial Intelligence

This was a fascinating piece to write. It's about neuroscientist Jeffrey Lin, who is dramatically reducing people’s toxic behavior in online gaming at Riot Games - by using artificial intelligence. This isn't some future vision. They flipped the switch a few months ago and it's working. 

What Riot has built is an artificial intelligence system that automates responses to toxic behavior in its flagship game, League of Legends. Think of it as an artificial immune response system.
 
Though I'm not personally a gamer, I felt compelled to understand how this system came to be. I wanted to understand how it worked and what its implications might be for influencing human behavior in other contexts. 

There are so many interesting facets to this story. I find it frightening in some ways, and very inspiring in others. 

Riot is clearly out front in applying artificial intelligence in gaming. I predict the next large-scale applications of crowdsourced artificial intelligence will be in social networks. Facebook and Google have snapped up the leaders of a particularly promising type of machine learning called Deep Learning, and Twitter is ramping up its artificial intelligence investments too. Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google’s DeepMind acquisition, recently noted that “In six months to a year’s time we’ll start seeing some aspects of what we’re doing embedded in Google Plus, natural language and maybe some recommendation systems.”

Hassabis made that comment about artificial intelligence here in Google+ just about six months ago. What do you think he was hinting at? Will it be used to better understand and match people's interests here? Also, Google+ is pretty tame on the toxic behavior bar when compared to sites like YouTube, reddit, 4chan, and online gaming, but could something like this be applied here too? Do we need it? Would we want it?

I will probably end up diving back into this story again soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

#humanbehavior   #ai   #artificialintelligence   #leagueoflegends   
Artificial intelligence is reducing toxic behavior in online gaming and could mark the future of influencing human behavior.
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An excellent explanation of machine learning. Visually compelling in a way that makes these difficult concepts easier to grasp. 

#machinelearning  

Great catch, +John Newman
 
A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning

If you haven't seen this yet, it's pretty awesome!
What is machine learning? See how it works with our animated data visualization.
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WOW!! This is indeed interesting!!
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Go Germany!

What caused the record-breaking numbers? According to Craig Morris, a writer for the German website Energiewende, it was the weather. Morris attributs the rise in wind power to a storm passing through the north of the country, where the majority of Germany's wind turbines stand. It also helped that it was a sunny day in southern Germany, home to most of the country's solar panels.

#windpower   #solarpower  
For one day last week, 78 percent of Germany's power was generated by renewables like solar and wind. Now the country plans to spend €200 billion to move away from fossil fuels permanently.
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Great news. If in Germany it´s possible why not in Spain with more solar hours ?
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130 million is no spring chicken, but I would have thought that flowing plants were older than that somehow. Really interesting look at the history of flowers, by +Lacerant Plainer​.
 
How flowers changed the world : Flowers appeared on Earth about 130 million years ago. Before flowers, land plants evolved from a group of green algae, perhaps as early as 510 million years ago, but the evolution of the seed which was deployed for dispersal made plants ubiquitous. And this helped to increase the concentration of Oxygen in the atmosphere. Do watch this video which is kind of fantastic : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXydMRoL9RU (How to grow a planet with prof Iain Stewart.

Recently evolved : If all Earth's history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only the last 90 seconds. But once they took firm root about 100 million years ago, they swiftly diversified in an explosion of varieties that established most of the flowering plant families of the modern world.

It's why we exist : Today flowering plant species outnumber by twenty to one those of ferns and cone-bearing trees, or conifers, which had thrived for 200 million years before the first bloom appeared. As a food source flowering plants provide us and the rest of the animal world with the nourishment that is fundamental to our existence. In the words of Walter Judd, a botanist at the University of Florida, "If it weren't for flowering plants, we humans wouldn't be here."

Evolution and Innovation : What allowed flowering plants to dominate the world's flora so quickly? What was their great innovation? Early angiosperms got their start on the margins. In a world dominated by conifers and ferns, these botanical newcomers managed to get a toehold in areas of ecological disturbance, such as floodplains and volcanic regions, and adapted quickly to new environments. Fossil evidence leads some botanists to believe that the first flowering plants were herbaceous, meaning they grew no woody parts. (The latest genetic research, however, indicates that most ancient angiosperm lines included both herbaceous and woody plants.) Unlike trees, which require years to mature and bear seed, herbaceous angiosperms live, reproduce, and die in short life cycles. This enables them to seed new ground quickly and perhaps allowed them to evolve faster than their competitors, advantages that may have helped give rise to their diversity.

