Physical Space Debate Spotlight:
David Brin vs. Brad Templeton (Steve Jurvetson Moderating).
Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson,
the Valley's smartest information technology venture capital firm,
has just joined us as a moderator for AC2004's Physical Space debate,
between physicist-author David Brin (see http://davidbrin.com)
and Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, a prominent advocacy group working to protect
liberty and privacy in cyberspace.
The debate will
be on "The Costs and Benefits of Transparency: How Far,
How Fast, How Fair?"
provocative cover story ("Three
Cheers for the Surveillance Society!"; registration required)
in August's Salon on transparency, the rapid growth of
digital recording and communication in our society, both public
and private. Brad has written popular pieces about property and
privacy rights (see "Ten
Big Myths About Copyright" and his take on privacy
issues in Google's GMail).
Steve has a
thought-provoking new blog, the J
curve, that I suggest browsing. I've added my two cents there,
and I hope you will too. Check out Brad's ideas
blog if you are a tinkerer and like redesigning things. Finally,
David's home page is a very important
read as well.
One of David's
big issues is our culture and media's knee-jerk tendency to either
1) fear the future or 2) blindly accept the status quo, when today's
complex world demands instead 3) a radical new openness and self-examination
of our unsolved problems, and confidence that we can make measurable
annual progress in fixing them. A quote for your file:
a world to be saved and those who spread either complacency or
gloom aren't helping. What we need is confidence and a sense that
our efforts can matter. That will come, if we open our eyes to
how much good has already been done. Are we ready, at last, to
stop ridiculing those eager, can-do boys and girls who believe
in progress?" — David Brin
that we can have increasing transparency without being
forced to choose between freedom and security (e.g., more of one
means less of the other). Brad also wants to avoid this forced tradeoff,
but doesn't see increasing transparency as the answer and is much
less optimistic that we are managing these issues well. Come join
us and add your voice to this important debate.
Speaker: Dewayne Hendricks, Broadband Activist
and broadband pioneer Dewayne Hendricks, President
of the Dandin Group, will speak
on "Wireless at Warpspeed" (placeholder title) at AC2004.
Dewayne is bringing state-of-the-art networks to underdeveloped
areas like the Country of Tonga and American Indian reservations.
These deployments are prime examples of leapfrogging technology."
Tonga is without
landlines in many places and he is taking them to VoIP wideband
mesh networks, and at the same time showing US regulators what can
be done with better laws and spectrum policies--very impressive
and inspiring work. Check out these articles ("Broadband
Cowboy," Wired; "Dewayne
Hendricks," Wireless Review) on his work with
the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation, and his technology
topics blog for some of his recent thinking. Thanks for joining
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is the premiere conference broadly exploring the opportunities and
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In today's fast-paced
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trends, and physical efficiencies, and discovering where, when,
and how to harness those to create value in the modern world.
brings you forty world-class speakers over two and a half days,
six keynotes, three debates, a Virtual Worlds and Tech demo, and
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the conference, Tech Tidbits features at least three thought-provoking
items in each issue, arranged in our three AC2004 themes. Find news
we should know about? Tell us at mail(at)accelerating.org
Holey Fibers Shed New Light, Physical
Review Focus, 20 September 2004 (2 pages)
by John Smart]. Lasers today can only be made cheaply in
certain areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. There are "holes"
in the spectrum, such as ultraviolet laser light for cancer detection
and tissue analysis, where low cost lasers haven't easily producible
to date. It has recently been discovered that a hollow optical fiber
filled with hydrogen gas, a device known as a "photonic crystal,"
can convert common, cheaply available laser light to the wavelengths
SEM image of a photonic
crystal fiber. Note periodic array of air holes. The central
defect (missing hole in the middle) acts as the fiber's core. The
fiber is about 40 microns across.
the kicker: this conversion system is a million times more
energy efficient than all previous converters. Holey fibers batman!
:) These are the kinds of jaw-dropping efficiency advances that
continue to drive the ICT and networking revolutions. They are due
even more to human discovery (in physical microspace) than to human
creativity, which is why they have accelerated throughout the 20th
century, even as humans remain uncertain exactly why they continue
to occur. Carver Mead, who I talked to at Stanford
last week, calls them the "unreasonable efficiency of the microcosm"
(after Eugene Wigner's famous 1960 paper on the
unreasonable effectiveness of simple mathematics in explaining the
one of our speakers in this theme, AC2004 is very glad to have speaker
Gee Rittenhouse, Director of the Wireless Technology
Research Department at Lucent Technologies giving us a "Strategic
Look at Wireless Technologies." Wireless networks also exhibit
"unreasonable efficiencies" of the microscale. The lower
the power of a wireless network, the more efficiently it operates
as a system, for example. Come and hear Gee tell us what new innovations
in wireless research are driving the industry, as cellular technology
moves from second to third generation networks, and as new access
technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth create new service and market
with ADHD Benefit from Time in Nature, Jim Barlow, Medical
News Today, 28 August 2004 (2 pages)
by Alvis Brigis]. This article summarizes the findings
of fascinating new research survey designed to test what effect
time spent outdoors has on the symptoms of children with ADHD. Remarkably,
the researchers appear to have linked increased time spent outdoors
in “green” areas with a decrease in ADHD symptoms. The
implications of this information are far-reaching. If the results
prove accurate, it demonstrates a powerful link between human cognitive
development and "natural" physical environments.
means that, at least in part, the way that our personalities grow
is affected by how much time we spend in natural settings versus
city settings. Remember back in Psych 101 when our instructors left
the Nature vs. Nurture argument hanging? Well, based on the fact
that research of this type is being done, it looks like society
is finally beginning to quantify how much of an effect Nurture
has on the human brain. Enjoy!
