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Showing posts from 2009

Virtually Human?

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As humans, we are motivated and driven by our needs. Our primary needs are physiological; food, sex, and comfort. At the current state of society, these needs are quite often not met, leading to all kinds of consequences. In fully realised virtual immersion, satisfying these needs is as simple as programming the environment. The implications of this are profound, and will change the fabric of society. Even now we see the impact of desires being met with virtual reality. Millions of online gamers are able to live virtual lives that are better than real lives, having adventures, being different people, and fulfilling their fantasies, albeit via a keyboard and monitor. Not only does this cause reduced productivity for society, it changes our psyches. In realising that these fantasies are possible, our general expectations in life are altered. Our priorities are distorted. Our morals and ethics are altered by the alternative environments we occupy - we are a product of our enviro

The Speed of Life

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What is it with cities? There seems to be a rush to get anywhere. And what are people rushing to? Do they enjoy their job that much? If they’re late, they should leave earlier. Everyone can’t be late every day – can they? Maybe they’re running from crazy people? If we don’t interact with people, we won’t need to learn about their problems (which we know, aren’t even close to the problems of those kids we see on the news, but they can’t see us through the TV, so it’s ok). Maybe people are worried that if they just stopped to talk with someone, they might actually find the answer. All around us, things are happening. Interesting things. Yet our headphones and free newspapers protect us from it, keeping us in our self obsessed bubbles. Are people chasing their dreams, or running from themselves? Either way, there’ll be another train along any minute. Image courtest Egan Snow .

Technology: It Might Not Destroy Us

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As a (very casual) fiction writer, specifically science fiction, I have had to learn the fundamentals of creating an interesting story. In doing this, I’ve become subject to analytical observation, the kind that tends to dilute the beauty of life by trying to understand it too much. However, one thing it has taught me is that there can be no story without conflict. I once read a book about a couple who had beaten the trials and tribulations of 80s Northern Ireland (in the previous book) and were now building a home together in the country. Everything went wonderfully for them, as the book documented their “happily ever after”. It was the worst story I had ever read. Hollywood is a mega-conglomerate story making factory, so it stands to reason that everything they create must contain conflict in one way or another. It’s no surprise then, that we have yet to see a story of man and machine living in harmony. (Even in Short Circuit, the American military did what they do

The Open Automation Project

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The first decade of the 21st century could well see the rise of the affordable and useful domestic mobile robot. The Open Automaton Project aims to provide some of the building blocks that could make this possible. The purpose of the project is to engineer modular software and electronic components, from which it is possible to assemble an intelligent PC-based mobile robot suitable for home or office environments. http://oap.sourceforge.net/

Future Art, Beyond Traditional Concepts

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Promises, By Starax Statosky - Image courtesy Sl-Art-News I was inspired by this recent TED talk about " Art that looks back at you ". It seems the potential for expression of art is limited only by our imagination. Modern technology allows for new forms of art to be created, but by this I don't just mean different painting techniques using sophisticated software, but entirely new concepts. We can now use computers, robotics, and perhaps even biological manipulations to create new expressions and to represent profound ideas. Where chemistry created the medium of fireworks, biology can now take us on previously unthinkable artistic journeys. Extreme body modification such as this seen in bmezine , shows identical twins who experiment with transplanting each other's limbs in the wrong places on each other's bodies. And you thought your tattoo made you "transhuman". Imagine glowing implants, far more beautiful and colourful than any tatoo, animatin

Not Quite the Future We Expected

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Courtesy of  http://www.hotforwords.com

How Social Data can Manipulate Society

What are the implications of storing a complete record of your life online? More than likely, you'll be halfway towards this already. Facebook has your friends. Google has your search history, your emails and your documents. Microsoft has your chat history. Last.fm has your taste in music. Delicious has your interests. Twitter has your random thoughts. And all this is voluntary. Imagine what they may be doing with this data, when it's all brought together, what will it tell them about you? It's no surprise that Google is buying everything. Of course it's worrying, but I suppose it's not the end of the world if some big corporation has your information. It's not even anything new, credit card companies have been doing it for decades. The issue now though is that the information mined is more detailed and complete than it's ever been before. And it's all owned by American companies. Companies who, thanks to the patriot act, have to hand