I’m drawing together the final (open source) technologies that will be integrated into the serendipity engine v2.0, which will be unveiled next month at Google’s Zeitgeist and Big Tent events here in the UK. (oh boy.. the little bits arrived in findochty yesterday, where i’m finishing my book).
I really like the possibilities of this:
The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera—point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene. Modern digital cameras capture gobs of parsable metadata about photos such as the camera’s settings, the location of the photo, the date, and time, but they don’t output any information about the content of the photo. The Descriptive Camera only outputs the metadata about the content.
what might it capture that you don’t expect? an exciting potential source of happy accidents.
10:09 am • 26 April 2012
How to Be Creative. (o rilly.)
Jonah Lehrer weighs/cashes in on the science of serendipity in the Wall Street Journal. A review of the literature, plus steps for Certain Success.
Skeptics don’t do well in the current climate, when people seek optimistic solutions rather than asking the important questions. REF: the Messianic overtones of TED events, the continued existence of Malcolm Gladwell, the endless stack of “business” books with “How to ROCK at XYZ” after a catchy headline.
I am a skeptic. I don’t feel there’s a one-size-fits-all solution for creativity. Or serendipity.
And that, at its core, is what the serendipity engine is all about.
9:11 am • 28 March 2012 • 1 note
We speak of being “grounded” and having our “feet on the ground” and now was the time to have some awareness of our feet. We were asked to consider the way our feet feel on the ground, the weight of our body on them and the feel of the ground under them. With no talking suggested, and only concentration on our feet, it made for hard work.
Then we were challenged to just listen. Take in the sounds of nature, with no judgement of the sounds or labelling. We stood by a waterfall which made it a glorious task but also made it easier for the mind to wander…
TreeHugger described how to do a slow walk, reporting back from an organised slow walk with Slow Down London.
Method fodder for the Serendipity Salons Mel and I are planning for festivals around the UK this summer.
2:40 pm • 20 March 2012 • 2 notes
“…three things need to be in place for a happy accident to become worthwhile: someone must be obsessed and daring enough to tinker and generate the new ideas, someone must be able to spot the one good idea among a host of useless ones, and someone needs the skill to realize the idea’s full potential.”
An interpretation of the requirements for serendipitous discovery from - of all places - the perfume world, uncovered whilst reading Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (Viking, 2008; p. 10).
Pleasantly consistent with serenA’s chance, insight and value typology.
Amateur (or professional) perfume makers, I would like to speak with you. Find me on twitter.
Thanks @benhammersley, who gave me the hat tip on the book
8:10 am • 17 March 2012 • 1 note
“To call a place Paradise you had to have something to back it up!”
Mel Woods and I have been talking about situationists and the method of the derive, and bringing it to festivals across the UK this summer to inspire serendipitous encounters in places rich with delight, saturated with magic and ripe for thinking otherwise.
This is a project one of her students, dkdundee, did late last year: A Slow Walk to Paradise.
It’s captured my imagination, particularly when considering different ways of travelling that might inspire people to respond to the environment in new and unexpected ways - a line of enquiry Kat considered in an inspired mobile mobilities workshop that she ran last year in London as part of her postdoc work.
More on the summer serendipity schedule soon.
8:08 pm • 16 March 2012
I recently convened two workshops for the masters students in the Media and Communications Department at LSE, where I’m a Visiting Fellow.
It was an opportunity to introduce the making methodology to students as part of their toolkit in research practice, and to explore alternative understandings of “Google” than that which Kat and I have devised in the serendipity engine. Kat spoke with them the day before; this put her theory into practice.
Alison Powell and I asked the students two questions:
- What human need does Google fulfill?
- What does Google look like?
We had asked them to bring physical examples of personal data, and we provided a treasure trove of curiosities (well, glue guns, rubber bands, glitter and other ephemera).
This is a summary of their Googles. Here is the Flickr set of their pieces.
Group 1 created a sprawling Google universe with a centralised brain that draws in many inputs to produce outputs. They placed special emphasis on the extent to which Google spreads its economic and political power across all of these things, as well as the boundaries that define its power.
Group 2 considered how Google delivers its results from our personal data - integrating one student’s loyalty cards from local shops to international brands - in conjunction with brand power, interconnections and keywords. Theirs was a very commercial observation of the service.
Group 3 considered the geographical and cultural filters that Google considers/implements/restricts, and how these affect what Google thinks we are looking for (and therefore what it delivers) and how far it is able to reach, globally.
Group 4 represented Google as a man - a happy man - through whom our personal data and our queries are analysed and synthesised, and then redelivered into the various media outputs it delivered.
Group 5 considered Google a way of connecting like-minded individuals through search and discovery, and how new connections - between people - increased the weight of the collective understanding of information, thus making it more likely to be served.
Many many thanks to the students of the Masters course for participating in this experiment and for embracing the task, and to Alison for offering the opportunity to extend my understanding of the making method as research practice.
12:40 am • 7 March 2012 • 1 note
“Strip away the nostalgia and maybe our moments of serendipitous discovery before the Internet are much more rational than we would like to think.”
— If The Internet Killed Serendipity, It Probably Never Existed Anyway
6:40 pm • 18 January 2012 • 5 notes
“Alfred … puts serendipitous recommendations in the palm of a consumer’s hand. Dubbed “Pandora for the real world,” Alfred is a personal robot that can learn users’ tastes when they teach it about their favorite places in the real world.”
Google + Cleversense = “serendipitous recommendations”. Marissa Mayer is “excited to welcome the CleverSense team to Google” today.
HT @invisiblecomma who says,
I guess they have some serendipity engineers now…
i don’t think this solves the problem. what if it’s rubbish in, rubbish out?
3:29 pm • 14 December 2011
from the brains at BERG London.
WANTING.. for Serendipity Engine v2.0 (in production from Jan 2012)
WAITING.. until it’s released
12:24 pm • 13 December 2011 • 18 notes