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Strategic Insights in Accelerating Technological Change

31 December, 2004

Announcements

Happy New Year
What great innovations will 2005 bring? We wish a prosperous, peaceful, and insightful New Year to you and yours. Onward to a faster future!

AC2004 Audio
Free streaming and downloads courtesy of Doug Kaye and our premiere media partner, IT Conversations. Check here to see the AC2004 speaker archive to date (David Brin, Helen Greiner, and Jim Spohrer). More added every month. Feed your brain with these great presentations!

AC2K5: Save the Dates!
Accelerating Change 2005: IA and AI — Intelligence Amplification and Artificial Intelligence, comes to Stanford University on October 28-30, 2005. Noted mathematician and science fiction author Vernor Vinge will be one of our keynote speakers. More on this in coming issues.

Dennis Whipple Donation Fund
ISAC videographer Dennis Whipple lost his van to a car fire on the freeway earlier this month (a clogged catalytic converter, be sure to change yours regularly!). He also lost a lot of his recording equipment, which has been a major professional loss, as he has no replacement insurance for these items. We are very thankful to Dennis and Ted St. Rain for their excellent work on our AC2004 DVD, to be announced soon.

Dennis reports: "I lost 3 large 3-CCD Sony cameras, 2 large ITE professional tripods, 2 TRV-900 Sony digital cameras, a home Sharp DV camera. my Sharp DVD Recorder and portable DVD player with screen, and my Telex Audio Duplicator (paid $2,900) along with other associated accessories and who knows what personal items."

If you'd like to help Dennis out this holiday season with a small donation, that would make a major difference in his life. He has set up a PayPal account under his e-mail address: denniswhipple(at)yahoo.com.

The Acceleration Story... in Five Spaces

This year, Tech Tidbits will cover world news and insight in five "Spaces." We've chosen these five because the story of accelerating change, the most fascinating story of our time, appears to a first approximation to be a story of movement from outer, to human, to inner, to cyber, and ultimately, to hyper space.

We feel that each space deserves understanding by those who seek a multidisciplinary perspective on the future, and we look forward to covering all five as well as we can in coming years:

Outer Space (science, universal and life history, the environment),
Human Space (non-computer technology, business, health, social, and mind),
Inner Space (miniaturization, accelerating efficiencies and autonomies of the microcosm),
Cyber Space (computer and communication technologies, simulations)
Hyper Space (phase transitions, computational limits, multiverse cosmology)

While many of our stories could be multiply categorized, we'll try to include at least one entry in each of these five spaces in every issue. If you have stories to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.


Outer Space

Environment
Asian Tsunami Disaster and Early Warning Systems
[Commentary by John Smart] In the third paragraph of its first cover story on Sunday's undersea earthquake disaster in Asia, the Los Angeles Times (12.27) noted that tsunami warning buoys would have provided several hours of warning for residents in most coastal areas, but that the warning network is still underdeveloped, especially in that section of the world's oceans.

The Times should be commended for putting their emphasis on shortcomings in our technological infrastructure so early on in their reporting of this disaster. Increasingly, we are coming to realize that improving the transparency and reliability of our technology is the single most achievable and cost-effective solution for so many of our recurring problems.

Back in 1999 Robert Roy Britt at Space.com wrote a prescient article on tsunami warning systems (A Way to Track Tsunamis from Way Up High) that was an early warning system of its own. It recalled the 1998 tsunami in New Guinea that killed 3,000, and the 1896 tsunami in Japan that killed 26,000. It mentioned the importance of getting these up everywhere (a funding problem), and of eliminating recurring false positives (an engineering problem). From what I've read, these problems still persist today.

