Oh, Chevy Traverse, methinks your media dollars could have been better spent. I know you have a lot of other things on your plate right now, but maybe nudge "fire media agency" a little higher on the list.
Ken Banks (@kiwanja on twitter) is an honest-to-goodness tech hero. When much tech-related news and developments wallow in wonk and wank, or seem aimed at folks with more daily discretionary spending power than many global households make annually (PS3 Home launches! Waaa waaaaah), Ken's FrontlineSMS (@frontlineSMS on twitter) is a free piece of software that enables NGO's and grassroots organizations worldwide to communicate rapidly and effectively with geographically dispersed groups using basic text-messaging (SMS) technology. If you can get a signal, you can communicate/aggregate/congregate/advocate. And it works in spite of the natural disasters and power outages that regularly cripple other tech solutions.
Just how far ahead of the curve is Ken?
After a year of exhaustive research and millions spent, Larry Brilliant's Google.org announced (at TED 2008 last year) that they'd arrived at the conclusion that an SMS-enabled tool could be a good idea to invest MORE time and money to create a team to build and research and prototype and maybe, just maybe, deploy. Net: according to Google, it would take years and millions to do, in effect, what FrontlineSMS had been doing for years. Like announcing in 1973 that a moon trip looked "feasible". Proof yet again that insitutional hubris and groupthink can blind even the smartiest of smartie-pants to nimble people with a passion doing a reverse windmill dunk over them. [See "Salamis"]
Sure W+K sells soda and sneaks better than anyone, but we love passionate folks using innovative technologies to make peoples lives better. We were honored to work with Ken on his web presence and logo - both of
which had to work on low speed connections and use text characters
(since many folks would interact with them only via text message). BTW - the logo we developed with Ken is ASCII friendly and does some great stuff when you paste it into skype. seriously.
"I'm not really a purist," admits Reznor. "If I'm in the studio working
on an album, I try to only please myself. But when it's a tour, it
feels a bit more like I have a responsibility to some degree to
Susan Bratton asked me why the hell I called this blog Ouroboros.
The original concept was this: there's lots of new stuff, but I have always believed successful new technologies meet fundamental (read: pre-existing) human needs. we live in cycle of new technologies that risk isolating us at the same time they can enable deeper human connections. Hence the best tech is the tech that makes us more human, rather than less. Successful emergent technologies provide supercharged solutions for re-mergent need states. The serpent eats its tail.
But in our conversation, I was reminded of the old saw about our bodies replacing every cell every seven years. The Ouroboros represents many things, including eternal regeneration.
We are in a time of fundamental rewiring - social, cultural, technological. When and if we take a moment to freeze evolution to consider the totality of our present being, I would argue that technology (in some way shape or form) will be incorporated not just into our lifestyles, but the realities of who we are.
The serpent eats its tail, and is more than it was.
When will people have "sex" with robots/inorganic objects?
When will people fall in love with robots/inorganic objects?
Since we've already crossed the first threshold, and men and women have been doing so for a while, Levy uses most of the book to argue that (a) our wetware is already wired to enable investiture of emotional significance to inorganic objects (Levy cites Mihaly Csilkszentmihalyi and Eugene Rochberg-Halton's research
on the investiture of personal meaning through repeated
use, which they refer to as "psychic energy"), and that (b) Artificial Intelligence will soon have progressed to the extent that we will have emotionally and physically satisfying relationships with high-tech fabrications. Yes, "fall in love" with them.
In other words, Kokoro-built Actroid Fembots (Kokoro is owned by Sanrio group, owners of Hello Kitty) will probably be used for more than expo booths soon (nudge nudge wink wink).
"The terrorists...used digital maps from Google Earth to learn their way around, according to officials investigating the attacks...Google Earth has previously come in for criticism in India, including from the country's former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Kalam warned in a 2005 lecture that the easy availability online ofdetailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists."
but before you shut down Google Earth,
"The information available to the terrorists on Google Earth about the locations they attacked is also available on printed tourism maps of Mumbai."