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.

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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.

iknowwhatiknow

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?

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.

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!

I <3 livestreaming

As a child I remember watching PBS with my dad, particularly the live auctions of art and local items to support the station. My dad would call in and bid on something fun for us and we would get all excited watching others bid him up for a good cause.

Later as I started my career in media the PBS station in Providence, RI needed a writer who could deliver hundreds of scripts in a week for auction items while curating and hanging rotations of art every 15 minutes for the live show. A lifetime of creative pursuits brought me back at age 24 to try my hand at live production – and I loved it. The only job I wanted more than curating and writing was behind the camera, directing and producing the entire experience.

A few years later I got the chance to try my hand at directing and over the last two decades have put hundreds of hours of lens time in to capture the essence of stories, interviews and live events. While I never considered myself a journalist – more of a documentarian at heart – there is a sense that my work is to be the eyes of the world, capturing fascinating moments with shared meaning.

Of all of the media careers I have tried – radio, print, writing books, producing events, videos and virtual worlds – there’s something about creating LIVE in collaboration with others that excites me tremendously. The pace of live production is fierce. You must be ready for anything to happen at any time, then keep your cool while everything around you melts.

Over the last few years I have learned to master various streaming paths and production tools for broadcast, collaboration, events and mixed media experiences. My new show Nonprofits Live is hosted monthly at TechSoup with a new episode this Friday on giving Great Presentations. NPlive is a live interactive talk show using a cloud suite called Watchitoo that allows for robust social sharing, Q&A, shared whiteboards and integration with video and slides along with 25 video feeds from around the world – a great and easy way to host virtual meetings across borders.

Some of my colleagues have produced tremendous livestreaming experiences and one in particular, Sarah Austin, is a smart woman who understands the technical challenges of various streaming platforms for live event production. We have a talk proposed for SXSW this year – Streamweaver, I believe you can take me…..Live. Last year I produced a game show with Josephine Dorado on Causebuilding Games at SXSW and this streamweaving session is going to be a stellar mix of social actions & streaming throwdown as we see who has the chops to make it and take it live.

I love livestreaming and have used many platforms – Ustream, Livestream, Qik, Adobe Connect & other video conferencing tools, Watchitoo, TinyChat, Skype, Google+ – what do you love to use, and why?

Jumo: the need for true Social Action Networks

Five years ago we would muse with catalysts at the Omidyar Network about relationship networks, reputation and trust and the essentials of building strong communities of change for both local and global impact. Today some of those ideas have come to fruition with platforms like Change.org, Wiser Earth, Ushahidi, Quora, LinkedIn and Twitter campaigns. As many of us have worked together and cross paths frequently in the ethers there’s been a desire to track those engagements and understand true reputation through our work over time, mapping the most prolific leaders with great questions & endeavors like we do on the TechSoup Forums.

Jumo released to the public in the last 24 hours and has the potential to fill the gap between great people and great endeavors in a different way than Change.org, LinkedIn or Wiser Earth manages to do. Unfortunately it seems Jumo may have more interest in the transactional economy of giving than the relationship economy it has the potential to grow, becoming a philanthropic passthrough that takes a cut higher than most fiscal sponsors, but lower than the United Way. So far it functions very closely to the Causes function on Facebook, more like Razoo. It’s a start, but personally I want a real economy of contribution that goes deeper than dollars.

Tracking followers simply in the Quora fashion is a nice and elegant way to see who influences who but it lacks any sort of qualification or indication of endorsement. Recommendations in LinkedIn are more helpful but a star/point system would allow for users to vote up their favorite leaders and catalysts in various fields.

I think the creators of Path are on to something by creating limited networks and I’d like to refine it more deeply in the #TrustTable project – creating true indicators of trust and reputation by demonstrating who are the most reliable people indicated on a short list of must-contacts in case of emergency. #TrustTable is an ad hoc project designed to solve at least two problems: the need for quick emergency contact data in a semi-public online space and mapping reputation & relationship trends to show who are the most trusted people in our communities.

