Posts tagged Technology
Posts tagged Technology
Side Note: This guy is talking right out of his ass. Transhumanism as a prerequisite requires a super-State not to mention it creates an all new class system where these human/machine hybrids are somewhere near the top. There is no relationship between these two ideas; they appose each other on the most fundamental levels.
…oh, and if you think governments composed up of people is bad, this guy proposes how “ideal” our future will be when human Governments are replaced with computer Governments. With Anarchism, “no rulers” would also include the non-human variety - whether it be a God, gods or a computer system.
A short and simple overview of how anarchism relates to transhumanism.
Libertarian socialism The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social and it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque.“The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16–22 November 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France.”
The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term “libertarianism” in “libertarian socialism” is generally used as a synonym for anarchism, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence “libertarian socialism” is equivalent to “socialist anarchism” to these scholars. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin. (Who I am not a big fan of) The association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States. As Noam Chomsky put it, a consistent libertarian “must oppose private ownership of the means of production and wage slavery, which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer.”
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which endorses syndicalism. Syndicalism is an alternative co-operative economic system. Adherents view it as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the state with a new society, democratically self-managed by workers. Anarcho-syndicalists seek to abolish the wage system, regarding it as wage slavery, and state or private ownership of the means of production, which they believe lead to class divisions. Anarcho-syndicalist theory generally focuses on the labour movement.
Anarcho-syndicalists regard the state as a profoundly anti-worker institution. They view the primary purpose of the state as being the defence of private property and therefore of economic, social and political privilege, even when such defence denies its citizens the ability to enjoy material independence and the social autonomy which springs from it. In contrast to other bodies of thought (Marxism–Leninism being a prime example), anarcho-syndicalists deny that there can be any kind of workers’ state, or a state which acts in the interests of workers, as opposed to those of the powerful. Reflecting the anarchist philosophy from which it draws its primary inspiration, anarcho-syndicalism holds to the idea that power corrupts.(1)(2)
Technology: Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The word technology comes from Greek τεχνολογία (technología); from τέχνη (téchnē), meaning “art, skill, craft”, and -λογία (-logía), meaning “study of-” (3)
Noam Chomsky on Technology: “technology can be compared to a hammer. “It doesn’t care if you use it to build a house or crush someone’s skull. The Web is valuable if you know what you’re looking for, if you have a framework of understanding. But you always have to be willing to question whether your framework is the right one.” He compared simply browsing the web for information to pointing a student at the library knowing they had no idea what they were looking for. “Exploring the internet can just be picking up random factoids that don’t mean anything”, he said. “The person who won the Nobel prize in biology isn’t the person who read the most journals. It was the person who knew what to look for,””(4)
Transhumanism: is a intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other Emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are of concern to the transhumanist movement. (5)
Reality of the Production of Technologies Under Current Capitalism: “On the surface, companies like Jabil [HP, IBM, Intel, Cisco, AT&T, Motorola, Wal-Mart, Foxconn, Apple ] look clean and high tech. It seems well-run. But people looking in from the outside do not realize that the workers at Jabil are not treated like human beings. The workers must obey all demands from the factory and have absolutely no right to express disagreement. The workers are seen as components of a machine. During the entirety of their 12-hour shift, they are stripped of their humanity. They are not allowed to have their own personalities, feelings, desires or needs-even using the bathroom. For every second of every minute, they are controlled and ruled over by a prison-like management system.”(5)(6)(7)(8)
Capitalism and Working During the Human Condition: “To move beyond Marx and Anarchism in our current paradigm of the human condition may be an actual fallacy, an over criticizing of theory by intellectuals [including transhumanists] or Anarchists which have, out of awareness, a desire to move on past Marx and anarchism out of [the knowledge] of the dangers of simplifying the way people are supposed to be. Progress seems to come out of paradigmatic crisis, and this intuition may lead some to the point of over analyzing, yearning to either create crisis or move beyond crisis to a new paradigm because of authentic intuitive feelings of the yearning for progress and egalitarianism which many intellectuals experience and write about through out their lives.” (10)
“Though capitalism is meant to be based on competition, those at the top of the food chain have also shown themselves to be capable of inclusiveness and solidarity. The great Western Capitalists have done business with fascists, socialists, despots and military dictators. They can adapt and constantly innovate. They are capable of quick thinking and immense tactical cunning.But despite having successfully powered through economic reforms, despite having waged wars and militarily occupied countries in order to put in place free market “democracies”, Capitalism is going through a crisis whose gravity has not revealed itself completely yet.” (11)
Long story short: For all you republican, libertarian, and liberal capitalists out there that want to see a transhumanist future, the evidence is clear: you will have to abide by a broken system under the human condition. This includes capitalist free trade, unnecessary war, and wage slavery – are you really prepared to see transhumanist gadgets be set in stone within the history books as a time like that of apartheid or European and American slavery of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries?
