Your Time and Mine

October 30 2009 / by Jason / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: Beyond   Rating: 5 Hot

 

By Jason M. Vaughn

Citizens of the late-2009 Earth

 2033_Digital_Man-2.jpg

Pardon my husky voice.  It’s dusty here, or I’ve got a Supercold and the future’s all out of throat lozenges; take your pick. 

 

I realize that many of you are thrilled about a possibly-imminent Singularity.  I realize this because the young me is among you right now.  Anyway, that Singularity sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?  Well, it could be, but please heed this warning: If you don’t take certain precautions, your cool Singularity could get damn nasty; and I mean five-stories-tall-robots nasty and scary-robot-motorcycles nasty and ruggedly-handsome-robot-human-hybrids-who-steal-a-movie-right-out-from-under-you nasty.  And do I really need to mention the dust problem again, or the Supercolds…

 

[cough]

 

…and the unfortunate lack of throat lozenges around here? 

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NPR's Interactive Map of US Electricity Grid and Solar-Wind Potential

May 03 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 5 Hot

NPR has released a fantastic interactive map of the US Electrical Grid as part of its Series - Power Hungry: Re-Envisioning Electricity in the US.  The tool looks at grid connection points, major sources of power by region, power plant location as well as potential for solar and wind power.

NPR Energy Smart Grid

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Astrophysicist Believes We'll Locate "Hundreds of Earth-Like Planets" by 2013

March 24 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2013   Rating: 5 Hot

Astrophysicist Alan Boss believes Nasa's Kepler Mission will turn up "hundreds of Earth-like planets", many of which will probably be "inhabited with something."

Considered a leader in the search for planets outside our solar system, Alan Boss says we are at a turning point in our search for extraterrestrial life.  He expects we are on the verge of finding many different Earth-like planets across the universe, and he expects it will be common to find life on those planets. He shares his ideas for how the United States can be on the forefront of the next great discovery: life on another planet.

Immersive Data Visualization for Search & Drug Discovery, Green Phosphor Brings Glasshouse to Market

March 19 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2009   Rating: 3 Hot

By helping us to climb the stairs of abstraction, user-friendly immersive data visualization (ie, geospatial data mapping) is poised to become one of the more significant near-term drivers of accelerating human inteligence and economics.  Leading the charge is the small but robust company Green Phosphor, core participants in the progressive and under-recognized Second Life DataViz Group, which is laying down the foundations for Matrix-esque search: "I need guns, lots of guns." 

Color me impressed by Green Phosphor's newest release, Glasshouse (demo vid below - don't worry, better graphics are on the way), which converts raw binary data into interactive 3d models.  As indicated by the hire of a molecular biologist as Chief Scientist, the company is gearing up to monetize by applying this technology to the medical domains such as genomics and drug discovery.

As CEO Ben Lindquist points out, "The immersive 3d environment creates an entirely new paradigm for business intelligence and process modelling."  More specifically, I'd argue that it marks a Meta-System Transition, or topsight leap, in our ability to process then interact with a variety of systems.

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[Video] Digital Gaia or 'Big Blue'? IBM Unveils 'Smart' Water Systems, and Breakthrough Membrane

March 18 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: General   Rating: 5 Hot

Decades ago IBM earned the nickname 'Big Blue' for the color of its corporate logo and mainframes (*), but maybe it was really a sneak peak at its role in digitizing Planet Earth? 

There is tremendous growth ahead around 'instrumenting' ecosystems and built environments with sensors, and creating the software systems to make sense of what's actually happening on the planet.

How long before the mainstream world catches onto the idea of a 'Digital Gaia'?  How long before  companies like IBM, Cisco, Johnson Controls and Honeywell can fully instrument the world and create massive computer simulations that give birth to a mirror world Digital Earth image that suddenly seems alive because we humans can measure it and visualize the changes? I imagine we'll see changes within a decade or two.

IBM Helps to Elevate the Issue of Water
IBM
continues to evolve its commercial applications for its widely promoted ' Smart Planet' portfolio of services that includes Smart Electrical Grids, Smart Health Records, Smart Transportation, and other Intelligent Infrastructure.

This week IBM unveiled its new Strategic Water Management Solutions to help governments, water utilities, and companies monitor and manage water more effectively.  IBM also released its Global Innovations Outlook devoted to Water [PDF].  Below is a video clip higlighting Big Blue's SmartBay sensor system, which monitors wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels in and around Galway Bay, Ireland

Announcement #2 Novel Water Desalination Membrane [Including Video]

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Singularity University Curriculum Suggestions (Running List)

February 17 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2009   Rating: 10 Hot

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Stating a lack of social focus as a fundamental problem, I recently joined the ranks of those critiquing the tentative Singularity University (SU) curriculum.  I found (and still do) the proposed courses to be too hard-tech centric, which is often a critique I level at singularitarians and transhumanists who often seem to project their current selves into a post-Singularity future, thus impairing the visioning of how we get there.

At the same time, I want to clarify that though I do agree with the crux of Jamais Cascio's argument that, "A useful Singularity University ... would be one that dove deeply into the nature of disruption, how society and technology co-evolve, and how we deal with unintended and unanticipated results of our choices," I believe his suggested curriculum goes too far in that it does amount to a "social studies/liberal arts crash course with a future twist" as Brian Wang pointed out in the discussion thread.  It's not the sort of thing that will appeal to economic movers and shakers.