A global warning system, and an emergency broadcast system that allowed the autodialing of landline and cellphone numbers in every coastal prefix, would seem like an excellent way to minimize loss of life from tsunamis in the future. Cellphones are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in emerging nations, driven by the massive price deflation in communications technology. Once we had a digital emergency warning system, we could use it to warn against other natural and human disasters as well. Will the 2004 Asian Tsunami Disaster spur us to a new level of cooperation and commitment in our emergency warning systems? I hope so. 114,000 are dead in coastal areas of 16 countries as of this writing. Let us know if you hear of promising long-term developments along these lines. Meanwhile, here is Google's listing of ways you can help with tsunami disaster relief.

Argo Robotic Sub Network: Oceanic Transparency
[JS] Nice overview of autonomous robotic submarines. What new efficiencies will these provide? Autonomous mining of manganese nodules from the ocean floor? Prospecting and recovery of deep sea fossil fuels? Continual census of undersea life? Aquaculture?
Thanks to Iveta Brigis for this.

Evolutionary Development
Eyes, Defense, and the Evolutionary Arms Race
[JS] In the Blink of an Eye, Andrew Parker, 2003 is a great book about the Cambrian Explosion. His thesis is that the emergence of complex eyes was the primary force fueling this famous explosion of animal body types half a billion years ago. The whole thing occurred over just a few million years and then it was over, the "optimal" forms having been discovered (given the limitations of cell-based life).

As this fascinating Guardian article (Natural Defences, Nov 18, 2004) shows, this year Parker has been working with Britain's Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon applying lessons from the Cambrian evolutionary arms race to a global security models for terrorist threats. I'm sure a lot of insight could come from that approach.

Perhaps one of the most useful insights might be how digital evolution will develop as more and more computers acquire eyes and mental maps (simulation spaces) that allow them to view and respond to the human world. George Gilder's new book will be about Foveon, that cutting edge digital imaging company that grew out of the neuromorphic engineering labs of Carver Mead at CalTech.

What will it mean when our computers can see better than we can? How soon will all our cars come with vision chips that can see images in the dark, and that connect up to automatic braking and collision avoidance systems so that we can cut our traffic accidents in half? What else will change when computers everywhere can see?


Human Space

Education
Templeton Project on Educational Acceleration
[JS] The Dec 2004 Templeton Foundation Newsletter has an excellent report on their project to help accelerate bright youth in U.S. schools. Acceleration involves grade skipping for smart youth who are bored and underchallenged, and it strongly promotes a culture of excellence in our school systems. Over the last several years the Foundation has supported an extensive study of acceleration, which recently culminated in the publication of the two volume report, A Nation Decieved: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students, Nicholas Colangelo, Susan G. Assouline, and Miraca U. M. Gross, 2004. (Report is free at http://www.nationdeceived.org/)

The authors conducted extensive studies of kids who have accelerated in the past, and have shown that contrary to stereotype, these kids are just as or even more well adjusted, and measurably more successful than high functioning youth who were denied this option. They argue that we need to stop holding our kids back if we want them to succeed. Acceleration is one of the simplest mechanisms we have for reforming our educational system, and Templeton has done a commendable job of bringing this issue to public light.

Energy
Interview with David O'Reilly of ChevronTexaco

[JS] David O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO of ChevronTexaco, gave an excellent interview to Charlie Rose 12.29.04. The video is pricey ($30 at CharlieRose.com) but may be worth buying if you would like to know more about energy, a commonly misunderstood topic among futurists. Among the facts as O'Reilly sees them:

1) there are more proven oil reserves available today than in the 1980's.
2) gas is cheaper in real dollars today than it was at that time.
3) cars today are over 100X less polluting than in the 1960's.
4) 50% of U.S. electricity comes from coal-fired plants (there are thousands of years of coal reserves globally).
5) A hydrogen transportation network looks quite unlikely for the forseeable future, as the economics aren't there. They are doing pilot projects in mass transit but they aren't promising.
6) the cheapest source for the hydrogen for hydrogen cars would be natural gas reserves.
7) China is now the second largest oil importer after the U.S., and ahead of Japan. China used to be a net exporter but their economy is growing so fast, and oil is still so cheap, that buying has been easier than developing more fields, so far.

