Dec 09

LeWeb10 and Singularity University

Salim Ismail, Executive Director, Singularity University

LIVEBLOGGED – some paraphrasing, may be things missed

Salim Ismail
Photo by Adam Tinworth

Talking about neuroscience. over last 20-30 years, computers have gotten smaller, faster, better. we can do a brain of a mouse in a laptop. In 12 years, brain in a computer…that is the computing power, not the brain itself. we study the impact of computing on the brain, on the fields of medicine etc.

We are geared to a linear world, not an accelerating one..we have students looking at how these tech accelerations impact the world. At the Singularity University, we get students to look at where the world is going, what is happening and get students to think where the world is going.

Looking at a See Spot Run (picture) – a one way learning. once you learn it, you can’t unsee it…

In the brain you have 100, neurons..500m connections. On first studying brain, excited as look like computer…there is a ‘stack’ you can study, like a computer.

Many systems we have today have an AI…this is a top down approach, looking at functions of brain and how to mimic them. One of our students, looking to stimulate the neurosystem of a simple animal, through top down level.

At other levels, we know results after simulus, but not how it happens. A neuron takes in 1000s of inputs, some say there may be quantum properties involved..that’s the bad news, we don’t really know how it works

The good news is that we don’t really need to know how it works in order to interface with it. We have many ways if rewiring the brain, changing what it happens. Yoga, martial arts, therapy, NLP all allow us to impact the brain…

A classic influencer of brain is a brand..trying to get you to remember it more. The ultimate master of this are religions. They take a young person and throw ‘truths’ at it..once in there, you can’t get it out…

Now we have new brain computing interfaces…we have chips implanted on motor cortex to manage wheelchair…or biofeedback systems, FRMI, you can get realtime brain scanning…we are learning rapidly how to interface.

We are the start of a lot of changes in how we interact with brains…lots of different methods. for many, we have outsourced our memories to the phone…as we change rapidly the experience of what it means to be human, we have to think about what it means..
Nanowires..they exist today…put a wire into different parts of brain. Optogenetics…intersection of genetics, virology and optics. they fabicate light sensitve cells and then use virus to put in mouse brain. they put optical fibre mouse head and can turn on the change behaviour(Karl Diesseroth) So how can we use this?

Selfawareness – we’re not really sure what this is…when you get to a level of about a frog, it is dimly aware f itself..then it gets an increasingly aware. Can you create a test for self-awareness.
Another area is do we measure, define, create.

As our ability increases, what would you do with it? What senses would you amplify, how would you enhace experience…enhance memory. At SU, we look at Education…

Dec 09

Leweb10 and Thought Controlled Computing

Thought Controlled Computing Ariel Garten, CEO, Interaxon

LIVEBLOGGED – some paraphrasing, …some bits missed…video to follow
Photo by Adam Tinworth

Our team has been developing thought controlled computing…so what is thought controlled computing. Reads brain waves, translates, then sends to device. I can use mind to control lighting, or lighting can respond to state of mind. We want to create compelling applications. So we explore things around everyday actions, like taking a bath, making it fun for engagement.
So what do the graphs mean…we interpret them and do something with it. It is a convergence of ideas from many is interdisciplinary field…lots of things to make it happen. Until recently, it was the domain of a small number of people…previously cumbersome and needed to be still, with lots of equipment, it could not be used on stage. Now it’s popular and accessible….now used to display in Best Buy..the Brain Playground.
We help people experience it in many ways, fun experiences. In communicating,, we need to address fears and assumptions, we need to address fears. It can only do so much.

So the history…since 2nd century dissections, man has been interested in the connection bwtween man, brain and the universe. In the 1920s the first brain wave recorded…1970’s Jacque Vidal published paper about computer and brain connections. Now we have popular books about the brain, how we think, how it relates to the world

In 2008, there were commercially available headsets by 2 companies. Now we have a single reading sensor – down from $20k to $200. Interaxon works with partners who create low cost hardware so we can create novel applications – relaxation, golf swing or the game from Star Trek.

In the Winter Olympics, we had people controlling the lighting on Niagara Falls, CNN tower using their minds. We had 7k users. In consumer application, the Star Wars Force Training toy introduces thought controlled apps to toys and games. it brings popular myths closer to reality. Or the sleep monitor that wakes you up closer to your optimal moment. We find opps to do more and reach more people. We are partnering with doctors to create an epilepsy detector, to detect seizure. We do soemthing with kids with ADD, to help with focus. The neuro simulation, drug free market, will grow over time.

Perhaps the most important role is in closing the gap, blurring the distance between able and disabled bodies – controlling wheelchairs..then doors, windows, appliances. But in thought control contect, tech often dominates, and we lose the human connection..this is about the self., this is a personal and transforming experience…this is about the self. The new experience is an extension of the self, There is a growing interest in reaching the potential.

At CES, we will launch….an iphone app. you have to wrap a rope around an object, using your mind..the more you focus, the faster it rotates…we provide brain feedback, how your brain was doing. this is more than game feedback, it;’s a personal brain centre, knowledge about you…it’s inwardly focused…it reorientates the popular imagination. the more we look at future scenarios, we look at brain, mobile, body sensors etc. We can improve existing tasks and behaviours….they can transform tech, industries etc…every industry needs to be involved to actualise the potential. It’s more than a novel game controller…you can connect to everything your phone does…as we enter a new era of search, so how can thought control work, connect with eye tracking..the neurobiology of search is a rich area. We think it will change commerce and more…

Dec 09

LeWeb10 and SmartTransportation

Jack D. Hidary, Chairman,

LIVEBLOGGED – some paraphrasing, may have missed things. Video to follow

Wants to talk about 3 challenges, related to mobility and energy. we are nearing 1billion cars in the world. In the US 250m, China is fastest growing market…15-20m new ones per year. Progress we have and have not made since 1908…mpg, we had about 20mpg, in 2010, the average of a fleet is 22.5MPG. it’s a little higher in EU, China looking to move up as well. If we grow this, we will run out of oil…so we have a wall, we have a market failure. We have to go beyond todays technology. I’m associated with the X-Prize. we did space and just recently did cars – 100mpg and is cheap and easily manufactured. we know this is coming. The Nissan Leaf is coming, others etc. A lot of creativity and innovation

And now we need to merge worlds of IT and MT – Mobility technology. we need to connect in a network. The charging stations in 90s were not connected to web – so did not know what the charging station was like. Now you can get a app for the phone that gives you location of charging station and it’s availability. we need more of these apps, integrated into location based services, into car apps, into nav apps. All the cars are connected, all the charging stations are connected. This is the internet of things, it will be much larger than internet of people…

Second Challenge. We will have 9b people….and how many will want a car. If a quarter do, we are done. we need new tech…we need new business models. we need to rethink car ownership. Can we do the EV commons…so all can put up charging stations…make available. so if hotel chains put up charging stations etc, retailers, etc, everyone does there part, like the internet. A distributed mesh model, like the internet. we need 100s of new business models. Ownership for 9b people is not feasible

Third Challenge – the electric. how do we generate power and energy. So let’s make this cleaner, but we keep thinking about making just enough to power waht we need. We use 18trillian kwh in a year. in one hour the sun gives us more energy than we need in 1 year. (inc wind). Let’s think about 20tkwh, how about 10x, what about 200 tkWh…what would you produce if you had this energy?

Energy is not just electricity that comes in…it’s out human mental power we need. we need to think about these kinds of things, it is not jsut tech that holds us back, it is our own imagination…

Dec 09

LeWeb10 and Zynga

David Ko, SVP of Mobile, Zynga
Q&A with MG Siegler, Writer, TechCrunch

LIVEBLOGGED – paraphrased, there may be things missed. Video to follow

David Ko
Photo by Adam Tinworth

MG: you’ve been there a month now [David is new at zynga] , have announced a new deal recently, do you want to discuss?
DK: last week was big, we announced acquisition called NewToy, they have created something unique, the best social gaming experience out there. Words with Friends and Chess with friends. one of post popular on ipad/iphone etc, use it for about an hour a day, so sticky.

MG: you are turning this into Zynga with Friends?
DK: it’s part of our mobile investment – renamed it and will keep it there, keep investing it there

MG: will they focus on mobile and then move the properties into the web
DK: huge opportunity, huge userbase we want to leverage, they have a great team, great IP that you will see soon,

MG: how about some of the other platforms?
DK: if you think about the vision of Zynga, we want to connect the world through games..we extend to any device or platform, have to create the right type of experience. we focused onthe iphone to date. we are looking to expand and to move to different platforms. we will take Mafia on to the Android platform later this month

MG: Nokia, Windows, Blackberry?
DK: we need to understand the limitations of devices..many of us create mobile experiences for smartphones…but it’s expanding. we see userbase increasing with international users, we need to look at what they are offer seemless experiences to them

MG: you came from Yahoo, been there for 10 years, you were one of 3 big execs that left recently
DK: had a great time…great opportunities. can’t really comment as a few months since left…I wish them the best

why walk away from the stuff?
DK: I met Mark many months ago, always been impressed with Zynga…spent time with them, loved what they were doing..truely thought they could connect the world through games.

