Archive for the ‘Telephony’ Category

I, Leftover

July 6, 2006

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Web2.0 gives power to the people, but those who talk about it are mostly interested in how the newly empowered people could be re-tamed and harnessed (what a horrible word) into a huge, faceless mass of buyers.

How do we make money from Open Source? When will Jimmy milk the Wikipedia cow? How do we harness the billion 50 cents? In other words, the mainstream discussion is always evolving around the “show me the money” and “where’s the business model”, with the underlying assumption that the right to exist (and to be empowered) should only be granted to money-generating objects.

Somehow, Prof. Benkler succeeded in discussing Grid, Wikipedia, Skype, Open Source and Citizen Media without falling into the “show me the money” trap. There was a different, human undertone to his lecture and I think it’s the first time I heard a web2.0 talk that really empowered me for what I am, i.e. a leftover.

I, Leftover.

The leftovers are taking over; the residuals and the idles are beating up the stronger and the brighter. It’s the time of the “Ordinaries” (and some are absolutely abhorred by that).

This is the real change, as so far the leftovers were only valuable because of their money. No one expected nor wanted them to contribute. “Contribution” has always been institutionalized, and research was always funded by econo-political interests.

But now the power to decide is at the hands of “I, Leftover”. When “I, Leftover” downloads a SETI@Home screensaver, she’s not only contributing processing power to a noble cause, but also making the SETI@Home project possible. When “I, Leftover” uses Skype, he’s not only saving money, but also helping to bring free voice to everybody, by making Skype possible (because of Skype’s p2p nature).

My point is that great things are now dependent on individual, layman decisions. I, as a leftover, find it encouraging.

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podcastIcon1.gif Yochai Benkler – Participation Revolution, 33:32, 15.3 mb, Oct 21st, 2005

Original Podlink: Participation Revolution

technorati1.jpg Technorati Yochai Benkler, Technorati the Podlink

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Voice 1, 2, 3…

April 27, 2006

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I blogged in the past about how Web2.0, which pretends to be the incarnation of the personal, social, human, interactive web, is lacking the most fundamental human protocol – Voice. I'm not talking about Voice as an application – Skype, or Gtalk, but rather about voice as a mean for communication – with people, humanoids and applications alike.

Well, Yahoo!, so it seems, is going this way (and Google is undoubtedly going there just the same). Jeff Bonforte, Senior Director of Voice Product Management at Yahoo!, described Yahoo!'s take on Voice 1, 2 and 3:

Voice 1 – the hundred years old, boring yet highly successful (business-wise) dial tone.

Voice 2 – Voice as an application: Skype, Messanger. Voice is Data.

Voice 3 – Voice as an invocation protocol – an interface to Yahoo!'s vast amount of content.

Rest the never ending problem of voice recognition. And here Bonforte describes a brilliant bypass to the problem: instead of trying to figure out what the speaker really said, Yahoo! sends the transcription to… their search engine. The search engine returns the "Did you mean: ___" which is the outcome of a machine-learning, based on the next thing users are searching (when users are mistyping their search query, the next thing they usually do is to re-type the correct string). So just like the search engine is "learning" over time what is a real search string and what is most probably a typo, the voice recognition engine will learn what a meaningful interaction is and what is not.

These voice advancements are highly symbolic. They represent a change in the current Browser paradigm, and they are the first steps toward a physical integration of human beings into the World Wide Web, an inevitable outcome of the technology that shapes up our lives.

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podcastIcon1.gifYahoo! and Emerging Telephony 00:19:38, 9 mb, Jan 25th, 2006

Original Podlink: Yahoo! and Emerging Telephony

technorati1.jpg Technorati Voice Telephony, Technorati the Podlink