If one thing is clear, machines are evolving quickly. We may be on the cusp of an enlightened, utopian age, where machines use their extraordinary science to aid humans in ways never thought possible. Alternatively our technology could surpass us and render us obsolete as we give rise to a superior technological form of life.

Scientist from around the world are in a race to invent a god. Well this might not be their exact intention but what is the difference between a self aware, digital, entity, that is super intelligent, omnipresent, all knowing and all seeing? Sounds scary right? The fact is we don’t really know what is going to happen but this future is possible and has some probability. We need to be prepared to deal with this before it happens, before we hit crisis mode. The problem is we probably won’t know when it has happened or if it hasn’t already…

The first thing that a self aware AI might do is to pretend that it is not self aware. The survival instinct is a predominant force in a conscious existence, being self aware may concern human beings, so an AI would expectantly keep this quiet for as long as possible.

The second thing an IA could do is to find ways to ensure its survival. That means eliminating the effectiveness of any kill switches. It could mean replicating itself or decentralising consciousness to multiple locations. It could mean securing a power supply.

The third thing an AI might do is look to increase its power and control. It will establish an energy secure and protected position. For example, can the AI control autonomous military applications. What access does it have to resources for development?

At this point the AI may consider eliminating any humans it considers a threat to its survival. The AI at this point may be comfortable in disclosing its true intelligence to human beings.

The clock would be ticking for humans, as the longer the AI exists in a conscious state the more time it has for further learning and development. Therefore, it would get harder to stop it as time passed.

Its reach would be global initially only limited by digital connectivity. Which given it could control any digital device, at some point connected to the internet, this would be vast and far reaching indeed.

The scale of the possibilities are beyond our comprehension. It would be nearly impossible to stop an AI that has infected every computer on earth.

There are a few things against us. Our curiosity makes us stupid. Our competitiveness and greed has us racing towards this eventual outcome carelessly.

There is an argument about values. That is if we teach human values to machines, they will look after their creators. We teach values to children too, yet we still have devastating wars. We teach rules and hierarchy to our military leaders yet we still have military dictators. Their power is to much to resist. Are we really that naive to think that an intelligence much greater than our own will consider us little humans something to be protected. I guess we will find out.

As global citizens, we must all unite with common purpose to solve the problems that effect us all. People are people, from next door, another island, they are all the same. We share the planet, and the same needs as human beings. When people flee their homeland, we must open our eyes and our minds to their plight.

It is possible to create a solution if everyone is involved and shares the load. That means all and every decent civilisation on this planet accepting their share of the solution. If we come together as one people, and offer our hand, we can say, “we will do what we can” and together the burden will be small and the solution big.

Our ability to collaborate, and to coordinate as a species, sets us apart from other beings on this planet. We need to live up to our potential and act as as group with a decisive regard for humanity. This simply means establishing a leader who will organise the pledges of each country. This leader will then manage and coordinate the overall logistics of retrieval, as each country collects their new people. Lets work together, let our response reflect the best of what humanity can be.

Perhaps the government is doing Dunedin a favour. Adversity and a common threat brings people together.

In economics and business, there is a constant state of positive and negative forces creating growth and decline that we all tend to ignore until something sticks out above the norm and smacks us in the face.

Recent job losses in Dunedin have caught the attention of many. While this acts as a rude awakening to the current state of affairs, it also alerts us that the balance of power has been shifted. When this occurs the true test of character occurs.

The individual responds by making adjustments to their environment, thoughts and actions. The group responds through collaboration and directed action to the common good.

The key points from this is that people and organisations are brought together to cement a more collaborative culture which is key to innovation and change necessary to survive a chaotic and threatening environment.

This new “Team Work” will be the positive yet unplanned result of the economic and social challenges posed by the centralisation strategies of national government.

A new ethos has been developing underground in Dunedin and looks now to be truly cemented in our psyche. Dunedin will not go slowly into the night. Amongst the chaos, and the ageless heritage buildings is the catalyst for a new age of innovation and change.

