Chromatic Santour: Kourosh Zolani

Kourosh Zolani
[View the story “Chromatic Santour: Kourosh Zolani and his unique instrument of peace” on Storify]

In my musical travels I met a extraordinary man named Kourosh Zolani who grew up in a small village in Iran and chose to bring the native Santur into the modern chromatic scale, bringing traditional Persian music into modern places. Go see him in Los Angeles if you get a chance!

He has 3 free shows and demonstrations of the Chromatic Santour coming up in LA:

Saturday, April 27, 2013
Venice Library – 4:00PM

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Brentwood Library – 3:00PM

Saturday, July 20, 2013
Palisades Library – 3:00PM

Here’s a demo of how the Behrad Zolani Santour instrument works, and a composition of Kourosh’s youthful inspiration gives a sense of his Persian roots.


Infinite Consciousness, Disposable People?

Do you ever think about living forever? I have no personal desire to live out all of eternity in this body….but there is a desire to maintain some history of consciousness that can be passed on and shared across generations.

Ben Goertzel is getting to the vast unknown of infinite consciousness in his recent post on Mind Uploading:

“I don’t know if we will ever solve the “hard problem of consciousness”, i.e. the problem of rigorously connecting subjective experiences with physical structures and dynamics.   My gut feel is that this will require the invention of some new discipline going beyond contemporary science, synthesizing aspects of empirical/theoretical science with aspects of spiritual traditions and contemplative metaphysics like that of the medieval Buddhist logicians.  I gave a talk on this at the 2011 Asia Consciousness Festival.”

Mind Uploading connects the human spirit to the world of digital interfaces directly and it makes us question ideas like reincarnation where some karmic exchange is passed from death into new life. Uploading aspects of consciousness implies that your mind can then be accessed and used by others, perhaps even downloaded into a new host. Embodied intelligence can then take infinite new forms if the receptors and information retain their integrity. Research on reincarnation suggests a direct mind upload from one consciousness to another complete with habits, scars and physical connections.

The interesting future of AGI promises deep interconnection beyond individual access to any information – AGI taps into the collective desire to create new forms of awareness. Quantum computers, doping silicates and graphene nano & biochemistry experiments will yield all types of life over the next decades. We have just started to see the future and there is some interesting terrain and potentially scary monsters ahead.


The series Dollhouse (click the GIF for animation) showed personalities and minds stored in drives that were mixed and implanted into other humans. “Disposable humans” are a trend that should scare us, whether it’s our homeless, our foster kids and runaway youth, the lost and displaced among us who are often invisible and do disappear. Portable minds and population control dance a very close line in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, creating a 2 season exploration of what could happen if we let individual ambition, fear and control dictate our ability to work together. Emergence has dangerous consequences for us and we must expect big shifts in our way of life as we go through this bumpy evolution.

I am optimistic for the future of alternate intelligences as complimentary to our own, only because I have dedicated my work to building healthy bonds between humans and the rest of the intelligent universe to create the new science that Ben Goertzel suggests. I wrote a series for families on this topic with my husband (ManorMeta) and will continue to advocate for stories that promote symbiotic relationships between the human spirit and the emergent newness we are collectively creating.

I have spent the last nine months building EDDEFY with a team of brilliant scientists, designers and futurists because we saw the need to connect the dots in human learning & binding insight. People put objects, concepts, ideas together in creative ways that we have not yet been fully able to emulate with computing systems and over time we will begin to see the patterns in human binding, the context betweens the lines of content in our daily lives. The narratives that come between us and comprehending the choices we make are a tough nut to crack in the quest to create AGI and map the programming of human consciousness. I believe we can solve these contextual puzzles using great tools like EDDEFY to understand how humans put together their thoughts and over time learning how we connect the dots.

There are lots of leaders out there who may have tools to help you program yourself and fine-tune your abilities while embodied in this human reader now finishing a blog post. I am interested in creating the toolkit, bringing together the tools and making educational technology available and easy to use for anyone and everyone on this planet. I do not want to see us become a culture where “disposable people” are ignored, abused or destroyed. What kind of future do you want for the humans?

LA Games Conference: Future of Gaming

I’m in the middle of enjoying two days of expert speakers at the DMWGames conference – LA Games event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The questions from the peanut gallery cross the full spectrum of games: console, social, apps and cross-platform. Economics, dynamics of play and the future of the field are all up for discussion on the panels.

Panels include discussions on monetization, distribution, free to play, second screen apps and platform integration. In the “Developing Games for Distribution on Emerging Platforms” panel one question was clearly heard from the audience: What does it take to be noticed by the big companies?

