Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Writer's strike solution

The networks need to create a new Reality TV show with a group of unemployed writers living together in a house in the Hollywood Hills. Each episode involves them getting in to a zany situation, and then they have to write themselves out of it...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Innovation and Risk

Having recently completed the first phase of a new inverse planning algorithm for radiation treatment planning, I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between innovation and risk. Of course, everyone knows that innovation is intrinsically risky, but the question is: what are all of the components of this risk, and can all be mitigated as efficiently as possible?

The commitment of time and resources to the initial development of a new idea is one of the first sources of risk in innovation. This risk can best be managed by following a path that develops the innovation to a suitable state for evaluation, while expending a minimal amount of resources.

But once this point has been reached, there is still further risk that persists, due to the need to couple further development to pragmatic concerns of how the innovation is to be used (productization). While this will consume even more resources, it seems that the current market(s) for innovation could benefit from significant improvements in efficiency of how this risk is mitigated.

For any new innovation, there will always be some early adopters who would be willing to expend some of their own resources toward the productization of a promising new technology. The problem is that this early adopter's risk is not efficiently mitigated, because the adopters themselves seem to only get intangible benefits from this risk. For instance, a high-profile clinic with many researchers will undertake new technologies because it allows their researchers to maintain their status as cutting-edge innovators. This means that, when deciding which innovations to adopt, they will mostly evaluate the likely "halo effect" of being associated with a ground-breaking new technology, which is an intangible benefit that eludes quantitative evaluation. Thus they will tend to be looking for "blockbuster" technology, much like Hollywood makes money mostly on a few blockbuster movies. Smaller independent films need financiers who are more willing to undertake smaller risks for smaller possible benefits, in return for equity interest.

But why can't early adopters in technology also partake in "equity interest" of some sort for their risk? This might encourage more commitment of resources during the productization phase of innovation, which would then make the initial development phase correspondingly less risky as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Knowledge Visualization

A number of techniques and applications exist to automatically visualize graphs or concept maps. I'm particularly interested in techniques that involve interactive, animated visualization techniques. I have developed a novel knowledge visualization environment called theWheel that provides a compelling animated depiction knowledge represented using a graph-based formalism [such as data encoded using the Semantic Web's Resource Description Framework (RDF)].

But I would like to explore some more sophisticated techniques utilizing the Kohonen map...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rubberneck TV

I sat in a traffic jam on I-280 this morning that stretched for ~5 miles, apparently caused by a motorcycle accident. I realized that there is a very cool and useful feature that should be available for current model cars, what with their LCD panels and communication systems built in to the navigation dashboard: RubberneckTV!

The basic idea is that when a traffic backup occurs due to a crash, there could be a single reporter with a camera (or maybe even a passing motorist vlogger) that is on the scene right away. They would have access to a special mobile transmitter, able to transmit footage and a live report to the cars waiting in traffic due to the crash.

So people could tune in, find out about the crash, find out if anyone was hurt, etc. They could get their entire fix of the most immediately relevent news item in their life at the moment. After 30 minutes of waiting in traffic, when they finally reach the crash scene, there will be no slowing down to take a look, because it will already be stale news...