Why You Should Take Bitcoin Seriously

Photo taken by Donna Guzik

Today - for the first time - the value of a bitcoin eclipsed U$1,000. The rapid rise of this open source peer to peer crypto-currency has drawn a lot of attention, ranging right across the spectrum, from euphoric and utopian boosters, to cynical skeptics declaring another bubble. The real truth is that Bitcoin will probably not live up to some of the hype that suggests it could end up being worth as much as $35,000 each. However Bitcoin is also not a bubble per se, but a genuine innovation, a fascinating set of phenomena, and an open lab for some super smart people to rethink the medium of money.

Thus I offer a few brief reasons as to why you should take the rise of Bitcoin seriously, and take some of your precious time to pay closer attention to what's going on:

Toronto Star profiles the Academy of the Impossible

Toronto Internet strategist Jesse Hirsh and author Emily Pohl-Weary are hacking real life with their game-changing Academy of the Impossible.

Antonia Zerbisias wrote a glowing profile in the Toronto Star of the work Emily and I do at the Academy of the Impossible. It's refreshing when people understand what we're trying to do, and why. We believe that life long learning is the path to success, and that said learning should be fun and self-directed.

It ends with a quote from me that sums it all up nicely:

Trolling Does Not Require Anonymity

Muppet Identity Crisis

I find it rather sad that many in the mainstream media believe that trolling will be eliminated if Anonymity is not possible. It's not only a belief based in ignorance, but also a reflection of a bias that leads them to believe that their personal and professional experience is universal.

It's partly a reflection of the culture of comments on mainstream media sites. The vast majority of which have a horrific comment culture in which trolls haunt their sites and terrorize journalists and users alike.

Explicitly this has come up over #IdleNoMore coverage as the racists and xenophobes have been out in force to denounce attempts by Canadians to stand up for treaty rights and the environment.

Health Mallick writing in the Star seems to argue that the only reason the racist comments are there is because the posters are able to hide their identity. She asserts this as a reason why real names should be a requirement for posting online. (While I agree with her the racist comments are deplorable, I don't agree they would stop if the racists had to post under their own name).

Google and Facebook feel this way as well. Though I suspect their reason is less one of online civility and instead part of their business plan and pursuit of profit. They want real names so they can connect your interests, friends, and online activity.

New course at the Academy of the Impossible: Getting Paid in the Knowledge Economy

This is a new course I'm offering at the Academy of the Impossible on how to get others to value your knowledge and pay you for it.

The knowledge economy remains a nebulous concept, which makes getting paid in said economy even more difficult. Yet there are growing numbers of people who are getting paid, and not always for the right reasons. In this course we will discuss what the knowledge economy is, who some of the players are, what they do to get paid, and what you can do too.

The Academy of the Impossible is a place where people gather and share knowledge to help empower themselves and their communities.

What we'll cover:

Social Media: How to establish and engage
Media Production: How to make and share media
Speaking and Punditry: How to be more public
Marketing: How to raise your profile
Consulting: How to sell your services
Organizing and Crowdfunding: How to work with others

Hacking Reality at the Academy of the Impossible

Metaviews settled into its new home at the Academy of the Impossible on January 1. Since then, the space has been the setting for regular events in the Hacking Reality series, along with headquarters for our regular Wednesday teleseminars and other professional activities.

“The Future of Health” has been at the top of the agenda in 2012, as we have moved into detailed discussion about existing and future devices designed for medical professionals to diagnose patients, along with apps being produced with the hopes of letting each individual take preventative and therapeutic measures into their own hands.

Some of the other topics we have touched on so far this year include:

Here comes the Academy of the Impossible!? is currently setting up a new project: The Academy of the Impossible, located at 231 Wallace Ave. in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood of Toronto’s downtown west end. It will partly serve as a location for our salons and seminars along with all facets of our daily operations.

The setup for the Academy is a relatively novel one. As an open source social enterprise, it will integrate both for-profit and non-profit enterprises, along with providing a physical touchpoint for our clients and broader community. This will include bringing to life many online ideas that often end up remaining hypothetical — we want to make them feel possible.

October 2011 Metaviews Update

During the past year, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a great team of researchers, writers and practitioners to develop into an original think tank dedicated to the relationship between media, technology and society.

Some of our efforts have been open to the public: regular posts to the website and other social media outlets, a growing library of original videos, and live events like the Monday Night Seminar series in honour of Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday.

Subscribers have also been able to access our insights on a deeper level, through the Metaviews Weekly newsletter, the Metaviews Telseminar and private presentations related to our research project, “The Future of Authority.”

TV Eats the Internet

On Thursday I considered calling up Bell and ordering their new "Fibe" fiber-optic internet and TV service. Then on Friday I heard that Bell and CTV were merging. My initial reaction was to dismiss the idea of signing up for Fibe as there was no way I wanted Internet access from CTV.

This of course flies in the face of how the merger is presented and how the media report it. They all say that BCE is the company that is buying CTV. That the telephone company is buying the television network. Obviously it's more complicated than that, only most look at the wrong side of the complication.

Cisco tries to makes a sucker out of all of us

As a metaphor the internet affords all sorts of sensational and melodramatic language. I regular receive emails from public relations professionals representing clients who claim they are starting a revolution or changing the world forever.

Last week I got such a message regarding an announcement from Cisco, who are "the leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet." In this email, I was told that Cisco would make an announcement that would "forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, business, and government" and that was all they could say.

Yesterday Cisco made their announcement, the introduction of their next generation router, the CRS-3, and the media seemed to walk right into the hype.

Tiger Woods and Why Privacy Matters

Tiger Woods has always made a concerted effort to protect his privacy. He even owns a massive yacht named "Privacy". While Tiger makes his living based more on his public profile than his ability to swing a golf club, there will now be many who might argue that his desire for privacy was directly associated with his guilt. That he had something to hide all along.

I agree there's a certain responsibility that people like Tiger should have when it comes to their relationship with the public. While Tiger's fame may be based on his golfing prowess, his income is a direct result of his popularity, and the support of millions of fans and consumers.

However I also recognize that Tiger has a right to privacy, the same as any person, even if his wealth and power allow him to exert that right better than others.