I came across Nexus: a facebook application which shows the relationships between your facebook friends. I was impressed by the groupings, which differentiated between groupings that I knew through social media, my time working inhouse and agency life as three clusters.
But better than all that it just looks so darned pretty, kind of like a star map.
Ray Kurzweil is a technological rock star, responsible for great music synthesisers and much of the developments around optical character recognition and speech recognition. This is what makes him a good futurist. The fact that he has had his hands dirty.
The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence is a book of two parts. In the first part, Kurzweil outlines how technology has progressed since the dawn of computing with Charles Babbage’ difference engine. Kurzweil uses this trip down computer memory lane to demonstrated that computing power has been increasing exponentially since the dawn of time rather than just the dawn of Intel with Moore’s Law on the doubling of transistors. Even though silicon transistors may top out computing power will keep on trucking (though Kurzweil doesn’t necessarily have the answer of what is the next technology).
The second part of the book is likely future scenarios; and this is where things get interesting. Kurzweil is setting himself up for a FAIL. Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold missed the internet in the first edition of The Road Ahead when it was first published in 1995 and Kurzweil sets himself up for a potentially bigger fall in the scope of his book. Even if Kurzweil has his timing a bit wrong or doesn’t get everything right his book is still a great thought experiment in how intelligent computers would impact humanity.
It was obvious that Barack Obama represented a change in style, tempo and agenda of the US government, but what wasn’t obvious to the international audience is the cultural impact that Mr Obama has had on his country’s culture.
Science fiction mirrors the nature of its society, Invaders of the Bodysnatchers and Starship Troopers were both products of the pre-detenté cold war. Which explains why the comic industry represents Barack Obama as a mix of John Wayne and Cary Grant. Here is examples that I found at Comicana around the corner from my office:
President Obama battles zombies.
President Obama meets Savage Dragon.
Barack Obama and Spider Man hang out at the Lincoln Memorial.
Somehow I can’t the same happening for any of our current or future leaders in the UK.