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Robots! December 16th, 2007

There’s something really fascinating about robots. There are a whole lot of people working on the problem of humanoid robots, and it won’t be that long before they become efficient enough to do some jobs currently done by flesh and blood people. It’s already happening in millions of factories, but when we see ...

Traffic Lights December 16th, 2007

The traffic lights in my town aren’t automated. They run on 80 second timers. For most of that time, they’re red. Thirty seconds green, three seconds yellow, forty-seven seconds red. Someone timed it out that way for optimal traffic flow. When an ambulance comes through, they’re surrounded by green lights, ...

The Implications of AuthorBot December 15th, 2007

I like the idea of AuthorBot. Once I’ve learned enough, I’ll at least make an attempt at PoetryBot, because people are generally more forgiving when your lines don’t match up well (besides which, attempts have already been made for proof of concept). But more than AuthorBot, I like all the things that it ...

What Evolution Means December 14th, 2007

Evolution doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s an emergent property of systems, a high level phenomenon. As stated by Darwin in The Origin of Species, if a system has the following three qualities: 1. Geometric ratio of increase2. Mutation3. Selective Forces then transitions in the makeup of the population will take place. ...

Why Privacy is a Bad Thing December 14th, 2007

Imagine a (magical) computer program that could store every action taken by every individual throughout their entire lifetime. It would record information about what they bought, what they ate, who they talked to, what they said, various bioinformation like heart rate, cholesterol levels, etc. Now imagine that this computer stores all this information with a series ...

AuthorBot December 10th, 2007

So let’s say that you take the sum of all human English literature, and feed it into a computer program. Would that computer program, if properly written, be able to make judgments about the nature of literature? My guess is yes. The tricky part is the “if properly written” clause. When we talk ...

Future Shock December 06th, 2007

I’ve been rereading Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, and it seems odd how much of it is still relevant and how much falls flat. This won’t be a critique of the predictions made by a book that’s now 37 years old*, don’t worry about that. What interests me more is how little of the ...

I Call It “Technovulsion” December 01st, 2007

So many of my friends are something that there’s not a real good term for. I would call it technophobia, except that word has the implication of current technologies. It also has this connotation of ineptitude and foolishness. Maybe that’s just my take on it. Regardless, it just doesn’t feel right ...

The Future Is Now December 01st, 2007

Why don’t we see the marvels of human engineering? I guess you could ask the same about the natural world, but human engineering has, to me, a sort of immediacy to it, a sense of pride and promise, especially when you look at everything that has yet to come. A quick peek at what life ...

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