Carver Mead @ Telecosm

Carver Mead is an amazing speaker … I always love to hear him
speak. Here at Telecosm he is the after dinner speaker, and the
title of his talk is Science and Society: timing the crests and troughs of opportunity in life and science.

His talk started with a conversation about the vacuum tube, and how
Edison created the foundation. He elaborated and explained the
next series of experiments with vacuum tubes, and how they progressed,
and eventually how this research led to the creation of the
transistor. From there he progressed into a discussion about the
discovery of the first superconductor. What makes his story
telling so amazing is his presentation of the subject, his in-depth
knowledge of the subject, and his ability to communicate so clearly.

It’s funny to hear his mild disdain for Bohr and others who, in his
words, discouraged alternative views of quantum physics. He jokes
about how students today are not taught collective quantum systems, but instead a strange model of photons. He refers to his “little green book” as the source of learning about collective quantum effects. His little green book is titled: Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of
… I’m going to have a buy a copy.

He closed his presentation by referring to the few people, from his
perspective, that are truly thinking again about physics at a different
level … from a different perspective … instead of just blindly
following the directions that were laid out decades ago.

Crappy Wireless @ Telecosm

I haven’t been blogging … since it was just too much of a pain. 
The wireless network here at Telecosm – of all places – was a
complete joke this year!  I’ve taken lots of notes, and will post
when I get someplace that there is decent bandwidth … like back in my

The guys from Tropos Networks were supposed
to be providing wireless, however what they provided was crap.  I
had to argue with them on Tuesday to get them to even get it working
… and then it has been up and down for the last two days.  When
it was working, the bandwidth sucked.

It’s amazing in this day and age, to be at a high-end conference that
is talking about the Internet, and not be able to get high-speed
wireless Internet access.

If I come next year, I’ll be bringing all of my own equipment to provide wireless for the attendees!

Chris Anderson @ Telecosm

Chris Anderson was up next … I saw him speak at eTech a while
back.  I actually sat next to him at eTech before he spoke …
although I didn’t know it until he got up to speak.

He gave his Long Tail presentation, and there were some updated
details.  It’s a insightful presentation that talks about one way
that the Internet is allowing more companies to exploit the “long tail”
… the vast market that exists outside of the high-volume markets.

As he progressed through his thoughts, he brought up his Set of Three Forces … something that I had forgotten:

  • Force 1: Democratize the production
  • Force 2: Lower the cost of consumption
  • Force 3: Connect consumers

As he talked about the first force, I got sidetracked as I explored the companies that he brought up – Flickr, Typepad, GarageBand, Movie Maker, Lulu.  I had heard of the first three, couldn’t find the fourth, and started to read about the last one – Lulu.

I like to think about this in the context of Agilix Labs and what we can
offfer to students.  Force 1 and Force 3 seem to be the easiest to

George Gilder and Telecosm 2005

I haven’t been to Telecosm in years … the last year that I
registered was 2001 when 9/11 occurred and caused a lot of 
conferences to change their schedules.  I’m here this year to
catch up on the capitalist view of the world … Forbes conferences are
always impressive to me.

George Gilder did a brief introduction and kicked things off. 
He immediately went into a short story of how he met Ray Kurzweil
and then invited him to the stage.

Ray told the story of his Telecosm introduction of The Age of Spiritual Machines. 
For anyone who has not read this book, I highly recommend it.  Ray
went on to explain how this led to his indepth research and study of
the trends that he outlined, and how he is now using this as a
foundation to forecast future trends … 3, 5, and even 10 years out.

He spoke about how his research is getting very good at predicting
longer range trends with surprising accuracy … even being very
conservative.  His new book – being released today – is called The Singularity is Near.  I got my copy here at the conference, and even had it signed by Ray after the evening session at the fireside chat.  He indicated that information is becoming the most important aspect of computing.

It’s funny seeing Ray just weeks after Accelerating Change 2005
… he’s giving (of
course) almost the exact same presentation.  It’s always cool to
hear though … the constant reminder of exponential growth.  His
graphs including showing the Mass Use of Inventions – the World Wide Web being adopted far faster than the cell phone.  

He had a great chart that showed the growth in supercomputing –
measured by calculations per second (CPS) – and said that the estimates
of the power of the human brain range from 10^14 to 10^16 CPS. 
His estimates on when we would reach that point were confirmed as being
sooner when a group in Japan just annouced last week that they will
attain 10^16 Calculations per second by 2010!

He next went to The Biotechnology revolution:  the intersection of biology with information technology.  He talked about the research into biology and what is now possible with new technolgies.  RNA interference
is a newer technique to turn-on and turn-off individual genes, and is
now being widely tested and moving towards human trials. United
Theraputics (Nasdaq: UTHR) is one company that Ray is involved with doing research in this area.

As Ray wrapped up, George and Ray went into a brief chat on
stage.  It was interesting to hear the difference in questions
here at Telecosm.  They were more economic based, and global
society based – Where are the profits going to be made?  Will
America keep up?  Will this solve global war issues?  How
will people deal with this radical growth?  How will this be
regulated?  A great opening night!

Garage Blogging

I had to do it.  Garage Blogging.

