Can technology make army careers more sexy?

Technology will not only bring more women to war, they also play a huge role in recruitment efforts and are put forward as one of the main appealing factor to the younger generation (with hot chicks and nice landscapes, at least for the French army).

The Koreans seem to be preparing some new gear directly inspired by videogames, a clear move to attract gamers to the real battlefields?

The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said Monday that it would begin developing a high-tech combat uniform beginning next year.

Under the two-phase development program, the agency will develop a set of state-of-the-art battle dress uniform (BDU) and other military gear, including a bullet-proof helmet equipped with subminiature cameras and computer systems and a new K-11 rifle fitted with a day and night aiming device, an agency official said.

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Acting as

It’s a bit hard to believe it’s a first, but after storied appearances in movies a home robot now made it to a theater.

Tuesday marked the theatrical debut for the Wakamaru, which appeared onstage alongside real-life actors in a play that’s being hailed as a first in robot-human artistic collaboration. Hataraku Watashi (“I, Worker”), by playwright Oriza Hirata, focuses on a couple who own two housekeeping robots, one of which loses its motivation to work.

Cheap labor

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Happiness and television

“I don’t know that turning off the TV will make you more happy”, but as a study based on the answers of 45,000 Americans collected over 35 years by the University of Chicago shows:

“We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy. TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”

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Google’s newest line of business: reality mining

For Wikipedia Reality Mining “is the collection and analysis of machine-sensed environmental data pertaining to human social behavior, with the goal of identifying predictable patterns of behavior“. In a word it is an emerging science consisting of leveraging the unlimited data produced by machines around the world to analyze and understand society.

This is a gigantic business that is right around the corner, from predicting behaviors to feeling where the planet’s mind is going. And who better than google, with fingers on the pulse of the worlds questions (search), communications (gmail) and worries (news) to make business out of that? After the Flu Trends project comes another type of research: country reputation analysis.

An online survey has found that Korea is best known throughout the world for its leading conglomerates Samsung, LG and Hyundai, while its people are most known for their quick temper.

The Dong-A Ilbo commissioned the world’s leading search engine Google to conduct surveys on keywords that best represent 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and China, as well as their people […]

For the survey, Google Korea ran an automatic search Sunday evening on hundreds of billions of Web pages after typing in a series of questions in English on what a country or its people is known for.

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There will be an increasing number of possibilities and findings in that field, with only one limit: citizen’s privacy that is not really endanger by these large studies, but could be challenged by more localized and limited research.

Log Out Day

On a recent presentation at the EPFL about “the next ten years of the digital revolution” (slides) I explained that I think disconnection will be a key, with users pushing back technology to its true place to make it more effective. Korea (getting recognized as a laboratory for western society, and not only in my enthusiastic interviews 😉 is as usual at the forefront, coming up with the Log Out Day that was organized on November 11.

Students of Seoul Women’s University in Gongreung-dong turn in their mobile phones on Log Out Day, November 11, designed by the university to free students from networks for a day.

Instead of using their mobile phones or Internet services, students hand-wrote postcards and sent them via regular mail.

A university official said the campaign was designed to give students the space to rediscover themselves after being lost in the flood of information that surrounds us every day.

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What I especially like is the radicalism of an initiative that required students to send postcards.
But how long will the world’s post services still accept postcards?

Game changing technology

This is great, one of these moments when you see a number of technologies converge into something big. Google just launched their Mobile App for iPhone with voice search. Pick up your phone, talk, and it will fetch the results for you, taking into account the type of request you are making and your location.

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In itself it’s not really a technological innovation (search, geolocalization, voice recognition, Google has been using these technologies for a while) but the usecase is game changing. Take your phone, talk, get results on the move. It makes information more personalized, easier to browse to access. In a word, it’s Google getting one step closer to our life flow. With amazing new advertising possibilities…

Openness is difficult to scale

I believe that openness is virtue, a source of surprises and new horizons. I am always trying to answer and care for all the requests I am getting – regardless of the sender – in order not to give what I got when I was starting my projects: ignorance at best (one of the thing I believe needs to change in Europe), irony and disdain at worse.

Lift is also working along these lines. We listen to people. We have a survey that, good or bad, gets published online. We let the community manage more than 50% of the program. Our email address is everywhere on the site, and my phone number’s not too far either.

And then things grow bigger, and more is at stakes. A Lift speaking slot becomes a bigger deal. It is great exposure and value. You can get tenth of thousand of people watching your video. It’s a nice line on a resume. That is when things become harder. When you become unable to accommodate all feedback and suggestions.

With feedback, the problem is contradictory demands. In the post lift07 survey, we had half of the community asking for shorter breaks, the other half for longer breaks 😉 So I had to make the call, knowing I was making only half of my people happy (this sentence shows I’m a “glass half full” guy after all 😉

With suggestions it is even trickier as they are more personal, tied to someone who takes time to make a pitch and send it to us. Because the number of suggestions grew so much at a moment we were reducing the number of slots, being open meant that we were frustrating 99% of those who wanted to help us! “Sorry, your proposition is great but we have no open spot!”

And when openness means hurting the feelings of your closest supporter it becomes a problem. So I had to act, and just announced that we will not accept further suggestions for the program.

That comes from my belief that the only solution is to find more balance, and communicate more. For Lift the balance will come from the fact that the team will manage the official program alone (20 slots, 10 hours of presentations) when the community will manage the open part (36 slots, 50+ hours). For communication we will continue to be totally transparent about how the propositions and votes processes functions, and hopefully things will be a bit smoother from now!

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Hugh nailing one of our times dilemma.

Play Megaphone!

This is one of the presentation that struck me the most at this Lift Asia. What Jury does is really amazing, and opens up so many possibilities. Check it out, especially the demo she does around 2 minutes 50 seconds.

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Le Web 08

picture-1.pngI will be in Paris in December for Le Web, watching as the whole industry gathers in Europe thanks to the efforts of Loic Lemeur and his wife Geraldine. The speakers panel is beyond impressive (Marissa Mayer of Google, CEO of Myspace, founder of Meetic, Scoble, Arrington, etc etc) and features some non-web speakers like Paulo Coelho or my good friend (and amazing presenter) Itay Talgam.

The organizers have given me for the Lift community the only 30% discount code they have created (thanks Géraldine :)! Feel free to use it if you plan to attend the conference next month! Use LIFTLEWEB08 on amiando.com/leweb08!