Becoming a Cyborg should be taken gently: Of Modern Bio-Paleo-Machines » Cyborgology

“We, the biological part of the machine, are providing the tools for its uplift, we embed cameras everywhere so it can see, we implant sensors all over the planet so it may feel, but above all we nudge and we push towards a greater connectivity, all this unaware.”

And also: “We are on the edge of a Paleolithic Machine intelligence world. A world oscillating between that which is already historical, and that which is barely recognizable. Some of us, teetering on this bio-electronic borderline, have this ghostly sensation that a new horizon is on the verge of being revealed, still misty yet glowing with some inner light, eerie but compelling.”

An interesting and beautiful post, but then again, I’m not entirely convinced, more specifically about the implicit conceptualization of our own Paleo-past. I think our ancestors and many animals had something called consciousness, while all those fascinating machines and networks of today don’t have any consciousness at all. The fact that we add cameras and sensors to the networks does not yet mean these networks acquire something like a body. It would be interesting to study how the proponents of cyborg-thinking conceptualize the relationship between mind, body and consciousness. Or am I mistaken here? 

via Diigo http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/11/22/becoming-a-cyborg-should-be-taken-gently-of-modern-bio-paleo-machines/

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Content vs. service in media & education — BuzzMachine

Jeff Jarvis: “I ask us — in journalism and in education (and in journalism education) — to aspire to being services. That requires us to start by thinking of the ends.”

This is so right. Aspire being services, in education as in journalism, as both activities have so much in common. 
via Diigo http://buzzmachine.com/2012/11/19/content-vs-service-in-media-education/

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Apps on top of the real world

This seems to be pretty cool, but as you’ll see in the ‘read more’ section, it’s much more than just ‘cool':

And here is how it works:

It’s build by Stockholm-based 13thlab.com and it’s an app available on iOS.

Using advanced computer vision, Minecraft Reality maps and tracks the world around you using the camera, and allows you to place Minecraft worlds in reality, and even save them in a specific location for others to look at.

Minecraft Reality is built on our PointCloud SDK. For more information, and examples of what people are placing, visit http://minecraftreality.com.

Just like the Google ARG Ingress, this is yet another example of the crumbling walls between the digital world and the world formerly known as the real world.

The guys of 13thLab claim: “We think the camera will replace the GPS as the most important sensor to interpret and make sense of the world around you.”

Hat tip for Bruce Sterling on Beyond the Beyond for posting about this.

Read also:
– If the world were your platform, what apps would you build, by Janko Roettgers at GigaOM. He asks the fascinating question: “If your apps aren’t just running on a phone or a tablet anymore, but essentially on top of the real world — what kind of apps do you build?”
– The World Is Not Enough: Google and the Future of Augmented Reality by Alexis C. Madrigal at theAtlantic.
-Minecraft creations meet the real world through augmented reality iOS app by David Meyer on GigaOM.

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Microsoft has its own Project Glass

“Microsoft has it’s own Project Glass cooking in the R&D labs.

It’s an augmented reality glasses/heads-up display, that should supply you with various bits of trivia while you are watching a live event, e.g. baseball game. ”

The information is based on a patent application, so don’t expect a Microsoft Glass for Christmas. 
via Diigo http://www.unwiredview.com/2012/11/22/microsoft-has-its-own-project-glass-augmented-reality-glasseswearable-computer-combo/

patent drawings for microsoft glass

Nicholas Carlson at BusinessInsider explains the differences between Microsoft Glass and Google Glass. It seems that Google Glass will be more like a tiny screen somewhere in your vision while the Microsoft project is about overlaying digital information on the physical environment. However, the Microsoft project seems to be more about events – where the user is more or less staying on the same spot, while Google Glass is also about the users moving around, sky diving etc.

Purists would say the Google is not working on augmented reality (if the information about Google Glass) is correct as it does not really is overlaying digital information. In my opinion, if you look at it from a slightly different angle, in both cases we’re (at least in some applications) annotating the physical world.

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WordPress Brings Bitcoin to the Blogging Masses | Webmonkey

“Upgrading your WordPress.com blog no longer requires a credit card or PayPal account. Starting today you can raid your virtual piggy bank to pay for WordPress upgrades with the digital currency Bitcoin.”

