by Stephen Downes
Jun 06, 2016
Analysis of the most recent report from Mary Meeker on internet trends, referenced here Friday. Bryan Alexander notes (among other observations) "Meeker sees speech recognition and voice interfaces going mainstream. Good reflections here." Inside Higher Ed, unwilling to take any sort of stance, gives us 36 undifferentiated highlights. Ad Week shows restraint and gives us 22 things. Inc. does even better and focuses on 5 things, including slowing internet growth, privacy concerns, and coming changes in search and messaging. Bloomberg has it in one: the slowing internet growth curve. Charles Jennings pull a slide out of the Meeker deck ('Is it a car? Is it a computer?") in his discussion of driving tests ("the driving licence as we know it – a ‘badge’ received for scoring a ‘pass’ in the driving test - is fast becoming an artefact from a bygone era, even though it seems to have been with us forever," he writes). Finally, a brutal brilliant parody video that captures the deck nicely for millennials.
I lot of employers have been taking training into their own hands recently, spurred on by digital media and learning providers such as Pearson. The early returns this apprenticeship program are not encouraging. "Questions have now been raised about government moves to encourage more employers to run their own training," according to this article, "with the average Ofsted rating across all eight employer providers inspected in the last nine months being a disappointing three." Providers fare no better. "Pearson was meanwhile slammed by Ofsted in January for its inadequate apprenticeship provision, after the inspection team found 'no 'key strengths'." This is one of the key truths about private sector management of public services: they have to be closely monitored and scrutinized because they will cut corners and provide inadequate service.
Is it really much of a leap to imagine evaluating people this way? Ask yourself whether this sounds like exam grading: "it’s extremely difficult and nearly impossible to break down aesthetics as a hard set of rules. Our vocabulary for defining what makes a good photo is very limited." So, what we have here is a tool that evaluates and organizes your photos in order of goodness (sadly, for an Apple environment only, otherwise I'd test it on my Flickr photos). The Medium article itself is a puff piece, but there's a good commentary and discussion by Meri Walker on Facebook. (p.s. why would we need blockchain credentials if we could just assess each person in real time based on their actual work? I ask you!)
I've never been an Instagram fan because the platform always felt too controlling (Pinterest falls into the same category). I don't like square photos. But I understand why other people like it; I remember Dave Cormier telling me he can just shoot photos and have them upload automatically. "Instagram’s lack of feature depth has not prevented it from serving its core base," says Zeldman, "but clever third-party programmers have made the platform useful and enjoyable for people who wanted more. And now, that’s over." Instagram's new API restrictions demonstrate once again the risk of depending on third party software and even more so the danger of building a business model based on a single company.
The headline is probably overstated, but this model does provide a good answer to the 'tragedy of the commons' scenario. For those who are unfamiliar with it: the idea of the tragedy of the commons is that a resoruce held in common is owned by no one, so there is a temptation for people to take and not to give back or care for the resource, which gradually leads to the degradation of the resource. The response here is that if people can remember who the cheaters are, they can take action to protect the commons. "Stewart and Plotkin used computer simulations that allowed the memory capacity of players to evolve alongside the strategies themselves. They found that not only were longer memories favored, but the evolution of longer memories led to an increase in cooperation."
I'm not really a model maker, but I know people who are, and in any event David Neat's blog is a classic example of a sustained sharing of open learning. Subjects include where to find premade shapes, making paneled doors out of stencil card, polymer-modified plaster, and much more. I love the detail and the clarity of the posts, and most of all, how this blog is really useful to a wider community. Via Metafilter. Article in Makezine. Post about New Blade, the model maker's fair.
Some of the issues: the choice of bitcoin rather than ethereum; using a link to view certificates rather than public-private key pairs; leaving the possibility of certificate revocation in the system; privacy and transparency around blockchain; the right of the user to curate the certificates being shared; and whether the use of certificates can be tracked. There are three repositories: the certificate schema, defining the data structure; the certificate issuer; and the certificate viewer. The developers have released version 1 of the code to the community.
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