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Gideon Rosenblatt
Works at The Vital Edge
Attended Wharton School
Lives in Seattle
47,478 followers|9,566,466 views


Our Antidotes to Technological Unemployment

As we automate the functions of business, we sow questions about the future of human work.

Dystopian visions of technological unemployment are easy, since they basically just extrapolate much of the bad stuff technology does today into an unknown tomorrow. Though these darker futures oddly captivate me, I find myself also working hard to paint a more optimistic, perhaps even utopian, possibility in my head:

Might technology strip us of the more scripted and robot-like work so that what remains for us is that which makes us most human?

This five-minute-read, takes a look at human initiative and human connection as potential sources of longer-term differentiation from artificial intelligence. 

Also a special shout-out to +David Amerland, +John Ellis, +Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales and +Steve Bonin for their contributions to the short video clip attached in this piece. 

#technologicalunemployment   #ai   #jobs   #artificialintelligence  
Will our initiative and capacity for human connection be what saves us from technological unemployment in an era of intelligent machines?
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Thanks +Chris Bensler. I have a feeling that whatever the future holds on this front, it's going to require some fairly radical adjustments to what we consider 'work.' I think there are a few scenarios where that could end up being quite positive. We'll need to set our sights on that target though. 
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There are moments in life that account for more meaning than others. You know these moments by their timeless quality. We feel them in our waking consciousness just as we would a dream in our unconscious.

What lifts these experiences up into higher realms of moment is that they are 'curlings' in our life; our most precious lessons; points where life itself turns and twists in ways that give it meaning and dimension in time.

In the writing of stories, this is known as the plot twist and it draws upon this real world phenomenon that is open to each of us to feel in our lives. To lead a life where one is unaware of our curlings, is to lead a life closed off to our greatest signals.

We describe these sensations as being etched into our memory; when, in fact, they are embedded into our experience. You can easily and instantly recall them at any moment because they are essential aspects of who you are; the milestones that define the journey that is your life. 
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Beautiful thought.
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Not that I spend a ton of time in nature in the midwest, but more that I am excited for +Jeff Sayre for publishing this field guide, after what seems obviously a ton of work. Congratulations, Jeff! 
My Field Guide Is Finally Finished!!!

After two and a half years of travel, research, writing, and photography, the book that I have been creating on the side (okay, almost full time) is about to be released on April 21, 2015! It has been a long haul and a great adventure.

Thanks to +Kenn Kaufman and his wife Kim for including me on this amazing piece of work!

You can pre-order the book from Amazon right now (yes, affiliate link because -- why not!):

/cc +Meg Tufano +Meihui Su +Manu Sporny +Gideon Rosenblatt +Jeff Jockisch +Jeffrey J Davis +Robert Scoble +Gregory Esau +Peter G McDermott +John Blossom +Jason Fritz +Kingsley Idehen +John Kellden +Ward Plunet +Mike Elgan +Rajini Rao +Steve Ardire +Able Lawrence 

and many more…

#fieldguide   #nature   #wildlifephotography   #botany   #ecology  
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+Shaker Cherukuri I Know!!! I'm trying to get the publisher to move into the 21st century. Perhaps an eversion will come out in the not-too-distant future.
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Minds and Machines

John Hockenberry does a great job of hosting this fascinating panel with Luciano Floridi (+Luciano Floridi), John Donoghue, Gary Small and Rosalind Picard (+Rosalind Picard). It's an hour and twenty-five minutes long, so not for everyone. But if you want to have a nice look into some of the state-of-the-art thinking about the relationship between our minds and our technology, this is a worthwhile investment of time. 

Some of the key takeaways for me: 
* The brain's plasticity makes it very well-suited to extending the mind into our tools. Flutes are designed to speak the language of the "human hand" and are an example of this kind of extension. 

* Freud saw the history of human shifts in consciousness as falling into three stages: Copernicus showed us we are not the center of the physical universe; Darwin, that we are not the center of the biological universe; Freud, that we are not the center of the psychic universe (I'm editorializing a bit on that last bit).

* When we use face-reading technology, it's really just reading the external representation of an emotion; not the actual internal state. Actors can fool it. We do have some ability to measure internal state, but right now that's tied to "arousal." 

* Great quote from Rosalind Picard about Microsoft's "Clippy" user interface in Office many years ago, and its lack of emotional intelligence: "Smiling at people when you're making them mad is just mean."

* Watching violent video games degrades (slows) our ability to recognize happy emotions in other people's faces. 

* Rosalind Picard talks about two laudable goals for technology: 1) helping us be more effective in achieving our goals; and 2) helping us to better understand ourselves. 

