The Places You'll Go

The Atlantic • January/February 2013

Travels with Google. Google chief technology advocate Michael Jones describes the next iteration of Google Maps, which will enable users to wander almost anywhere and receive a stream of relevant information determined by dynamic interaction with their smartphones. "In the future, the phone will signal you—go left or straight ahead—in words or sounds in your ear, or visually through your glasses, so you can just look where you're going and walk. It'll be like you’re a local everywhere you go," says Jones. Just being able to look where you're going would be a big improvement.

This interview helped me recapture the original wonder with which I first encountered Google Maps. It appeared only a short while ago and now it is indispensably useful. One of the brothers responsible for it is now responsible for the appearance of Graph Search in Facebook. Be sure to click through to the other Atlantic technology interviews (I liked Genevieve Bell—"If William Gibson said the future is already here and unevenly distributed, I'd say the present is already here and unevenly distributed." (Michalko)

Better than Human: Why Robots Will—And Must—Take Our Jobs

Wired • 24 December 2012

Racing with the machines. Wired senior maverick Kevin Kelly examines the future of robotics and offers a pep talk on how to survive an increasingly automated work environment. Smart machines eventually will take our jobs and it's up to us to stay one step ahead by creating new ones.

It focuses on robots but it's really about the phenomenon Marc Andreessen identified when he explained Why Software Is Eating The World. Nevertheless, good article. Funny pictures. A credible view of the automation cycle that attempts to be reassuring. So why do I feel depressed and frightened? Genevieve Bell alerts us that it might be social and cultural. The West (US) has The Terminator and Japan has Astro Boy. (Michalko)

Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers

Harvard Business Review • January-February 2013

Deconstructing disclosure. Typical disclosure statements are lengthy, complex and most people don't bother reading them, say authors Richard H. Thaler and Will Tucker, who note that inattention to fine print can lead to missed opportunities and nasty surprises. However, as disclosure forms increasingly move to machine-readable format, a new category of services called "choice engines" will take the drudge work out of deciphering the details. Read on for a preview of what "smart disclosure" will look like.

The software is there and capable cf. Andreessen above. This is a plea for the data to be released in a form that permits it to be manipulated to provide services you don't now know you need but will increasingly rely on. Like Google Maps. Of course, each of the choice engine providers will attempt to lockdown the data that they've collected and the analytics they've extracted. This article brought to my attention—intriguing approach but I'm not yet ready to be a subscriber. (Michalko)

Why You Won't Be the Person You Expect to Be

The New York Times • 3 January 2013

Failure of imagination. An article published in the current Science journal reveals that although most people acknowledge that they've experienced significant change in the past decade, at the time of questioning they feel they've reached a plateau and their predictions for the next 10 years are generally "more of the same." "Believing that we just reached the peak of our personal evolution makes us feel good," explains co-author Jordi Quoidbach. Read on for a summary of the findings on how the "end of history illusion" can hamper our ability to imagine new beginnings.

And now I know that I will look back at my younger self amused that Google Maps caused me such wonder and delight. And this article begins to explain why that is likely to be true and inevitable. (Michalko)

Why Amazon Is the Company to Watch in 2013

Outside Innovation • 3 January 2013

Stay tuned. Marketing expert Patricia Seybold says Amazon's move into smartphone territory later this year will enable the e-tailer to leverage its recommendation engine, one-click technology, cloud storage and vast e-content trove to challenge Apple and Google on their home turf. Read on for Seybold's analysis of why Amazon will come out on top.

She might be right. I know how important my Amazon recommendations are to me. I tune them. I maintain them. And I was momentarily bereft when the original version of the TrackMeNot Firefox add-in scrambled them. (Michalko)

The Past Comes Alive: History in High-Definition

Time • January 2, 2013

Worth noting. Check out this eye-popping collection of digitally restored images culled from the Library of Congress archives. The site,, offers a great example of how one person's passion can transform and enhance the value of public-domain content.

This will delight and/or enrage you but it is certainly nicely curated and done with enthusiasm. Browse the gallery. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what recent award-winning work looked at whether the actions stipulated as key to the audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories were actually instrumental in creating trust in the designated community of users?

Get the answer.