Archive for the 'Technolust' Category


Welcome to the future

I showed this video to rapturous applause in my final class at Upward Bound. The speaker is Pranav Mistry, a young Indian technologist at MIT. He outlines the development of his Sixth Sense system of augmented reality. The video starts off rather slowly, but as we works through the evolution of his thinking and demonstrates more and more audacious applications of the technology, it becomes rather a thrill-ride. This technology has so many potential uses that it’s hard to believe that it won’t be in widespread use within a few years. I’d imagine the next step is having the augmentative imagery displayed in a head-up fashion, using glasses or even (eventually) contacts.

I especially appreciate the way that Mistry talks about us ceasing to be machines sitting in front of machines, and instead humanizes technology by making it a natural part of the way we interact with the world. In Mistry’s …

Posted at 10pm on Aug 6, 2010 | no comments
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Swype

This is pretty exciting, at least for a techno-fetishist like me:

Swype Beta on Nexus One from bcpk on Vimeo.

Wonder how long it’ll take to appear on the iPhone, if it ever does.

Posted at 12am on Aug 1, 2010 | no comments
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Robert Wright on the emerging planetary consciousness

Interesting and provocative stuff from writer (and meditator) Robert Wright:

This autumn will see the publication of a book that promises to help us out here: “What Technology Wants,” by Kevin Kelly, a long-time tech-watcher who helped launch Wired magazine and was its executive editor back in its young, edgy days.

Don’t let the title of Kelly’s book terrify you. He assures us that he doesn’t think technology is conscious — at least, not “at this point.” For now, he says, technology’s “mechanical wants are not carefully considered deliberations but rather leanings.”

So relax; apparently we have a few years before Keanu Reeves gets stuffed into a gooey pod by robotic overlords who use people as batteries. Still, it’s notable that, before Reeves played that role in “The Matrix,” the movie’s directors gave him a copy of Kelly’s earlier book, “Out

Posted at 8am on Jul 7, 2010 | no comments
Filed Under: Religion & Society, Technolust
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The computer that wins at Jeopardy

An interesting thing is happening in the field of artificial intelligence: a computer that can beat humans in a natural-language general knowledge quiz:

‘Toured the Burj in this U.A.E. city. They say it’s the tallest tower in the world; looked over the ledge and lost my lunch.”

This is the quintessential sort of clue you hear on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” It’s witty (the clue’s category is “Postcards From the Edge” ), demands a large store of trivia and requires contestants to make confident, split-second decisions. This particular clue appeared in a mock version of the game in December, held in Hawthorne, N.Y. at one of I.B.M.’s research labs. Two contestants — Dorothy Gilmartin, a health teacher with her hair tied back in a ponytail, and Alison Kolani, a copy editor — furrowed their brows in concentration. Who would be the first to answer?

Neither, as it turned out. Both were beaten

Posted at 8pm on Jun 16, 2010 | no comments
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Readability: a simple tool for simplifying the web

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading.

It’s a simple bookmark that you put on your browser toolbar and then click when you want to simplify a web page. On a blog it removes all the sidebars and ads, allowing you to focus on the main content. On a regular site it can be useful for reformatting the font and column width. Here’s an example:

“Before”

readability

Note the excessively wide “column.” Actually, the text runs right across the page width, meaning that your eyes have to work very hard to scan across the width of the text.

“After”

readability

See how much easier it would be to read the text in a proper column?

Here’s another “before.”

Posted at 2pm on Jun 14, 2010 | no comments
Filed Under: Meditation & practice, Technolust
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