Is your wealth, or dedication to the government and corporations that lead the way towards a transhumanist future really what you are all about? Transhumanists know that the future will include technologies that will replace government – worldwide. Transhumanists also know that democracy and/or singularity like computer intelligence will dictate our existential, utilitarian, and categorical imperative future. We will be networked together to feel and think as one via brain to computer interfaces. Whatever the means for higher critical thinking may be, rather morality drugs, nano-blood-bots, brain to computer interfaces, gene therapy, etc, the outcome will be socialized anarchism. Critical thinking does not lead the mentally “enhanced” individual or super-computer to be selfish, indeed just the opposite. Let’s take what we have so far as examples of critical thinkers who have come to the same conclusion but under the human condition. The list is long, but a few major examples are Marx, Einstein, Hawking, Chomsky, Russell, Arundhati Roy, most philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists.
If we base human intelligence, logic and critical thinking on examples like these we are left with one conclusion: The mentally enhanced will be socialist anarchists, regardless of what kind of technology they may be – for universal health care, anti-war, anti-authoritarian, anti-discrimination, pro-democracy, pro-choice, anti-racism, and even anti-speciesism will be regarded as the highest value system ever pondered by the brain/mind.
Scientific inquiry, the scientific method, and scientific revolutions will bring the enhanced mind together. Scientific discoveries and theories, in my opinion will bring brain/mind together like that of the social theory of Anarcho-syndicalism. Science however does not need a State, government, or leaders to be accepted as the truth – the scientific method speaks for itself.
In conclusion, we have several things going on here: Transhumanism being State and corporate funded under a “race to the bottom” wage slavery economic system. But, we also have the claim that transhumanism will increase intellectual thought and compassion towards brain/mind. I personally would rather see the compassion come before transhumanism so that history doesn’t reflect that of our ancestors. Anarchism also allows the free-thinker some time to ponder what is right and wrong without an authority figure proposing and in some cases forcing concepts and theories on them. The scientific method, revolutionary liberal universities, colleges, and peer-reviewed journals will be of the utmost valued way of learning what is true and real - morally, ethically, and scientifically.
(9) http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1886043/nlc_usowned_hitech_jabil_factory_in_china_run_ like_minimum/
Side Note: I find this to be extremely funny. CHINA IS PWNING THE US MILITARY!
…it would be in their ‘National Interests’ of course, so therefore it is JUSTIFIABLE.
Oh… wait, that argument NEVER works when its the other way around, huh?
A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China contains a secret “backdoor” that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing, according to researchers at Cambridge University’s Computing Laboratory.
The unnamed chip, which the researchers claim is widely used in military and industrial applications, is “wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan”, they said.
The discovery was made during testing of a new technique to extract the encryption key from chips, developed by Cambridge spin-off Quo Vadis Labs.
The “bug” is in the actual chip itself, rather than the firmware installed on the devices that use it. This means there is no way to fix it than to replace the chip altogether.
