The Second Smartphone Revolution

Fred Wilson writing about mobile and the developing world:

But the next 2.5bn people to adopt smartphones may turn out to be a different story. They will mostly live outside the developed and wealthy parts of the world and they will look to their smartphones to deliver essential services that they have not been receiving at all – from the web or from the offline world. I am thinking about financial services, healthcare services, educational services, transportation services, and the like. Stuff that matters a bit more than seeing where you friends had a fun time last night or what it looks like when you faceswap with your sister.

The developed world created the smartphone, then we used it to solve all kinds of first world problems.

Now that the developing world has access, they’ll be using it to solve more fundamental problems. And without the burden of legacy anything – infrastructure, economy, business models, ways of working – it’s not far fetched to think that the next major disruptions to how we go about life will be cooked up in places that couldn’t be any further removed from Silicone Valley.

Your Data and The Wrong Stuff

You aren’t worried enough about your personal data.

I worry about my personal data online now more than ever. I wasn’t concerned at all a few years ago. That was before I realized how much of it was being collected by how many companies. No spoilers, but it’s a lot more than just Google and Facebook.

Having used Ghostery on my laptop for the last six months, my eyes are open to the sheer number of trackers online. The fact that I haven’t heard of most of them might mean that I don’t know much about the business. But it could also mean that at least one-or-two of them are wobbly startups, clinging to life, a botched round of funding away from going tits-up.

This is the way your data privacy is violated. Not with a bang, but with a whimpering Stanford grad.

What happens to your data when one of these places goes to the great tech-conference in the sky? The next time you see it might be on your credit report or in some kind of ransom note.

I’m sorry sir, but your credit report shows that you have an unhealthy obsession with fusion jazz, and we’ll be unable to extend this loan to you. And if you don’t give us a thousand dollars, we’ll tell your kids about your Warhammer 40k collection.

But that is nowhere nearly as fascinating as what’s being called LOVEINT. It’s a problem common enough that the intelligence community has a government-speak acronym for it. Imagine high-school jealousy, pettiness, and emotional instability powered by Big Data.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and with rosemary, at least that’s what your data profile indicated.

Richard wrote about it over at Sanspoint:

But another aspect of all that data collection is whether we trust who has access to it. I’m not talking about malicious hackers getting access into the Facebook database and finding out everything it knows about everyone. I’m more concerned about the stereotypical jilted ex who uses their access to do a deep dive into what their company knows about their former partner. No matter how well you lock down what other people can see on Facebook, someone—likely multiple someones—at the company have access into the database.

Yes, the people who have access to this stuff are likely big shots who have been vetted somehow. But never forget the NASA Astronaut that drove from Houston to Orlando wearing a diaper.

Even people with The Right Stuff can misplace it and spend days sitting in The Wrong Stuff.

Fuzzy Time

The watch has a Swiss Made Ronda Caliber 505.24H GMT Quartz movement that originally has 4 hands plus the date. We only use one hand that shows the 24 hour time in order to create a true slow watch that is reduced to only one necessary component. But we think it’s pretty cool to know that there actually is quite a complex movement happening inside of your watch.

The great thing is that the 24-hour dial allows you to see the entire day in one view. This fundamentally changes the way you look at your watch and it will give you a much better consciousness about the progression of your day. You will realize that the dial does not show a logo as we believe a great product does not need to show any visible branding to be recognized. A unique design language should do the job. The slow logo appears only on the back of the case.

Intergalactic travel is much stranger than sci-fi.

Stewart Brand:

Standard-physics travel will require extremely long voyages, much longer than a human lifetime. Schwartz suggested four options. 1) Generational ships—whole mini-societies commit to voyages that only their descendents will complete. 2) Sleep ships—like in the movie “Avatar,” travelers go into hibernation. 3) Relativistic ships—a near the speed of light, time compresses, so that travelers may experience only 10 years while 100 years pass back on Earth. 4) Download ships—”Suppose we learn how to copy human consciousness into some machine-like device. Such ‘iPersons’ would be able to control an avatar that could function in environments inhospitable to biological humans. They would not be limited to Earthlike planets.

Thus his four starship scenarios… 1) “Stuck in the Mud”—we can’t or won’t muster the ability to travel far. 2) “God’s Galaxy”—the faithful deploy their discipline to mount interstellar missions to carry the Word to the stars; they could handle generational ships. 3) “Escape from a Dying Planet”—to get lots of people to new worlds and new hope would probably require sleep ships. 4) “Trillionaires in Space” —the future likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson will have the means and desire to push the envelope all the way, employing relativistic and download ships or even faster-than-light travel.

It sounds like the most likely scenarios involve people believing in something larger. God, or the end of the world, or a trillionaire’s belief in his or her own ego. This is all assuming we don’t ruin everything here before we can get away…which seems like the most likely scenario to me. But maybe I need to stop reading about peak oil.

Via

Soldiers Feel Loss, Anger When Their Robots Die

There were a few articles about soldiers becoming emotionally attached to their battlefield robots a couple weeks ago. It’s stuck with me because IT’S SO WEIRD, and it might be something we all have to deal with at home. My wife already gives me grief about how often I have my nose stuck in the screen of my phone.

These soldiers take care of the robots that do a great deal of their dirty work, such as bomb disposal. They learn the robots’ quirks, what the robot can and cannot do. They train with the robots every day. Then, one day, something goes awry and the robot is blown to pieces, creating a sense of anger and sadness that soldiers have trouble deciphering.

They couldn’t quite verbalize the reason behind their sadness, but Carpenter believes it stems from the loss of something familiar, a semi-autonomous object with which they spent every day for quite some time.

Carpenter is concerned that further emotional attachment to robots could affect a soldier’s decision-making skills. Petman and BigDog, robots designed by Boston Dynamics, may one day be used on battlefields. (The bots look like a human and a dog, respectively.)

After watching videos of Petman and BigDog, I’m already feeling a bit sentimental.