Flashy is better : Casting pollen to the wind is a hit-or-miss method of reproduction. Although wind pollination suffices for many plant species, direct delivery by insects is far more efficient. Insects doubtless began visiting and pollinating angiosperms as soon as the new plants appeared on Earth some 130 million years ago. But it would be another 30 or 40 million years before flowering plants grabbed the attention of insect pollinators by flaunting flashy petals.

References and Sources:

http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/prehistoric-world/big-bloom/

http://sciencenetlinks.com/science-news/science-updates/flowers-rainfall/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-flowers-changed-world-ecosystems-art-galleries-180956110/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_plants

Gif courtesy (Tumblr) : https://goo.gl/SB578A
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Awesome, awesome, awesome!! Thanks so much. Very much in line with stuff I'm thinking about these days. Thanks very much, +Edward Morbius. 
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Ethereum Launches

We may look back on this day in history as the start of something important. Ethereum just went live. 

It's too soon to know just how transformative this new blockchain-based technology platform will prove to be, but I'm excited about its potential. 

#ethereum   #blockchain   #DAO  
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I did see part of his point there, that there are weaknesses at these bottleneck/distribution points, regarding security.

Once upon a time, there was a new little country that had a large new frontier to explore and migrate to.  For around 100 years, all along the frontier the little country's brave adventurous souls moved west, and some of them opened banks, which were robbed quite often, as well as the coaches that transported money to them.

Eventually, this security problem was more or less eliminated by use of new technologies, and the country became the world's largest economic power.

New frontiers are not for everyone,+Lee Rothstein, but that is no reason to think that they will fail.
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Google is attaching be sensors to its Street View cars in order to monitor pollution levels:

In the first pilot, three Street View cars collected 150 million air quality data points over a month of driving around Denver, Colorado. They measured for chemicals that are hazardous to breathe, like nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
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The earth is fine. The only ones in danger are the puny humans.
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I was just ordering from a local restaurant here in Seattle called Chaco Canyon, and stumbled onto this nice little surprise in their menu:

The Community Bowl
Suggested Donation $8
The bowl with the goal to provide nutrient dense foods to everyone. Brown rice, black beans, mixed vegetables, garlic tahini sauce, spiced sunflower seeds with choice of orange or banana. Payment is determined by you; we accept any amount you can offer. All profits collected from this bowl are given back to the community by way of free meals, or donations to local food banks. limit of one free community bowl per day.

When businesses do things like this, I think it deserves to be recognized. This is a company that knows it's part of a greater community. 

http://chacocanyoncafe.com/

#stakeholders  
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+Rajini Rao there is a "pay it forward" restaurant that is doing quite well - Karma Kitchen. They started in 2007 .... and now have a few around the world: -  http://www.karmakitchen.org/

Also, there are a few with similar business models - that are doing well ... here's post I did on that in 2014 : https://goo.gl/zJgCqG
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All that Love for Market Basket Comes Pouring Back

This is a wonderful story that looked, for a while, like it was going to be a very sad story. After a family feud amongst the owners, grocery chain, Market Basket's board, looked like it was going to oust a long-standing, and much loved, CEO who had aligned the firm with a stakeholder-centric approach to management. Employees, suppliers and customers revolted last year, demanding that the board change it's decision. After a nearly crippling month of essentially being shut down by its stakeholders, the board relented. Market Basket was allowed to stay true to its course. 

A year later, things are going gangbusters at Market Basket: 

If the past year is any indication, that model is working. Five new Market Basket stores have opened and three more are about to come on line. Store prices during the first six months of 2015 were, on average, about 16 percent lower than the competition’s, according to research firm Nielsen. Yet even with those lower prices, the company managed to distribute $129 million to employees in bonuses and profit-sharing. Its $4.8 billion in annual revenue projected for this year will be Market Basket’s biggest gross in its 98-year history.

I love this story, because it's not just a reminder of what business can be; it's also a reminder of just how far employees and customers will go to support an organization that takes care of them. A valuable, valuable lesson for all businesses. 

More: 
Being of Service: The Bridge to Meaning and Mission in Business
http://www.the-vital-edge.com/being-of-service/

Thanks, +Yifat Cohen, for flagging this one for me this morning. 
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Well said, +Antoine Carriere. 
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da Vinci's Viola Organista Vibrates Back to Life

We might not have yet figured out a way to bring velociraptors or woolly mammoths back, but " ...nearly 500 years after da Vinci sketched his plans for a musical instrument he dubbed the Viola Organista, Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki spent more than 5,000 hours making da Vinci's idea a reality."

Make sure to watch the video of Zubrzycki actually playing this beautiful instrument. It's a treat. 