Accelerating efficiencies in prospecting, extraction, refining, and use continue to be the main story that keeps energy so tractable. Technological efficiency is also the thing most environmental groups continue to misjudge in their future scenarios: the emerging intelligence of our planetary infrastructure. O'Reilly didn't cite any studies that compare the projected needs of developing countries to projected oil reserves, or discuss when he expects oil to become expensive enough that we'll start switching to alternative sources, like gas or liquifacted coal. If any of you have seen informed, technology-aware studies on this, let us know.

There are a number of underappreciated fossil fuel sources on the planet, so much reserve capacity that we will probably never build robot tankers to bring us liquified natural gas from Jupiter's atmosphere, as Bucky Fuller suggested during the last Energy supply crisis of the early 1970's. One of the most interesting sources is methane hydrates (frozen methane under the continental shelf at the ocean's edges). Conventional wisdom, which needs to be better assessed, is that there is twice as much methane hydrate available on Earth as all our oil, natural gas, and coal reserves combined. That's a tremendous store of fossil fuel, if true.

There's also an increasing suspicion that massive methane outgassing may have been the prime cause of several of our past mass extinctions, even including the K-T meteorite extinction! Fortunately the U.S. DOE has a desire to assess both the potential risk to humans of future outgassing from drilling, and how much complexity might be involved in recovering gas hydrates in the future. ChevronTexaco is leading the first major effort to assess gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico, so we should see some valuable data in a few years.

From what I watched (tuned in late), O'Reilly didn't share his opinion on biodiesel as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Folks like the National Biodiesel Board are promoting the model that biodiesel can cut life-cycle CO2 emissions for engines by up to 78% by comparison to conventional fossil fuels. Efficiencies in biodiesel production and use are also accelerating. What role should home-grown fuels like biodiesel play in our future energy economy?

I'd also like to know his—and your—thoughts on carbon sequestration technologies, if we decide to sequester, rather than reduce our carbon emissions. Apparently two of the major ways our planet has traditionally kept CO2 within a narrow range is:

1) biosequestration, the creation of additional biomass (algae, etc.) that traps the extra atmospheric carbon in plant bodies, and
2) geosequestration, the creating of calcium carbonate deposits that eventually subduct back into the earth's mantle (via plate tectonics).

So will the main result of more CO2 in the atmosphere be a greener earth? Is there an efficient way to turn algae farms into limestone? That sounds like a great biotechnology project. If so, could each country that burns fossil fuels be responsible for their own bio and geosequestration programs in coming years?

Foresight
Human Performance Enhancement in 2032: A Scenario for Military Planners,
John Smart, December 2004, 16 pages
I recently subcontracted on a transformative technology scenarios project for the U.S. Army. This articlelooks at the way human performance enhancement is likely to be viewed by army planners thirty years hence, and explores some of the military implications of accelerating information technologies (infotech), such as the conversational user interface, personality capture, and the valuecosm. One of the main messages is that biotech and cognotech are likely to be a lot less disruptive than infotech over the next thirty years. If the data continue to validate this perspective, we should prioritize our development resources accordingly. Let me know what you think.

Governance
Social Security Complexities
[Commentary by John Smart] Is Bush's Social Security reform unnecessary? Paul Krugman certainly thinks so. His 12.7.2004 New York Times article, "Inventing a Crisis," sees a scheme being perpetrated by the current administration for the purposes of further privatization, and perhaps also to keep the U.S. stock market from prematurely melting down in coming decades. But extremist views in politics, economics, culture, or just about any field except our continually surprising technology, are rarely as correct as more balanced perspectives.

In favor of Krugman's position, it is certainly acceleration-unaware to claim that social security will be broken in 2041 or 2052, and to use this as justification for a crisis. Tech-aware folks know that machines will be engaging in vast new areas of the human economy around that time, and we'll live in a world with untold new productivites. So maybe there's nothing to fix here.