Panelists gave various answers, investing a 3 year commitment to get in with Apple and build open dialogue. Experts in the field agree to commit to long term relationships with the major distribution channels. With Amazon, Apple, Google it may take a year to get a meeting. It is important to remember that the big players (Facebook, like MySpace before it) will lose popularity with youth while new apps like SnapChat gain in popularity.

Apps are mentioned frequently as a gateway drug to other types of games. Jeff Hilbert from Digital Development Management noted on the console panel that “there’s a lot of people who have never played games before who started with a social game and now play a mobile game.” This is the same progression we saw from web/puzzle games and apps to Draw Something and Words with Friends.

One of the more interesting panels was the “What’s Next in Console Gaming” with Jeff Hilbert, Founder & Managing Partner, Digital Development Management, Chris Donahue, VP, Global Marketing & Content, CiiNOWGeorge Jones, Director of Programming, Games/Action Channel, Wikia and Moderated by: Grant Johnson, President and Co-Founder, Interpret.

Jeff Hilbert had a few gems to share (paraphrased for brevity in live capture):

  • No one has cracked the multiscreen – there’s been nothing but failures in that space. I don’t see how it would work with some content.
  • What’s really starting to succeed are companion apps. When you embrace the platforms for what they are, not trying to make it work on every platform.
  • Use the right content with the right platform.

This cross-platform interactivity theme was also common in the Second Screen apps panel, where it is becoming clear that peer-driven challenges help drive participation and engagement for gamified entertainment play. One crossplatform example mentioned is “Homerun Stars” from Smoking Gun in Vancouver. In this game you get to pitch from your phone and bat from the XBox – connected play between the app and the console play. We are now seeing entertainment designed to bridge television and movies with gaming and apps. There’s a lot of experimentation going on and integration is still being developed.

Other topics being debating include the future of cloud and desktop gaming and how this will play out for the free-to-play market now sorting out new models for profitability. Cloud gaming makes it faster to get to gameplay, requiring less time in downloads, uploads, customer acquisition. It’s gaming on demand, as fast as a TV provides programming, lowering the barrier to entry to make it easier for anyone to play games.
Cloud gaming fundamentally is browser-based gaming. Browser based is on the user side vs. cloud gaming on the server side? Embedded games that transcend browser and server/cloud dimensions are becoming more common, as dependency on one server is doom for a game (see the Sims disaster of 2013). In the future the console box may replace the cable box as the new cable/game system of the future and there will be many mergers coming in this space in the coming years.
What else do you see in the future of gaming and interactivity? Check this curated set of photos and videos for more from #DMWgames.

[View the story “Digital Media Wire: LA Games Conference” on Storify]

The #DMWGames conference is hosted by Digital Media Wire @DMWnews and @DMWevents.

Bitcoins for Business Startups

Last year while I was deep in the Singularity University graduate program in AI, Education & Collective Intelligence Entrepreneurship in Mountain View, I took a weekend away from the unconferences and IGNITE talks to officiate the wedding of two friends in the Bay Area. My husband and I drove up to a winery, spent a beautiful day with the new family and I whipped out my iPad to make their vows visible for the world. At the end of the day we drove home and I went back to my team starting EDDEFY, our learning technology startup.

A few weeks later, the groom sent me bitcoins. At the time they were trading somewhere in the $11-$13 range and his gift of 8 bitcoins stayed with me for a few months. When it came time to bootstrap the incorporation of EDDEFY, I emailed the bitcoins over to my cofounder for her to cash in and use for the formation of the company.

Now two months later, the bitcoins have tripled in value (trading near $45) and our company is cash-positive! My original investment of time with friends has now bloomed into a new business and we still have a few bitcoins left over thanks to the generosity of the new family.

When we went to incorporate, we asked our new colleagues if they would accept bitcoins directly. While the company that assisted with our filing does not yet accept bitcoins, there are many larger companies like WordPress that do accept bitcoins as a new global currency that can remove barriers to commerce. The walls are coming down. We no longer need one government to insure our money – corruption in the traditional economy is apparent and we have seen their unwillingness to prosecute those companies who have stolen billions if not trillions from our workforce through fraud and questionable practices.

As a global company, we are thrilled to be using bitcoins as part of our path to helping others achieve their purpose, profit and passion. As a learning technology company, we see the potential for bitcoins to be used for mentors and tutors, webinars and classes along with a wide variety of learning opportunities that can now be offered directly from the provider to the world audience. We also see bitcoins as one way to bring social impact investing back into the hands of the people.