More on this amazing instrument, and to see an even more beautiful keyboard view: 
http://www.violaorganista.com/

#design   #music  
Polish pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki spent more than 5,000 hours making da Vinci's idea a reality. Watch this performance of a single instrument that almost sounds like a chamber ensemble.
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Kind of an up-scale hurdy-gurdy.
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Big Data, Neo-Behavioralism, and the Mathematics of Human Relationships

Zuckerberg:
"I’m also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."

Nicholas Carr:
It’s not hard to understand the source of Zuckerberg’s misperception. Human beings, like ants or chickens, share a certain bundle of tendencies, a certain nature, and if you analyze our behavior statistically that nature will evidence itself in mathematical regularities. Zuckerberg is hardly the first to confuse the measurement of a phenomenon with the cause of the phenomenon. If some amount of data reveals a pattern, then, surely, more data will reveal “a fundamental mathematical law.”

Is there really an algorithmic explanation for the cause of our behavior; is that the way things actually work inside us, or is it just something we reflect back to ourselves when we look at ourselves with our computational tools?

More:
The New Behavioralism
http://www.roughtype.com/?p=6376
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Very well said, +Peter Strempel. Very well said. 

And yes, it is the intention behind the interest which is most troubling. 
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Automating Media Publishing

For those of you who may have missed this piece when it was first published on the Vital Edge, I'm now republishing it on Medium. 

It's longish, so the two sets of people most likely to be interested in this are: 
1) People in media and publishing
2) People interested in automation and technological unemployment

Lots of research went into this one and there are lots of good stats on employment, pricing and other impacts of automation in book, magazine and newspaper publishing. 

#media   #publishing   #technologicalunemployment  
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Thanks +Stuart O'Neill! And thanks for the comments over on Medium. Working on something right now, but will get to them later. 
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Pinterest as Google+'s New Target

If it's not abundantly clear already, Pinterest is emerging a much more clear competitive frame for understanding the future of Google+. It's an over-simplification, as there are significant difference, but it's still a useful one. 

A Newly Emerging Google Plus Strategy
The catalyst for this post were some thoughts from Bradley Horowitz just a couple hours ago: 

"Relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine."

Connecting people around "interests they love" is another way of saying connecting people through an "interest graph." The battle for the social graph is pretty much over, and Facebook clearly won. Google's new strategy is a clear acknowledgement of this and an indication that it sees the battle for the interest graph as: a) important and b) far from decided. 
 
So, why is the interest graph so important, you ask? 

Supporting the Knowledge Graph 
Google is making a huge bet on its Knowledge Graph, as a central strategy for maintaining the technological superiority of its search engine. In fact, you could say that this service is actually in the midst of transforming from a search engine to a knowledge engine. Google Now is the visible end of this wedge, a wedge which will soon emerge as a Virtual Personal Assistant, and eventually as a much more powerful artificial intelligence agent. 

Understanding which people care about and have influence on particular topics will be one of the very valuable products of deepening Google+ investments in the interest graph. That, in turn, will strengthen the company's ability to execute on its Knowledge Graph strategy. 

The Bigger Battle with Amazon
In the big picture, the real competitive battle that Google faces as a company - is with Amazon. People were recently asked their top three places for researching gift purchases in the holiday season. “Online search” registered 45%, down from 49% a year ago. Meantime, the channel growing the most in popularity was the one that includes Amazon, jumping to 37% from 31%. 

The Google-Amazon battle is actually a battle of business models, with Google running an advertising strategy and Amazon a commerce strategy. Sure, there are exceptions, and the lines can get very blurry with things like "buy now" button ads, but by and large, that is how the competition is falling out. When you think about it, the searches that Amazon is increasingly winning from Google are searches that are most closely tied to actual sales. They are, in other words, some of the most lucrative advertising that Google has. 

Going back to the interest graph, perhaps more than any other company in the world, Amazon has a very detailed and extremely valuable mapping of the products and services you care about. It has, in short, a very lucrative interest graph, deeply embedded into its commerce business model. 

As noted above, monetization isn't the only reason that Google is building its interest graph. That said, it will be monetizing its interest graph, and it will be doing that through an advertising strategy - not primarily a commerce strategy like Amazon's. 

The Pinterest Opportunity
Pinterest was founded in 2010, one of many startups launched around that timeframe based on the premise of the interest graph. The rest have long-since failed, but Pinterest is now valued at $11 billion and its revenue generating potential is just starting to build steam. 

