Last month, Netflix quietlydeleted all the remaining user reviews on its service. And just like that, CEO Reed Hastings completed the latest shift in his company’s ever evolving strategy: away from the wisdom of crowds in its content recommendations, in favor of the wisdom of the machine. The algorithm is now firmly in charge at Netflix—as it increasingly is across the economy.
The past year has seen a crescendo of fascination with—and fear of—artificial intelligence. This theme is a central feature of the tech backlash buffeting formerly bulletproof companies like Facebook and Google, fueling U.S. congressional hearings and editorial-page outrage. Yet it’s also the most potent new engine for business efficiency, an essential driver of competitive advantage from Amazon to Accenture. Continue reading
Once upon a time, the most successful business models were conceived to exploit clear gaps in established, stable commercial markets. Why take a risk in new, undeveloped areas when existing ones were rich with opportunity?
But something happened on the way to the corporate future: Startup enterprises began unlocking value at extraordinary levels, and established systems were shaken by disruption. Technological and social transformations set in motion a different kind of economy — an innovation economy — defined by constant and accelerating change. Continue reading
It’s easy to see why anyone could have trepidation when it comes to dealing with today’s speed of change. Keynote speaker Robert Safian said the chaos is neither good nor bad, but it is real and must be acknowledged and dealt with. “The world is changing. It’s changing at a pace that we haven’t seen before, and we’re not really trained for it, and we have to retrain ourselves to be able to make the most of it,” Safian told Alabama NewsCenter. “The opportunities with all of this change are spectacular, but you have to open yourself up to those ideas.”
There is blood everywhere. And lithe, scantily clad bodies. Music thrums hypnotically. Laughter rings. A weapon is drawn menacingly. Hundred-dollar bills float down through the fog. And don’t forget the cats: Aren’t they cute??
This is the modern media scape: An adrenaline-fueled, dopamine-engineered, titillating, exhilarating, unending plea for your ears, eyes, and mind. The channels are phone and screen, earbud and headset, social and search. The pace is relentless, and exhausting. Yet. We. Just. Cant. Stop. In today’s Attention Economy, any brand or business that wants to establish or maintain its relevance needs to grapple with these realities. Donald Trump has risen to the most powerful position in the world by deftly exploiting attention—indeed, he may be the most deft practitioner in the modern era. His any-hour-of-the-day tweets and off-the-cuff comments are too provocative to ignore. Just ask anyone at CNN.
I got my first glimpse of Apple’s newest product as the sun was coming up. It was just after 7 a.m. on a Wednesday in January, two days after Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, began moving into Apple Park, the company’s new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino. As I was escorted around the gleaming structure, it occurred to me that it embodied everything Apple’s products represent: a glimpse of the future, and yet also something familiar—not science fiction, but a tangible vision made real.