“Humans kill more people” is not enough

After Uber’s self driving car fatal accident, I want to share three observations – the last being by far most important – that in my opinion are missing or under-valued (besides, which is worrying, compassion for Elaine Herzberg’s family and friends).

1) It’s not business news

When the news broke – see the link to BBC above – it was published as “business” news, along the lines of what this may mean for Uber, the share price of any company involved in autonomous cars, of traditional car companies etc. While I understand there must be a bigger reason for reporting a fatal car crash globally, we may all agree that the category should better be somewhere between society, science and future. The story is so much bigger than its implication on some business. And if it’s about business, the most interesting aspect would be this:

2) Ever noticed that Uber is not a car company?

Somehow it became “Uber’s car”. And this “somehow” is software and data.  Continue reading

Generation Z communication

Just wanted to share these slides from a presentation I am currently working on. A generation that grows up without a keyboard communicates differently. Their relation to writing and, in extension, to reading, will make them media consumers that are very different from what we are used to.

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My biggest blockchain hope: Gain control of our data

In recent years, it has become fashionable to complain about the internet – it seems as if we screwed up, unable to exploit this technology to the benefit of all, are spied on by every government on earth and created Trump, Brexit and everything evil with it. While one could argue about that point of view, I see no doubt that blockchain as a technology may help us to improve current deficits and shortcomings or even provide a second chance to build the internet closer to the way it was once imagined (everyone should read the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow from 1996 every once in a while).

With so many good resources out there to explain blockchain fundamentals, I’ll spare you my personal version of re-phrasing them. (I added a link list to the end of the article with what I recommend to read/watch).

Instead, let me start with a quote by Marc Andreessen from 2014 (!).

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Three Strategic Options for Digital Media

During the past 18 months I have noticed a change of mind(set) in my work with traditional publishers, mostly from TV: Most of them do not consider digital some extension of their “real” business anymore, but finally start to prepare for a digital-only future. To many this may seem very late and trivial, but keep in mind that turnover and profits of traditional publishing in most cases are not a different ballpark, but a different sport, and although we can see first cracks in the iceberg, this will probably persist for a period of time to come. I like the ballpark/sports analogy, because I don’t believe in the term “digital transformation” in this case: Not only because everybody and their mothers suddenly became specialists in digital transformation, but also because in this special case, transforming TV or print into a digital business would mean they are the same sport, and in some time will meet at the same ballpark. I firmly believe that this is not the case; I am convinced that the mechanics and dynamics of digital publishing are so different to TV or print, that digital publishing has to be seen as a new, different, only somehow related industry, even if they are currently fighting over the same audiences and the same attention, and they are similar in the structure of their value chains. Continue reading

Structure vs. Chaos: Why I am Team Elon and think that AI regulation is absolutely necessary

 

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https://twitter.com/eucheerleading

In late July there was an open controversy between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg about the impact of AI and if we would need to introduce regulations to it. It culminated in this tweet.

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Musk calls for heavy AI regulation, while Zuckerberg argued that AI can improve people’s lives in many ways. Although under the brand “Technology is our friend” I have always taken the optimistic and progressive view on tech, I can’t follow Mark Zuckerberg’s argument – because no one denies this and there is no reason we couldn’t reach these advancements with “regulated AI”. On the other hand, I am not afraid of Skynet and machine-robots taking over the world. I rather think that we need to regulate AI because I believe that human societies cannot – at least not yet – deal with what AI is capable of or will be capable of in the near future. Continue reading

Cameras will be the next big platforms

In August 2006, Facebook launched its developer platform. If you define a platform as an environment in which software can be executed that embeds into this environment by utilizing standard features and data provided by this platform, this may have been one of the first large-scale platforms that entered a new abstraction level: “above” hardware and “above” operating systems, building on a customer-facing software that was designed to run on a variety of computing and operating systems and, by extension, on a number of hardware devices – kind of a “meta platform”. Compared to pure Windows, Android and iOS developing for example, the grade of openness on such platforms is very high, and at the same time the abilities of such platforms are limited to the “lowest” degree of functionality that will be available on all the software and hardware it has to work on. In theory, this could mean that peak innovations may happen on more limited, specialized platforms, while their broad adaptation may happen or be accelerated through such “meta-platforms”. I believe that cameras will be the next iteration where these processes can be observed: They provide an environment in which software can be executed that utilizes standardized features and data. This may lead to an entirely new breed of “apps” as well as to a significant enhancement of many apps as we know them today. Apple is moving into this direction with its ARKit, and Facebook made its camera a platform, too.

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Eine Runde Nebel-Stochern: Sportrechte und Digitalisierung

Nicht erst seit Helene Fischer ist die Betrachtung von Sport als TV-Entertainment-Produkt versus einer Behandlung als Kulturgut Gegenstand hitziger Diskussionen. Bei uns geht es dabei vorrangig um Fußball, aber eine Diskussion um Kommerzialisierung und damit letztlich um Digitalisierung lässt sich auch in anderen Märkten mit anderen Sportrechten beobachten.

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Die Tatsache, dass für TV-Rechte im Sport immer mehr Geld gezahlt wird – zumindest in der Spitze, im “Short Tail” – lässt viele, nicht nur Scheichs, wild entschlossen investieren, und bringt andere dazu, bei jedem neuen TV-Vertrag das endgültige Erreichen des Gipfels zu diagnostizieren und den baldigen Abstieg zu prophezeien. Letztere sehen in einem einfachen Streaming-Angebot der heutigen Rechte-Verkäufer – im Fußball in der Regel Verbände bzw. Ligen-Organisationen – den einzigen Ausweg, andere sagen, darin würde der Fußball massiv unterkapitalisiert und würde vor allen Dingen auch seine dominierende Rolle gefährden, weil die nicht zahlungskräftige, aber insgesamt Meinungs-bildende Masse darin wohl weitestgehend ausgeschlossen würde. In Wahrheit stochern alle im Nebel und folgen eher Intuition, eigenen Wünschen oder der Geschichte, die gerade für ihre eigenen Interessen die dienlichste ist. Das klingt jetzt negativer, als ich es meine: ich halte Nebel-Stochern in schweren Sichtverhältnissen für eine recht valide Methode, um zumindest in kleinen Tippelschritten vorwärts zu kommen, und will, weil die Digitalisierung in eigentlich allen Branchen mein Lieblingsthema, ganz besonders aber bei Medien, und Sport nun einmal eines meiner Hauptbeschäftigungsfelder ist, privat und beruflich, gerne ein wenig mitstochern. Continue reading