“The discovery of a backdoor in a military grade chip raises some serious questions about hardware assurance in the semiconductor industry,” wrote Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov and Quo Vadis Labs research Christopher Woods in a draft paper.
“It also raises some searching questions about the integrity of manufacturers making claims about [the] security of their products without independent testing.”
Systems that can identify emotions in images of faces might soon collate millions of peoples’ reactions to events and could even replace opinion polls
IF THE computers we stare at all day could read our faces, they would probably know us better than anyone.
That vision may not be so far off. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab are developing software that can read the feelings behind facial expressions. In some cases, the computers outperform people. The software could lead to empathetic devices and is being used to evaluate and develop better adverts.
But the commercial uses are just “the low-hanging fruit”, says Rana el Kaliouby, a member of the Media Lab’s Affective Computing group. The software is getting so good and so easy to use that it could collate millions of peoples’ reactions to an event as they sit watching it at home, potentially replacing opinion polls, influencing elections and perhaps fuelling revolutions.
“I feel like this technology can enable us to give everybody a non-verbal voice, leverage the power of the crowd,” el Kaliouby says. She and her colleagues have developed a program called MindReader that can interpret expressions on the basis of a few seconds of video. The software tracks 22 points around the mouth, eyes and nose, and notes the texture, colour, shape and movement of facial features. The researchers used machine-learning techniques to train the software to tell the difference between happiness and sadness, boredom and interest, disgust and contempt. In tests to appear in the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, the software proved to be better than humans at telling joyful smiles from frustrated smiles. A commercial version of the system, called Affdex, is now being used to test adverts (see “Like what you see?”).
Collecting emotional reactions in real time from millions of people could profoundly affect public polling. El Kaliouby, who is originally from Egypt, was in Cairo during the uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. She was startled that Mubarak seemed to think people liked his presidency, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
“She thought maybe Mubarak didn’t think a million people was a big enough response to believe that people are upset,” lab director Rosalind Picard said at the lab’s spring meeting on 25 April. “There are 80 million people in Egypt, and most of them were not there. If we could allow them the opportunity to safely and anonymously opt in and give their non-verbal feedback and join that conversation, that would be very powerful.”
Pollsters could even collect facial reactions on the streets, or analyse the reaction of an audience listening to a politician’s speech. Picard’s group recently ran an MIT-wide experiment called Mood Meter, placing cameras all over campus to gauge the general mood. To preserve privacy, the cameras didn’t store any video or record faces - they just counted the number of people in the frame, and how many were smiling.
Frank Newport, editor in chief of political polling firm Gallup, headquartered in Washington DC, says such software could be useful. “There’s no question that emotions and instincts have an impact in politics,” he says. “We’re certainly open to looking at anything along those lines.” But he’d want to know how well facial responses predict actual votes.
Picard worries that the technology might have a dark side. “My fear is that some of these dictators would want to blow away the village that doesn’t like them,” she says. It would be important to protect the identities and IP addresses of viewers, she says.
The ability to teleport photons through 100 kilometres of free space opens the way for satellite-based quantum communications, say researchers
Teleportation is the extraordinary ability to transfer objects from one location to another without travelling through the intervening space.
The idea is not that the physical object is teleported but the information that describes it. This can then be applied to a similar object in a new location which effectively takes on the new identity.
And it is by no means science fiction. Physicists have been teleporting photons since 1997 and the technique is now standard in optics laboratories all over the world.
The phenomenon that makes this possible is known as quantum entanglement, the deep and mysterious link that occurs when two quantum objects share the same existence and yet are separated in space.
Teleportation turns out to be extremely useful. Because teleported information does not travel through the intervening space, it cannot be secretly accessed by an eavesdropper.
For that reason, teleportation is the enabling technology behind quantum cryptography, a way of sending information with close-to-perfect secrecy.
Unfortunately, entangled photons are fragile objects. They cannot travel further than a kilometre or so down optical fibres because the photons end up interacting with the glass breaking the entanglement. That severely limits quantum cryptography’s usefulness.
However, physicists have had more success teleporting photons through the atmosphere. In 2010, a Chinese team announced that it had teleported single photons over a distance of 16 kilometres. Handy but not exactly Earth-shattering.
Now the same team says it has smashed this record. Juan Yin at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai, and a bunch of mates say they have teleported entangled photons over a distance of 97 kilometres across a lake in China.
That’s an impressive feat for several reasons. The trick these guys have perfected is to find a way to use a 1.3 Watt laser and some fancy optics to beam the light and receive it.
Inevitably photons get lost and entanglement is destroyed in such a process. Imperfections in the optics and air turbulence account for some of these losses but the biggest problem is beam widening (they did the experiment at an altitude of about 4000 metres). Since the beam spreads out as it travels, many of the photons simply miss the target altogether.
So the most important advance these guys have made is to develop a steering mechanism using a guide laser that keeps the beam precisely on target. As a result, they were able to teleport more than 1100 photons in 4 hours over a distance of 97 kilometres.
That’s interesting because it’s the same channel attenuation that you’d have to cope with when beaming photons to a satellite with, say, 20 centimetre optics orbiting at about 500 kilometres. “The successful quantum teleportation over such channel losses in combination with our high-frequency and high-accuracy [aiming] technique show the feasibility of satellite-based ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation,” say Juan and co.
So these guys clearly have their eye on the possibility of satellite-based quantum cryptography which would provide ultra secure communications around the world. That’s in stark contrast to the few kilometres that are possible with commercial quantum cryptography gear.
Of course, data rates are likely to be slow and the rapidly emerging technology of quantum repeaters will extend the reach of ground-based quantum cryptography so that it could reach around the world, in principle at least.
But a perfect, satellite-based security system might be a useful piece of kit to have on the roof of an embassy or distributed among the armed forces.
Something for western security experts to think about.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1205.2024: Teleporting Independent Qubits Through A 97 Km Free-Space Channel
“The promise of a world of connected devices,in which machines of all types and sizes can autonomously communicate with each other, has long been imagined. GM’s OnStar business, which provides a growing range of in-vehicle services, has been around for some 17 years. But the past year has seen a surge of interest around the core enabling technology of the connected world: machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Much of this interest stems from mobile operators, who are eagerly awaiting the possibility of connecting cars, homes,equipment, heart sensors and all manner of other devices to their networks to find new revenue sources.
Another reason for the surge in interest is that costs for the industry’s underlying technologies – especially the sensors, processors and wireless connectivity that form the core of any M2M system – have fallen past a crucial milestone, into the single digits of euros or dollars. This is only part of the equation, but it has lowered the barriers to entry sufficiently to make the technology interesting to a wide audience. Despite all this, however, deploying an M2M-based application today remains a major undertaking for interested companies, which must battle with still-maturing technologies and partner ecosystems, among other factors.
This report, based on extensive desk research and wide-ranging interviews, examines the business models behind successful M2M applications across sectors, identifies the factors that will drive further take-up, and puts forward action points for businesses and governments to address in order to overcome barriers to widespread adoption. The key findings are as follows.”
When we think of computer networks, we think of routers and servers and fiber optic cables and laptops and smartphones — we think of the internet. In actuality, though, the visible internet is just the tip of the iceberg. There are secret military networks, and ad hoc wireless networks, and utility companies have sprawling, cellular networks the track everything from the health of oil pipelines and uranium enrichment machines through to the remaining capacity of septic tanks.
Emergency services have their own closed networks, public transport ticketing machines are all networked together, and of course traffic signals and cameras are all networked up. Meteorological agencies havehuge networks of weather beacons. Most large buildings (and cities) have sprawling networks of CCTV cameras. And, in the case of large retailers, even individual stock items are networked using NFC (RFID).
