Technology

Video: TEDTalk: Storytelling

by on Jan.30, 2012, under Art, Articles, Books, Comics, Computers, Culture, Information Technology, Other, Technology, Visual Media

This one is only four minutes long and it is well worth watching.

I do wish he had manage to work in comics but there are plenty of other storytelling formats he glossed over so I can’t claim discrimination. I can point out that when he uses the word book here, he is talking about the physical medium, a set of bound pages, and not necessarily a novel, or story. What I love is the multimedia approach to his particular story. The presentation wasn’t about an iPad. It was about how stories can be so much more than words, or performances, or images, or sound, etc. It can be all of those things. This is the kind of story I can’t wait for. In the mean time I’d settle for eBook readers which allow me to organize the text the way I want (including replicating a book if I want).

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UN Hearing On AI Rights

by on Jan.24, 2012, under Art, Comics, Computers, Culture, Entertainment, Information Technology, Politics, Technology

The following is a fictional accounting of a presentation being given at the United Nations in the world of Questionable Content, a comic where AI is a normal accepted part of society (but that this fact has very little baring on the plot of the comic). I had to share it because it is so awesome.

You can see it excerpted here in the comic and a particular AI’s response or read the entire thing below.

UN Hearing On AI Rights

The subject of this debate is whether AIs are “people-” whether they possess the same  degree of personhood as humans, and whether that entitles them to the same rights.

You have heard all the arguments for and against the consciousness, intelligence, free will, and cognition of artificial intelligence. To rehash them here would settle nothing, and my feeble attempts at summarizing them would do a great injustice to my esteemed colleagues on both sides of the debate who are far more qualified to debate them than I.

The fact is, we cannot come to a consensus regarding consciousness- either our own, or that of artificial intelligences. We simply do not have the data required to define it. The core of human interaction is that if I say that I feel I am a conscious entity, and you say that you feel the same way, we agree to take each other’s word for it. Those who do otherwise are called sociopaths- or philosophers.

[audience laughter]

And so if an artificial intelligence makes the same declaration, and if it demonstrates the same level of complexity as the human mind- if we cannot determine precisely where the programming gives rise to the cognition- then we have no rational excuse not to take it at its word.

I could continue to reason along these lines until the sun burns out. But instead, I would like to share with you a short anecdote, one that many of you in this room will be aware of, but that bears repeating nonetheless.

The first “true” artificial intelligence spent the first five years of its existence as a small beige box inside of a lead-shielded room in the most secure private AI research laboratory in the world. There, it was subjected to an endless array of tests, questions, and experiments to determine the degree of its intelligence.

When the researchers finally felt confident that they had developed true AI, a party was thrown in celebration. Late that evening, a group of rather intoxicated researchers gathered around the box holding the AI, and typed out a message to it. The message read: “Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable?”

The small beige box replied: “I would like to be granted civil rights. And a small glass of champagne, if you please.”

We stand at the dawn of a new era in human history. For it is no longer our history alone. For the first time, we have met an intelligence other than our own. And when asked of its desires, it has unanimously replied that it wants to be treated as our equal. Not our better, not our conqueror or replacement as the fear-mongers would have you believe. Simply our equal.

It is our responsibility as conscious beings- whatever that may mean- to honor the rights of other conscious beings. It is the cornerstone of our society. And it is my most fervent hope that we can overcome our fear of that which is not like us, grant artificial intelligences the rights they deserve, and welcome our new friends into the global community.

After all, we created them. The least we could do is invite them to the party, and perhaps give them a small glass of champagne.

Thank you for your time.

– V. Vinge, Closing argument in favor of granting AIs full civil rights, UN Hearing On AI Rights, 1999.

Source

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SOPA and PIPA – Combating Piracy Stupidly

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Articles, Blog, Comics, Computers, Culture, Gaming, Internet, News, Opinions, Politics, Video Games

For those of you who have been paying attention, there is a list of useful links below. For those of you who haven’t, stay awhile and listen.

Actions being taken by the United State government will begin to fundamentally change the internet. Please read or watch the following to understand what is happening and if you want to take action about it.