Still, I strongly disagree with Wang's assertion that, "The politics, ethics and social matters do have their place but as part of a TED conference or a conference specifically on the risks and issues. Trying to force feed it in this kind of program will not work."  My issue being that I believe politics, ethics and social matters to be part of convergent acceleration.

The emphasis needs to be on the manner in which all of these technologies, trends, and issues fit together.  (Please follow below the fold for Proposed Curriculum.)

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[Video] Google Power Meter translates energy into information flows

February 18 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 9 Hot

One of the great efficiency opportunities for the next century is based on the convergence of information and energy flows. The notion of a 'smart grid' is a more reliable and efficient energy web based on the integration of software, sensors and energy storage. 

There are dozens of 'smart grid' infrastructure startups that service utility companies, as well as more commercial/industrial efforts being pushed by IBM, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, and Cisco.

And for those homes with 'Smart Meters' or Smart Devices, solutions are coming online quickly. Google has now thrown its hat into the ring around the basic idea: 'if you can measure it, you can improve it'.  The Google Power Meter is a software tool integrated into smart meters that helps consumers better understand how they use energy in order to reduce their costs and consumption.  Google is a big name, in an expanding space of 'smart energy' startups, like Sentilla and REGEN, who are trying to build demand in the residential market.

Related Smart Grid posts on The Energy Roadmap.com

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

February 12 2009 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Information   Year: 2015   Rating: 6 Hot

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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[Video] An Inside Look at Sentilla's Vision of a Smarter Energy Future

February 05 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

The Takeaway's Host John Hockenberry interviews the CEO of Sentilla and explores the huge opportunity around the convergence of energy and information.  The era of 'smarter energy' systems is likely to be more efficient and profitable because it taps the integration of software, sensors and energy storage. 

We have written about Sentilla in the past, along with other smart energy startups including yesterday's post on a 'swarm' organization model developed by REGEN Energy. We have also posted on a number of 'smart grid' infrastructure efforts being pushed by IBM, Johnson Controls and Cisco

Related posts on The Smart Grid on The Energy Roadmap.com

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Google Earth Adds Virtual Time Travel, Moves a Step Closer to Gelernter's Mirror World Vision

February 02 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

Not only did Google add an ocean to its Earth platform today, the company also enabled "Historical Imagery", a new feature that brings to life a crude version of what Yale computer scientist David Gelernter's 1992 prediction of the planet on a “time toggle”. 

The Google Blog: Until today, Google Earth displayed only one image of a given place at a given time. With this new feature, you can now move back and forth in time to reveal imagery from years and even decades past, revealing changes over time. Try flying south of San Francisco in Google Earth and turning on the new time slider (click the "clock" icon in the toolbar) to witness the transformation of Silicon Valley from a farming community to the tech capital of the world over the past 50 years or so.

Along with a new 3d Mars feature, the additions have increased the scope and resolution of the largest publicly accessible simulation of our physical system, thus expanding the Google's information scaffolding and future monetization opportunities through an increasingly valuable Mirror World.

The new features also reinforce the notion of a rapidly growing retro-quantification industry rooted in our social desire to achieve topsight over space and time.  A resource that quickly allows people to surf physical history is obviously critical to bettering our view of reality and thus improving the efficiency of our economic behavior.

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Pipl.com is the Best Free Background Check Online, Another Blip on the Retro-Quant Radar

February 03 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2009   Rating: 6 Hot

pipl.jpgPipl.com is a new biographical search engine that actually works

The secret?  In addition to doing a good job with the search basics, Pipl also returns results from what it calls "the deep web", "a vast repository of underlying content, such as documents in online databases that general-purpose web crawlers cannot reach."

According to a study conducted by the Journal of Electronic Publishing, "public information on the deep Web is currently 400 to 550 times larger than the commonly defined World Wide Web."

A quick search on Pipl does indeed return results from this new search frontier, making the new product a truly useful tool.  Just see for yourself.

This successful application of course prompts a whole set of questions about the future of seach, such as:

  • How deep does the deep web really go?  (Deep - quickly getting much deeper.)
  • How fast will Pipl grow?  (Fast.)
  • Is Google working on similar projects. (Yes, and also expanding the deep web.)
  • Who will buy it? (Microsoft, Yahoo.)  
  • Will Pipl change web culture by making personal data more accessible? (Yes.  It's already the best free background check online and will make people nervous about their social network profiles and decade-OLD data.)

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Google Ocean to Extend Planetary Quantification

January 26 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Information   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

google_ocean.jpgIf the rumors prove true, Google is about to add 1.35 quintillion liters of water and 361 million square kilometers of surface area to its Earth and Maps applications with the long-awaited release of Google Ocean.

According to CNet reporter Stephen Shankland it's rather likely that Google will announce the new monster app next week at a star-studded Google Earth event:

Gore is set to join Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, at the on February 2 event at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco's newly rebuilt aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum. But it's another speaker's name that gives the tip-off about what the event might be about.

That person is oceanographer Sylvia Earle, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and the founder of the Deep Search Foundation.

When viewed together with Google's space-based initiatives (Google Sky, Google Moon, Google Mars), the Ocean project indicates that Google is very clearly working to lay down the scaffolding (3d wiki) for Total Systems Quantification (TSQ), a very necessary strategy considering the company's mission to make all information universally accessible. 

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