Friday, July 31, 2009

can robots take over the world?

And in robot news....

Hans Moravec, pioneer in mobile robot research and founder of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute claims robots are going to take over as the dominant life force on earth. He makes some crazy arsed claims that currently robots have the brain capacity of ants but that by 2040 they will be as intelligent as humans. Check out the interview here.

So... what would this all mean? If we can teach them to do all the jobs we don't want to do (or are too lazy to do), Moravec claims we'll be like slave owners living lives of comfort, health, and boundless plenty and it will all lead to developing life on other planets... ok, is this all sounding like a cross between a techno bible and the musings of a man who likes to smoke some really special stuff indeed or could this be the life of our future generations?

Fast Company printed an interesting reflecting on the issue of Artificial Intelligence last week claiming it is rediculous to consider robots taking over the world just yet. Their perspective is clean cut - Why would we be giving autonomy to computerized systems that lack anything other than simplistic algorithms for decision-making? They use the military and the sharemarket to showcase their interesting perspective.

I also spoke to the smartest techy guy I know (ahem) about Moravec's claims for the year 2040 and he thinks this highly implausible time frame given one of the smartest thing robots are doing today is automating pizza production for Pizza outlets...

But's a feel good story at the end...given Japan has the greatest number of robots, it doesn't sound too far fetched they are now appearing in fashion parades there:

Think Fresh 09

So, we're on the road to Think Fresh 09. Can't believe it has been a year already since the inaugeral Session!
As we head into our second year of Think Fresh. we're excited to see the momentum it has generated amongst our staff, clients and agency partners.
The invites are in now in the post but if you aren't on our list and live in Melbourne or Sydney, drop us a line.... we might be able to squeeze you in!
This year's theme is THE FUTURE IS NOW and the programme line up is bound to teach us all a few things to help us embrace change today.
here's a bit of a spiel on the speaker at this year's events.
  • Charlie Nelson, Futurist at Foreeechange will be talking about the power of foresight.
  • Justin Baird, Head of Innovation at Google. He's going to give the Google perspective on the next 12 months and what it means for us mere mortals.
  • Billy Tucker, Business Development Director, Microsoft Consumer and online is going to be sharing some of the technologies Microsoft are working on.
  • Graham Christie, Partner at Big Mobile is going to be exploring why 2010 is the year we fully embrace mobile as a marketing channel.
  • Rob Leach, Head of MCn Connect will give us the heads up on what clients should be doing about interactive TV in Australia.
  • Risto Sampola, 3AW's Technology blogger will be taking us through the big innovations across the tech industry that are expected to change the way we engage with brands tomorrow.
  • Kate Kendall, Online editor at Marketing Mag will be talking through the thrills, spills and belly aches of social media.
  • Leigh Terry, OMD's Managing Partner and digital whizz kid will be getting the crowd excited about the big media trends on the horizon and letting us all know what we should be doing now.
  • Toby Dewar, McDonald's Nat Media and Sponsorship Manager is going to give us the Maccas story - how to transform a big business and succeed.
  • Kate Gunby, OMD Insights Director is presenting findings from our latest research on the way different organisations are future proofing themselves against a constantly changing business landscape.

To get us all in the mood over the next 4 weeks till kick off... we'll be posting up thoughts and noodlings on the theme THE FUTURE IS NOW...

indeed it is.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hell has no fury like a customer scorned

We all know that if you have a bad meal you generally tell more people about that, than if it was a great meal – particularly if the service wasn’t up to scratch.

Recently published Forrester research looked to put some numbers behind how customer experience impacts word of mouth.
It confirms bad news travels faster than good news...
  • Bad news is discussed more frequently. For all industries except retail, consumers discussed bad experiences with more people than they discussed good ones.

And if that is bad news about airlines you tell more people....

  • Airlines face the largest negativity gap. While consumers will tell an average of 5.6 people about a bad experience with an airline, they will only tell 4.4 people about a good one — the largest negative gap across any industry.

Case in point is United Breaks Guitars.

Long story short, a guy flew United Airlines with his band, his guitar ended up broken at the hand of employees, and the airline offered no compensation. He responded by creating a music video about the experience (with two more to come). Now, United is feeling the wrath of citizen journalism, the social web, and the millions of airline travelers who can identify with Dave Carroll’s experience. Would you believe this song is now available on iTunes - music career pending.

You can read the whole story on Carroll’s blog, but this excerpt captures part of the back story behind the video:
“They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.”

Interestingly Chris Ayres of The Times Online in the U.K has but a value on this consumer backlash - $180 Million (10% of its market capital).

One of the many comments I seen in response to the video; “Nice to see that someone managed to cost United so dearly. Maybe they'll think next time about the people who really matter...The customers!”

United has now tried to offer payment to Dave Carroll, but he has refused. See his response here.

A lesson learnt for United I think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

giant steps are what you take...

1969 was a big year.
Led Zep 1 came out, Neil and the gang did their thing on the moon, John and Yoko got to hang out in bed, Easy Rider came out at the movies, The Brady Bunch started and ....blimey what a year it was!
How do I remember all of this?

NY Times have developed a rather impressive interactive timeline for 1969 with video and images to bring the year back to life.

click here to check it out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

don't shoot the messenger

Incredible animation work from a Korean animator Moo-hyun Jang:

great viewing if you need 10 minutes away from your usual workload!