I found this through the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology:
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+John Kellden I couldn't agree more. Yes, I've spent years listening to the perspectives of people who have faced major life challenges, and it keeps my own life in perspective. And what a kind thing for you to say -- it's a pleasure to connect with you, as well. 
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Excited for my wife, +CJ Liu to have this opportunity to interview +Deepak Chopra on her show.

She and I talk about technology, artificial intelligence a lot, and she was curious what Deepak would say about the question of whether or not artificial intelligence could ever achieve consciousness. She had earlier asked +Lama Surya Das this same question. I find it interesting that these two men with deeply spiritualist beliefs, as well as the +Dalai Lama, all seem to be quite confident that AI will one day achieve some form of consciousness.

I don't disagree, mind you, but I highlight it because I think it paints a slightly different picture of spirituality than the luddite images most of us have about more traditional religions of the world. I wonder, for example, about what the Pope would say about this question.

I know many atheist friends of mine will have an easy answer here that probably starts with "who cares?" But, what we are talking about here is a sense of interiority, and, in addition to hearing what computer scientists and biologists have to say,  I personally find it useful to hear what people who spend their lives dedicated to trying to understand this interiority from within have to say about the issue. 
Really excited. Today, I got to ask Deepak Chopra a bunch of questions. It was like a kid at the candy store.  In the attached video, Deepak Chopra talks about whether artificial life can have consciousness and be part of human evolution. More and more, I'm realizing that this is the most critical questions of our time. Not to be too apocalyptic, but I see where technology is going and it excites and scares me in equal measure. Technology is now used for profit incentive, but could it do more. Can it be a force of good? Check out the short interview.
Deepak Chopra talks about the threats an opportunities that technology has in expanding our consciousness and our awakening.
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Thanks +Susanne Ramharter,  +Janine Marriott and +Teodora Petkova. And Janine, that sounds like a great experience. 
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Speaking in Cambridge on Friday (20 February) Murray Shanahan, professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, said that in order to nullify this threat any "human-level AI" - or artificial general intelligence (AGI) - should also be "human-like".

Shanahan suggested that if forces driving us towards the development of human-level AI are unstoppable, then there are two options. Either a potentially dangerous AGI based on a ruthless optimisation process with no moral reasoning is developed, or an AGI is created based on the psychological and perhaps even neurological blueprint of humans.

"Right now my vote is for option two, in the hope that it will lead to a form of harmonious co-existence (with humanity)," Shanahan said.
AI expert says we should develop machines capable of experiencing human emotion to negate potential existential threat.
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Shanahan's position is not entirely uninformed, but based on this report, his conclusions are unsound and based on an oddly incomplete view of humanity.

Modelling AI after humans to prevent cold, heartless genocide?  Really?

What parts of the human history has this man missed? Humans have repeatedly and systematically moved to completely eradicate whole groups of humans who differed from them simply in terms of race, religion, culture or due to some historical grudge against the victims' ancestors.  Call me crazy but modelling powerful AI armies after that may lead to our extinction faster than building something completely new.

I do agree that empathy and compassion (with humans in addition to other machines) would help to avoid powerful artificial creatures taking a violent and deadly orientation of humans.

Leading up to the Word War II, leading Japanese Zen masters perverted Zen training to eradicate compassion from Japanese soldiers (traditionally it teaches a balance of wisdom and compassion).  This training produced terrifyingly cold, ruthless, human killing machines.

I don't bring this up to cast any shadow on Japan, for surely that War left no nation without the stain of cruel and inhumane behaviour.  I bring it up to point out that humans are not always so humane as we would like to think.  We also have the capacity to disassociate from empathy and compassion and commit terrible acts on an individual or a national level.

I also don't mean to say that machines turning on their creators is no risk.  Only that the urge to give machines the human capacity for emotion could lead to far worse outcomes than we imagine.  Humanity is not the best role models for such future beings.
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I don't even know where to start in pulling quotes from this great piece. So, I'll just pull this one:

"The Web is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense inter-connections."

"That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that's what the world is."

"Unlike the real world, every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together."

Oh, and this beauty:

"Every time you call us "consumers" we feel like cows looking up the word "meat."

It's so great to see +Doc Searls and +David Weinberger collaborating on something like this again. 

Thanks very much +Denis Labelle for flagging this for me. 
After 15 years after Cluetrain, (16 if you have the math), +Doc Searls and I have posted New Clues. In 1999 we were driven to post (along with +Christopher Locke and +Rick Levine ) because the media and businss were getting the Web so wrong. This time it's as a response to the somber-to-depressed mood even among Net optimists. 

