Fun Friday Links: Innovations of Tomorrow, a Hackable World and Playing the Product

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Happy Link Time

December 28, 2012

Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK!

Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow

This list of innovations is both fascinating and terrifying. I can’t help but feel like everything I grew up with is on the fast train to being forgotten — handwritten letters, hangovers, technology that can’t get in my head — but at the same time, I’m a bit sad that what’s in the pipeline won’t be a part of my youth (which evidently includes cars we can drive with our minds and teeth than can think).

Check this list out and you’ll see what I mean. Further, what’s great about it is that it doesn’t jump the gun–there are realistic concerns outlined here, like which tech problems need to be addressed most urgently, and the sinister side of today’s technology.

For example, here’s a response from Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard professor of law and computer science, on what scares him most about innovation:

“The Internet is not merely connecting computers together for the benefit of humans; it’s connecting humans together to reinvent labor. This opens terrific opportunities along with real worries. Soon we’ll have to question whether an earnest-looking group of protesters with hand-lettered signs is genuine or simply rapidly convened as a paid flash mob: a crowdsourced crowd. We’ll be able to one-click shop for cheering throngs or protests at a particular location on a moment’s notice, indistinguishable from genuine collective sentiment. A house can be surveilled and a spouse tailed because an online bounty has been put out for anyone nearby to take a photo of the building at a particular address, or to ‘follow that car.'”

The Hackable World

A hat tip to Jason Kottke for linking this Vanity Fair article, and for describing it perfectly:

“We’ve spent the two dozen years putting computers in everything from our bodies to our cars. Now those devices increasingly have wireless connections to the outside world. Throw in a little lax security and the whole world becomes hackable.”

Powazek: I’m Not The Product, But I Play One On The Internet

I dig it when people take deeper looks at the way we use certain words or phrases (travel back in Conspire time to this story about Jack Dorsey’s thoughts on the word “user”), so I’m sure you can imagine what a delight it was to stumble across this post by Derek Powazek.

Whether consumer or producer, seeing how intelligently Powazek tears apart the popular notion that if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product, is going to get those cogs turning.

“There are several subtextual assumptions present in ‘you are the product’ I think are dangerous or just plain wrong that I’m going to attempt to tease out here. Many of these thoughts have been triggered by Instagram’s recent cluelessness, but they’re not limited to that. I also want to be clear that I’m not arguing that everything should be free or that we shouldn’t examine the business plans of the services we consume. Mostly I’m just trying to bring some scrutiny to this over-used truism.”

Bliss Lists

And so here we are, at the last Fun Friday Link Time of 2012. What better way to end it all than with a list? But it’s not just any list–oh no. This is a collection of only the most meaningful, euphoric moments in life. This podcast from Radiolab is bursting with the storytellers’ happiest, most blissful experiences. They are unexpected, heartbreaking, serendipitous, romantic and absolutely inspiring. Take an hour out of your day to treat yourself.

And hey, have a happy new year.