Pinterest's monetization efforts around things like "buy now" buttons are generating lots of intrigue, but I believe the company represents something more than that. They are a kind of fusion between online advertising and a retail environment. Pinterest's CEO Ben Silbermann likes to differentiate Pinterest from Google by noting that the service is about "discovery," not "search." People like to browse collections in Pinterest, to become inspired, to have their interests piqued, to discover stuff through seeming serendipity that they weren't specifically seeking in the first place. In other words, there's a kind of grazing, browsing behavior on Pinterest that does sort of feel like a retail store. 

In other words, Pinterest, with its strength in discovery, falls someplace in between the Amazon and Google commerce and advertising strategies. Just as importantly, behind the scenes, Pinterest is building an interest graph, tied to commercially valuable topics. And unlike Amazon, they're not integrating this interest graph with the core competencies of warehousing, returns, fulfillment and other aspects of a commerce company. In short, they're building the kind of interest graph that's of interest to an advertising giant; an interest graph chock-full with all kinds of insights into what end users care most about. 

Like Google. 

The Differences
Just to be clear: I'm not saying that Google+ will or should suddenly start looking and behaving like Pinterest. Despite the new Collections feature, Google+ is a very different beast. I would be very surprised if we woke up one day to find "buy it now" buttons showing up on Google+. And I don't even think that we'll be seeing many collections of "my favorite lipsticks" or "my favorite dresses" - the kinds of collections that are very common and natural on Pinterest. 

That just isn't the culture here on Google+. No, I don't see Google attempting to replicate the kind of "retail" environment strategy that Pinterest seems to be headed towards. The management here is smart enough to recognize the culture differences between G+ and Pinterest. Although now that Google+ is freed from its broader corporate mandates, which I think helped it take a pass on revenue-generating expectations, I will go on record here saying that I would not be at all surprised to find Google reversing its policy of 'no ads' here on Google+ - possibly within the next year or two.

What I do see quite clearly is Google moving down a path where Google+ becomes a more powerful addition to its interest graph building capacity. Search is already a very powerful tool for tracking end user interests over time. What it's missing is the ability to note interest in a more passive browsing mode. This is the discovery mode that Pinterest makes so much of, and it maps nicely to the streams, photos and sharing that now describes the team that will be remaking Google+. 


 
Bradley Horowitz post on Google+ changes:
https://plus.google.com/+BradleyHorowitz/posts/Aq59SxzyjWT

Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, talking about Pinterest's strategy and the central importance of the interest graph:
https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/video-ben-talks-about-interest-graph-and-future-pinterest

The Interest Graph Maps Our Connections to Ideas and Things
http://www.the-vital-edge.com/shared-interest-graph-in-work/

Google’s  Biggest Competitor…is Amazon
https://medium.com/@gideonro/the-google-amazon-slugfest-8a3a07a1d6dd

What is Google+ (Really)?
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GideonRosenblatt/posts/fxp3viNzg9d

#sharedinterestgraph   #pinterest   #amazon   #googleplus  
    
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+Peter Vogel Collections is somewhat useful and about 1/3 of a good idea, but suffers from both design and implementation. As does much on G+.
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I'm a technologist with a background in business and social change. I write about the impact of technology on organizations and society.
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  • The Vital Edge
    Publisher and Writer, 2013 - present
    Disruptively good business.
  • Alchemy of Change
    Writer, 2010 - 2012
  • Groundwire.org
    Executive Director, 2001 - 2010
  • Microsoft
    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
  • US China Business Council
    1985 - 1989
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What do we want our organizations and technologies to be when they wake up?
Introduction
I'm a writer with a background in technology, business and social change. 

Most of my writing these days is at The Vital Edge, where I explore how technology affects organizations and the way people work. I am particularly interested in artificial intelligence, automation and networks and what they hold for the future of humanity. 

I believe in the human soul, and I believe it deserves a place in our understanding of organizations and technology. I have no interest in pushing religion or any particular spiritual point of view, but I do believe in exploring technology and human organization on a deeper level than is typical for these topics today. 

When it comes to my presence on Google+, most of my effort here is really aimed at connecting with people who are drawn to the questions I explore through my writing. I am active on Twitter (@gideonro) as well, and share content more frequently there, but my deepest online engagement is still here on Google+. 


My Story
For nine years, I ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Groundwire specialized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, websites, social media communications, and engagement strategy as a way to help organizations mobilize people around sustainability causes.

Prior to Groundwire, I worked at Microsoft for ten years (back when it was cool), in various marketing, product development and management positions. While there, I developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. I also marketed the world’s first digital encyclopedia and dictionary, and other innovative multimedia works.
 
I was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now live in Seattle with my wife, CJ, and two boys. Oh, and I am a proud board member of YES! Magazine.


#AI #automation #organization #technology #GoodBusiness #soul 
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    MBA, 1989 - 1991
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