Archive for April 15th, 2005

Dorky guy gets a medal. What is he looking at?
The official pictures from the Computerworld Heroes Ceremony pictures are up. And there are a lot of them.
Some of folks standing around before the awards. And completely dorky pictures of people getting their medals. Our case study is now on the site too.

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Rupert Murdoch told US editors yesterday that the “Internet is an emerging medium that is not my native language.”

As the big Fox told the editors that News Corp had slept too long during the Internet emergence, he quoted Phil Meyer:

One writer, Philip Meyer, has even suggested in his book The Vanishing Newspaper that looking at today’s declining newspaper readership — and continuing that line, the last reader recycles the last printed paper in 2040 — April, 2040, to be exact.

There are a number of reasons for our inertia in the face of this advance. First, newspapers as a medium for centuries enjoyed a virtual information monopoly — roughly from the birth of the printing press to the rise of radio. We never had a reason to second-guess what we were doing. Second, even after the advent of television, a slow but steady decline in readership was masked by population growth that kept circulations reasonably intact. Third, even after absolute circulations started to decline in the 1990s, profitability did not.

But those days are gone. The trends are against us. Fast search engines and targeted advertising as well as editorial, all increase the electronic attractions by a factor of 3 or 4. And at least four billion dollars a year is going into R&D to further improve this process.

So unless we awaken to these changes, which are quite different to those of 5 or 6 years ago, we will, as an industry, be relegated to the status of also-rans. But, properly done, they are an opportunity to actually improve our journalism and expand our reach.

Full speech at The News Corp site.

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The word “robot” was first widely used in the play RUR or Rossum’s Universal Robots [in Czech] by Karel Capek (but some give credit to Karel’s brother Josef for coining the word). The play you may remember is about a robot rebellion — a justified one at that.
The Guardian asks scientists and other experts to evaluate 10 end-of-the-world scenarios as to their likelihood of occuring in the next 70 years. Robot Rebellion was right up on top with a HIGH likelihood and a HIGH impact.

Here’s a very brief summary:

1: Climate Change.
Chance of temperatures rising more than 2C (the level considered to be dangerous by the European Union) in the next 70 years: High
Danger score: 6

2: Telomere erosion.
Chances of a human population crash due to telomere erosion during the next 70 years: Low
Danger score: 8

3.Viral Pandemic
Chance of a viral pandemic in the next 70 years: Very high
Danger score: 3

4. Terroristic Attack.
Chances of a major terrorist attack in the next 70 years: Very high
Danger score: 2

5. Nuclear War
Chance of a global nuclear war in the next 70 years: Low
Danger score: 8

6. Metor or Asteriod Impact
Chance of the Earth being hit by a large asteroid in the next 70 years: Medium
Danger score: 5

7. Robot Rebellion
Chance of super-intelligent robots in the next 70 years: High
Danger score: 8

8. Cosmic ray blast from exploding star
Chance of encountering a supernova in the next 70 years: Low
Danger score: 4

9. Super-volcanos
Chance of a super-volcano in the next 70 years: Very high
Danger score: 7

10. Earth swallowed by a black hole
Chance of Earth being gobbled up by a black hole in the next 70 years: Exceedingly low
Danger score: 10

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