We've done this as an open source publishing project: it's in the public domain and we've posted the clues at GitHub in application-friendly formats, including JSON, XML, and OPML. We're thrilled that +Dave Winer has already created a "listicle" version. And Medium has taken all the text, redesigned it, slapped on a new title, and posted it. 

Curious to know what you think of it.
Hear, O Internet. It has been sixteen years since our previous communication. In that time the People of the Internet — you and me and all our friends of friends of friends, unto the last Kevin Bacon — have made the Internet an awesome place, filled with wonders and portents.
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Land Area Modified by Human Action

Been thinking more about human impact on the planet over the long-run, and it took me back to some earlier work: 

Twenty-eight percent of the planet’s land mass is forested, another 21% is high mountains, tundra and deserts, but the remaining 51% of Earth’s non-ice-bound landmass is already modified by humans in the ways outlined in this chart.

Technology Ecology: Connections that Sculpt Our World
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Please feel free to moderate your circles +Amelia Hoskins​. I moderate mine. If we are going to fix anything, first we need to make sense.
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Good tip from +John Skeats on how to control which of your Google+ circles show up when you select "All Contacts" in the new Google Contacts service. You'll still be able to see any of your other circles there by simply clicking on the "Circles" dropdown menu item. All this does is allow you to limit who from your Google+ circles show up when you look at all your contacts. 

Also, it's worth noting that with Contacts, it now becomes much easier for others to see your email address if you've set it to public. To check this or restrict who has access to it, go to "About" page of your Google+ profile, look for the "Contact Information" and select "edit." Next to your contact information, you will see a little dropdown menu that allows you to choose from "Extended circles", "Public", "Your circles", "Only you", or "Custom" (which allows you to specify people and/or circles). Changing these settings will determine who can see your email and phone number in the new Contacts service. 

By the way, I'm excited about the new Contacts. I've a feeling it may be the first of a series of upgrades that will be coming. No inside scoop here; just my Spidey Sense.
Control Which Google+ Contacts Appear in Contacts Preview All contacts Category

The All contacts category in Google's new Contacts Preview includes all of the people in your contacts plus Google+ contacts who are in circles in Your circles in Google+. You can remove Google+ contacts from the All contacts category by changing which circles are included in Your circles as follows:

1. Select Settings at the bottom of the Google+ main menu.
2. Scroll down to the Your circles section.
3. Click the Customize button.
4. Remove checks from in front of the circles containing people you do not want to have appear in Contacts Preview All contacts.

Note that this will also affect who posts and other content is shared with in Google+ if you use Your circles when sharing.

#ContactsPreview   #GooglePlus   #GooglePlusTips  
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+John Skeats Thanks...I'll check it out!
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This is a most beautiful talk by John Hockenberry, and I am very thankful to +John Kellden for pointing me to it. It is a story of design, but more than that, it is a story of intention. It is the story of a man whose father was an industrial designer, a man who learned, through his father, the transcendent importance of good design:

"Design -- bad design, there's just no excuse for it. It's letting stuff happen without thinking about it. Every object should be about something, John. It should imagine a user. It should cast that user in a story starring the user and the object. Good design," my dad said, "is about supplying intent." That's what he said.

In this talk, John Hockenberry gets intensely personal, going into some detail about the cause of his being wheelchair-bound, how it was directly related to bad design, and about what this experience of living with a wheelchair has taught him about the intention behind designs. It is also the story about a father and a son, and one that I found quite moving. 

What John is talking about in the talk is quite deep: 
"It's as though intent is an essential component for humanity. It's what we're supposed to do somehow. We're supposed to act with intent. We're supposed to do things by design. Intent is a marker for civilization."

I think about intention a lot, in fact, like John Hockenberry, I think it is one of the distinguishing attributes of humanity. I see it as one of our last real differentiators from the growing capacity of machines:

But intent is more than that. In some ways, it is the essence of a thing, and here, John says it beautifully: 
"An object imbued with intent -- it has power, it's treasure, we're drawn to it. An object devoid of intent -- it's random, it's imitative, it repels us. It's like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away. This is what we must demand of our lives, of our objects, of our things, of our circumstances: living with intent." 

This idea - what John Hockenberry calls the intent imbued within an object - is something I have seen in terms of its "quintessence": 

_ So here’s a challenge for you. Start paying attention to the products and services in your life in a new way. Each one has a quintessence, or fifth element, embedded within it that’s the essence of how it serves you. You can think of it as the product’s higher calling..."_

Perhaps this is part of the reason I was so moved by this talk. Or perhaps, more simply, it is because my dad, too, is a designer. 

