• Hookup Maps Mashes Geography & Booty Calls - What Will it Look Like in 2013?

    October 23 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Relationships

    Have a burning desire to hook-up? Thanks to newly launched service Hookup Maps, a site that mashes up Craig’s List hook-up posts with Google Maps, it just got a bit easier to quickly locate that casual encounter you may be looking for.

    Considering the persistent human demand for such meetings, I’m actually a bit surprised it took so long for such a hybrid (see map at right) to launch. But I have no doubt that this and other similar mapping services will catch on very quickly. In fact, some bloggers are already calling for a related GPS-enabled iPhone or Android app which, considering how easy it is to create such a program, I expect will be up inside of a month from now.

    But what about 5 years from now? Here’s a brief scenario.

    Hook-up Mapping Circa 2013: It’s Sunday morning and 21-year-old Jacob is itching for some action, having struck out at the local bar the previous night. He turns on his projector wall and accesses his Love Web account. Because he resides in rural, mountainous upstate NY Jacob is a big fan Love Web not only because it enables frequent, safe and exciting rendezvous with the local women and men that line up with his criteria, but also for the money he saves on gas and expensive dates. This helps Jacob to spend more time on his MIT distance education courses and pursue his true passion, open-ended MMORG’s, which serve as a significant source of Jacob’s scant but growing income.

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  • When TV Switches to Digital, it May Alienate Rural Communities

    October 22 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Communication

    It has been estimated that about three million TV viewers will let their sets go black when the digital conversion takes place next February. “Approximately three million viewers could stop watching their local channels, which would have a serious impact on local TV ratings and their advertising rates.” About nine million people today have yet to make the conversion to digital broadcasting.

    So what about rural areas of America?

    Internet is already hard to get in places “out in the boonies.” Some use the words Digital Divide to describe third world countries and their lack of technology. What people fail to realize is that there are places in America that are likewise impoverished.

    In an article about the town of Grove, New York, reporter Stephen Watson explains how small towns like these are lacking high-speed internet, cable, and even cellphone service. “They are part of a growing digital divide between those with access to cutting-edge technology and those without, a gap that cuts along demographic, economic and geographic lines.” When you consider how much work is done on the internet these days, it really has become a lifeline for many people in remote locations.

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  • 2030 Scenarios on Energy, InfoTech, Globalization & Climate Change

    October 22 2008 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Environment

    Scenarios are stories about the future. They are not predictions or forecasts, but help us explore change and fundamentally different future landscapes.

    The Forum for the Future has partnered with HP Research Labs on a new publication ‘Climate Futures responses to climate change in 2030’ to explore the broad social, political, environmental and economic drivers affecting global markets and IT related industry sectors. [Download 76 page PDF 6 MB]

    The five scenarios for 2030 include:

    1. Efficiency first
    Rapid innovation in energy efficiency and novel technologies has enabled a low-carbon economy with almost no need for changes in lifestyle or business practice

    2. Service transformation
    A high price of carbon has ushered in a revolution in how people’s needs are satisfied

    3. Redefining progress
    New priorities of ‘wellbeing’ and ‘quality of life’ are bubbling up across the world as more sustainable forms of living become established

    4. Environmental war economy
    Tough measures have been adopted to combat climate change, pushing markets to the very limit of what they can deliver

    5. Protectionist world
    Globalization has gone into retreat and countries focus on security and access to resources at any cost

  • The Future of Intellectual Attribution: Quantifying the Massive Idea Sea Requires Convergence

    October 22 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Education

    Intellectual attribution is far from perfect, but as we systematically quantify the nature of the vast Idea Sea in which we swim, we will also create a more effective and equitable market for new innovations.

    Last week a pair of Nobel Prize winning scientists conceded that much of their research had been based on an earlier study by a geneticist who now drives a shuttle for $8/hour just to keep food on the table, but of course didn’t go so far as to offer him a share of the $1.5 million prize they’d been awarded. This example clearly brings into focus the limits of our current idea attribution economy, a system that clearly isn’t encouraging a Nobel-caliber scientist to continue innovating for broader social benefit.

    But rather than jump on the IP- and patent-bashing bandwagon as many bloggers tend to do, I’d like to explore how our idea attribution system might evolve over the coming decade.

    First, let me be clear about my definition of the term “idea”. Ideas can more specifically be broken down into memes – “ideas or behaviors that can pass from one person to another by learning or imitation”, memeplexes – “groups of religious, cultural, political, and idealogical doctrines and systems”, and temes – “information copied by books, phones, computers and the Internet”. These structures co-evolve with humans to ultimately form a massive sea of what we commonly refer to as ideas. Though individuals often combine memes into valuable new memeplexes, no one person can ever truly claim total ownership of a concept that is essentially an outgrowth of the idea sea.

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  • US Military wants to play "Starship Troopers"

    October 17 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Security

    Shane McGlaun over at DailyTech reports that US government officials are looking into a space-based method of transporting small groups of troops anywhere in the globe within two hours. “The goal of the program is to be able to insert a team of 13 soldiers anywhere on the globe in two hours.” Although many have described this as plain fantasy, the surprising thing is that officials are looking to start a program such as this as early as 2019, giving actual implementation a start date of 2030. (Check out the original doc here)

    Is this a viable option?

