Accelerando … Science Future

If you have not yet read Accelerando I suggest that you purchase or
download (Yes! He has a free version that you can download!) a
copy.  I am a big fan of Neal Stephenson’s SnowCrash and Diamond
Age, and this is yet another a fun book to read.  Charles Stross
has done an awesome job of extrapolating today’s technology and
research into a great possible future.

Go get it … read it.  Welcome to the future …

Accelerating Change 2005

I’ll be going to my friends conference – Accelerating Change 2005
– again this year.  John Smart
has again put together a great
line-up of speakers and it looks like it’s going to be drinking from a
fire hose … I’ll be working to blog the event as best as
possible.  The Acceleration Studies Foundation
is John’s contribution to the world, and to
exploring the rapidly evolving world that we live in.

If you read through the Conference Schedule
you can get a good idea of the caliber of speakers.  If you want
to listen to last years conference for examples, go visit
ITConversations and browse through the Accelerating Change 2004 Archives.

I missed last years conference, and have to admit that some of these
ITConversations from last year just blow me away … I can’t wait for
next week.

The Global Consciousness Project

My friend Joe Skehan sent me a link today to this article – “Can this black box see into the future?” –  on The Gobal Consciousness Project
Amazing stuff.  I had no idea that anyone was working on anything
like this.  Yes, even the researchers are skeptical … however
they are also seeing patterns.

These researchers are digging deeper into the possibility that there
could be ways to monitor, or more specifically detect, the presence of
a “global consciousness” using a distrbuted set of monitoring nodes
they refer to as “eggs”.  These devices are designed to generate
random numbers, and yet the researchers are able to detect deviations
in these numbers that seem to coincide with major events on
earth.  The first set of quotes that caught my attention was:

Using the internet, he [Dr. Roger Nelson] connected up 40 random event generators from all over
the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton. These ran constantly, day in
day out, generating millions of different pieces of data. Most of the time, the
resulting graph on his computer looked more or less like a flat line.

But then on September 6, 1997, something quite extraordinary happened: the
graph shot upwards, recording a sudden and massive shift in the number sequence
as his machines around the world started reporting huge deviations from the
norm. The day was of historic importance for another reason, too.

For it was the same day that an estimated one billion people around the world
watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey.

The article goes on to give other examples, and the web site
has even more information about the research.  What is even more
interesting is the blend of both scientific and artistic personalities
that are joining on this research.  All of this exploring the
possibility that there are forces at work – detectable forces – that
might indicate that humans have more abilities then we are taught to

Cool stuff …

Evolving perspectives of ‘science’ and ‘technology’
There are a couple of very powerful sentences in this article that I like. Both of them relate to how we perceive the universe, and how we believe the universe “works”.

Theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler has coined the phrase it from bit to convey the idea that the entire universe is the result of a series of yes-or-no choices that take place at the level of quantum mechanics.

I agree with these thoughts and believe that humans underestimate our ability to ’cause’ the universe. Consider the possibility that humans have the ability to cause quantum decoherence more than we believe. This is an area that borders on what we call “faith” …

“Scientific theories are more properly viewed not as discoveries but as human constructions. It’s already happening in physics: Philosopher of science Andrew Pickering suggests that the quark, which in its unbound state has not – and some say cannot – be observed, should be regarded as a scientific invention rather than an actual particle.”

This is another spin on the same theme. Consider the possibility that we create stories about the world that we perceive … and that these stories are then ‘true’ due to the fact that we live that they are true. This is often a very difficult concept for people to accept. It places considerable responsibility on the individual and the community. It would mean that we are where we are because of who we are being, and what we believe.

Most people are more comfortable being a ‘victim of the world’, instead of owning what they have created. We are starting to learn that maybe there is proof that Wheeler is accurate in his models …

The Computer at Nature’s Core. Think technology is just applied science? You’re wrong. It’s the other way around. A commentary by David F. Channell from Wired magazine. [Wired News]

More on Google …
I posted about Google a couple of weeks ago (or months ago?) and expressed how impressed I am by this company. This is another post to expand on my thoughts about why I consider them so amazing.

There are a number of organizations across the planet that are all exploring ‘artificial intelligence’ and the creation of ‘thinking machines.’ I often believe that people miss the point when they see these being created within a single computer, or even having some sort of human form or appearance. In my opinion, it will be massive clusters/networks of machines that will give birth to ‘artificial intelligence.’ All of this will occur – IMHO – just as the brain works … through the accumulation and abstraction of huge volumes of ‘sensory’ data, combined with powerful pattern matching.

So this is where Google steps in. Google’s architecture is one that is massively distributed, and contains evolving pattern matching capabilities. Google is constantly ‘crawling’ or ‘spidering’ the Internet web sites gathering massive amounts of raw data, human knowledge, and anything else it can find. All of this data is then stored (cached), ranked, and indexed. When you go to Google and make a query, they use some very sophisticated pattern matching to return the results.

To get an idea of the types of pattern matching that are emerging from Google’s data, go take a look at their Google Sets. To see what this is capable of, enter three or four names of small towns near where you were born … click Small or Large sets and see what you get. It’s pretty cool.

