As some of you know, I’ve recently taken up a new role as Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Massey University in New Zealand, Manawatu campus. I’ve been here almost a month now, settling in, getting to know the job, the town, the campus. And it’s all been such a good start, such a supportive and encouraging environment. VERY busy, but here’s a few pics of the beautiful riverside walk, the garden of my new home, which I’m very much looking forward to enjoying in the summer, and the new Impreza. I couldn’t last long without the Impreza to hand! The last pic is the gorgeous view from my office window. Just waiting for my container now, which is leaving Singapore today I hear! Hopefully many more posts to come about new developments soon.
Changing technology ensures that the question of what it means to be human, and how we interact with and sometimes fall in love with other humans, remains of interest to artists and film-makers. Weird Science, Electric Dreams, S1m0ne and Bladerunner for example, draw on the possibilities of artificial intelligence and robotics, and love blossoms, or otherwise, with a techno-twist. Themes of rivalry, fantasy and loss are given new life through exploring the concerns of materiality arising from imagined technologies. The object of affection may have a physical form, such as Bladerunner’s replicants, or may only exist in virtual form, as in Her, where an operating system called Samantha (expressed by Scarlett Johansson) commands the attention of the central character, Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The distinctive element in Her is the focus on intimacy with technology itself; Samantha’s introduction of a physical form into the relationship, a human stranger ‘surrogate’, is unsuccessful, and instead, the ‘couple’ settle into a routine of picnics and domesticity. The inherent social detachment of such an arrangement is alluded to in Theodore’s job, a letter-writer at ‘beautifulhandwrittenletters.com’.
The film is interesting in that is asks us to question whether we can be really intimate with a technological construct such as Samantha. We all know people who develop quite warm feelings towards Siri, or their Satnav (perhaps shouting at the latter, in a more realistic echo of domesticity). There are stories of deep engagement with avatar relationships in Second Life. If we consider more elaborate future relationships, whether in sci-fi or real life, the question of slavery, or domination arises, if the techno-partner is deemed to have a form of consciousness. Yet in Her, Samantha ultimately calls it a day and leaves cyber-town, suggesting a kind of freedom. Of course, building such a consciousness is difficult, and will require huge investment, with Apple, Google and Amazon now working on speech communication systems. Ultimately then, Theodore is being intimate with the product of a huge corporate that will no doubt be hoovering up his most private thoughts into forms of targeted advertising, or worse albeit in a surreal, calm vision of a future Los Angeles. Kevin Warwick, of cyborg experiments fame, talks of upgrading the human through technologically-mediated interconnection, where anatomical enhancement offers endless possibilities of unlimited sensation. While seems to offer more human to human engagement though this too is clearly open to manipulation. Techno love dreams are never far from dystopian nightmares.
Excellent British Council Workshop last week, presentation below
February 11, 2014 by Lorraine Warren
An enjoyable and productive time at the INSPIRE Research Conference in Dubai this week. As well as papers from IMSciences scholars, papers were presented by participants from IBA-Sukkur, COMSATS IIT-Attock, Bahuddin Zakariya-Multan, Kinnaird College for Women -Lahore, University of Peshawar, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women’s University -Peshawar, University of Lahore and Khushal Khan Khattak University-Karak. Plenary presentations were given by the UK Project Investigators, Lorraine Warren and Mine Karatas-Ozkan, as well as Mr Ismail Badat from the British Council, Mr Javed Iqbal, Regional Head of KPK SMEDA, Dr Nasser Ali Khan, VC of the University of Haripur, Mrs Nabeela Farman of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, KPK and Dr Muhammad Ali Joint Director of IMSciences and Co-ordinator of ORIC at IMSciences. A Keynote address on How to Publish in Quality Journals was given by Professor Alistair Anderson of The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and Editor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development.
The Best Paper prize was awarded jointly to Mr Attaullah Shah of IMSciences (Importance of Judicial Efficiency in Capital structure Decisions of Small Firms: Evidence from Judicial districts of Pakistan) and Dr Zia Obaid of the University of Peshawar (Social Entrepreneurs in the post 9/11 World: Realigning Networks for Better Trust).