    It would be pretty handy to have ground forces anywhere you need them in just a few hours. The second an Embassy came under attack or an invasion of a friendly country started, a unit of special forces would be there to help keep a lid on things in the knick of time. And if you think a force of only thirteen wouldn’t be able to do much, you might want to check out some of the latest stuff the military is working on for the future.

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  • Geo-Spatially Mapped Life-Lines Will Soon Amplify Our Memories

    October 21 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: The Web

    A few years into the future when someone says, “I think I’ll use my lifeline,” they will no longer be referring to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, but instead their geo-spatially coordinated content history.

    According to John Schneider, CTO of clever geo-web annotator Abaq.us, we’re about to experience a powerful convergence of mirror worlds and life-logging that will enable all sorts of interesting applications including community feedback mechanisms and amplified memory.

    “You’ve been to something like an antique shop last month with your wife, and you just can’t for the life of you remember where this place was or what the name of it was,” lays out Schneider, “But because you’ve life-logged you can get on your account, you can take the time slider and move it back in time to the place you were. ... Now you project that lifeline on something like Google maps, bring up the Street View, look around and there it is – there is the place you’ve been looking for.”

    I totally buy that scenario. Do you?

    For more interesting future videos be sure to check out the MemeBox YouTube Channel

    Will the juxtaposition of personal data atop geo-spatial simulations fundamentally augment our memory?


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  • Flash Mobs as Cover for Criminal Activity

    October 20 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Security

    Witnessing the rapid spread of the Flash Mob phenomenon, fueled by emerging driver organizations like Improv Everywhere, it occurred to me that these increasingly frequent and massive events could be used as cover for various forms of criminal activity. The first scenario that popped into my head was that of a bank robber arranging such a coordinated diversion to cover his or her tracks.

    For example, imagine if the following flash mob (arranged in San Francisco just two weekends ago) was diverted to surround or walk through a bank or other burglary target:

    A clever criminal dressed in bright red could then use such a crowd as cover for a quick escape.

    Just how feasible is such a scenario?

    As it turns out, a small-scale and version of this plan was successfully executed up in Monroe, Washington just two weeks ago.

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  • For the Upcoming Robot Apocalypse, the First Robot Defense Company

    October 20 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Security

    If you’re worried about the upcoming robot apocalypse featured prominently in movies like iRobot or Terminator, check out this concept of a defense company that deals specifically with the growing robotic threat.

    Weapons Against Robots (WAR) is a defense company that specializes in combating our titanium oppressors. They feature products such as advanced weapon systems, detection systems (that way you won’t have to train dogs to sniff them out) and “robo virus” protection that promises “real time infiltration, adaption and reporting.”

    Although the site is probably just an artistic mock-up or a futurist marketing ploy, it’s still a kick. Check it out.

    How seriously should we take the growing robotic threat?


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  • You Too Will Surf Virtual Halls of the Dead

    October 20 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Culture

    The increasing richness of memorial media is a powerful by-product of accelerating change in technology, information and communication. In five years time, both broad public-facing and private 3d memorial media has a good chance of taking off, gradually catalyzing a shift in the way we interact with history and our dearly departed.

    How do we properly remember and honor the dead? Our cultural answer to this question has changed over the millennia alongside with the invention of memory-enhancing technologies such as symbols, spoken language, writing, photography, video, digital information and the web.

    Now the trend continues as powerful new disruptors such as social media, semantic search, virtual worlds and mirror worlds allow us to assemble, aggregate and interact with information about the dearly departed in surprising new ways.

    On the most basic level, crowd-edited text-based structures like Wikipedia have already catalyzed an explosion of biographical data capture and made possible a growing niche of specialized human memorial websites.

    Similarly, account-driven portals like Geanealogy.com’s Virtual Cemetery Project, MyCemetery, and World Gardens have been growing in popularity and each lay claim to being “The World’s First Online Memorial and Virtual Cemetery” or such.

    In the physical world, progressive cemetery Hollywood Forever, which boasts the densest concentration of celebrity gravesites, has sparked a media memorial trend by displaying actors’ hilight reels beside their tombs. (Yes, for a pretty steep price you too can purchase your very own Lifestories Kiosk.)

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  • 7 Sci-Fi Stories in which Biomass Saves Humanity's Ass

    October 14 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Biotechnology

    There’s an interesting post over at the Energy Roadmap titled Investors betting on biological future for biofuels – We can ‘grow’ energy!.

    It got me thinking — is our salvation really in the hands of these small microbials? Do science fiction writers have it right?

    War of the Worlds
    An invasion of Martians threaten to obliterate humanity. Humans are forced to run, unable to combat the technologically advanced tripods the Martians are manning. All seems lost until tripods start falling down for unknown reasons. Eventually, all the Martians have died due to a lack of immunities against Earth’s bacteria.

    Red Planet
    Earth, due to overpopulation and pollution, has seeded Mars with oxygen-producing algae in the hope of being able to eventually move to the planet. Astronauts are sent to the planet to find out why oxygen production has stalled and discover a native bug which feeds on the algae and produces oxygen. Running out of air, the astronauts remove their helmets expecting to die but find oxygen.

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