The concept for TrustTable is simple:
You have a round dining table with only 10 seats for guests. Choose the people you would want at your last meal on earth, the person who should be first to pick up your kids if something happens to you. Ten seats only: make sure you include the people who should be contacted if something happens to you – this is your command center and this is your league of personal superheroes. Colorcode their chairs with contact protocols and link it to their FB or Twitter page so someone can push your big red emergency button if they need to – you choose who will be contacted for your customized needs. Choose to share your private link with your school, hospital and family or make certain data public and decorate your table for a feast to benefit your favorite cause.

I value social action networks with indicators to vote up submissions to the creative economy. If you imagine each post, video or photo as an asset in the marketplace of Facebook or Twitter I want the ability to be able to give extra stars, points or fiery dragons to the people who are submitting the best possible solutions. The LIKE button is ok but I’d rather have 30 stars a day and have the ability to blow 5 stars on the best link or photo. I believe that this mix of a creative economy and reputation-associated relationship building will allow us to find collaborators and get things done more effectively in less time.

So far the social action networks that have sprung up to get things done quickly include Ushahidi, the Crisis Camps/Crisis Commons movements and Twitter social campaigns. Most of these have required the frequent use of googledocs and wikis to manage collaborative information across wide virtual teams and lack the ability to track the backend of engagement well as we look to reward those who are getting the most done.

Credit and attribution is tricky in the nonprofit creative commons world of open sharing; we walk a dicey line between collaboration and needing to toot our own horns enough to win grants. We want to empower great ideas and resources always seem scarce compared to the giant needs we’re facing. Any tool that helps us leverage more for less is helpful….for now the tools that are helping me the most to create social change ripples include Twitter, Quora, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. For now the social action networks like Change.org and Jumo offer enough for me to chime in once or twice, but I’m not seeing enough sticky reasons to keep coming back to share new endeavors. Some networks like #TrustTable would only be updated twice a year….but is there a future for a philanthropic discovery site like Jumo that does not push regular emails or curated updates? Would you keep going back, or are you having better experiences with other social action networks?

SocialGOV: Learning from Leaders at Social Media Week Los Angeles

Social Media is a fantastic evolution of human communication. It allows us access from afar and participation, even when sick.

On Monday I was lucky to host the SocialGOV panel in the beautiful Bradley room atop City Hall here in Los Angeles. We had a great panel of special guests: Alan Silberberg moderated with Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam, Heidi Nel and special guest Eric Garcetti joined the conversation.

Eric Garcetti, Alan Silberberg, Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam and Heidi Nel discussing government engagement & social media, hosted by Evonne Heyning

We learned a handful of useful skillsets when juggling multiple accounts, constituencies and engagement needs across diverse communities. Eric Garcetti talked about his dream dashboard for municipal engagement about 7 minutes in to this 90 minute event, along with talk on listening tools, finding the right mix of skills and voice for social media interaction, being willing to step in on difficult situations with openness, transparency, care for people in a very human way. All of our speakers spoke to both the technologies they use and the human skills they rely on to make online communication efficient for everyone.

What did I learn from these leaders? The *8 Tweets A Day* engagement standard seems to keep people going with enough information without overloading your social media channels. Jim Gilliam has a new tool launching next month that will allow for much more robust campaign management for activists and organizers. CitySourced has proven useful in Los Angeles along with Google Moderator, but Eric Garcetti still prefers Twitter for conversational engagement. OpenGov is growing as local agencies and departments embrace the localized news potential of tools like Twitter, Facebook, video tools and policy engagement Q&A spaces including the free Google tools used by LA government.

Beautiful photos can be seen at Flickr and you can watch the stream starting here at UStream for Social Media Week Los Angeles. Here’s a taste:

http://www.ustream.tv/flash/viewer.swf?vid=9717005

Mixed Reality Learning Lab: My work with @techsoup at NCVS

I rarely get to share much of my work with clients around the world but this one is a rare gift….a few weeks ago I attended the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service with my colleagues @TechSoup where we shared social media secrets, tips and tools along with upcoming platforms to explore for large and small organizational leaders.  See the photos and lessons here:

Mixed Reality Learning Lab: @techsoup at NCVS