[Humanist] 28.285 sketching the future; following the money

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Aug 25 09:07:46 CEST 2014


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 285.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org


  [1]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>     (76)
        Subject: Re:  28.279 sketching the future

  [2]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>    (161)
        Subject: 28.282 sketching the future: follow the money


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2014 10:56:10 +0200
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
        Subject: Re:  28.279 sketching the future
        In-Reply-To: <20140823073719.6E95E6435 at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

One way to visual the temporal differences would be to animate the graph
(i.e. the dots travelling along its path at different speeds).
Alternatively, if relative time would be on the horizontal axis, one could
also depict the different time scales by giving each innovation its
own adoption curve. That would allow the vertical axis to be used more in
accordance with your suggestion too. In all this would however result in a
rather crowded and (I estimate) difficult to read 3D chart.

Quite frankly though, it was your comment that made me amend the graph for
those differences cognitively. Sometimes a word is also worth a thousand
animation frames?

All the best
--Joris

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 279.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> <javascript:;>
>
>
>
>         Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:22:49 +0100
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
> <javascript:;>>
>         Subject: sketching hype
>
> Thanks to Joris van Zundert I've just this morning come across Gartner
> Inc's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, for which see the Forbes
> report for 18 August (URL below)*. According to Gartner big data is
> already on the downward slide into the Trough of Disillusionment (see
> the chart depicting this Cycle) -- which is to be cheered if we take
> dis-illusionment to mean the loss of an illusion, which of course it is.
> What's not to be greeted with uncritical cheer is the implication of the
> chart that hyped technologies move with varying speed from the Trough
> upward along the Slope of Enlightenment to the Plateau of Productivity.
> Which raises the question of how one would depict what actually happens:
> some things simply become part of the furniture of daily life, other
> things assume minor, qualified roles. The vertical axis on this chart as
> well as its singular path is problematic, I would think.
>
> Someone with a better visual imagination is required. Any takers here?
>
> Yours,
> WM
> ---
> *
> http://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2014/08/18/its-official-the-internet-of-things-takes-over-big-data-as-the-most-hyped-technology/
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
> Group, University of Western Sydney
>
>
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-- 
Drs. Joris J. van Zundert

*Researcher & Developer Digital and Computational Humanities*
Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands

*Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences*
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/ 
http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/?lang=en 

-------

*Jack Sparrow: I thought you were supposed to keep to the code.Mr. Gibbs:
We figured they were more actual guidelines.*


--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2014 10:44:45 +0200
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
        Subject: 28.282 sketching the future: follow the money
        In-Reply-To: <20140824072801.0031263B4 at digitalhumanities.org>


Just to add,

I like the roller coaster metaphore. It might be a Homeric simile even.
Hypes do make money, like roller coasters do. It is just that like the roar
and excitement a roller coaster makes, the money is often generated in side
effect activities that seem to pertain little to the eventual purposeful
application of an invention. An example that comes to mind is teaching on
commercial basis the inards of a new technology to an audience that
eventually will never use it—which I have seen happen with e.g. XML and
Java. If your concern is hardly with the core purpose of the technology,
you can make fine money piggybacking the hype. Next to that investors know
that it is somewhat of a game, if you'll happen to invest in the right
application you'll make money, if you happen to invest in the company
that pitched the brand new shiny rail technology as a great way to deliver
milkshakes around your attraction park by roller coaster, you may lose
out. I wouldn't necessarily view this commercial circus as all bad. It's
just one way to generate revenue and relevance from research. Admittedly
the process can be trying for one that is interested in the core technology
itself.

But of course the downside is in the shattered promises that reflect poorly
on the technology's true potential if any.

If I may add tangent issues that have been observed many times I guess, but
nevertheless we seem to fall victim to in every cycle of innovation: techno
utopianism (say Clay Shirky), techno dystopianism (say Morozov), and–the
worst of all in my view–techno evangelism. The latter is the effect that a
large group of adopters of a certain technology tend to regard it as the
one definite solution to all problems, falling victim to the golden hammer
syndrom. Evangelism is often tied to personal investments, as it took
valuable time to adopt the technology, and to the stake a community has
in self sustaining. Where the former two can be said to be useful
asymptotic road signs, I truly cannot see how techno evangelism is
productive and creative.