So how does Google get even better? Well, one way would be to have humans type information and knowledge into Google so that it doesn’t have to go crawling and hunting for it. How would you do that? First, have it subscribe to all of the news groups that are used by millions(?) of Internet users. All of their posts would then flow into the databases of Google. Second, purchase a “Web Logging”, or ‘blogging’ company and offer the service for free. Users of the service would then be typing their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge directly into the Google databases.

And that is exactly what Google has done. Buying DejaNews gave them the NNTP news feeds and the first capability. Buying Blogger gave them the second capability. Google now has millions(?) of Internet users filling their databases with vast amounts of human knowledge. For free! This article seems impressed that Google purchased Blogger, and then chose to ‘give the product away for free.’ What else would they do? There is nothing like being able to ’employ’ people for your business and not have to pay them!

Google is amazing …

Google Helps Offer Blogger Pro For Free [Slashdot]

RSS … the alternative to e-mail …
I really like the essay that Adam has written about using RSS as an alternative to the existing protocols used by traditional e-mail. In the “essay” link below, Adam outlines many of the advantages and ways that this could become a much more effective medium for communication when compared to e-mail.

The one area that I have to disagree a little – or at least have my own ideas – is when it comes to managing the “publish-subscribe” relationship creation. He indicates a variety of ways to encrypt the content, however after doing a lot of work in the past on digital identity, I have to think that there are some ways that I like the “username/password” schemes much better.

In my own thoughts, I believe there is a space for the creation of a new “personal introduction” protocol for the creation of digital relationships. This protocol – and I’m only beginning to think through how this would work – would automate the management of identity information, and the exchange of the necessary information to create the relationship.

I have to agree with Adam, that once such a relationship has been created between two people (or entities) then the ability to terminate the relationship becomes much easier. The entire process becomes a “pull” of information that I am interested in … instead of being spammed with information that I do not want!

email dying – rss alternatives. Steve Outing [via sn]: “Any e-mail publisher with a survival instinct should be publishing RSS feeds of the content that it currently e-mails.” Nomention of my essay, so here’s the link again. [Adam Curry: Adam Curry’s Weblog]

TMDA … an anti-spam solution …
Several years ago, while at Novell, I began work on a simple idea that I called AgreeMail. It never went anywhere, however it was an anti-spam solution based on an idea that I got at a Foresight Institute conference.

The idea was pretty simple. For any e-mail that was sent to me, the AgreeMail engine would check to see if it came from an “approved” sender. If it wasn’t, then it would automatically kick back an e-mail to the sender with an “agreement” that had to be replied to. When the AgreeMail engine received the “agreement” it would add the person to the approved list and let their e-mail through.

Well … years later … here is the solution as an Open Source project! I am now updating my mail server, and will soon be installing the TMDA engine.

This article is a great overview of TMDA, and the benefits!

TMDA Ends Spam. Tagged Message Delivery Agent (TMDA) is a challenge/response style anti-spam system which I’ve been using successfully for about six months. The system is based on a white list. When someone not on the list sends me a message, their message is held in a queue, and a challenge is emailed back to them. When they respond to the message, they’re added to my white list, and their original message is delivered to me. I’ve seen some resistance to systems like TMDA. This resistance comes in two basic objections: (1) it doesn’t work, and (2) it’s too rude. These objections are based on encounters with systems with various obvious faults, but condemning all challenge/response systems based on some bad implementations is like saying that cars are a bad idea because the Model A Ford has some problems. I intend to show that TMDA works well and that the real debate is over whether a system like it makes victims out of the people who aren’t using it. []

Google … an amazing entity …
From my early days on the Internet, I have been facinated with Internet Directories and Search Engines. The various players have come and gone … and some have stuck around. Yahoo! is still one of the “old-timers” in the industry, as Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, and Altavista have all gone there own ways.

The one “newer” player that has come to dominate the landscape is Google. With their radical new architecture for gathering, storing, and indexing web content, and then “ranking” based on URI linking frequency, they have created an amazing solution for managing the wealth of information on the Internet. Ouside of all of this technology, there is also the “clean” and lightweight design of their website. Google appears to be the most used resource for searching the web.

There is another side to Google that many people do not see, nor understand. It is the core technology, and how is can be used and repurposed … and expanded. This is what I am most interested in with Google. If you have not visited their Advanced Search page, or explored the Google Labs, then you might not have seen some of the other aspects of Google.

Over the next month of so, I am going to be posting about a model that I have created in my observations of Google and what they are developing. I am hearing more and more about the impending IPO of their company … and I have to admit that I believe they are on to something. I believe they are creating something that is truly amazing.

The continued growth of RSS and blogging …
This is an awesome example of the breadth of coverage and use of RSS as a standard for information syndication. PRWeb is now offering a broad range of RSS news feeds of information for free.

I still believe that this is simply the tip of the iceberg for the various uses of RSS. Some friends and I are currently looking at using this as a medium for the distribution of work and applications to do work. What would be delivered to me via RSS would not be just a flow of inforamtion, but instead a flow of work for me to do.

416 new RSS 0.91 feeds from PRWeb. # [Scripting News]