Dave Girouard, co-founder and CEO of Upstart in Wired: “A total $2.7 billion was pledged by individual donors through crowdfunding last year, according to reports by research firm Massolution — up 81% from the year before. This space is only going to heat up further when SEC rules for the JOBS Act are released this year, paving the way for equity crowdfunding….
Crowdfunders and angel investors, while not purely philanthropic, share the common desire to participate and be involved in the creation of something new.Put another way, it’s more about cause than cash (a phrase I picked up from Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley). And that desire is the disruptive “feature” of crowdfunding….
Predicting success for a newbie startup is notoriously difficult. But investing in people is one of the only ways to get a risk/return/volatility investment profile that actually works. It’s a model that could also appeal to quant (not just cause) investors as well…companies like Upstart (which I founded) and Pave make it easy for people to invest in other people.
Why is investing in people a safer bet? Because there are clear — and measurable — signals reflecting their accomplishments and hinting at their potential. It’s not unlike the logic used by big companies or universities faced with countless candidates, by recruiting firms and talent agents, and others. By using data and algorithms — in this case, a sophisticated regression model that considers variables like school, area of study, standardized test scores, internships, job offers — we can statistically predict a person’s future income.
Such a model allows a person to “borrow” from his or her future self.”
Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at OSTP : “As we enter the second year of the Big Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is encouraging multiple stakeholders, including federal agencies, private industry, academia, state and local government, non-profits, and foundations to develop and participate in Big Data initiatives across the country. Of particular interest are partnerships designed to advance core Big Data technologies; harness the power of Big Data to advance national goals such as economic growth, education, health, and clean energy; use competitions and challenges; and foster regional innovation.
The National Science Foundation has issued a request for information encouraging stakeholders to identify Big Data projects they would be willing to support to achieve these goals. And, later this year, OSTP, NSF, and other partner agencies in the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program plan to convene an event that highlights high-impact collaborations and identifies areas for expanded collaboration between the public and private sectors.”
Steve Lohr from the New York Times: “Work-force science, in short, is what happens when Big Data meets H.R….Today, every e-mail, instant message, phone call, line of written code and mouse-click leaves a digital signal. These patterns can now be inexpensively collected and mined for insights into how people work and communicate, potentially opening doors to more efficiency and innovation within companies.
Digital technology also makes it possible to conduct and aggregate personality-based assessments, often using online quizzes or games, in far greater detail and numbers than ever before. In the past, studies of worker behavior were typically based on observing a few hundred people at most. Today, studies can include thousands or hundreds of thousands of workers, an exponential leap ahead.
“The heart of science is measurement,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for Digital Business at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. “We’re seeing a revolution in measurement, and it will revolutionize organizational economics and personnel economics.”
The data-gathering technology, to be sure, raises questions about the limits of worker surveillance. “The larger problem here is that all these workplace metrics are being collected when you as a worker are essentially behind a one-way mirror,” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group. “You don’t know what data is being collected and how it is used.”
Carl Fillichio who heads the Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs at (Work in Progress): “Since we published a department-wide API two years ago, developers across the country have used it to create apps that educate users about workplace safety and health, employers’ compliance with wage and hour laws, and improving employment opportunities for disabled workers, just to name a few!
Releasing data through an API was a big step forward, but it was not exactly groundbreaking. However, since then, my team has been working hard to develop software development kits that are truly innovative because they make using our API even easier.
These kits (also known as SDKs) contain application code for six different platforms − iOS, Android, Blackberry, .Net, PHP and Ruby − that anyone creating a mobile or Web-based app using our data could incorporate. By using the kits, experienced developers will save time and novice developers will be able to work with DOL data in just a few minutes…. All of these kits can be downloaded from our developer site. Additionally, in keeping with the federal digital government strategy, each has been published as an open source project on github, a popular code-sharing site. For a list of federal APIs that are supported by our kits, check the github repository’s wiki page. This list will be updated as the kits are tested with additional federal APIs.”
New paper on “Bridging narrative scenario texts and formal policy modeling through conceptual policy modeling” in Artificial Intelligence and Law.
Abstract: “Engaging stakeholders in policy making and supporting policy development with advanced information and communication technologies including policy simulation is currently high on the agenda of research. In order to involve stakeholders in providing their input to policy modeling via online means, simple techniques need to be employed such as scenario technique. Scenarios enable stakeholders to express their views in narrative text. At the other end of policy development, a frequently used approach to policy modeling is agent-based simulation. So far, effective support to transform narrative text input to formal simulation statements is not widely available. In this paper, we present a novel approach to support the transformation of narrative texts via conceptual modeling into formal simulation models. The approach also stores provenance information which is conveyed via annotations of texts to the conceptual model and further on to the simulation model. This way, traceability of information is provided, which contributes to better understanding and transparency, and therewith enables stakeholders and policy modelers to return to the sources that informed the conceptual and simulation model.”