All the best
--Joris

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk');>> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 282.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:53:22 -0500
>         From: "Robert A. Amsler" <amsler at cs.utexas.edu>
>         Subject: Re:  28.279 sketching the future
>         In-Reply-To: <20140823073719.6E95E6435 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
>
> I'd submit the "money is the cause of all hype" hypothesis to explain what
> happens.
>
> A "new" technology is discovered. This is discovery in the sense of
> something that has already existed for some length of time, but just being
> discovered by the business community.
>
> Then, the hype happens. Business needs investors, so they need to promote
> their business so people will invest in it. They proclaim great future
> accomplishments and the threat of failing to get on the train before it
> leaves the station. If you're not working on your own plan to be involved
> in the new technology, you'll be left in the dust when the new technology
> takes over.
>
> As investors put money in to their own plans, the hype machine revs up.
> More hype under the "See, you're being left behind; these investors have
> already secured their stake in the race toward unlocking this new
> technology's benefits". Now, investors who know nothing about the new
> technology blindly pump money into their own programs, not to be left
> behind.
>
> The original practitioners of the new technology, who are somewhat amazed
> by the hype around their formerly quiet little area of work, are in high
> demand. But, even if they do caution that it's a long road to success, the
> investors don't want to hear it. They falsely believe that throwing money
> at the problems will lead to faster solutions. So, they coerce the
> original technologists to accept more money, head up new projects, start
> new companies. The belief that money will surmount the technical
> difficulties is paramount.
>
> Then, things slow down. Some projects fail to produce useful results in
> proportion to the investments. The business community proclaims the
> technology has gone bust.
>
> Dread sets in. How could we have been so deceived by this false
> technology. Collapse. Proclamations that the technology is faulty. It's
> important here to note that it was the investors who hyped the technology
> beyond the original technologist's research, who stated the inherently
> false promises of great success if only investments were made. The
> technologists often saw progress as just taking more time since it was
> based on the traditional practices of experimentation and innovation--not
> on the size of the projects or the amount of money they had available to
> burn through.
>
> The business community washes it's hands of the technology as a bad
> investment. They move on. But the technologists just continue with their
> research, albeit having to perhaps change the nomenclature to stay in
> their field of work. No, No, we're not doing THAT old stuff. This is new
> research. In truth it's just the continuation of the work they were doing
> before they were in the spotlight of the business community's interests in
> getting rich.
>
> Eventually, the field manages to climb out of the crater left from the
> business community's bomb explosion. You see, there really was new
> technology at play. It was solid. It just wasn't capable of taking place
> faster if you poured infinitely more money at it.
>
> We've seen this in multiple areas. Neural Nets, Artificial Intelligence,
> dot.com companies, etc. Rollercoasters are fun, but railroads get the work
> done. Rollercoaster do not mean travel by trains on tracks is poor
> technology; it's just that a rollercoaster isn't the best way to build a
> railroad.
>
> >                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 279.
> >             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
> >                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
> >                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> >
> >
> >
> >         Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:22:49 +0100
> >         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
> >         Subject: sketching hype
> >
> > Thanks to Joris van Zundert I've just this morning come across Gartner
> > Inc's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, for which see the Forbes
> > report for 18 August (URL below)*. According to Gartner big data is
> > already on the downward slide into the Trough of Disillusionment (see
> > the chart depicting this Cycle) -- which is to be cheered if we take
> > dis-illusionment to mean the loss of an illusion, which of course it is.
> > What's not to be greeted with uncritical cheer is the implication of the
> > chart that hyped technologies move with varying speed from the Trough
> > upward along the Slope of Enlightenment to the Plateau of Productivity.
> > Which raises the question of how one would depict what actually happens:
> > some things simply become part of the furniture of daily life, other
> > things assume minor, qualified roles. The vertical axis on this chart as
> > well as its singular path is problematic, I would think.
> >
> > Someone with a better visual imagination is required. Any takers here?
> >
> > Yours,
> > WM
> > ---
> > *
> http://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2014/08/18/its-official-the-internet-of-things-takes-over-big-data-as-the-most-hyped-technology/
> > --
> > Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> > Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
> > Group, University of Western Sydney
>


-- 
Drs. Joris J. van Zundert

*Researcher & Developer Digital and Computational Humanities*
Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands

*Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences*
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/
http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/?lang=en

-------

*Jack Sparrow: I thought you were supposed to keep to the code.Mr. Gibbs:
We figured they were more actual guidelines.*





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