At the moment, almost all of these networks are completely disconnected — but what if we connected them all to the internet? What if we extended the internet so that it wasn’t only populated by humans? What if we made an internet of things?
Imagine if everything in the world was connected up to the same network? Every computer, every loaf of bread, every car, every traffic signal, every human. Imagine the possibilities of combining and correlating that data. Before you set off in the morning, you could see the exact, real-time traffic on your smartphone — and you would know what the weather (and air quality) is like at your office/campus. From home, you would know the exact stock levels of your nearest supermarket and the price of gas.
In short, our efficiency would improve dramatically. Instead of having to drive somewhere or phone someone up, every piece of data has already been collected, transmitted at the speed of light, and stored in a massive database that can be accessed from anywhere.
The internet of things wouldn’t only be used by humans, either — things could communicate with each other. For example, your car could communicate with other cars and traffic signals, so that the light always turns green just as you arrive — or, really, with fully autonomous and networked cars, you wouldn’t need signals at all; cars would just automagically avoid each other by braking and accelerating at the right time. Fridges could communicate with supermarkets and arrange food deliveries; ditto natural gas and oil and septic tanks. With an internet of things, we could tack the word “smart” onto almost everything; smart cars, smart homes, smart supermarkets, and even smart cities.
Of course, creating the network that would underpin these smart devices and cities would be a monumental undertaking, but — perhaps unsurprisingly — companies like IBM and Cisco are already working on such systems.
A high-technology company announced a risky and monstrously expensive project hoping to use space-faring robots to mine precious metals from asteroids that routinely whiz by Earth. (April 24)
GENEVA — A professor at a Swiss university on Tuesday unveiled a robot that can be controlled by the brainwaves of a paraplegic person wearing an electrode-fitted cap, news agency ATS reported.
A paralysed man at a hospital in the town of Sion demonstrated the device, sending a mental command to a computer in his room, which transmitted it to another computer that moved a small robot 60 kilometres (37 miles) away in Lausanne.
The system was developed by Jose Millan, a professor at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne who specialises in non-invasive interfaces between machines and the brain.
The same technology can be used to drive a wheelchair, Millan said.
“Once the movement has begun, the brain can relax, otherwise the person would soon be exhausted,” he said.
But the technology has its limits, he added. The brain signals can be scrambled if too many people are gathered around a wheelchair, for example.
Besides making paraplegics mobile, neuroprosthetics could be used to help patients recover lost senses, researchers said.
Professor Stephanie Lacour and her team are working on an “electric skin” for amputees, a glove fitted with tiny sensors that would send information directly to the user’s nervous system.
Eventually, researchers say they hope to create mechanised prosthetics that are as mobile and sensitive as a natural hand, Lacour said.
Other researchers at Lausanne are working on enabling paraplegics to walk again with electrodes implanted in their spinal cords.
“The goal is that after a year of training with a robotic aide, the patient will be able to walk without a robot. The electrodes would stay implanted for life,” said Professor Gregoire Courtine.
He said he is currently setting up clinical trials and hopes to run tests at Zurich’s university hospital within a year.
Location services company Navizonhas a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.
Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.
To demonstrate the technology, here’s Navizon CEO and founder Cyril Houri hunting for one of his colleagues at a trade show using a kind of first person shooter-esque radar.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt predicted Tuesday that rapid advances in technology will soon transform science fiction into reality - meaning people will have driverless cars, small robots at their command and the ability to experience being in another place without leaving home.
Schmidt said the introduction of books available online, Internet translation of languages and voice recognition for computers all happened much faster than anyone envisioned and that technological research into even more previously unheard of advances is progressing at a fast clip.
“People who predict that holograms and self-driving cars will become reality soon are absolutely right,” Schmidt told thousands of attendees at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the planet’s largest cell phone trade show.
