Sunday, March 8, 2009

Inspiration #9: Economist Technology Quarterly

This week's Economist is a wonderful issue, containing their Technology Quarterly. I always make sure to read these quarterlies, as it's always a good reminder of what's happening in business technology, and what trends seem to be grabbing the imaginations of business types. I also read Seed's "Universe in 2009" (science predictions / trends), but feel that the Tech Quarterly has some really concrete ideas about what's to come.

Though I say everyone should read both!

There are three articles that really spoke to me, and I think everyone in computing should read. First, Model Behaviour, which looks at how mathematical modeling can be used in predicting how crowds will react to situations like fires or earthquakes. Very cool, especially because the mathematical technologies they're using are very different from the "classical" modeling paradigm. This might make little difference to end-users, but to myself, this is a huge change and one that really makes me happy -- humans are not continuous functions akin to liquids, but rather discrete agents with limited worldviews and seemingly random tendencies. Thank you, Massive Software!

Additionally, a review of some cool computer vision applications is given in Machines That Can See. If you've ever worked in a fast food chain, let me know how you feel about the idea of a computer analyzing whether you smile enough. I'm a bit skeptical.

And the final article is one about Brewster Kahle. Again, a wonderful overview of the entrepreneur and activist. Anyone with an interest in the Internet should check it out, if they haven't heard of him before.

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