In the swanky central London offices of a leading law firm recently, at an event held by BABi, Stephen Leonard chief executive UK, Ireland IBM UK Ltd., reviewed the outcome of an IBM survey investigating whether technological complexity was an opportunity or a threat.

Perhaps not unexpectedly IBM and the views of its existing and prospective customers, comprising 1500 chief executives across 60 countries, supported the notion that existing complexity might be better harnessed with the introduction of additional layers of technology that ‘abstracted the complexity’ from the system.

Without wishing to reiterate the whole presentation – which was compelling – simply put, Stephen postulated that there are now more transistors on the planet than grains of rice. That the disparate systems that use these transistors – everything from CCTV, through traffic, transport, motor vehicle, GPS or smart mobile devices – are complex but disjointed and that by abstracting and integrating the useful information from these systems and combining them together mankind will enjoy a period of sustainable social, environmental and economic well being.

In the UK we’ve suffered a litany of high profile government IT projects either being delayed or going belly up or both placing the onus for overspent and waste on the tax payer.

Surely the answer is fewer systems that are better written, better connected and infinitely simpler rather than more? Whilst this might not be in the most immediate interest of generating short term revenue for Big Blue failure to grasp this will, I fear, find us playing second fiddle to third world countries that are already leap-frogging our old legacy systems – for example going straight to mobile versus fix line phones – challenging our technology thought and industry leadership and positioning the UK, Europe and the US as net importers of technology savvy.

Given the choice of a bowl of transistors or a bowl of rice which would you choose?

@mattwarder

This here is an interesting campaign and advertising medium being rolled out by an advertising agency in Amsterdam. RAINCAMPAIGN® is an environmentally friendly technique that consists of “pavement adverts” – ultimately the images appear on the pavement only when it rains, disappearing as they dry. A percentage of profits from each project will be donated to an international rainforest project.

In my humble opinion, it’s pretty cool that even in the somewhat money-grubbing world of media; something environmentally friendly and charitable is still possible without being boringly unoriginal. A couple of brands have already used the technique for their own campaigns as well – including Continental Tires

And yes, I have considered that people are more likely to hurry along in the rain rather than mosey about checking out the pavement but sometimes it’s the concept that counts.

@GabiGarb

I read some Yenning related rant about what is happening out there in the ocean that reminded me of what’s become of the Internet.

Way out in the Pacific Ocean, in an area once known as the doldrums, an enormous, accidental monument to modern society has formed. Invisible to satellites, poorly understood by scientists and perhaps twice the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not a solid mass, as is sometimes imagined, but a kind of marine soup whose main ingredient is floating plastic debris. Floating beneath the surface of the water, to a depth of 10 metres, is a multitude of small plastic flecks and particles, in many colours, swirling like snowflakes or fish food. Measuring the weight of plastic in the water compared to that of plankton reveals six times more plastic than plankton.

This plastic soup strikes me as being similar to the jumble of data, thoughts and opinions that are beginning to gather around certain issues and ideas that live online. The small bits of plastic that make up the garbage patch are referred to as nurdles and it seems that much of this digital soup is just this electronic nurdles – real but pretty pointless. Just look a the average tweet if you want an example of an online nurdle.

Now clearly amid all of this stuff lives electronic plankton: good wholesome stuff that strikes a cord; feeds the imagination or actually gives a buyer some valuable product information. I am not sure of the ratio of Internet nurdle to plankton but gut feel tells me it’s more than six fold. Indeed it feels that today the job PR has become very much a job of sieving the plankton from the nurdles we have in short become like a Basking Shark.

Jonathan Hargreaves (@Naked_Pheasant)

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