• Matters of Media
    Media is the reflection of humanity. It reveals what we admire, fear, love and covet. Media is the connective tissue that binds societies together. Media is the playing field upon which global commerce competes. In 1967, Marshall McLuhan said, "Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication." Now, in the early 21st century, as the implications of Moore's and Metcalfe's laws reveal themselves, media appears to not just be impacting how humans organize in societies, but the human species itself. Media evolution is impacting human ...
  • Exit Interview with Guest Editor Brian Monahan
    What did you learn from editing this magazine? I don't know if "learning" is the right word, but I was inspired. Certainly, you talk to Tim Kring about how some of the top Hollywood storytellers are thinking. I was inspired to talk to David Pescovitz, talking about, "You ain't seen nothin' yet," as far as the information barrage goes. I was inspired by talking to Howard Rheingold about how we develop new norms of reciprocity when we're working in all these horizontal groups. It just makes you so excited to see what the future actually holds. What was the most ...
  • The Future of Money
    As 2011 draws to a close, we enter the fourth year of the global economic crisis. The drama has been chronicled second-by-second by the pulse of Twitter, and a bleak financial future is easy to imagine. Might we all just end up huddling together in an impoverished global village, linked by little more than our Facebook accounts and reality TV? Against this backdrop, last year hundreds of millions of people spent billions of real dollars on virtual goods. What has the world come to? To answer to these questions we must look at the future of money. Let's start by ...
  • Selling Stories Tomorrow, Now
    The fundamentals of storytelling are timeless. Good characters will always need obstacles to overcome, the best villains will always have their soft side ("Luke, I'm your dad") and whenever possible, a life should hang in the balance. But new media provide new ways of telling stories. Radio made them mass market; television turned them visual; the Internet can render them interactive. Today, as new media platforms seem to emerge with the frequency of superhero films, the opportunities for storytellers are greater than ever before. Capitalizing on those opportunities are a handful of companies that operate in the ever-narrowing valley between ...
  • From Early Adopter to Early Adapter
    We are inextricably linked to the media we consume, and as it transforms, we too are transforming. These changes transcend the obvious changes to humanity as a whole in terms of society, technology and other external shifts. We are reprioritizing and reprogramming to more efficiently live in an ever-advancing world. Early adopters have become early adapters, not just acquiring new toys before their peers, but also more willingly conforming their behavior, psychology and biology to fit these new devices. Our sudden, surreptitious "faux-volution" parallels the technology around which we're adapting. Our technology is shifting from desktops to laptops to mobile ...
  • Meeting of the Minds
    What do you know? I don't mean like, "Hey, look at that!" I mean actually what do you know right now, as in: of what things are you aware? Chances are, there are many occurrences and activities of which you are aware in places all over the globe that you wouldn't have been 10 or even five years ago. Many of these may be mundane: what your old college roommate in Denver had for breakfast, or how a former colleague set a personal best in the local 10k half-way across the country. But the fact remains: you know them. It's ...
  • The Future of Search: A Conversation with Stefan Weitz, Microsoft's Director of Search and Director at Bing
    Where are we in the evolution of search and navigation? Well, it was text-based for 20 years and pretty much comprised of pages with links. The way I describe the Web of today is a high-definition proxy for the physical world. Meaning that everything you can touch, taste, feel, look at, talk and converse with, have an interaction with. Almost everything on the planet has been modeled, in some shape or form - some more than others - in this digital context. Everything, from little puppies to the shoes that I'm wearing, to the coffee cup that I'm drinking out ...
  • The Future of, Well, Us: A Conversation with Howard Rheingold
    How are we evolving because of the changes in media? I think you can make a very strong case that the technologies we have created - and the media that we make out of some of those technologies - is, in fact, how humans have evolved. This is, of course, in the realm of theory, but it is not "blue sky" theory. If you look at the earliest artifacts of human communication - like cave paintings, done 35,000 to 45,000 years ago - humans begin to learn by imitation, and it takes on a kind of Darwinian process, because we ...
  • I, Part Robot
    After reading this story, you may think that Paul Isakson has lost his mind. And you would be partly right, because Isakson believes he is a cyborg. You know, a creature that is part man, part machine. But he hasn't actually lost his mind. He has simply stored a part of it in some machines for safe keeping, and that is why he believes he is a cyborg. It is also why he believes you most likely are too, because whether we think that way or not, we are all becoming part machine. "How many phone numbers can you remember ...
  • A Natural Selection
    I've been trying to tell that story for 40 years, so when I learned that Monahan was trying to tell a similar story, I asked him to collaborate on this issue so we could try and tell it together. But it was his idea to flip the lens, and that instead of talking about how media was evolving, we instead focus on how people were evolving because of media. And in particular, how humans might be beginning to evolve at an accelerated rate, because of the acceleration of the speed of media. A Moore's Law for media, if you will. ...
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