The Upcoming Researcher award went to Mr Adnan Javed (Power Dynamics of the institutional change process and organisational response)
I’ll be blogging about #SXSC3 next week when I’ve got all the pics and videos in, but for now, good to report on the final event, Benjamin Mawson’s Masterclass on Annotating the Landscape With Sound using the NoTours software. Ben, who won the Business Planning Competition, demonstrated the NoTours Augmented Aurality software. We were pleased to have a sunny autumnal day at Avenue campus, and were able to enjoy walking around testing our soundscapes on the Common. Here’s the wokshop-style class in action:
UK universities have spent over a decade building some excellent technology transfer and knowledge exchange processes and structures. I joined this world in 2002, as part of the Science Enterprise Challenge at Loughborough University Business School, working to improve technology entrepreneurship across the STEM disciplines. I was on the academic staff but worked closely with the incubator staff and the tech transfer office, to try and increase commercialisation and exploitation rates, a role, I’ve continued at Southampton, in different ways, since 2004. Over the last couple of years, digital has changed things.
- Firstly, falling prices in a range of areas have lowered entry barriers to new forms of technological innovation: widespread access to broadband technologies; smartphones and tablets; social media; increasing availability of government datasets to the public.
- Secondly, traditional incubation pathways have been supplemented by free-form crowd-driven patterns of activity, often linked to social media, such as crowd funding (de Buysere et al, 2012) or the intricate multidisciplinary ‘barcamp’, or ‘unconference’ style events, which combine creative artists of all kinds and computer scientists, amplifying energy and result in the emergence of multiple value outcomes, including new creative projects, new educational opportunities (formal and informal), as well as ideas for commercialisation.
- Thirdly, there is the sense of incompleteness and ephemerality during value creation as digital fragments are reworked, reforked and recombined with ease
In the paper ISBE2013warrenfuller and the presentation below, we argue for a new conceptualisation of business models, thinking instead of value models that recognise ephemerality and incompleteness. I’ve been asked to put together a proposal for a digital media incubator that recognises this new dynamic. Exciting challenge ahead!
Competition entries are invited for the Southampton SXSC3 RCUK/NEMODE Digital
Economy Business Plan Competition 2013
****DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP, 4-6 OCTOBER 28, B2/3041 Highfield campus
- Terms, conditions and guidance notes
- Please read the terms and conditions, and complete the entry form at the bottom of the page.
The competition has two categories:
For applicants currently studying for a Foundation degree or Honours degree at a UK university. Entrants in the undergraduate category must still be registered at a UK University on the closing date to be eligible to enter.
- POSTGRADUATE / STAFF:
For applicants who are currently studying for a post-graduate qualification OR are staff currently employed at a UK university
- Team applications will be considered. All participants must be eligible to enter in one of the above categories. Where teams comprise members from both categories it will be considered in the POSTGRADUATE / STAFF category.
- You must indicate which category you are applying for on the entry form.
- The winning team or individual in the postgraduate / staff category will receive a prize of £7,000, runner up £4,000; in the undergraduate category, £2,500.
- There will be a developmental workshop open to all entrants prior to submission, date to be announced
- The winners will be given support and mentoring to refine the plan to submit to national competitions.
- The competition is being managed by the SXSC3 team, who will arrange for the competition entries to be judged by a panel of external assessors, whose decision will be final. The best 3 plans in each category will be invited to give a 3-minute pitch at the SXSC3 event in Southampton on November 19, 2013 where the Award will be made by the assessor panel. At least one team member MUST be there to pitch to be eligible for the prize.
- Entries can be submitted from October 14, 2013 until the closing date for the competition at 5pm on November 12, 2013.
- To receive the prize, you must be committed to improving the plan to raise it to a more investable proposition and nationally competitive standard. This will be a condition of receiving the prize.
- Your business plan must be submitted on the busplancompform by email to email@example.com
- Tables and spreadsheets may be appended or incorporated within the application form.
- Although financial projections are not essential, these will strengthen the application and give an opportunity to demonstrate the viability of the business plan.
- Where word counts are shown on the entry form, these are for guidance only.
- The judges will be looking for innovative business ideas are based on Digital Economy business models which offer customer benefits and fulfil market requirements..
- Applications should express clearly what the business would offer, its products and/or services, and show an understanding of its likely competitive position in its market. In addition, the application should also show an understanding of the necessary steps in developing the business in the business plan.
- The plan must be your own work or the work of your team.
- Prizes may be withheld if in the opinion of the judges there is no application of sufficient merit.
- If you have any questions about the competition, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.