Placebo Innovation | Benjamin Bratton

Worth reading (or viewing the video). Most things presented as “innovation” today are just not. Whether it’s by an individual in a TED talk, or by a company talking about their latest product.

http://www.bratton.info/projects/talks/we-need-to-talk-about-ted/

Problems are not “puzzles” to be solved. That metaphor assumes that all the necessary pieces are already on the table, they just need to be re-arranged and re-programmed. It’s not true.

“Innovation” defined as moving the pieces around and adding more processing power is not some Big Idea that will disrupt a broken status quo: that precisely is the broken status quo.

One TED speaker said recently, “If you remove this boundary, …the only boundary left is our imagination.” Wrong.

If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions).  Bracketing it off to the side to focus just on technology, or just on innovation, actually prevents transformation.

Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us. This is not about “personal stories of inspiration,” it’s about the difficult and uncertain work of de-mystification and re-conceptualization: the hard stuff that really changes how we think. More Copernicus, less Tony Robbins

Should Government Run Surpluses

Prof.Steve Keen writes & talks:

At a talk entitled “The Age of Entitlement is Over?” at the [Sydney] Northside Forum, after recommending George Monbiot’s excellent article on grouse I used the Open Source program Minsky to model what can happen when a government runs a permanent surplus. The result is not what advocates of government surpluses expect. (you can download the model Prof.Keen used in Minsky).

In a nutshell, country economics don’t work on exactly the same basis as companies or households. Pretending that they are all the same is a really bad idea.

Stupid Patent Applications

Stupid patent (pending) example:

“iCamPRO has 8 built-in IR LEDs with a light sensor to trigger them on/off. Our patent-pending technology allows you to turn the IR LED lights ON or OFF from app.”

Nothing innovative. Not “non-obvious to an expert in the field” (European patent test). This is from an Amsterdam,  The Netherlands based company. Speaking as a fellow Dutchie: embarrassing.

I hope and expect that the European patent office won’t grant that patent, as it just doesn’t pass even their basic tests. But think of why it was filed in the first place… what kind of stuffed business logic and waste of resources lies at the basis of that. Sigh.

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