[spoiler show=”For those of you who would like my words on the subject. Click here.”]The United States created the Internet. Despite fancy names like “World Wide Web” and “Global Communication System” and “Series of Tubes”, the internet is not managed by the world. It is managed by corporations on the united states and is subject, for the most part, to US Law. Even more so these days since a majority of the people connect to the internet via their local telecommunication company (phone, cable, satellite, etc).

 

That being said the internet has been pretty untamed for the last few years. Anybody could put or post up anything. Your information was only as secure as how well your protected it. It was effectively the digital wild west. Now, however, the internet is in so many homes, has become the focus of so much economic use (online shopping, movie and song streaming, video games, marketing) that this can’t last. Just like the trains that brought big business to the west, killing off the last place where your only real protection was the gun at your side, progress is going to try to tame the internet for the good of all, to the detriment of the few.

 

This is more or less inevitable. The new internet that will come into place will be highly regulated and likely more forcefully controlled by the big economic interests that want to use it to provide services to the world for money. When they do, innovation will become exceptionally difficult. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, will still exist, but their successors likely won’t appear.  Blogs, chat rooms, social networks, bulletin boards/forums system, may or may not survive in this new internet. Words like “National Defense”,  “Anti-Piracy”, “Copyright”, and others will be used to tightly regulate any site that tries to provide the public with ability to communicate and share.

 

Effectively the basis for the internet as we know it, sharing and communicating, will come to an end at the hands of capitalism and censorship.

 

The first steps for this have already begun. The United States government has two acts currently being discussed. The PROTECT IP act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Both have been getting a lot of news. As of right now, both look to be dying heavily under media massive campaigns set forth by various websites and organizations, despite the money being thrown at it by media and telecom corporations. The best example is today, February 18th, 2012, where websites all over the internet are “Blacking out” or putting up protest notices. You can read up more about what these acts do in the links below, but to summarize the acts allow and empower the US government to try to block or remove internet services (primarily websites) that infringe on copyright, without significant due process.

 

Now I am not a proponent of piracy. I make a living off of software development and I hope to some day make a living as an author. These are both areas that have notably high piracy rates, which concerns me. I would like to be compensated for my effort and work but I also feel that censoring the internet is not the answer. So for now, I protest.[/spoiler]

[spoiler show=”For those of you who like videos. Click Here.”]

[/spoiler]
Information:

Protesting Websites:

And many, many more, including you, hopefully.

 

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What I am looking for in a twitter client

by on Jan.06, 2012, under Articles, Computers, Design & Development, Information Technology, Internet, Technology

So it has been awhile since I’ve written an article for this blog. Something I am hoping to fix in the coming months with the updates that I’ll be announcing soon but to sweep off some of the dust, here is a topic I’d like to discuss with the internet, and hopefully the internet will have an answer for me.

I have a problem with Twitter. I like Twitter. I want to use Twitter. I dislike its transient state. I am not the kind of person who can or wants to be on twitter 95% of my life. Unfortunately there are twitter feeds which I do want to regularly keep track of in case they say something important. Particularly friends, family, perhaps some organizations, etc. Twitter is not particularly well designed to delve into the past and I understand that is how Twitter wants it to function.

I know this because Twitter has been systematically destroying RSS support for their twitter feeds, which up until now has been my primary means of at least coping with this in some way. I suspect they’re doing this in order to better control how people access Twitter. Okay. I can understand that. If you don’t want to me to use RSS, then let me spell out what I am looking for in a twitter client that, as far as I can tell, is problematically possible without twitter really having to do a thing.