This is interesting. How ‘virtual’ is bitcoin anyway? Maybe Linden Lab – the company behind Second Life – missed an opportunity here, they could have turned the Linden dollar into a currency going beyond virtual worlds. But bitcoin is far more radical, as it does not depend on one issuer, so it’s a different model. 
via Diigo http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/11/wordpress-brings-bitcoin-to-the-blogging-masses/

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Let Google hack your mind!

Alternate Reality Games (ARG)! conspiracies! Augmented Reality! Mind hacking! Soon all this on your Android (now in closed beta) – and I guess less soon also on iOS. Meet Ingress, Google’s ARG. It reminds me of Shadow Cities, but then again I could not yet try out Ingress. It seems to be more interesting in this sense that it integrates the digital game layer more into the physical reality – however without actually using physical objects. Also visit the companion website Niantic Project. Cannot wait to experience these things wearing Google glasses… (and of course, while pretending to be a game, Google will eventually hack your mind):

Read also:
– Google Launches Ingress, a Worldwide Mobile Alternate Reality Game by Liz Gannes on AllThingsD
– Inside Ingress, Google’s new augmented reality game by Casey Newton on C|Net
Niantic Project Wiki
Read even more:
– Are ARGs Dead? A Closer Look at a Common Refrain by Adrian Hon on ARGNet
– Niantic Labs Bears More Fruit: Location-Based Massively Multiplayer Game Ingress Hits Google Play by Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch. Notice that the term ‘alternate reality’ is not being used here, but instead ‘location-based multiplayer gaming’.

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Singularity Hub acquired by Singularity University

I recently posted about a video-interview with Ray Kurzweil I found on Singularity Hub. I also mentioned the membership-model this site uses. Now the site announced Singularity University acquired it.

Keith Kleiner founded the site five years ago. At first I thought it was part of the Singularity University, but in fact both were unrelated – until now. Kleiner in a post on the Hub:

(…) the two companies surprisingly had never formally collaborated in any way. Recently, however, Singularity University CEO Rob Nail and I came to the realization that our two organizations would make a perfect combination, ultimately leading to today’s announcement.

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A social network for things | Beyond The Beyond

“Thingiverse is also introducing a new “Follow” button that will connect you to the things, digital designs, designers, users, tags, categories: all the stuff you care about most. By following a Thing, you’ll get a notification when someone comments on it, makes a copy of it, or remixes it. Some new digital designs inspire a whole family of new Things, and the Follow button helps you keep track of those.  ”

As Bruce Sterling says, it’s almost a social network of things. Now just imagine to have this affordance in augmented reality – you just point your smartphone, tablet or google glass to a thing, you activate some app and you get all this information. Also in the press release, the guys from Thingiverse explain how users have been tagging their uploads with useful descriptors – and so now you can follow tags or categories to get updates in a dashboard. We’re talking here about the annotation of our physical reality, bookmarking no longer just the digital world of websites but of the objects which surround us. 
via Diigo http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/11/developments-at-makerbot-thingiverse/

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Organizing my Online Brain

So what have I been doing at the Think-Know course facilitated by Howard Rheingold?

These past few weeks we’ve been using Diigo extensively. This social bookmark-service is well-suited for group collaboration. While the course group is reserved for members, you’re welcome to join my own group about the impact of technology on society and the economy (apply and I’ll respond).

The next phase was mindmapping. This is an example of a Cmap I made of one of our synchronous sessions:

mindmap of an online course

(click to enlarge)

During that session we talked about TheBrain, which is a mindmap and database in one. The nodes of the knowledge plex are called ‘thoughts”, and some people have more than 100,000 thoughts in their online brains. This is the company-presentation of TheBrain 7:

This is a section of the Technology-thoughts in my online brain – the tools enables you to have this kind of random walks:

Now what are the benefits of using a tool such as TheBrain? It allows to get things done by externalizing a number of cumbersome brain processes. It generates ideas – e.g. I was integrating a thought about Andy Clark‘s Extended Mind and Natural Born Cyborgs, and through a link/association with another thought about the reproduction of traditional gender relations in the counterculture, I realized I should study Donna Haraway and her feminist thinking regarding cyborgs and minds. This is a typical ‘jump thought’ facilitated by these tools and which makes them so valuable.

mindmap with donna haraway as active thought

Disclaimer: I’m using the above mentioned tools on my own expenses, I have no ties with the companies involved.

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