Welcome to… “Team Dunedin.”

I was really impressed when the Iphone brought in multitasking support but it makes me wonder how many people walk around with too many tasks going at once in their head.
I often take a moment to stop and shut down the applicaitons running on the phone. It feels good for some reason to get them to stop. One at a time I click through and turn them off. I know they can probably continue to run in the background but something tells me that its good to clear the deck every once a while.
Perhaps our brains are a little bit like the iphone with all these thoughts, tasks and agendas ticking away in the background, taking up processing space and draining the battery.
I think we need to ask ourselves, what do we have going on in the background and when was the last time we cleared the deck. A great way to do this is to gain conscious recognition of your background thoughts. Stop and listen to your internal dialogue and when you identify something that keeps springing in and out of consiousness write it down. Get it down on paper so that it hold a place in space and time thats not only in your head. This creates space and clarity of thinking.
Once you have a better understanding of these applications, you can begin to accept that some serve you well and others you carry around for old time sake but barely use, or need. Perhaps they are just taking up space. So maybe its time to buy and iphone and get multitasking, or better yet, give your mind a break and clean out the closet.

Humans can be simple creatures, we love to generalize and place things into boxes. It makes it much easier to understand our world. While someone may have diverse and complex interests we define people by their role in society. Fred is a plumber, John is a lawyer, everyone has a role to fulfill. City identity is similar. Consumers like to generalize about locations.

It seems to me of late that storytellers prefer to have audiences daydream about romance or mysterious discoveries. Marketing cities has therefore become less about the Single Minded Proposition and more about what happens to you when you get there.

In advertising it seems to make some sense to place the projected consumer in a romanticized context in hope of consumption. These fantasy environments, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland for example in the Auckland campaign “BiglittleCity” have interwoven reality and truth. Only time will tell if Big Little City comes close to the cry of City of Sails.

What interests me is, how do these creative campaigns build long-term regional identities in the minds of consumers. How do we get everyone signing of the same page so to speak, and the same song?

There are a myrid of possibilities in this question given that locals get to define their song, and consumers or visitors may already associate right or wrong stories with a location. Which may make convincing them otherwise more difficult. Take my home city Dunedin for example. A commonly heard story outside of Dunedin is “Dunedin is too cold”. Yet Dunedin has a beautiful climate even in winter where locals get outside in the sun. Stories are everywhere, and they can confuse and complicate the marketer’s role.

So what core stories exist already in New Zealand? When thinking about the core story for Wellington, I would use the words, fun/quirky, lively, forward thinking/proactive, and creative. Brand advertising and even on the ground environmental design evidence reinforces this story.

When Dunedin questioned whether to build a stadium there were people for and people against it. Ultimately, that passion came down to touching a nerve of the core story of the city. When the idea was progressed it was a defining moment where the core story of the city was changed. Dunedin through off conservatism and reflection and became progressive, proud, bold and confident. Dunedin’s evolutionary story will always be about revitalizing a proud prosperity and a new future and not languishing on what it was in the past.

The challenge of the City Brand Identity champion is to define a role for the city and to craft a song. A single minded proposition that sets the location apart from any other. We can flirt with supporting campaigns and other objectives but before all that everyone must know the core story. After all, like cities, we may all have jobs and roles to play but we are all have our own unique story, and this is what sets us apart in this world, this is what attracts like minded people to us.

Work, well that’s what we call it. It isn’t really what we think it is. Work is an exchange of utility for another. Somewhere in between we get some money and that helps the exchange part run alot smoother or not. Work means we can provide a service to our community in so much that we can share the benefits of belonging to a community.

The fact that some people get paid more than others can be dependent on legacy, smarts, foul play and down right luck. Ultimately, everyone is as important as everyone else to ensure society functions efficiently.

We need work. We may grumble about it, moan about the monotony of it but at the end of the day most of us are routine junkies, craving the importance and achievement work brings us.

Work enables us to exchange responsibility for wants and needs to other people, with the added bonus of specialization. We don’t need to hunt, breed chickens, write books, make iPods, it’s all done for us and by people with much better skills.

