There are many incredible, fascinating and inspiring videos and presentations available on the web and this seems to increase every year. Below one of the better ones in my view. The reason is an upcoming science fiction novel called DAEMON - Bot-Mediated Reality by Daniel Suarez. Recently, he gave a high-impact presentation at the LongNow Foundation, of which I am an active/paid member since the beginning of 2008.
DAEMON deals with bots (software based on narrow AI incorporating algorithms for specific search, retrieve and actionable goals) and the future of the (mobile) web. Daniel shows us that bots are on the rise and that they redefine what it means to be human. What strikes me about this presentation can be summed up as follows:
The first time it impressed me, but by the time of the second viewing this video really inspired me to broaden my vision.
Bots are within my field of interest since May 2005 when I worked with/for Yme Bosma and Bas Verhart within MediaRepublic for extending the opportunities of the Eccky bot. Artificial Intelligence (AI), both narrow and general, is key to the development of chatbots.
Recently, I visited the The Singularity Summit 2008, a remarkable and highly recommended event with speakers like Esther Dyson, Ray Kurzweil, Nova Spivack, Eric Baum, Neil Gerschenfeld, Cynthia Breazeal (fantastic!) and Ben Goertzel. Many talks in this one-day-event considered AI, bots and robots.
Daniel Suarez raises several important questions based on the rise of bots. They focus on a new Internet (DarkNet with limited bot-access), lifelogging, pattern recognition, copyright (User Owned Data?), security, terrorism, privacy, authentication, authenticity, identity, outsourcing, (hyper)efficiency, games and virtual worlds and new organizational structures.
Amazing insights related to advanced reputational (human) systems, social networks and Mobile Augmented Reality as a gateway to a newer, more secured and better Internet (DarkNet) as to block unlimited powers of bots in the next decades in the current internet.
Bots are also related to the current global financial crisis. Bots are in almost all cases linear, dualistic and digital in nature. The non-linearity of the real world (see the remarks by Nassim Taleb) in most cases might imply sub-optimal decision making by financial bots as can be seen by our current crisis.
Recommended viewing by Peter Schwartz, Paul Saffo and Kevin Kelly! The book will be officially released on January 9th, 2009.
Neal Stephenson - author of Snow Crash and one of the inspirators for the web, Metaverse and Multiverse - shows us his views on (inner) geeks, science fiction, different genres, tv, cinema, books and taking your audience more seriously on an intellectual level to boost identification. Hurray for all the geeks !
"I expect the singularity will come as some combination of the following: 1. The AI Scenario: We create superhuman artificial intelligence (AI) in computers. 2. The IA Scenario: We enhance human intelligence through human-to-computer interfaces—that is, we achieve intelligence amplification (IA). 3. The Biomedical Scenario: We directly increase our intelligence by improving the neurological operation of our brains. 4. The Internet Scenario: Humanity, its networks, computers, and databases become sufficiently effective to be considered a superhuman being. 5. The Digital Gaia Scenario: The network of embedded microprocessors becomes sufficiently effective to be considered a superhuman being.
Several of the essays discuss the plausibility of mind uploads and consequent immortality for “our digitized psyches,” ideas that have recently appeared in serious nonfiction, most notably Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near. As with nanotechnology, such developments aren't prerequisites for the singularity. On the other hand, the goal of enhancing human intelligence through human-computer interfaces (the IA Scenario) is both relevant and in view. Today a well-trained person with a suitably provisioned computer can look very smart indeed. Consider just a slightly more advanced setup, in which an Internet search capability plus math and modeling systems are integrated with a head‑up display. The resulting overlays could give the user a kind of synthetic intuition about his or her surroundings. At a more intimate but still noninvasive level, DARPA's Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System is based on the idea of monitoring the user's mental activities and feeding the resulting analysis back to the user as a supplement to his or her own attention. And of course there are the researchers working with direct neural connections to machines. Larger numbers of implanted connections may allow selection for effective subsets of connections. The human and the machine sides can train to accommodate each other.
Brooks suggests that the singularity might happen—and yet we might not notice. Of the scenarios I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, I think a pure Internet Scenario—where humanity plus its networks and databases become a superhuman being—is the most likely to leave room to argue about whether the singularity has happened or not. In this future, there might be all-but-magical scientific breakthroughs. The will of the people might manifest itself as a seamless transformation of demand and imagination into products and policy, with environmental and geopolitical disasters routinely finessed. And yet there might be no explicit evidence of a superhuman player.
A singularity arising from networks of embedded microprocessors—the Digital Gaia Scenario—would probably be less deniable, if only because of the palpable strangeness of the everyday world: reality itself would wake up. Though physical objects need not be individually sapient, most would know what they are, where they are, and be able to communicate with their neighbors (and so potentially with the world). Depending on the mood of the network, the average person might notice a level of convenience that simply looks like marvelously good luck. The Digital Gaia would be something beyond human intelligence, but nothing like human. In general, I suspect that machine/network life-forms will be faster, more labile, and more varied than what we see in biology. Digital Gaia is a hint of how alien the possibilities are."
A great new app for mobile social networking, LBS and recommendations in this post on Technology Review (MIT). I love Magitti even more than Whrrl as it is a more integrated and holistic way to give more relevant recommendations using social network analysis more elaborately.
Furthermore, the below quotes touch upon the importance of lifelogging using mobile phones as a way to authenticity, self awareness and filtering. In my view clearly the way forward, followed up by tight integration of key life goals and aspirations in the long run.
"The idea of community-generated reviews is, of course, not new. The
popular recommendation service Yelp, for example, is already integrated
into Google Maps. And the concept of locating friends using a mobile
phone has also been around for years; Loopt, a service that runs on
Sprint and Boost Mobile phones, is one of the most common examples.