MG: but they did not have a strong mobile presence…you came in to do mobile?
DK: huge opp for Zynga in mobile…the next social frontier for gaming. Zynga has huge subscriber base across the PC – 200m playing every month. Yesterday there were 45m daily active users, huge potential to bring that to mobile

MG: another was to diversify away from FB?
DK: less about diversifying away….core thing of company is partnerships.,,think about what the compnay is, about social, social means FB. does not mean that we don’t have other users wanting to access on other Yahoo deal, MySpace deal. Primarily FB has been a tremendous partner

MG: what about FB and mobile? Connect and other services etc? are you working on some of the things
DK: if there are things we can leverage that makes it better and easier from user, then we are working on it. we look at best customer experience…seemless etc.

MG: looking at international markets, you have launched Farmville in Japan on mobile only
DK: yes, mobile first experience. part of focusing on international

: so why mobile only first?
DK: you will see difference in terms of regions. In Asia, many access first on mobile then move to a PC. we have to diversify away from some of the smartphones, to give right experience. not fully there, still work to do, but great start

MG: is Farmville on smartphones only?
DK: yes, but looking to extend it over time

MG: you have launched Cityville in multiple markets
DK: it has been the fastest growing game to date – 3m daily active users yesterday. 5 languages,. Shows we are thinking more internationally, thinking about user base. Our user base, more than 2/3rds are non-native English speakers.

MG: US is still the biggest country? France is huge? Is Asia the number 1 for expansion
DK: Yes..Zynga has 13 studios…5 are outside of US, based in Japan, China, India, Germany

MG: Poker is big in Tiawan…
DK: Poker was one of the first franchises we launched as a company and seen lot of success

MG: monetisation…?
DK: there are diffs in how we view mobile and is all about the experience. we do monetise a few different ways on mobile..some advertising etc, the goal is not revenue, but experience and user share.

MG: Rovio were blown away by advertising on Angry Birds? how big…
DK: so Newtoy does a lot of advertising, then they have a paid app that gets rid of that. we are experimenting..we don’t want to detract from the user experience, we want to optimise that.

MG: a lot has been made about revenues., there are a lot of guesses…mobile has to be a small part now?
DK: we are just getting a private company we can focus on building an internet treasure, you can’t live without..

MG: so one of the things talked about a new dog (??) activated thing
DK: I think what he means, when you see the dog (the mascot) you think about something that is fun and social…that’s at a high level what we think about when we talk about dog activated?

: are you talking about cross platform communication?
DK: speculation and you will have to wait and see?

MG: how about the Chrome Webstore, and Mozilla web store? are you going to explore that?
DK: it is part of being on all platforms, there are many different things coming out..we are exploring..I can’t comment on speculation as there’s nothing announced yet

MG: so, Google has invested in Zynga..what is the relationship like? is that a key partnership
DK: we haven’t announced….can’t comment on it…we are very partnership centric company…[note, it was announced by Marrissa Mayer in an earlier talk, but guess not officially[

MG: so why has there not been a focus on Android? was that about fragmentation? is it a pain? why have you waited?
DK: android…there is a lot of fragmentation in mobile, we have recognised we need to build for android…we are releasing a title this month

Dec 09

LeWeb10 and Social Gaming

How Social is Changing the Gaming Industry
Moderated by: Cedric Ingrand, Broadcaster, Podcaster and Resident Geek at LCI/TF1 in Paris
Panelists: Jens Begemann, Founder, wooga; Nicolas Gaume, Co-founder and CEO, Mimesis Republic; Jimmy Kim, CEO, Nexonova; Mike Kerns, Vice President, Social Games & Personalization, Yahoo!

WARNING: LIVEBLOGGED. some paraphrasing…I may have missed things. Video to follow

CI: FB users clock a billion hours a month on;s a growing areas…so please introduce yourself..
JB: wooga, les than 2yrs, old, do FB games, 15m users, no 7 in world. 55 employees
MK: Yahoo are aware of trends, have partnership with Zynga, distribute games,
NG: building next gen 3d worlds, with platform for social games. have closed beta with 160k users, launching next year
JK: here to talk about games today

CI: when we say social is changing gaming..are we changing gaming as we knew it or creating a new category?
NG: used to make shrinkwrapped games…real games..that is what you say in industry. Games, console game, becomes a product, create a fulfulling service. games are a great way to engage, connect, you can learn more from playing games with someone, have unique power to connect people