Lever to Move the Mind, James Au, New
World Notes, 9 September 2004 (5 pages)
by Jerry Paffendorf]. Last week James Au
(embedded reporter in the user-created digital world, Second
Life) wrote about a “Virtual Hallucinations” building
in Second Life that houses visual simulations of clinically documented
schizophrenic experiences. The simulation architect is Nash
Baldwin, a medical doctor and computer programmer who had
previously attempted a similar project on a stand-alone Silicon
Graphics machine. The difference? That project took nine months
and “doesn’t look anything as good” (in Baldwin’s
words). He constructed the Second Life version in only three weeks.
time, cost, and visual quality could steal the show by themselves,
the Second Life version also distinguishes itself from its stand-alone
counterpart through its surrounding community of users. These users
(over 10,000 at last count) have easy access to Mr. Baldwin’s
creation and can offer instant feedback on their experiences as
well as suggestions for improvement (technical and aesthetic) that
can be implemented almost immediately. This is another interesting
example of Second Life’s unique abilities for rapid prototyping
and accelerating innovation stemming from its open building tools,
policies, and growing community intelligence. Mr.
Baldwin designed his hallucinations sim with several goals in mind.
He’s seeking to build a virtual library that will archive
the hallucinatory experiences of schizophrenia as accurately as
possible, and through it he hopes to develop new therapeutic applications.
But most immediately, he says, he’s building a model that
anyone can go to for understanding. In his words it’s a “lever
to multiply a small effect to many people.”
Those with a
Second Life account can find Mr. Baldwin’s Virtual Hallucinations
building in the Sedig region, coordinates 45, 25. Second Life accounts
are free for one week (with credit card) at www.secondlife.com.
(Permanent tourist access can be purchased for $10; building things
requires a subscription at $10/month and up). A
TechTV segment featuring Second Life can be found at http://secondlife.com/movies/ttv.wmv.
Ondrejka (VP of Product Development, Linden Lab, creators
of Second Life) will deliver a Keynote at Accelerating Change 2004
in the Virtual Space theme, and Robin Harper (Senior
VP, Linden Lab) will participate in a panel with Robert
Gehorsam and Nova
Barlow. Join us as we discuss the way simulations are
improving our virtual and real intelligence.
Shock, For America?, James Pinkerton, Tech
Central Station, 22 September 2004 (3 pages)
by John Smart]. Excellent, if
biting commentary on the differences in pop culture between U.S.
and Japanese markets. With the recent release and commercial success
of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, America demonstrates
its collective desire for nostalgia about the 1930's. With the commercial
success of Ghost in the Shell 2 in Japan (a movie that
had 1/50th of the box office of Sky Captain in the U.S.
last week) our Asian neighbor demonstrates its desire to think hard
about the world of 2030. Is the United States getting ready for
the future, or are we sticking our heads in the sand as just as
Asia arrives as a full-fledged innovation partner on the world scene?
don't concur with the author's assessment that the 21st century
may be recalled as the Asian Century, alone. Far too many changes
are coming for that simple appellation to make sense. Our best companies
(from Wal-Mart to Mom-and-Pop) will continue to partner with Asia
in powerful new ways, and Asia will continue to emulate us for all
our social and political innovations, and our diverse and rich multiculture.
We will also remain the world's security and, with luck, nonproliferation
leaders as Globalization enters a new era of cooperation and transparency
in coming years.
will the U.S. be the innovation leaders of the 21st century the
way we were in the 20th? Will our children be raised with a truly
global and technology-aware outlook, will they learn to successfully
partner with all the hungry, talented, and capital-starved youth
that outnumber our youth 20 to 1 in the Emerging Nations? Will they
create the most amazing new products and services for tomorrows
wired, intelligent, robotic world? Or will Asia take over this role?
The choice is ours. Let us choose wisely. Thanks to Wes
Bertrand for the hit.
Words of Wisdom,
Graeme Philipson, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 2004
by John Smart].
Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C) and one of the key inventors of the World Wide
Web, gave the keynote at SpeechTek
in New York last week, the world's leading conference at the intersection
of computer technology and human speech.
proposed the development of the first standard for a Speech Synthesis
Mark-up Language, SSML, an extension of XML (eXtensible Mark-up
Language), the format widely used for interchanging documents on
the web. SSML would initially be aimed at adding internet access
functionality to the world's 2 billion fixed line and mobile phones.
A useable SSML would give hundreds of millions more people on the
planet access to the web, and would also take us an important step
closer to Berners-Lee's vision of the Semantic Web, as outlined
in in his fascinating book Weaving
the Web, 1999.
will be an early component of tomorrow's "conversational user interface" (CUI). The CUI's emergence, and its incorporation
into tomorrow's highly realistic virtual worlds, may even represent
the single most important technological advance our planet sees
in the next fifty years, so powerful would be the effect of these
interfaces on every aspect of human life. ISAC director Jerry
Paffendorf and I will talk more about these topics in the
Night Owl Session at AC2004. I hope you can join us.
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