Whrrl, which can also be downloaded onto BlackBerry Pearl, Curve, and
Nokia N95 smart phones, is commonly compared to both types of service.
But it differs from either in that it combines aspects of both. In
addition, Vengroff explains, Whrrl has collected details on
establishments in 17 cities, which allows the service to provide
fine-tuned local search, letting the user narrow down the hunt for,
say, a café to one that has outdoor seating and vegetarian options and
is recommended by at least one friend.
In the future, she suspects, location-based services will include more predictive features.
For instance, instead of explicitly requiring you to write a review,
the software might recognize how often you visit a restaurant and infer
that it is a favorite. "Eventually, I think that a whole lot of
exciting technology will emerge that figures out how to reduce the
burden on the user," Choudhury says. "There will always be the case
where user input will be important, but when we find the sweet spot,
that's when I think it will take off."
I have posted on Augmented Reality as a key trend since February 2005 when I started blogging. It still one of the topics I really enjoy. Below you can watch a short demonstration video on how our mobile phones (already using an old Nokia N95 !) will be the most important (and seventh) mass medium around from now on.
In my view Augmented Reality is the logical evolutionary endpoint of normal barcodes, shot codes, QR codes, RFID and SkuAir latest (branded) barcode. Mobile Augmented Reality seems to be the most intuitive technology. However, all mentioned technologies will co-exist. Mobile Augmented Reality is in my view relevant for more classic, static, long term, social, historical and nonprofit information on large object/subjects from large distances, the different (bar)code technologies are relevant for commercial, ecological, short-distance, timely, dynamic and ad hoc purposes while RFID has a very broad range of possible applications (medical, logistical, short range).
Some questions I have are:
- What will be the impact on the classic (mobile) search engines in terms of reach, usage and relevancy when Mobile Augmented Reality really starts taking off ? Search engines are indirect, take a few clicks and centralized. In my view, the decentralized, direct search capabilities of Mobile Augmented Reality apps are more consumer centric and will lower the impact of search engines over time. How will Google respond to Nokia in this respect ? Interestingly, yesterday Google announced a a new precision image search technology based on content analysis of the image at hand (a PageRank technology for images !)
- When we consider the four segmentation levels of our digital and physical world (me, my social network, my peers and the market/the public as a whole), how will Mobile Augmented Reality apps and information be structured and presented to the end user while he is coping with information overload, physical targets, spam, irrelevancy and shorter time spans/concentration bursts ? In my view the augmented digital information layer will be primarily be fed with tags/information/alerts from my own past (personal) usage (me -> emomapping for example based on GPS data combined with the AR layer) and my social network (e.g., TripIt, Dopplr, Twitter, Hyves LBS, Jaiku, Facebook etc.). In some cases a digital AR layer with tags, comments, ratings and recommendeded flags from my peer group or even the market as whole will still be useful but its impact will be lower relative to the current situation. Its emotional distance is larger relative to me and my social network with all its lifestreams/lifelogging boosting the notion of living parallel lives. This is an intensified way to explore the physical world.
- Will the usage of mobile augmented reality apps boost serendipity on the local, physical level or will it boost planned behaviour in advance with people optimizing/maximizing their lives (e.g., planning all highlights of best rated objects on my peer- and market/public at large-levels while consuming the bottom-up my social network and personal information on objects while physically near). I believe it will be the former scenario: more ad hoc, bottom up, exploratory search behavior using mobile AR. Go with the flow, spontaneity, Power of Now flocking and exploration. Smart Mobs realized.
"In addition to being able to search for objects, residents can now look
for information--about hobbies, for example--in each other's profiles.
Dzwigalski says she expects that being able to search profile
information will improve Second Life's social features.
Before Linden Lab announced its new tool, third-party companies, such as Electric Sheep,
were working on their own to improve search in Second Life and other
virtual worlds. "The search capability in the worlds has been
historically quite basic," says Giff Constable, who leads the Electric
Sheep's software business unit. Constable says that his company was
sending bots into Second Life to pick up virtual objects and extract
data from them in order to compile search results. "The analogy would
be to Alta Vista in the early days of the Web, before Google came
around and became able to rank things for popularity," Constable says.
He adds that his company hopes to take advantage of the new search tool
from Linden Lab and will focus on providing additional tools for social
networking and e-commerce."
Ok, this is highly speculative but here goes anyway.... looking forward to your comments ! It is about three key concepts (parallellism, evolution and antropocentrism) and its impact on digital media.
Parallellism: existence of parallel universes, quantum mechanics (possibilities) and dreams. We seem to live multiple lives and in multiple environments.
Evolution: evolution of evolution (even the speed of light constant itself changes over time), evolutionary/expanding universe, evolutionary timescale/geology/tectonic plates, evolution of species and Gods Delusion. Static solutions, explanations, values and theories give way to dynamic versions. All is in flux.
Antropocentrism: Ptolemeus -> Copernicus (earth-centric became sun-centric view of solar system); evolution of species (we are similar to the apes); dark matter and energy unknown -> we consist of only 5% of the known matter of the universe and extra terrestial intelligence probably exists (Drake's equation). All this implies that increasingly humans are not (!) the center of the universe.
How does this all relate to ICT and digital media ?
Serious Gaming (parallel strategic gaming and thinking before implementing IRL)
3D Worlds like Second Life (parallel worlds and identities)
Augmented and Mixed Reality (combining physical and digital experiences)
Hardware, software, services, content and connectivity increasingly become hackable, remixable, reconfigurable, open, dynamic and evolutionary. E.g., Amazon with web scale computing
Evolutionary blog posts, articles ; they become conversations, open ended, self correcting and organic documents
Bots, AI and machine (besides human) learning within Semantic Web (Web 3.0)
The internet of things (pervasive or ubiquitous computing)