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10/01/2009

 
Technology clearly not only provides the chisel for carving our creativity but it also seems to be increasingly carving our political decision making process.  It is fascinating to read that after a concerted facebook campaign (5,654 members  within a few days) Aaron Bhatnager and John banks have buckled and withdrawn the proposal to close suburban pubs at 11.00pm in Auckland.  Banks announced quite pragmatically that it would have been political suicide to proceed. Surely there is a process that they should have followed before so casually rescinding the proposed policy.  This is an excellent example of two way (thinking Grunig here) communication, but how symmetrical is this consultation process when the group that responded to the social media campaign were all (judging by their photos) aged between 18 and 25.  Don't the rest of us get a say My Mayor?
 
 
Blog 09 09 09           
I had to write something today: Not because the date is auspicious for marriage, but because the dreaded, unreal technological 'millennium bug' was associated with an unusual date.

That thought brings to mind our still uneasy relationship with the technology which carries this comment to you so instantly.

A short while ago, I read in the Economist about the ‘cloud’.  This term describes the great mass of stored information and open-source software that is being added daily to the internet. 

Storage capacity will be the new bottle-neck.  Providers are building huge ‘server farms’ near hydro-electricity sources and in colder climates.  We will be able to buy capacity (or rent it) as we need it and do away with having our own larger and larger servers.  (The reason for the locations of choice for these facilities is that apparently one of their greatest costs will be keeping them cool.) 

The articles on the ‘cloud’ of computer capacity and information storage made the point that it is not the hardware, but the applications that will determine the role of software and hardware suppliers.  Soon software as a service will be challenged by the growing host of free applications that we can download (or use without downloading).   

I heard it again from an Apple marketing director who was offering free software and I-phones on loan to AUT students who were willing to think up new applications that would make the product more attractive to users.  This I recognised as an effort to activate marketplace ‘pull’, rather than product sales ‘push’. 

I remembered that I had heard all this much earlier.  Was it ‘the knowledge wave’?  No, it was the ‘imagination economy’:  And it was not Helen Clark, but Geoff Colvin in Fortune magazine, who wrote that ‘the very basis of value creation is shifting from the disciplines of logic and linear thinking to the intuitive processes of creativity and imagination.  Tech advances will cease to confer much competitive advantage…’(Fortune, July 10, 2006 p.33) 

I kept the clipping from Fortune to support my own bromide that ideas, not words, are the ultimate software.  Technology may provide the chisel for carving our creativity and the stone on which it can be writ, but the imagination is what guides the hand.

Posted by Joseph Peart