#design   #meaning   #intent  
Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue — and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
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Agreed, +Giselle Minoli. I mean I do think there are just bad designers out there who really don't know any better, but then you have to ask why they're being employed to do that bad design work too. 
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The break out of Photos and Hangouts from Google+ has now been double-confirmed, first by +Sundar Pichai in Forbes ( and then again by +Bradley Horowitz here on G+ ( Here, in a comment on that post, he notes that this move will open these services up for more people:

"The improvements referenced aren't a step backward - they're a step forward!  This is about making sure these products reach more users - and are simple, elegant and delightful to use.  I look forward to sharing them with you, and invite you to suspend any concerns you have until you've had a chance to use them yourselves."

Last April, +Mark Traphagen, I and others were anticipating just this move and suggesting it would be a good thing ( I still believe that it is. 

Today, my wife and I were out shopping at Costco and were going to have to drive home, pick up our son and head out again to buy him some new soccer cleats. So, there we were in the parking lot and we look up and see a sporting goods store fifty yards from our car. We walk in, I start a Hangout with my son and I become his virtual shopper, allowing him to use my phone to scan the shelves real-time and pick the right pair of shoes. That was a huge time saver, and it really had nothing to do with the core of Google+. This functionality needs to be opened up and applied in countless more varieties of applications like this. 

All I will say here right now is that there is some seriously cool functionality that is already at your fingertips, if you just know how to look for it. If you have photos here on Google+, from Google Search just try typing "my photos of X" where "X" can be anything in particular that you're looking for. A few weeks back, I was looking for a particular photo I took of some stained glass windows in Notre Dame five years ago, so I just typed in "my photos of stained glass" and boom in a few seconds there they were - not just those images, but all of the cool stained glass windows I've shot over the years. [note: I forgot to note that it was +Mark Traphagen who first made me aware of this functionality, by the way]

Google is focusing some really powerful machine learning on image recognition and it's already starting to show up if you just know how to look for it. This is just one more example of the integration of personal information into your search results; something I wrote about three years ago as a kind of tiering of search into global, social and personal. A lot of that - not all, of course - is coming true:

The bigger point though is that the Photos opportunity also needs to be broadened out and freed up so that it can fulfill the full potential of the investments that the company is making in image recognition and who knows what else. Sure, a lot of these images will still be distributed on Google+ - that seems very unlikely to go away - but to fulfill its full potential Google+ really shouldn't be a requirement for interacting with those images. 

The Google+ Stream
Clearly, there are big changes afoot here on Google+ these days. My hope, as I've stated many times, is that Google will more clearly position the network as an "interest graph" - a way to connect people around shared interests, rather than as some sort of also-run social graph that tries mistakenly to chase after Facebook and a market opportunity that has already been largely filled. That's my hope. In the meantime, I think that this coming separation for Hangouts and Photos will be a good thing. 
More changes afoot at Google+. TechCrunch has learned, and now confirmed with Google, that David Besbris has left his role as the head of the company's..
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 +Gideon Rosenblatt - I actually think they parse their words incredibly carefully, and the pattern is almost identical to what happened with Google Buzz.   I don't know either - and I am not pretending I do, but now having read this and a bunch of other reports, I believe that photos and hangouts will be actively developed and "the stream" will be just maintained.  Have you ever thought of how antiquated it is - I mean formatting tags in this day and age, come on. 

Of course "other things are afoot" - I certainly hope so,  The Google contacts upgrade - long, long overdue in my opinion, just shows they are going to use the same model for the sharing - but is is clear that photos is their real interest, and they would probably prefer that writers like you use Blogger, which has the same sharing options.   

Anyway, I could be wrong - and maybe they really will convert the stream into an interest based system - we will have to see. 

p.s.  - you got my pm right?
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"People don't realize they're blessing each other with this."

The wonderful, real story behind the Vulcan greeting. 

#spock   #Nimoy   #Shekinah  
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+William Shatner is answering questions about his relationship with Leonard Nimoy live on Twitter right now. Wonderful answers too:
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  • Wharton School
    MBA, 1989 - 1991
  • Lewis and Clark College
    International Relations
Basic Information
What do we want our organizations and technologies to be when they wake up?
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 
I'm a technologist with a background in business and social change. I write about the impact of technology on organizations and society.
  • The Vital Edge
    Publisher and Writer, 2013 - present
    Disruptively good business.
  • Alchemy of Change
    Writer, 2010 - 2012
    Executive Director, 2001 - 2010
  • Microsoft
    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
  • US China Business Council
    1985 - 1989
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