I was waiting for lunch to finish cooking, and so I was playing with my
son, Sam, in the garage.  While we were playing I was loading my
truck with my tools for my after-lunch project … I’m heading into
Salt Lake City to work on installing a wireless set-up at an Internet
Cafe.  I had some stuff I had to check on-line, but Sam was having
too much fun playing with his Spiderman Car.  Wireless rules!

I grabbed my laptop from inside, and sat down out in the garage and got
to work . .. what a nice day.  I headed out to the front porch and
thought about the amazing progress … I’m no longer stuck to a desk to
get some quick “global” work done … I can work from my garage. 
Even though I live with technology ever day, some times it still hits
me as truly amazing.  Wild to think where we will be in the next
10 years.

I’ll be at George Gilder’s Telecosm
conference this week … I’ll be blogging there.  I haven’t been
to one of his conferences since 2000.  In 2001 the events of 9/11
caused the conference to be cancelled.  Since then, I’ve been too
busy working on things.  I’m really looking forward to this years

Blogging Barrage

Sorry about the barrage of blogging this weekend … I know that some
of the posts might not have been completely applicable to the topic of
this blog, however in my mind it all relates.  I got some feedback
from some folks that wanted to know what the heck I was thinking …
and others that really liked the diverse set of posts that I wrote.

I’ll do my best to see if I can sort better in the future.

Playing with Croquet

Ok … I have a new thing to explore and experiment with.  After
this weekend, I downloaded Croquet and it is pretty amazing.  A
very cool starting point for 3D synthetic worlds.  I also started a new blog to post about my Croquet Experiences … I’ll be posting more as I learn more.

I’m going to go home and get this working on my projector … I think
it would be fun to explore with my kids … see what we can do!

Next Up: Take-Home Thoughts @ AC2005

The final panel discussion here at Accelerating Change 2005
had quite a line-up of people:

  • George Gilder, Gilder Technology Report
  • Joichi
    , Neoteny
  • Steve Jurvetson, DFJ
  • Beth
    , NY Law School
  • Rudy Rucker,Computer Scientist, Author
  • Cecily Sommers, PUSH

Steve Jurvetson is a local VC who has a lot of foresight and great analysis skills.

Cecily Sommers talked breifly about the two constants that they watch – change and human nature
– which seem to forever dictate how things occur in the future.
She mentioned that collaboration is one way that we can escape our
fixed beliefs of the world, and maybe see new possibilities emerge from
these collaborative conversations.

Joi impressed me with his thoughts yesterday, and he mentioned that he
is very involved in non-profits. He really believes that the next
phase of the growth of the internet is more and more growth from the edges
… not central authorities. He commented on the evolution away
from the larger commercial players – from Microsoft, to the telcos, and
even Hollywood – to continue to open things up. He commented on
BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and how they are starting to do
their own thing when it comes to the Internet.

Beth had three core points (as “the lawyer”) that she realized from the
conference – the brain (understanding the individual brain, and also
the collective brain – the mind of the group), inviting more people
from the arts, and lastlyhow to better use technology to serve social justice.

I’m a long fan of George Gilder and his ability to synthesize such a
wide range of high-level topics. What he saw in the conference is
that the growth curves that we are seeing – including Moore’s Law – are
actually learning curves. These are reflecting human progress,
and learning is a core aspect of that learning. It’s all about

Rudy was the final panalist to comment. He commented on his new book The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul … and how everything breaks down to computation. I like the subtitle: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About
Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life,
and How To Be Happy … pretty good.

There was a breif discussion about Intelligent Design … and I feel
that George had some good comments on this. As Rudy had suggested
that the entire universe is one huge computation, George suggested that
a computer is
intelligence … which would make the universe a form of natural
intelligence. It was interesting to hear this discussed … I know that
I have not heard enough of the debate to truly understand the theories
in depth.

Of course Intellectual Property came up in the discussion, and I liked
what Joi had to say which was that he is not against IP, but he knows
that it has become very skewed from what the founding fathers had
intended.  He added that places like Brazil and China might be
screwing up now, but they have the opportunity to look at things fresh
… to think about new models, or resetting them back to where they
make sense.

There was a final discussion that explored the potential threats to all
of humankind … or a big portion of it … by all of the technology
that we are creating.  How do we ensure that it is not used for
“bad” purposes.  Even the financial aspects of capitalism were
debated … even though it has brought huge gains to the countries that
have embraced it.  That was a close.  I’m off to the airport!

Building the Metaverse @ AC2005 (Part II)

Philip Rosedale CEO of Linden Labs (the makers of  Second Life)
is now presenting his company and virtual world.  He immediately
went into a demonstration of Second Life … walking around the virtual
world, interacting with objects.  He pulled a kiosk out of his
pocket, and had it play a life streaming video, and then wandered
around until he found other users.  He quickly created some
objects, took pictures, put the pictures on objects as a texture, and
even showed some of the physics by linking objects and swinging them

I have heard there are weapons in Second Life, and he showed his pistol
and shot at some things.  The core server farm is 1200 machines,
and they are using ~200Mbps of bandwidth.  He indicated that the
average is 70-80kbps per client machine.  There are currently over
50,000 users, with ~10,00 unique users per day … about ~3,000 at any
one time.

The top in world avatar in making ~$150,000/year in Second Life, with
many people making ~$100+ per month.  I have to admit that I am
very interested in these virtual worlds and the many potential revenue
sourrces that might exist.  Hmmmm ….