CI: it is not taking away from major players?
MK: it is expanding it. games are a core desire. 10-20% were playing..we do games for others
NG: NIntendo opened it up for others, get fit, train brain etc, people play games for hours but don’t feel like playing the games
MK: the distribution has was more difficult. flash or console. can get richer immersive, in your social network..time spent changes. We are largest games provider online (pre FB) it’s early days, a couple of weeks in Zynga partnership and happy so far

CI: social games, short session, easy play, massive return, engage friends. Is this changing? are they getting longer? does experience evolve
JK: accessibility, like to look at this. Console…need game and console. then need computers to do games..SNS open it up further, embedded. key thing is to enrich..deeper immersive experience
JB: from timeframe, I bet Farmville is played longer than most video games
MK: fantasy sports, started with spreadsheet then moved online. always with friends, now online, more immersive. the market was limited
NG: how much time at movies – play games more?
JB: gameplay session designed, so can be short, little resistance, but see people spending 30min or longer.

CI: what makes a great game? what kind of games to make to address what user group?
NB: should be easy to learn and hard to master, depth. needed. In social it is about the connections, mechanics need to be about portraying social connections…35-45 women are active on facebook, teens different approach, the social connection, projecting on social is different.

CI: FPS are teens/males in the main, older have you address different user groups
MK: we want to bring different experiences…we don’t design, just distribute. Fantasy football on FB is young men, yahoo games housewives etc

CI: about paying for features?
JK: it is about balance, experience, play etc, cash and virtual cash, we look at microtransactions…we get active users, which includes paying users. have to design experience for level up, access points, mobile extensions ..think content, accessibility and system

CI: how will republic do it
NG: it will be freemium. I made games that costs 60-70million then in a box. it was fine. With good brand and marketing, then would sell. with freemium, as a game designer, it is important to convince all that is worth it, with the audience, they like to try before buy.

CI: freemium assumes 5% to pay?
NG: it is an engagement mechanism that forces you to respect that experience…respect that they are in control of costs, stop at any time

how can you advertise against?
MK: get a lot of advertising, on yahoo games. as with Zynga, see multiple lines of revenue
JB: 2 years ago on FB, theere were lots of advertising on social games, now moving to virtual can build a business around virtual goods. Our audience is 70% women…hear people say makes sell weapons, women decorating! not true, have to sell functional items, that give an advantage in games

CI:brand marketing..does anyone do?
JB: we don’t at the moment, maybe 2011
Jk: blatant advertising turns people off..we look at giving value, with BMW Mini, racing games. has to be value, can’t be plain advertising. once you have that, then good opportunity.
NG: we are talking to brands for launch..have to do value add experience. look at films, you get product placement…gets connection to brand values, if mutually acceptable, then gets value for brand, can connect virtual world to real world, through brands.

CI: platforms…at least 2 of you using FB. is that the ideal platform? can you do it on FB
JB: the key to social games is the social graph…FB is moving towards a monopoly on this. it is essestial, it works like a layer and you can build a business on this. they are in big support of games and they do everything to make sure there are a good experience
MK: I built a business on FB, plus mobile. think mobile will become stronger. we see a huge opp to overlay connectability with graph and with new layers, on top of identity connections from FB

CI: is app on FB, like building on iphone, easy to cut off?
JK: Fb makes it easier to access graph but if you are rely on FB policy – they keep changing this…you need visbility of what platform will be. when stable people will stay
MK: you have to go in with eyes wide open. they want to make a profit, they are aware of need for developers. they are doing better at communicating changes,,,changes impact all.
JK: social graph and FB credits are a good move. for developers, need to see visbility of plan and stability. FB a great platform, but chapter still being written

: how to address mobile? different game or cross platform?
JB: have mobile background…did ringtones games etc for 7 years. we will do mobile in 2011, we will do same games as on web, connected via FB, extending the experience, optimising interface for mobile, increasing play frequency
NG: for us, you play on web, virtual world, on PC…mobile can be for follow up experience, enhaced the full experience…
MK: on app discovery for mobile is our focus
JK: 4sq is a game, game experience is not just mobile…can play anywhere, part of lifestyle, part of worlfd designing games we don’t consider mobile version, but extension entwined with users lifestyle

CI: console games are different??? but you can’t say that , EA/Ubisoft etc, not clueless…are they a threat?
NG: it’s a DNA are a product, structured in a way separate dev and sales. social games are about connecting with uesers iterations etc, hard to shift culture.

CI: look at Nintendo online though,,,
NG: it is hard to change. by aquisition etc, opps to create new paradigm. but it is tough. shareholder expect same revenue..but it’s difficult
JB: EA tried on FB, not successful., so bought playfish instead. looks at top 10 onGFB, no big ones. IP is less important in social games…
NG: people still play hardcore, social won’t replace…