Press Release: “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launched a beta of its discovery portal and open platform today. The portal delivers millions of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to students, teachers, scholars, and the public. Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through its united collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data…
With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, the DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps. The DPLA App Library features an initial slate of applications built on top of the platform; developers and hobbyists of all skill levels are freely able to make use of the data provided via the platform….
With its content partners, the DPLA has developed a number of diverse virtual exhibitions that tell the stories of people, places, and historical events both here in the US and abroad; all are available freely via the portal.”
Wired: “If you walk into the lobby of the data center Facebook operates in the high desert in Prineville, Oregon, you’ll find a flatscreen display on the wall where you can check the pulse of this massive computing facility.
The display tracks the efficiency of the operation, which spans 333,400-square feet and tens of thousands of computer servers. Facebook built this data center in an effort to significantly reduce the power and dollars needed to serve up the world’s most popular social network, and — driven by CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s deep-seeded belief in the free exchange of ideas — the company aims to push the computing world in a similar direction. The display — which shows much the same information Facebook engineers use to monitor the facility — is an advertisement for the Facebook way.
Now, the company is taking this idea a step further. On Thursday, Facebook uncloaked a pair of web services that let anyone in the world track the efficiency of the Prineville data center and its sister facility in Forest City, North Carolina. “We’re pulling back the curtain to share some of the same information that our data center technicians view every day,” Facebook’s Lyrica McTiernan said in a blog post. “We think it’s important to demystify data centers and share more about what our operations really look like.”
Internet Evolution on Cory Booker’s panel at Ad Age Digital Conference: “Social media have been a part of a transformation of the City of Newark from a butt of jokes to a community experiencing economic growth, Booker told the Ad Age conference. Newark has a population of 300,000 in a state with 9 million people, and yet, Newark has a third of the economic growth in the state. The city population is growing for the first time in 60 years.
Social media can be a big part of the cure for government that has become unresponsive to the needs of its citizens, Booker said. He quoted California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who uses the phrase “vending machine government.” Citizens pay for government services, and get prepackaged offerings in return. “If you don’t like what you get, you shake the vending machine,” Booker said…
When people lean back and disengage, government becomes unresponsive. But social media provide the tools for citizens to collaborate with government. “We have all these tools pulling government away from citizens,” Booker said. These include special interest groups and moneyed corporate lobbies. “But social media brings us closer.”
Twitter helped Newark rebuild its reputation. The city had been a butt of jokes for years. When Conan O’Brien made a joke at Newark’s expense, Booker replied with an online video that said O’Brien was now on the no-fly list at Newark Airport. The TSA got into the act, issuing a statement that Booker didn’t have that power. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up with a plea for Booker and O’Brien to just get along.
And it’s not just a matter of public relations; social media have helped improve Newark in concrete ways — Newark’s government is more effective. For example, its inspectors are vastly more efficient at finding violations when citizens can use social media to point up problems, Booker said.
Video can be an even more powerful tool for getting a message out than microblogging services such as Twitter, Booker said. And that led to discussion of Booker’s startup, #waywire. The beta video service, updated this week to focus on video curation, is a place where people can collect and share online video.”
Janice Jacobs: “Increasingly, social media is playing a key role in helping to ease the heavy burden of these tragedies by connecting individuals and communities with each other and with critical resources…
Social media, in its simplest form, can notify the masses in real-time about situations that are happening or are about to happen.
- In August 2011, several New Yorkers learned of an earthquake on Twitter prior to feeling it. From the D.C. area, tweets began popping up in droves almost 30 seconds before anyone felt the tremors in New York City, and ahead of any media reports about it. Twitter said that more than 40,000 earthquake-related tweets were sent within a minute of the earthquake’s manifestation…...
Social media can be used to identify trouble spots and to react quickly during emergencies.
Social media can be used to foster communication among various healthcare, aid, government agencies and individuals.
- Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ, a prolific Twitter user, consistently tweeted helpful information for the Newark community following Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012.”
Steven Johnson, author of Future Perfect : “Peer-to-Patent stands as one of my favorite examples of peer progressive thinking at work. It brings in outside minds not directly affiliated with the government to help the government solve the problems it faces, effectively making a more porous boundary between citizen and state….I say all this to explain why I’m excited to be flying to NY tonight to help Noveck with her latest project, the Governance Lab at NYU, an extended, multidisciplinary investigation in new forms of participatory governance, backed by the Knight Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation…
I wrote Future Perfect in large part to capture all the thrilling new experiments and research into peer collaboration that I saw flourishing all around me, and to give those diverse projects the umbrella name of peer progressivism so that they could be more easily conceived as a unified movement. But I also wrote the book with the explicit assumption that we had a lot to learn about these systems. For starters, peer networks take a number of different forms: crowdfunding projects like Kickstarter are quite different from crowd-authored projects like open source software or Wikipedia; prize-backed challenges are a completely different beast altogether. For movement-building, it’s important to stress the commonalities between these different networks, but for practical application, we need to study the distinctions. And we need to avoid the easy assumption that decentralized, peer-based approaches will always outperform centralized ones.