• Garbage Spiders: Future Robots that Efficiently Piece Together and Monetize the Past

    October 15 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Security

    Atop a garbage heap amidst the expansive Westchester Landfill an iRobot Refuse Quantifier (iRQ) deftly went about its lucrative business.

    Credit card receipt: inconclusive. Candy wrapper: M&M logo, no fingerprint. Check fragment: inconclusive. Candy wrapper: M&M logo, no fingerprint. Candy wrapper: Almond Joy, smudged fingerprint, image stored to temporary cache. Comb: zoom, hair strand: 92% match. Load level 2 protocols. Letter fragment: stamp fragment, zoom, puncture, contaminated sample. Product box fragment: Nintendo Wii logo, burnt, no data. Shredded tax documents: inconclusive, coordinates tagged in case of reassembly contingent on identity correlation.

    The mechanical spider legs pumped and the little scavenger-bot systematically inched left, establishing a better focus point for its frontal laser array. The iRQ began scanning the next set of coordinates.

    Tax document fragments continued. Shredded letters – stamp, saliva, contaminated. Faded notebook: pen indentations still palpable, scanning Page 1, correlation 18%. Load notebook sequence.

    Shifting the bulk of its weight to its hind legs, the spider freed up the instrument-loaded fore-pincers and carefully commenced flipping pages.

    Page 2: read ink, map indents, cross-reference Page 1, revise correlation, 64% – nearing identity threshold. Flip. Page 3: read ink, unique phrase discovered, initiate semantic sub-routine #22. Page 4: undecipherable complex symbols, snapshot, map indents, revise correlation… Sub-routine results registered. Revise correlation, 69%. Resume indent correlation, 73%, identity threshold reached. Regional identity match: subject #D471D-MZ. Persistent video commence. Ping spiders. Stream information to local node.

    An identity match for a primary target had been established! Power surged from the tertiary battery outward as the spider maxed both input and broadcast. But something was wrong. The swarm network was not responding. Thus it was highly probable that the iRQ was now invisible to its peers and ultimately its owner.

    Re-broadcast for 3 seconds. No ping back. Defensive algorithm, blend. Scan for disruption, risk assessment. Attempt new frequencies. Multiple frequencies inoperable. 84% deliberate disruption, 62% location awareness, evasive algorithm.


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  • Covus's comment on The Next Great Political Debate of the Future?

    February 16 2009 / by Covus

    @juldrich – Hmm, that is a tough question to answer. Right now, we are in wars with hard-liners (Al-Qeada) who do not like modern society one bit. The Vatican is now concerned about ‘enhancement’ and things of that nature too.

    I think it’s best to look as history as a guide – It’s not going to be peaceful, in the sense that the world has never transitioned peacefully into any era – look at the industrial age. We already have had 2 world wars because of this new ‘prosperity.’ Ironically, the Singularity might introduce so much instability we might annihilate ourselves.

    However, I think democracy and freedom will overcome. With an open dialogue and an open mind we will be able to talk about these technologies and how to guide their direction carefully and responsibly.

  • Will the Next Google be a Prosumer-Based Quantification Company?

    February 12 2009 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Information

    To scale and dominate as quickly as Google has, a new company will need to generate serious end-user value, monetize effecively, and take a new web-based approach to human resources.  One such structure might be an organization specializing in prosumer-based quantification (structured crowd-sourced info mining) that can expand and contract quickly by paying citizen quantifiers for quality content that they input (think adsense, but more structured and directed from the outset).  I imagine that this sort of company could catalyze big, fast economic growth and play an important role in generating positive-sum network value as we move further into the acceleration era.

    To get the discussion of such a possibility rolling here's a speculative timeline of such a company (2011-2015) that I've cleverly dubbed "Quantification Company":

    abacus.jpg2011 - Launch: A logical outgrowth of flash mobs, open mapping parties, and steadily rising prosumerism, the Quantification Company (QC) was created in 2011 with the mission of "organizing and accelerating the comprehensive quantification of Earth's most valued systems."  The for-profit organization relied on a small core of programmers, salespeople and community managers to catalyze quantification cascades, better known as Data Swarms, for a large variety of clients, but mostly municipalities and large corporations.  Early efforts were kept simple and focused mostly on the rapid and/or real-time HD video mapping of U.S. cities, national parks, and other under-quantified areas of interest.  Traffic-based fees were paid out to citizen quantifiers who captured and uploaded the best geographic footage and/or commentary.  Though they were slightly nervous at the ambition and direction of the QC, competitors like Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia were happy to see traffic and content flow through their systems.


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  • Poll: When do you think you will be beamed through a teleportation device?

    March 13 2008 / by futuretalk

  • dni24405's comment on 3M forms Renewable Energy Divison to evolve cleantech materials for energy generation and management

    February 03 2009 / by dni24405

    3M is a world class advanced materials Innovation Company. They have already developed, demonstrated and achieved over 7300 hours with their membrane electrode assembly which exceeds the DOE 2010 target for fuel cell durability.

