Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

22nd April 2017

Wikipedia’s great experiment – finding a definition of ‘happiness’ we can all agree on. ‘Wikipedia’s current definition is the result of nearly 6,000 edits by over 3,000 users (including some bots) to the page. In this way, Wikipedia understands something that most philosophers after Socrates didn’t—definitions are not static, and cannot be perfected and finalised. They must be constantly challenged, updated, reverted, and discussed. Wikipedia is like a Socratic dialogue on a massive scale.

People who predict the death of brands, don’t understand why they exist. ‘Some marketers are, deep down, serial killers. It wasn’t enough to call the death of TV. Then it wasn’t enough to call the death of advertising. No, harbingers are now chanting the death of brands themselves.The usual suspects normally include four trends: e-commerce, consumer reviews, the decline of mass advertising, and Artificial Intelligence. Seeing no future for mass brands ignores the arithmetics of what makes them mass brands in the first place: it’s not because people love them beyond reason, but simply because a lot of people use them.

To celebrate Earth Day, Google Earth has received a major update. The latest version, puts a big focus on guided tours via the “Voyager” section, which serves as a jumping off point for YouTube videos, 360° content, Street View, and Google Earth landmarks. The tours are led by scientists and documentarians, with some content produced by well-known groups like the BBC’s Planet Earth team.

Snapchat ups the AR ante with ‘New World Lenses’. The move to add augmented reality lenses is one that sees the company build on its camera abilities. ‘In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones’.

My piece on the Econsultancy blog this week. Why brands need to bother about voice(bots). 

Perhaps not as sexy, but this piece argues that the future of content is ‘marketplaces’ and not AI. ‘Content generation is increasingly being undertaken using management platforms and dispersed teams of freelancers, rather than traditional fixed role, in-house teams.’

Martin Wiegel on why ‘strategy’ does not exist and why everything is strategic. ‘For if the mark of a strategy is a set of coherent actions driven by intent, it must follow that everything is strategic. Every moment represents a choice as to what to do in the world, and how to do it. And at no point in the process does the engine shift gear from theory to action. Or from abstract thinking to concrete doing.

This is a great idea, Lastminute.com teams up with Spotify to soundtrack travel adventures. It includes collaborations with six international artists to create podcasts offering insight into a given city, starting with house star Jax Jones on London. In total there will be interactive maps of ten cities – beginning with London, New York and Berlin – overlaid with musical information about particular neighbourhoods, and playlists across six genres.

This split screen music video, a collaboration between Pharrell and Cat Power, is a great deal better than your average offering. Definitely worth a watch.

This video is from a while back but is just as relevant (and funny) now. An elevator’s voice recognition system, made in America, struggles to understand the Scottish accent.