Freitag, 20. März 2009

Innovation: Déjà-vu, vu jà dé and jamais vu

A futuristic picture from 2002: A wearable computer with communication ...
Two annoying points on Innovation:
  • Innovations take often such a long time to succeed, e.g. 15 years,
  • and new people think that this is brand new.

The idea to write this blog post was from the LinkedIN forum "Greater IBM" where younger colleagues show that they think "this is new" or "this should come" - and its already here, and waiting for success. The specific innovation discussed there is the open mobile phone wave - now the mobile phone finally becomes a regular computer. This is correct and important, but it is not the first time:

  • starting about 1990, the [wintel] computer became mobile as "wearable computer".
    Xybernaut was the leading company (I had once dinner with the CEO).
    But the product remained a niche, no success, bad ending of the company.
  • about 2004/2005, IBM Research had a modular mobile computer "Metapad" (with touch-sensitive screen). A start-up trying to distribute the Metapad failed.

Now technology and context (mobile device penetration) and entrepreneurship (Steve Jobs) make the open mobile computer Me.C possible ...

Another long-running innovation are RFIDs, starting e.g. with Paul Moskowitz' United States Patent 5,528,222 - filed 09/09/1994 . And I read today "70% of RFID projects fail" - although not for technical reasons! And RFIDs (and their variants) are still futuristic for many people!

Therefore the title of this post on innovation and these notions:

  • Déjà-vu something new with the feeling already been seen
  • Vu jà dé something old and often seen which suddenly looks different
  • Jamais vu something simply new

Mittwoch, 4. März 2009

Physophy (and IT): Evolution as a software system

Evolution is . . . Evolution is the main part of modern biology, and one main part of modern biology is bioinformatics! The core of the evolution is the development of a software system (based on genes and proteins etc), but function-wise it is a compact, special, adaptive software system with controlled adaptability:
This software orders the detailed construction of organisms.
What is missing today, is an analysis and modeling of evolution as a software system!
There are several aspects of commercial and industrial (human-made)software which are helpful in understanding, e.g.
  • it is easier to reuse running code than to develop new,
  • similar: reusing established subroutines allows hierarchical structures,
  • flexibility on the code level requires building blocks,
  • flexibility on the execution level requires configurator capablity.

But you need more (and most of it is new and non-trivial):

  • preparation of self-modifying code
  • close interconnection between program and storage
  • mechanisms for easy reconfiguration,
    adaptive to "more or less mutations wanted",
  • i.e. management of the "mutation distances".

The "mutation distance" determines the probability of again useful software after a random software mutation. What is needed are software engineering models how to achieve these functional features - and then see how much is directly implemented in genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.

This software engineering science is the engineering discipline of biology - a wonderful field of exciting and relevant research, much more scientific than ruminating the (of course also important) human software generation processes...

Many people are not aware that evolution takes place on the software level, not on the level of visible features (phenotypes)!

“I made this program longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” - paraphrasing Blaise Pascal (after ).

Montag, 2. März 2009

Innovation: Fine Arts and IT

IT, Art and Social Data: Fleshmaps from
artistic studies by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas (2008)

More Business, less Art
Origin: Martin Wattenberg

Industry is always balancing between standardization and innovation: Maturing means cost reduction through standardization - but "market" means trying to be special! One way to be special in areas where humans are the target audience is fine arts. But what is new?

New is the exploitation of IT for fine arts (vice versa). IT is a wonderful magnifier of the creative power, and also of the distribution power of some piece of art.
Many great examples are from the IBM (close to MIT) group around Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas:
From a business perspective, examples combining business, IT and fine arts are more and more important to attract people in the information flood: The example shows the stock market overview on Monday, March 2 - with a lot of red (losses).
More fine art, more life and less bsuiness (presumably) shows the web site fleshmap mapping human bodies and desires.