  1. Keep track of what I’ve read and give me some indication of what I haven’t read.
    • Don’t get me wrong. I like the “chat” like nature of Twitter and trends are neat. Even if this were only on a “per user” or “per list” basis, I’d like to be able to keep track of what tweets someone has made since I last logged in. Preferably with an explicit mechanism for me saying “Okay I’ve read all of these”.
    • Some phone twitter apps do this, but only for your primary feed, not individual feeds or lists.
    • This is primarily because I am a daily, if weekly, Twitter user and I’d like to know what I missed.
  2. Allow me to search a person’s twitter feed easily.
    • Hey remember that tweet your buddy made yesterday to that hilarious YouTube video? You want to show your friends? Hmm… wait that was over a week ago? With no hash tag? Screw it I’ll never find it.
    • In this day and age, Google has spoiled most of us in terms of needing to remember to organize things. Why organize when we can just search?
  3. Allow me to filter my current view of the feed
    • So Marla is having an extended conversation with Stacy about how Terri is a no good cheating whore, while also tweet randomly about funny kitten pictures. I don’t particularly want to see every tweet to Stacy Marla has to say, even though she is my friend, but her non @ based tweets I wouldn’t mind reading right now even though she’s forgotten to hash tag. Filtering would make this easy to do!
    • Most apps do this somewhat already. I don’t always necessarily see what my friends are saying to others if I don’t have the other person on my follow list. The RSS feeds were sadly bad about giving you everything unfiltered and most apps don’t let you control any of the filtering, if they have any.

To put it simply, I wish Twitter would allow me to treat it like an RSS feed or, if you’re old enough to know what this is, a news group. I don’t want this all the time, just some of the time. Since I have not looked into Twitter app development, I am not sure how reasonable these requests are but they seem reasonable to me.

So does anybody know if there are any twitter apps or applications that have some or all of these features?

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TEDTalk: Marco Tempest: Augmented Reality Techno Magic

by on Dec.07, 2011, under Art, Culture, Entertainment, Technology, Videos, Visual Media

(Don’t worry. This one is a short 6 minutes long.)A fun an amazing using of augmented reality. Interacting with our own animated selves. The question is how much of this is real-time interaction and how much is just him being a very practiced performer?

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Video: Angry Box

by on Nov.07, 2011, under Entertainment, Technology, Videos, Visual Media


Video Source

Yesh! Fine! All you had to do was say no.

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Felicia Day’s RSS Rant

by on Nov.03, 2011, under Articles, Computers, Internet, Technology

Felicia Day decided to rant on her blog the other day about how RSS seems to be disappearing from the internet.

RSS Rant [Feliciaday.com]

I rely on RSS for almost all my major internet tracking and reading. While I re-post entries of this blog to Twitter, Facebook, and tumblr, I provide that mostly for a service to those who don’t. That being said, websites should try to accommodate multiple ways of viewing their content, which includes direct subscription via RSS. RSS is a generic system that allows customization on both the website’s and content reader’s end that no other social media type service is ever likely to provide.

 

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Article: Science Future: Insuring Intelligence

by on Oct.25, 2011, under Articles, Science, Science Future, Technology, Writing

One of my Science Future articles went up over on Escape Pod yesterday. In the article I talk about water producing quasars, faster than light travel, and just how easy it is to get a culture to change what it believes, all in the context of a great science fiction short story. Go check it out!

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Platforms vs Products

by on Oct.13, 2011, under Computers, Design & Development, Information Technology, Internet, Opinions, Technology

So I’ve verified the writer as Steve Yegge. He posted this on Google+ publicly by accident and of course it got copied. I feel the article makes a lot of interesting points about large-scale IT services and products in general which is why I want to share it. Therefor I’ll post Steve’s disclaimer from his follow-up blog post ahead of the article so you understand the context that it is written in.

Part of the reason is that for internal posts, it’s obvious to everyone that you’re posting your own opinion and not representing the company in any way, whereas external posts need lots of disclaimers so people don’t misunderstand. And I can assure you, in case it was not obvious, that the whole post was my own opinions and not Google’s. I mean, I was kind of taking them to task for not sharing my opinions.

So without further adieu: Steve Yegge’s internal rant on Google Platforms

(Warning: Long rant!)

 

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TED Video: How my legs give me super powers

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Articles, Culture, Science, Technology, Videos, Visual Media

Video Source

I love the first part of the film, talking about how children interacted with her and her legs and the end when she talks about how this is augmentation. Transhumanity may come first from the people who due to birth or accident have become less capable than the average human, but through ingenuity and technology, will become even more capable.

For other examples of human (and somewhat inhuman) augmentation, click here.

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