  • Regenerative Medicine Wipes Out Degenerative Diseases

    January 07 2009 / by Adam Cutsinger
    Category: Biotechnology

    Once nanotechnology, stem cell research, and genetic engineering were able to converge upon the same laboratories it became clear that a wide variety of deadly and debilitative diseases share their origin: damaged or failing tissues, organs and bodily systems.  Some are chronic due to aging, others are more acute, but they have correlated pathologies after all.  The interrelationships between the biggest 20th century killers of humankind became astonishingly clear, as did the road to the regenerative medicine to cure nearly all of them.RespiroVik4.jpg

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  • CptSunbeam's comment on Intelligence Rising: Climbing the Stairs of Abstraction

    January 07 2009 / by CptSunbeam

    “But a very simple and plausible explanation of Flynn Effect is greater familiarity with multiple-choice questions and experience with brain-teaser IQ problems.”

    The naysayer speaks. You almost sound as though you’re in denial, but the first seven words of your sentence betray the fact that you are just speculating. On the other hand, Alvis presented a lot of detail here.

    If you’d actually done a challenging multiple choice exam, you’d know that they can be more difficult than ordinary questions. Familiarity with the format is no help whatsoever. However, if indeed the brain adapts to the (quite severe) mental challenge of distinguishing four deceptively similar answers, we have a name for that – we call it learning.

    I feel you didn’t read the post. I’m also tired of your cynical view of human nature, and complete inability to take a long term view of human history. On cosmic and geological timescales (billions of years), imagine what you observe on this planet. For half its life, the planet is covered in a sludge of bacteria, and then, in what seems like an instant, we have the Roman Empire – and then, cell phones, satellite television, mothers-in-law and super mario brothers 2.

    Something curious is going on. Last-minute explosions in complexity happen because of acceleration (continuously compressing timescales). The increase in human intelligence is just one part of the bigger picture, a bigger picture that you struggle to see as you sit in your naysayer armchair watching Oprah, or, whatever it is you are doing, it has narrowed your perspective so much that you seek to rationalise a very real and illustrative feature of the accelerating universe.

  • Earth 2100 Game Imagines "Perfect Storm" Catastrophe Scenario

    December 31 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger
    Category: Metaverse

    I wouldn't have predicted ABC News going all bleak futurist, but they did.  Earth 2100 is a massive online roleplaying game that starts out with global turmoil and devastation.  And they're going prime time with it.Earth2100

    The project is pretty ambitious, but considering the recent popularity of games like Superstruct and Second Life, there should be no doubt that participation will be high.  To participate you need to record a short fictional video depicting something in 2015, then, based on those submissions, the ABC News people will design a scenario for 2050, then 2070 and finally 2100.

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  • Space Program Reinvigorated with Expansive Space-based Solar Energy Policy

    December 24 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger
    Category: Technology


    Many people will say that pursuing a space-based solar power energy campaign is too ambitious, that there are more immediate solutions to get us through our economic/energy crisis until a time when spaced-aged, science fiction-inspired future tech can be safely explored further.  They might say that we already have a head start with nuclear, oil and coal, as well as other greener alternatives like wind, water and Earthbound solar.  They would be dead wrong.  The truth is...

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  • Beta’s Eyes

    November 23 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger
    Category: Technology

    At some point in the not-so-distant future, somewhere on planet Earth…

    Beta Bogdanovsky’s Italian Cācio-model translator spoke with a decidedly male monotone, and had the vocabulary, albeit in 13 languages, of a 3rd grader. Her dog’s translator was nearly as well spoken. Then again, Tóse was a smart dog, an Illyrian sheepdog whose eyes expressed more care than those of most people, and he almost certainly had the capacity to communicate on levels beyond the short sentences programmed into his collar.

    “Iz vee NEH tuh,” she said in Bulgarian to a rotund bearded man blocking access to the window seat next to him. A roundish silver and gold box hung from a beaded chain around her neck, and a small bas-relief profile of the Roman god Mercury spoke the Greek, “Syghnomi.”

    Excuse me.

    The man’s posture shifted to make way even before he looked up, and when he did lift his head he was eye to eye with Tóse. Expressionlessly he made a symbolic attempt to scoot his plastic bags out of the aisle, and Beta sided into the seat, setting her gear on the floor between her feet. Tóse sat on his haunches in front of them both. Beta wondered why it was that people could not seem to rein it in in crowded public places and on trains.

    As the ARMA Speed Tram pulled away from the passenger bay, the lights in the tramcar faded slightly as they always did between stations, and Beta closed her eyes and relaxed her neck, as she always did when she was commuting. Bitoli was five stops from the sea, as the tram tunneled through the Korab and Pindus Mountains, and then there were six more on the other side of the water before reaching Monopoli. This trip would be an opportunity to shut her eyes for approximately 2 hours, which was a very good thing, because Beta’s eyes were very tired.

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