Probably the most reported aspect of my opening keynote at INMA World Congress in New York last week on Creating the Future of News was my response to an audience question about how publishers should think about Facebook’s new offer to publishers to host their articles for mobile viewing.
Tomorrow I am giving the opening keynote at International News Media Association (INMA) World Congress in New York.
Over 400 senior news executives from 45 countries are gathering to gain insights into the leading edge and path forward for news organizations globally.
My keynote provides a highly positive perspective on the extraordinary opportunities for the news industry. I am currently refocusing on the future of news and media, and will be sharing a lot more on this topic during this year.
For now, here are the slides to my keynote. As always, note that my slides are designed to accompany my keynote and not to stand alone, and also contain many videos that do not show in the slides below. However they may still be of interest to people who are not attending my keynote.
Some events today have innovative formats and strong audience participation. However many conferences still sport essentially the same format as ever, a series of people presenting on a stage in front of a passive audience. It needn’t be this way. Technology eenables us to re-conceive what a presentation is and can be.
I approach this idea as both a speaker and an event organizer. I have been a professional speaker for over 15 years, and have also organized many conferences and events, including our Future of Media Summits, the first cross-continental conferences ever held.
A recent article in Sydney Morning Herald on how the new app Zeetings helps “keep audiences awake” looks at Zeetings, “a presentation app that is both interactive and social, and promises to stop audiences slumbering in their chairs.”
The article describes the background of the app and goes on to quote me:
This morning I was interviewed on the national breakfast program Sunrise about whether algorithms can assess our personality better than those who are closest to us.
Click on the image below to view the segment.
The segment described some just-released research titled Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which says:
This study compares the accuracy of personality judgment—a ubiquitous and important social-cognitive activity—between computer models and humans. Using several criteria, we show that computers’ judgments of people’s personalities based on their digital footprints are more accurate and valid than judgments made by their close others or acquaintances (friends, family, spouse, colleagues, etc.). Our findings highlight that people’s personalities can be predicted automatically and without involving human social-cognitive skills.
The personality-assessment algorithm was solely based on Facebook likes made by participants, with results compared to the assessments of people who know them well. As little as 150 likes was sufficient to provide a more accurate personality assessment than a family member such as a parent, while 300 likes enabled a better assessment than a spouse.
What was perhaps more interesting was the claim that “computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores.”
The potential implications are profound. Article co-author Wu Youyou said “In this context, the human-computer interactions depicted in science fiction films such as ‘Her’ seem to be within our reach.”
Being able to interact with people in a way tailored to their personalities and designed to generate particular responses is certainly a fair way beyond being able to assess personalities accurately, but we are rapidly heading in that direction.
These findings are unlikely to give pause to people sharing their lives – and personalities – on social media, but we absolutely need to be aware quite how deep the insights about ourselves we are sharing in our everyday online behaviors.
I recently gave a keynote address on Science and Leadership for the Future to a small group of major media and corporate clients of New Scientist magazine.
Given the context, I was able to delve a little deeper into the issues than I would for most audiences.
The video of my presentation was sliced into a number of brief segments. Below is the video of the section of my presentation on Networks.
Here is a summary of the points made in the video:
It is 12 years since I started this Trends in the Living Networks blog to accompany the launch of my book Living Networks. It is interesting to look at my posts from October 2002, in which I reflected on some of the earlier signs of the networks coming to life.
The original blog was on the book website, but a couple of years later I moved it to this domain, rossdawsonblog.com. At the time I put quite a lot of consideration into whether that was a good name, given that ‘blog’ was a neologism that might fade or be replaced.
The concept of a blog is now firmly mainstream, with not just tens of millions of people and many companies blogging, but a significant chunk of mainstream media having shifted to blog-like formats.
I still spot many articles about how to get attention to your new blog, and many people still seem to be setting up blogs (though of course many are also abandoning them after having tried for a while).
So what are some of the things I have learned from 12 years of blogging?
At the time we did want to translate it into Arabic, however this proved difficult as it requires the Middle East version of Illustrator; most versions of Adobe CS do not support Arabic text. Fortunately we were recently approached with an offer to do a translation into Arabic, supported by the NGO Internews.
When I recently did the keynote at Arab Media World in Dubai on Creating the Future of Arab Media I noted that one of the defining aspects of Arab media is the exceptional uptake of social media in a number of Arab countries, by some measures the highest in the world.
As such the social media familiarity gap between users on the one hand and companies and governments on the other is extremely high. Hopefully this framework will prove useful. As always feel free to pass on the framework to those who might find it useful.
Click on the framework image to see the full pdf.
My Newspaper Extinction Timeline is now well over 3 years old, in which time it has been viewed many millions of times and appeared in publications in over 30 countries. There has been a revival of interest recently from the extensive coverage of a keynote I gave at Arab Media Forum in Dubai last month and comments I made afterwards.
Many commentators on my framework seem to equate newspapers with newspaper companies. That is completely incorrect.
Such a thing as a “newspaper” company has ceased to exist except in regional areas of developing countries. What were newspaper companies are now news organizations.
The death of news-on-paper absolutely does not imply the death of news organizations. In fact it is an enabler of their rebirth.
Dominique Delport, the very switched-on Global MD of Havas Media Group, has created an excellent slide deck titled Newspapers: The End… Seriously? (embedded below). He opens with my Newspaper Extinction Timeline and goes on to paint a bright future for the industry.
As reflected by the title of this blog, networks have long been at the heart of how I see the world.
I have applied the tools and approaches of network analysis to a wide variety of domains, including organizational analysis, industry analysis, client relationship analysis, influence networks, sales and innovation networks, high-performance personal networks, and far more.
Much of my work today is helping organizations and senior executives to think effectively about the future, so as to set and implement effective strategies for success. However network analysis is an invaluable complement to that work, applying it as a tool to help improve performance.
In a networked world, we must understand the networks in which we are embedded.
On RossDawson.com I have just published a brief piece Futurists on Twitter: An analysis of network centrality and authority.
The chart showing the network analysis is shown below, uncovering authority and centrality among futurists on Twitter. Zoom in by clicking on the image.
Read the article for full details on the analysis.
At the launch of the Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report I authored for McAfee, part of Intel Security, a question came up about the implications of social media indiscretions.
Angus Kidman of Lifehacker describes my response in an article Will Social Media Indiscretions Really Wreck Your Career?
Futurist Ross Dawson, who contributed to the report, agreed when I asked that question at the launch. “If everybody has something dark online, then you haven’t got anybody left to hire anymore,” he said. “So I think we will be more tolerant, because we’re seeing more of everybody’s lives. Many employers will feel that they’re happy to accept a few foibles on social media.”
“Human brains are malleable,” Dawson pointed out. “We are shaped by our environment, and our younger generation are in a different environment, This is something we must understand, and it’s not that it’s being different is wrong. And ultimately there will be more career opportunities for those who are engaged in the social world.”
This is not a new thought. Back in 2007 women’s magazine Madison ran a piece on the dangers of social media sharing quoting me. In those days it was important to highlight the risks of oversharing, as many people hadn’t yet fully grasped the implications of what they share online.