The Sixth Paradigm

Are you interested in the proliferation of markets everywhere (think not only the major financial markets but also Facebook, iTunes, Second Life… )? What about cloud computing and concepts such as Everything as a Service? And finally the digitization which transforms so many industries and activities? Now let’s tie those three big trends together and you’ll end up with the Sixth Paradigm of Sean Park.

I attended Park’s workshop about Reinventing Financial Services at the LIFT conference in Geneva, Switzerland, but don’t run away now thinking that “it’s about finance, so it must be utterly boring.” In fact, Park’s thinking about financial services is embedded in a more general philosophy about change in the economy and society, and about the clashes between those changes and culture in big and small companies.

Park is heavily inspired by the work of the economist Carlota Perez who wrote the book Technological revolutions and financial capital (2003). In this video Perez explains five technological revolutions and the new paradigm or common sense they brought along in each case:

This is a trailer video about the possible application of those ideas for the financial services:

You can find Park’s presentation of this re-invention of financial services on his blog.

A fictional narrative written in 2005 by Park explores the future of financial services and markets from the vantage point of December 2015 looking back on the changes that occurred over the past decade. Not to be interpreted literally, the goal was to foster discussion and debate on how powerful secular trends in technology, economics and demography might act to shape a new landscape in how markets operate and financial services are delivered in the future.

Pretty fascinating stuff. You can follow Park on his blog The Park Paradigm and of course on Twitter.

At last! Moving around in Second Life using Kinect

Remember the guys who used the Kinect to move around and play in World of Warcraft? I was frustrated that Second Life did not have the scoop… but here we are now: those same people from the University of Southern California, Institute for Creative Technologies, demonstrate how they use the Kinect to move an avatar and to use the camera:

Can Avatar Kinect make virtual environments go mainstream?

Microsoft announces Avatar Kinect. Notice how it seems to be possible to give the avatars facial expressions. Of course, I don’t think this will be a user generated world, boasting its very own economy etc. Maybe it will fail miserably, like Google’s Lively did. But then again, maybe it’ll take off, combining motion based gestures, facial and voice recognition and taking the dream of avatar mediated interaction into another direction…

Eternal shame! World of Warcraft mage beats Second Life geeks!

Oh my! Is our Second Life community, and especially the geeky part of it, losing it’s innovative edge? New World Notes posted a few days ago about how the Kinect is being used to move around and play in World of Warcraft. Watch this video:

Interesting to note: in 2008 already former Linden Lab Chairman Mitch Kapor was involved in the development of 3D web cameras enabling people to control their avatars by moving their body. Wagner James Au said in his post that an earlier version of the project “evolved into the Kinect”. Reading around, I learned on ArchVirtual that the co-developer of Hands-Free, Philippe Bossut, still works for… Linden Lab (the company behind Second Life).

All of which makes it even stranger that as yet we don’t have any video footage or stories about the Kinect in a Second Life context.

Is this because Second Life is not a gaming world? In the comments on New World Notes it seems people are interested in building in-world using Kinect hacks, but then again, sophisticated builders are a minority in Second Life.

So I set out to ask people in-world about Kinect. The AW Groupies is a very active tech chatgroup, but it seemed they were far more interested in discussing issues about “making meshes portable across platforms” (if you don’t understand a word of this, do not panic, go here)

Demoralized, I went to OpenSim, where I bumped into John “Pathfinder” Lester. Yes, also Pathfinder thinks the Kinect could be a game-changer, but no, he had no information about people in OpenSim or Second Life actually trying that out. “Give it some time”, he said.

Now, in case you have any doubts of the importance of what’s happening around the Kinect, Robert Scoble shared this video on Quora (notice the interesting remark about deviceless augmented reality!):

Kinect and virtual reality hacks, taken to an extreme (for now)

Okay, still trying to figure out how to use this in a newsroom context, but KinectHacks says this is The Most Extreme Kinect Hack they’ve seen so far, so here it comes (waiting for Draxtor Despres to incorporate some Kinect magic in one of his news machinimas):

Adding another one from KinectHacks:

What is remarkable is the fact that clever but I guess not heavily funded geeks can make this stuff. There is a whole community out there around the Kinect developing awesome stuff and it seems Microsoft is wise enough not to try to prevent this DIY combining of virtual environments, gaming, serious applications and body tracking. It reminds me my near future sci-fi project – some of the scenes in those books could very well turn out to be spot-on predictions (remember the anthropomorphic virtual rabbit in Rainbows End).