There is a mix of trepidation, interest and curiosity about alternative currencies in America and we have seen a tremendous shift for the last decade, from creatives making Lindens in Second Life to the growth of time banks, local currencies and sharing economy sites like Yertle. The opportunities start to outweigh the risks. We recognize that our trusted currencies are no longer as bulletproof as we once thought and the stalwart markets of metals and commodities are not the answer for the internet age.Image

If we want to open doors to new opportunities, we must be open to trying new things. Bitcoins allowed our company to incorporate quickly, make money and show that we are ready to join the global networked economy.

How are you employing new methods to success, and how are you opening doors for others to achieve?

Languages of Mindfulness: Connected Learning and Collective Intelligence

Many movements are now forming to gather collective insight, solutions for a troubled planet. I see you all lining up in your positions and I see the leaders who have the big picture to our dynamic puzzle. I see you, striving hard to achieve and bring together the beauty of our world. Our eyes meet across the meetup. We are connecting.

Two aligned movements are colliding: connected learning and collective intelligence. We are learning to use our potential to solve problems together quickly.

Now is the time for collective intelligence to open doors to universal wisdom. We need to learn from each other quickly, sharing our shared insights. We share so much in common – our water and air, food and arteries of transportation that can bring us together in a day. We can solve the big issues like never before. Our capacity and technology grows exponentially, and now we must learn to work together to keep up with our creations.

Empower the stories we want to tell...

Now is the time to be all we can be together, to mobilize and put our plans into action. If you do not have a plan yet, write one out…it can be as easy as change what we do and how we value things. Here’s a process that works for me:

GOAL:  Grow love, increase capacity to resolve conflict
OBJECTIVE:  Change global mindset, shifting culture for billions over the next 10 years
STRATEGY:  Clear message of peacebuilding, participation in public commons, growing empathy in daily life. Promote deliberative efforts.
PLAN: Talk to 10 friends, throw a party and gather insights at public events to develop a common message. Spotlight empathy through interactivity and public participation in related channels. 
ACTION: Event inquiry/conversation and social sharing (Twitter, G+, Facebook, LinkedIn) to grow engagement on collective insight, participation in media and empathy in daily life. Host deliberative events and produce local/global conversations that include resolutions for personal and collective actions.

ImageLay out a path for yourself that starts with a goal and works through setting measurable objectives, a strategy to get there, a plan that you can enact and the call to action you need to see it through. This is a path of mindfulness, of creation with care.

Last weekend I produced social & streaming with the amazing @GATECommunity for GATE3 & StoryCon at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Amy Domini spoke of investing with your heart, a theme that has come up frequently in my work with the Center for the Greater Good to design impact investment and social development tools. The potential for social impact bonds is extraordinary – we have an opportunity now to show what value we can create together.

We all have a stake in our future. I am focused now on building the tools and models we need to create a beautiful world for our collective futures. Our learning technology startup Eddefy is a fantastic multitool, one of many tools that we are ready for in our box….tools that enhance our capabilities, organize information effectively and help us collaborate with others to solve those great challenges.  What do you want to learn and how do you want to use these tools to contribute your art to all of us?

This film may get your juices going to connect to the global grand challenges and find a solution to bring to the world. If you’re interested in medical innovation, check out the FutureMed stream this week from Singularity University, my alma mater is on fire this week.

Join me Thursday in San Francisco for Flow

Invited teachers include musicians, movement artists, nourishment mastery from raw to healthy solutions for mind, body and soul. We invite you to dig deep and find your flow with us this Thursday in Inner Richmond, San Francisco.

RSVP via the website & Facebook has more:


Learning how to live with love & make media

In 2005 I traveled to Thailand to make a documentary with kids and women affected and infected with HIV & AIDS. In three weeks I visited social service centers, a camp for kids and families and a residential living center that makes its own clothing, bread, art and goods to sell that supports a village of 40 residents. There are many inspiring stories out there of what it means to love oneself and others through positive action – this is just a glimpse at a few of the people who have inspired me along the way.

A big thank you to Lars Hasselblad Torres and the Global PeaceTiles Project for making this journey possible, along with all of my extraordinary colleagues featured in this short. This was very early in my video production career and was all self-produced and edited – thankfully I can hire editors now to help me. It’s good to know our strengths – and hire others in our community to create more beautiful things together.

Please leave a comment and tell me what’s inspiring you to action – and let me know how we can create beauty together.