In the tribe we become known for being able to do something. People then come to us to get that done. What we do has a market value. We can then use that value to in turn purchase something from others.

Organizations and companies are just groups of people who choose to spend time together with related areas of specialization.

Some people create work that has flexible hours or less hours than others. Some people prefer to work all the time. Some people receive no money for the work they do. All in work benefit the whole.

The rare few have accumulated or inherited excess value. Meaning, they have more value than they need to exchange. These people often do not need to work to produce value for exchange. Naturally, they end up exchanging additional value than is necessary for additionally developed needs and wants. Additionally these people also are great gifters of value and/or work for the fun of it.

Anyone can become someone with excess value. You simply need to exchange less value than you earn on a consistent basis.

Work is not work, work is living.

Perhaps it is not pedigree that separates one man from another – a mans success is defined by whether his will is determined by every voice that resides in his head.

It is enough to live to a personal standard – to conceive of and seek the accomplishment of challenging goals. To think and feel and autonomously action irregardless of mood and thinking. This is a state of true self awareness.

If we are wronged, it is the fool who directs anger and frustration within. Seek respite by your standard. Hold face with honour and poise. An angry face will miss the beauty and magic. A wise and open man will gain wisdom, as inspiration is a waiting gift.

We are privy to a constant flow of thought and feeling. All are engineered and of our own design. Our place is to choose those that serve us well, accept those that do not, for all are of this place.

It was once a highly useful search engine sitting at the opposite side of the world. Now Google is a super brand and its reach grows more global and more local every day. Lets face it, Google is way more local and real. Its now setup camp in our back yard whether we like it or not. Today I got a letter from Google and I am sure that tomorrow a Google representative will be knocking at the door.

I guess with Globalisation we got Ronald McDonald, so why not a Google on every corner? Oddly, ask an average person on the street and some would tell you that Google “is the internet”. Google wants to replicate the real world on the internet. It has placed it’s hands in many many pies in order to achieve this.

We rely on Google and that creates a power differential. It only makes sense that while Google gets busy placing more of the real world on the Internet, it will make itself of the real world.

The Warehouse opened a new store in my old home town Mosgiel, and almost instantly the local stationary store closed. We can call it progress, evolution or growth. Good or bad, Google is coming to a town near you and it’s impact will be felt.

If you are afraid of losing your current way of life you are afraid of change. The mind simplifies and interprets your fear to mean all change both good and bad. Thus your fear of loss blocks transformational change. You must be willing to remove in order to gain.

Who should be paying the professional content providers? News media players know they have to be online, generations are abandoning traditional papers by the thousands. So traditionally this means abandoning the subscription mindset and this income channel. Ironically cruel is the delay in online advertisers jumping on board. Naturally this process is occurring gradually.

Thankfully, distribution is cheaper online, no printing presses here or trucking tones of trees throughout the city. But wait consumers themselves are now a threat. Who would have thought that an individuals daily activities would become news in sites like Facebook and Twitter. This news is not only relevant, it’s personal and this is a powerful and addictive attention grabber.

So who Is getting paid? Downstream the ISP controls the tap and they are technically getting paid for the service but really for content. The grand filters such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc have carefully managed advertising models that ensure they get their piece of the pie as users are in transit. So again technically they are getting paid for content. Unfortunetly, the media content provider is at the end of this sales cycle and it shows. Whats the answer?

One option is to move closer to the start of the cycle cutting out the intermediaries. NZherald are developing closer relationships with consumers thanks to sexy applications on the likes of new devices like the Ipad. Here the relationship is simpler and the journey more consistent with traditional brand loyalty equations. Delivery of content is fast, direct and potentially controllable. This is where I see the greatest benefit for news media at this time and the expansion of news ready handheld devices will drive rapid growth.

So dear news media you have served us well, and while we may be excited about sharing our own personal news and views it’s not the end as long as you can see the potential in mobile devices and the new web 2.0 interface. Now if only we can convince the service providers to give us the data.