Top Hits

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, because our past articles on advertising and media may surprise you. Search by topics or timeframe, or enjoy some recent highlights below.



Hm. What if Apple’s Siri is learning from us?

One joke in tech circles is Google gave away a free phone-number-lookup service called GOOG-411 for a while, getting millions of people to voice in questions, and then pulled it — because Google had finished human trials of voice-recognition software and no longer needed us for its product development.

Siri is doing a similar thing with humans today — except instead of just queries for phone numbers, we are asking it almost anything. Millions of humans are directing Siri to do things or find information, and if Siri fails, we ask again in another way. Somewhere in the cloud Siri is collating all of this information to become smarter and smarter at answering, and anticipating, any question. Siri is learning based on the biggest data model in the world, millions of real human minds… More here.



Why Apple will turn to holograms (Businessweek)

As Apple prepares to launch its next iPhone in September, with a slightly bigger screen, here is a prediction—Apple devices will soon project holograms like you’ve never seen. This is not mere speculation, but insight based on Apple’s patents, recent acquisitions, and the business imperative to do something to break free of the tablet clutter.

In November 2010, Apple patented a three-dimensional display system that would “mimic a hologram” without requiring special glasses. The patent narrative is fascinating, noting that one current market gap in screen technology is the ability of a device to project stereoscopic 3D images to multiple viewers at the same time… More here.



Facebook, Google must adapt as users embrace ‘unsocial’ nets (Businessweek)

When Facebook bought the photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, theories flew as to what it might mean. Was Mark Zuckerberg defensive, worried that his 850 million Facebook users might stop uploading 250 million photos a day? Or was he making a proactive move into mobile, where Instagram’s friendly interface makes Facebook look clunky on iPhones?

The real story is both—and one of splintering social networks that are breaking up the vast, open “social graphs” that give Facebook and others such power… More here.



The technology of love

Sarah Jamieson is a metro office worker who aspires to be a writer. She’s 24, slightly overweight, but knows she’s attractive because John at the front desk keeps ogling her chest. Sarah isn’t dating, though, because work is stressful and the hours are long and it’s just too damned hard to find time to go out. The last guy Brian was a jerk focused on unbuttoning her blouse, and is for losers — so a break is in order…

That story is fiction. The reality is closer: Many people live two lives, one with a lover or cat at home and another far away in a fictitious corporate environment, a battle of spreadsheets for entities that exist only in legal documents… More here.



5 (un)alarming stats about banner ads (Digiday)

Consumers ignore display banners, a columnist wrote here [in Digiday] recently — except for the banner at the top of this page, which funds Digiday, and the $15 billion spent on U.S. digital display last year. While ad gurus moan the banner is dying and we need to go native, Facebook’s ad revenues shot up 80 percent in 2012 from ads that have little to do with the native content in your feed.

In fact, the forecast for U.S. online display spending is 18 percent growth in 2013. So let’s revisit some “alarming” stats about banner ads and clarify why advertisers are still spending money on them… More here.



Send in the other you

Over at Businessweek, I predicted that someday soon you’ll have an Eternity App — a digital doppelgänger clone of you who will carry on conversations long after you’re gone, or potentially even replace you in the office. All of the technology to make this possible now exists, between voice recognition software input that can “listen” to questions, Siri-type artificial intelligence simulation output which can “speak” like a human, and data sets of your personality.

Where would the data come from to replicate you? Well… More here.

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