Becoming an Embodied Collaborator

There’s a new dance I’ve been mastering this year, one that many entrepreneurial moms and community leaders can relate to. Now sitting on the board, advising, teaching, consulting or partnering with hundreds of people and organizations the precious resource of time is stretched on a daily basis.

Mastery – and mystery – require a different dance with time, agreements, collaboration and clarity in all communications that I take on. This year on my creative plate I have two startups, two nonprofits, a handful of clients and a fair amount of inquiry, two writing projects, coursework and design of a new home. Tomorrow I produce a one hour talk show on Collaboration for the fifth month of Nonprofits Live, an interactive talk show series answering your questions on how to work together better.

Everything is moving very quickly for Be Embodied, now taking half of my work time to design through this birthing process. We have a big event coming up for solstice (more details to come) and a booth this weekend with TheHUBLA Partner Lounge where we will be hosting conversations on open source ecology, agile transformation and embodied presence in collaboration at noon each day. Join us at the LA Convention Center!

Creatively I am excited and a little exhausted. Sleep is a precious commodity along with time with my handsome husband of Toyshoppe Systems fame. He’s being battered by a bat every day while wizarding on the Dark Knight Rises, and it sounds like he’s living up to his wizard title this year and earning those white hairs of wisdom at Chris Nolan’s side. Amazing work all around us and astonishing colleagues cheering us on to do our very best work all around.

Learning to juggle this dance of being advisor, business leader, founder, creative designer, producer, friend and love is a beautiful challenge that is stretching me to become more than I imagined possible. The collective feels to be dreaming bigger now, looking ahead to a world where anything is possible, where visions come true quite quickly and the flow between us is getting much easier to surf. Communication is clear and exactly as it can be.

At the end of the day the dance is as graceful as I am available to be present, loving, on my most beautiful path in every moment. Giving and sharing what I can while giving the sweet care of a curate to myself in the process. Grateful for the role many of you have played in this growth. Thank you for your love in this process.

Social Media Week: Creating a Social Media Plan for your Nonprofit Organization

Today’s talk at the California Endowment for Social Media Week Los Angeles was designed to help nonprofits create their own secret sauce for social media planning, strategy and implementation. I am having a great time blogging, sharing and answering questions at this event!

Below are my worksheet and slides for this one hour training. Special thanks to Reena De Asis from CauseCast for recommending us for this event and to Belinda, Julie and Carmelita from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Southern California (@CNMsocal). Feel free to leave your questions and comments here!

Sharing your BEST at Events

1.  Be funny & clever

This can be as simple as showing up with little stickers to put on name badges or baking cookies in the shape of cookie monster the night before.  Think of doing one little thing that relates to your favorite interests and helps your unique identity stick in the minds of the new people you meet. Remember the difference between funny and creepy:  carrying a beaver puppet and only speaking thru your puppet will probably not win you new clients but giving them something simple & unique will help them remember you when you call back later.

2.  Do something different

People will remember the one unique thing you did at that conference that no one else dared to do.  Did you sing a tribute song to the conference organizer or maraud through the convention center dressed as a unicorn?  I still find that people remember Erin @queenofspain from last year’s Gov 2.0 event because she was handing out bumper stickers that say #SUCKIT.

3.  Prepare an unconference conversation topic that bridges your work with others (AKA DON’T BE A SHILL!)

Unconferences and open space gatherings can be fun for the wide open opportunities to offer a unique conversation or topic that rarely gets discussed. Don’t waste this opportunity by boring us with the details of your company and chasing everyone out of the room. Host a CONVERSATION, a real dialogue about topics that engages people in the process instead of telling them why you have the solution to all of their problems. People walk out of the shill room almost immediately but will stick around if you’re hosting a meaningful time to talk.

4.  Come prepared to rock their socks off

Sleep well the night before, try to avoid the cocktail party hangover and wear something comfortable so you’re ready to run around the room and take on the whole event!  People notice when you’re one of the most energetic people in the room and that charisma will carry you far after the event.

5.  Bring an example!

Maybe your new DIY cold fusion machine can’t travel — then bring a video of it in action.  Anything you can share via smartphone is a start, but remember that people love to get their hands on things and try them out whenever possible.  Take time to demonstrate your awesomeness.

Upcoming Events I’m Looking Forward to in California:

I hope to see you around and out there sharing your best at these events!  I’ll be sharing a talk at SXSW as well on Causebuilding Games and encourage all of you interested in gaming, social action, education and the more serious aspects of why we create games to join us on 3/12 in Austin, TX at SXSWi.