In 2009, a mild traumatic brain injury changed the way that game designer Jane McGonigal thought about everything -- literally. She spent a year recovering -- struggling to think clearly, be physically active, and find a new sense of purpose. Her journey back to health led her to invent a new form of game design, aimed at having a measurable positive impact on players' real lives, and fused with scientific research at every level. In this talk, you'll see the first results of that process: a game called SuperBetter. You'll hear about the game's first clinical trials, and get a crash course in getting SuperBetter yourself: Find out how to turn weak social ties into allies. Learn how to experience "gain without pain" (or what scientists call "post-ecstatic growth"). Discover the secrets of "Lazy Exercise" and "Ninja Weight Loss". Find out what a two-minute "Future Boost" is, and why it's the most important thing you can do each week for your physical and mental health. From the mind of a game designer comes a radically disruptive model for integrating breakthrough science into our daily lives.
The internet was supposed to allow media outlets not only to display the talent of their writers -- but to capture the intelligence of the audience. Remember that rhetoric? We've abandoned it; the most that publishers can claim is that their comments are not quite as bad as the competition's. Trolls and spammers are not the problem. They can be dealt with by brute-force moderation. The real tragedy: the triumph of mediocrity. People with time on their hands drown out more valuable contributors. We've all designed discussion systems with the most avid commenters in mind. We've given them stars and moderating powers and allowed them to develop cliques and a sense of ownership that shades into entitlement. They are not the only readers. They are not even the smartest of our readers. If we're truly to capture the intelligence of the audience, we need to design for the most intelligent of the audience.
One of the great failures of any company - for that matter of a capitalist economy - is ecosystem failure. Great companies build great ecosystems, one in which value is created not just for a single company or group of industry players, but for partners who didn't even exist when the product or service was introduced. Many companies start out creating huge value. Consider Microsoft, whose vision of a computer on every desk and in every home changed the world of computing forever, and created a rich ecosystem for developers. But as Microsoft's growth stalled, they gradually consumed more and more of the opportunity for themselves, and innovators moved elsewhere, to the Internet. Internet innovators like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have also created a rich ecosystem of opportunity, but like Microsoft before them, they are leaving less and less on the table for others. This is a bad trend. Wall Street firms, which got their start trading on behalf of clients, then began trading against them, then created vast Ponzi economies to drain the value from entire segments of the economy are even more dire examples of this trend. But this crisis of capitalism goes beyond individual industry segments. For example, the race by companies to eliminate labor costs has been a short term profit win but a long term loss. Since the cycle of capitalism depends on consumers as well as producers, and consumers are less and less able to find employment, at some point, we're going to have to start thinking about how to put people to work, rather than how to put them out of work. At O'Reilly, we've always tried to live by the slogan "Create more value than you capture." It's a great way to build a sustainable business and a sustainable economy.
Andrew McAfee, author of "Race Against the Machine," will engage with Tim about these ideas, and about how rethinking the economy becomes even more urgent in the face of the trend he explores in his book, in which jobs are being outsourced not just to low-wage countries, but increasingly to machines.
Legendary visionary Ray Kurzweil will join writer Lev Grossman from TIME Magazine for a mind-expanding keynote conversation about our future.
9th–13th March 2012