Schmidt stepped down as Google’s chief executive last year but has remained the company’s chief representative in the public eye. As CEO, he rarely ventured into long-term visions like those he articulated in Barcelona. He didn’t outline how Google, which makes its money from online advertising, would profit from his visions.
Schmidt said research under way will lead to situations where people can put themselves at events like a rock concerts so they can see, hear and even feel the event. And turn down the volume, if it’s too loud.
One attendee said she was scared that the possibility could be dehumanizing, but Schmidt replied by holding up his cell phone into the air.
“It has an off button and it is here on the right,” Schmidt said. “My point is it is all about your control. If you don’t like my version of a rock concert, I’m not forcing you to go.”
Small robots could be used so busy people can send them to events for video and voice transmissions when their presence isn’t required, Schmidt said.
“In the future you’ll be able to dispatch a robot to each event,” he said.
Google has been testing driverless cars for years, and Schmidt noted that several U.S. states are already drawing up regulations so they can be used on the road. The technology took a big step forward earlier this month when Nevada became the first state to spell out requirements for the testing of driverless cars on state roads.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval even took a test ride in a self-driving Toyota Prius in July. The car being developed by Google uses radar, sensors that allow the vehicle to “see” the road, other vehicles and people. Human drivers can override the autopilot function.
Google’s self-driving cars have logged more than 200,000 miles (322,000 kilometers), Schmidt said.
Underlying it all is the explosion of data and devices that consumers will be able to use without even caring if they are logging onto the Internet, Schmidt said.
“The web will be everything, but it will be nothing,” he said. “It will be like electricity, it is just there.”
People will eventually be able to use virtual reality go to places like Marrakech in Morocco or to North Korea “whenever it has an election,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt compared the new connectivity to a “digital watering hole” where everyone will be able to gather, though he acknowledged it will take much longer for people in developing nations with poor connectivity to take part.
“It will redefine the relationship these people have in the world. In times of war and suffering, it will be impossible to ignore the cries of people calling out for help,” Schmidt said. “In this new world there will be far fewer places for dictators.”
That already happened during the Arab Spring that saw governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya fall, with more turmoil still under way in places like Syria.
“With information comes power and with power comes choice, and smarter resourceful citizens are going to demand a better deal for their communities,” Schmidt said.
April 18, 2012 - A paradigm shift is coming that will change everything about the way people work, learn, and interact - it will be the beginning of a new age and the shape that age takes depends greatly on the number of informed people that take part in it and where they decide to steer it. Already, the top minds across a variety of industries are converging and preparing for the shift. One such group, an educational institute called “Singularity University” comprises of innovators, teachers, scientists, and engineers from both the private and public sector. Some could be considered elitists interested in consolidating power, others are truly forward thinking and interested in a better world for all of mankind.
Video: An introduction as to what “Singularity University” is. It is easy to pick out good and bad people, corporations, and agendas involved in Singularity University, it is much more difficult to determine what its overall agenda is. It may be possible, if average people became informed on a large scale, to steer its agenda toward what benefits humanity as a whole, rather than a handful of corporations.
The battle that will play out depends entirely on the general public becoming informed and active in the coming paradigm shift, guiding it toward a society of solidarity and progress rather than one of disparity between enslavement and superiority. Analyzing Singularity University’s website and video productions, the impression is one of a multitude of ideas and directions - not a predetermined agenda, so far.
One concept that is omnipresent throughout Singularity University’s activities is cutting edge technology and the possible implications it will have on society. This includes everything from 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and radical advances in genetics and biotechnology. The implications range from the ability for every individual on Earth to “print” at will any conceivable object they are able to obtain the blueprints for or design, to gene therapies capable of extending human life to centuries.
While the public is distracted with gritty political ploys, wars, and engineered destabilization, it is hoped that these emerging technologies can be meshed into the existing power structures and preserve the power of elites who have reigned over humanity for generations. Sabotaging education, ruining family and culture, and perpetuating the futile “rat race” also plays a role in keeping the vast majority of humanity out of the debate, and thus at a clear disadvantage.
