02 April 2008

MIT Project Mercury --> Center for Future Banking

It's excellent to see that Bank of America has committed to a multi-year research agreement with the MIT Media Lab. What I'm especially pleased with is that this is a direct decendent of the MIT Project Mercury proposal I first made in 2001-2 to think of the MIT campus as a wireless-mobile technology testbed where we could run exploratory product and service experiments. If done well, this would make the Institute a predictive microcosm of the world at large and allow us to see the future first.

Well, Project Mercury inspired my co-founding and running the Digital Anthropology class in 2003 which incubated the MIT Innovation Club which organized a dozen tech testbeds at MIT -- including ones with Nokia, HP, and RIM. The Project Mercury and Digital Anthropology initiatives also inspired a 2005 proposal (also entitled Project Mercury) in the Communications Futures Program. This was subsequently renamed LivingTheFuture in 2006, but it was still basically the same core thing. While LivingTheFuture was perhaps overly ambitious -- it required CSAIL, the Media Lab, Sloan, and MIT IS&T to all collaborate together on an MIT-wide effort reaching even into Cambridge & Boston -- the LivingTheFuture proposal did attract the attention of Bank of America who chose to concentrate resources on the Media Lab and encourage faculty and student to imagine and invent banking and financial services of the future through the new Center for Future Banking.

No comments: