Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Complete Global Information Grid

Our future is uncertain - that is our good news. It should remain open to possibilities, triumphs, and our evolution Forward.

Yet there are 'those' who don't seem to like it that way; they prefer to make certain these uncertainties - in other words, to contain the unknowable. 'Their' answer is a complete 'Global Information Grid' that offers real-time surveillance and movement-monitoring. I don't wish to present too much of such agendas here, yet I thought this video was well-worth watching - see how some 'envision' the militarised future. This video below uses only those words and extracts taken directly from published material - I know, I've read some of the reports featured. It's similar to a bad video-game...

DARPA’s iXo Artificial Intelligence Control Grid:

Friday, June 22, 2007

In the year 2014....

I know I'm probably a little behind here in these videos yet I recommend the EPIC 2014 (and updated EPIC 2015) videos that look at the future of the online media, especially in terms of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, with references to increased citizen participation and personalised services - visit the EPIC 2014 site.

Also - on top of this! - another highly recommended video along similar lines: the newly released 'Prometeus - The Media Revolution' - watch below.

What a treat!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Space is the place for the next race...

Space is heating up - literally... so much so that there is just too much to say on this subject. As technology pushes for greater networking capacity for sensoring the environment, Space is the 'high ground' from which to monitor and control terrestrial movements. The containment of the physical body - as a way to manipulate biological-neural messages to the mind/thoughts - is a future scenario being played out with military forecasts. Of course, this is only the material side of events, yet the increased acceleration in many of these projects seems to suggest that disruptive shifts are on the horizon that need to be handled - each in our Way.

Here's a brief piece called The Missile Shield and the Race for Space Awareness that mentions:

Terrestrial radars need to be complemented by satellites to keep track of missile launches across the planet (so called “boost phase interceptors”, see “Missile defense, satellites and politics“, The Space Review) to ensure complete space awareness. The Chinese Space Agency tested an anti-satellite missile earlier this year (See “Pentagon says China’s anti-satellite test posed a threat to nations”, AP). The move towards a hot space war could be imminent. The official press release was the only information given from Chinese authorities. The secrecy surrounding space capabilities was recently challenged by French authorities when they discovered 20-30 unregistered US surveillance satellites. (See “French says ‘non’ to U.S. Disclosure of Secret Satellites”, Space.com).

Yet we should also consider the environmental monitoring benefits from the 'high ground' - BBCNews reports that The European Space Agency (Esa) has ordered the first bespoke spacecraft in its new global monitoring programme:

Sentinel 1 is the first Earth observation satellite to be built for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) project. Esa plans to launch five Sentinel spacecraft to track changes in the land, oceans, weather and climate. A 229m euro (£155m) contract for the design and development of Sentinel 1 was signed at the Paris Air Show....

...The satellite's capability for rapid mapping will be vital after natural disasters, when emergency services need to identify quickly whether roads still exist and villages are still intact. It will also watch over the marine environment, mapping oil spills and changes in sea ice.

Read the full story at 'Contract signed on Earth observer'

Friday, June 15, 2007

On the Future of Civilizations

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku talks about the future of intelligent life in this YouTube video:

Some of what he has to say is quite interesting, despite what I feel to be his erroneous understanding of the manifestation of highly advanced intelligences. Yet well worth the few minutes it takes to listen.

Thanks to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Existential Risks

Part of the evolutionary process concerns development with risk; both human-created risks and more cosmic risks that are beyond the bounds of human hands. AI commentator Eliezer Yudkowsky has written quite extensively on these, and two pdf essays - “Cognitive Biases Potentially Affecting Judgment of Global Risks” and “Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk“ - can be found on The Singularity Institute Blog post titled 'Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Biases, and Global Risk'.

In this post there is an extract from his conclusion of 'Cognitive Biases Potentially Affecting Judgment of Global Risks':

In addition to standard biases, I have personally observed what look like harmful modes of thinking specific to existential risks. The Spanish flu of 1918 killed 25-50 million people. World War II killed 60 million people. 10^7 is the order of the largest catastrophes in humanity’s written history. Substantially larger numbers, such as 500 million deaths, and especially qualitatively different scenarios such as the extinction of the entire human species, seem to trigger a different mode of thinking - enter into a “separate magisterium”. People who would never dream of hurting a child hear of an existential risk, and say, “Well, maybe the human species doesn’t really deserve to survive.

With large numbers it's easy to think of survival as meaning death to many - yet the future is about much, much more: what's at stake is the conscious part of a very cosmic experiment...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Our Material Flesh may become our Cyborg-Prison

Last week I gave a talk at the SensorNet 2007 conference - an event that dealt with Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) which are "key emerging technologies with a broad range of applications in various fields, including chemical processing, environmental monitoring, healthcare, robotics, military and emergency services". My talk was called 'Sensoring Social Futures: Technologies of Social Communications, Cognition & Securities' and dealt with the social aspects of the sensor technologies as appropriated for consumer and civil use. The keynotes address was given by Kevin Warwick and was ttiled 'Thought Communication – Networks for the Future'.

On the 14th of March 2002 a one hundred electrode array was surgically implanted into the median nerve fibres of Kevin Warwick's left arm in order to use his neural system as an interface. This is all 'cyborgian stuff' - yet the point I wanted to make...

During his talk Kevin said, quite casually, that ever since the 'Madeline' case had come high profile, he's been receiving at least 100 emails every day from mothers who are asking him to tell them how to get their young children/babies implanted with a chip so they can be continually tracked. And that's just the mothers who know of his research...

...Further, Kevin said that the issue of 'children chipping' was already high on the agenda with those who are responsible for these things. Kevin is supportive of the idea - I disagree on this. I am no Luddite, yet high-profile public cases have nearly always been hijacked for public policy agendas by manipulating 'fear-creep'.

Each step is only a small step, yet many steps together make a bridge. A bridge to where - a next generation of chipped children? I've listened to, observed, read, been in the same room as, etc, so many of these hardware 'tech' scientists; and all too often I see a person fascinated with overcoming a technical problem; with delivering solutions, struggling with a concept to make it realisable - this is the 'job' of such scientific-minded individuals. In many cases this posturing can be applauded for it often leads to beneficial innovations. Yet the other side is that many such interesting minds shut out 'the wider picture' - the humanity, the evolving Spirit, the evolution of our 'human' consciousness.

This is not about achieving a technical breakthrough - it is about learning how to accomodate the evolving Spirit in its journey through the material world. Our material flesh may become our cyborg-prison if our wider heritage is not brought into the picture...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Moon-based observatories

Following on from recent 'space themes' and news - there has been a recent call for an international effort to develop and deploy monitoring stations on the moon for the study of terrestrial climate change:

Global climate change is driven by an imbalance between incoming energy from the sun and outgoing energy from Earth. Without understanding the climate system's inputs and outputs—its so-called energy budget—it is impossible to tease out the relative contributions of natural and human-induced influences and to predict future climate, Huang said...

...Huang's study demonstrated that signals from the energy budget of Earth's climate system are detectable on the moon and can be useful in monitoring and predicting climate change.

So bases on the moon: not a new idea yet at least this is supposedly for good intentions - monitoring climate change - rather than species colonisation, or others...

Read more here