Just like Europeans arriving on the shores of the New World - with vastly superior weapons and institutions to perform a campaign of full spectrum domination over natives that has endured ever since, the global elite of today hope to assume a position of vast superiority enabled by quantum leaps in technology while the rest of us, through ploys such as “environmentalism” and “sustainable living” increasingly disarm ourselves industrially and technologically. Polluting our priorities with political issues instead of pragmatism also widens the rift of disparity between the people and the ruling elite.
[Technology is going to destroy us all. Oh, hey, how’s it going skynet?]
Computer vision works much better than it once did, and that could enable a diverse range of machines to see and understand their environments. Such machines could be useful in everything from military scouting to self-driving cars.
That’s why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is doing research into vision in a program known as Mind’s Eye. James Donlon (pictured right), program manager for the Mind’s Eye project, said at the recentEmbedded Vision Alliance summit in San Jose, Calif., that vision systems being tested now aren’t that bad at recognizing patterns such as a person about to be hit by a car that is backing up. But they still make mistakes that are sometimes comical, like mistaking a stationary object for a person or focusing on the wrong thing in a scene.
The Mind’s Eye research has been going on for about 18 months and is about half-way complete. After three years, the various vision projects will lead to lab prototypes that can eventually be brought to market. The systems being developed will do things like recognize someone walking, touching an object, or taking other actions. If the research pans out, we could see robots and other machines getting much better at the vision-based tasks that humans are best at.
“The difference between how a machine can describe a scene and how a person would describe that scene is quite vast still,” Donlon said. “Solving this is what the Mind’s Eye program is about. So far, humans are still best at this.”
When Tom Cruise had to break into police headquarters in Minority Report, the futuristic crime thriller, he got past the iris scanners with ease: He just swapped out his eyeballs.
CIA agents may find that just a little beyond the call of duty. But meanwhile, they’ve got to come up with something else: The increasing deployment of iris scanners and biometric passports at worldwide airports, hotels and business headquarters, designed to catch terrorists and criminals, are playing havoc with operations that require CIA spies to travel under false identities.
Busy spy crossroads such as Dubai, Jordan, India and many E.U. points of entry are employing iris scanners to link eyeballs irrevocably to a particular name. Likewise, the increasing use of biometric passports, which are embedded with microchips containing a person’s face, sex, fingerprints, date and place of birth, and other personal data, are increasingly replacing the old paper ones. For a clandestine field operative, flying under a false name could be a one-way ticket to a headquarters desk, since they’re irrevocably chained to whatever name and passport they used.
“If you go to one of those countries under an alias, you can’t go again under another name,” explains a career spook, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he remains an agency consultant. ”So it’s a one-time thing — one and done. The biometric data on your passport, and maybe your iris, too, has been linked forever to whatever name was on your passport the first time. You can’t show up again under a different name with the same data.”
The issue is exceedingly sensitive to agency operatives and intelligence officials, past and present. “I think you have finally found a topic I can’t talk about,” said Charles Faddis, a CIA operations officer who retired in 2008.
“I can’t help you with this,” added a former intelligence agency chief. “I do think this is a significant issue with great implications for the safety and security of our people, so I recommend you not publish anything on this. You can do a lot of harm and no good.”
For data centers, uptime is mandatory, even if the buses and trains aren’t running on time. That’s an issue on the minds of data center in operators in London, which may see its transit system tested by the huge crowds expected for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The data center team at Interxion has come up with a solution that will ensure that its London tech staff can be on site to keep things running smoothly throughout the Games.
Interxion today unveiled “sleeping pods” at its London data center campus, allowing staff to sleep amongst the racks to ensure that the facility will be fully staffed throughout the Games. allowing engineering staff to stay on site 24/7 should congestion on the travel and road networks become too severe, making it difficult for critical staff to travel to and from the site in a timely fashion.