On the other hand, when one looks at the general trend of technologically developed countries to become less competitive over time, when one compares the socialism of a long-developed Europe to the eager capitalism and innovation of Asia, it is easy to understand the U.S. as a balanced mix of these two extremes, yet unhappily sliding toward the economic doldrums of socialism. From this perspective the logic of careful privatization makes more sense. Wherever we can champion innovation and personal responsibility, we will stay in the zone between extremes longer. Perhaps even indefinitely.

Of course, there are questions of whether this particular approach is the wrong way to reform the system, a way that may increase the U.S. rich poor divide if we aren't careful. On the other, other hand, this is one of the few opportunities the current administration has for a systematic reform that might increase accountability, and such opportunities are rare.

Partial social security privatization could end up being a useful innovation, or a mediocre investment of our time and effort, even with good intentions. It's doubtful it will be a terrible thing, so let's not get too worked up over it either way. It helps to remember that politics today is a third level discourse, less important for accelerating change than economics, which is less important than sci-tech. This is useful work, but there are much more powerful accelerating transformations under foot.

Social Activism/Corporate Responsibility
Bhopal Disaster, 20 Years After
[JS] The Union Carbide pesticide gas disaster in Bhopal, India, on Dec 3, 1984 killed 4,000-7,000 people in the worst industrial accident in history. According to NGO accounts, in the two decades since, an additional 15,000 have died and a reported 100,000 have ongoing health problems due to the inhalation of methyl isocyanate (MIC) pesticide gas. Final site cleanup still isn't complete, and would take an estimated additional $20 million. Union Carbide maintains a site Bhopal.com, with their information about reparations made after the disaster, including a $470 million settlement paid in 1989 to the Indian government: http://www.bhopal.com/irs.htm.

The major unresolved problem appeasr to be that Union Carbide thought they could get out of the situation simply by payment. Life teaches us that often, money simply isn't enough.

Amnesty International has a 100 page PDF on the ongoing problems at Bhopal at http://bhopal.net/amnesty/amnestybhopalreport.pdf They note that $330 million of the UC settlement monies (with interest) still have not been paid out to victims as of September 2004. The report details the way the Indian government let Union Carbide off the hook with the settlement, has stopped research on health and environmental impacts since 1994, has failed to finish site cleanup, and continues to underserve the victims. Dow Chemical, which purchased Union Carbide in 2001, was warned by activists that cleanup was still needed, and that corporate social responsibility remained. So far, they've avoided the issue.

Fortunately, activists continue to keep this issue alive. On the 20th anniversary of the disaster, the Yes Men (who call themselves "identity correction" social activists) fooled the BBC into a news conference where a "Dow Spokesperson" pledged $12 billion in compensation for the victims. The story got traction for a short while before it was exposed. It is helpful to compare Dow's official company site, and the Yes Men's clever hoax site, Dowethics.com. Dow's doing its best to shut this down, but in today's internet, that's not an easy thing to do.

Amnesty notes: "There is already a clear trend to extend international obligations beyond states, including to individuals (for international crimes), armed groups, international organizations and private enterprises. Amnesty International supports this trend and believes that companies have an inalienable responsibility for the human rights impacts of their operations." Well said.

What could UC/Dow Chemical do today? They could finish cleanup. They could pay more, even though not obligated to do so by Indian law, and pressure the Indian government to make necessary changes. They could stay involved, and provide the expertise that has failed to materialize after the check was signed. If Dow doesn't step up to the plate, let's make sure that we do, for them. Visit the activist sites Bhopal.net and Bhopal.org to see simple ways you can help.

I've just completed a futures scenario on Human Performance Enhancement in 2032. It includes the concept of our digital twin (DT), an avatar that records our preferences as we talk to it using a conversational user interface (CUI). These preferences are expressed to others in semantic web protocols I call the Valuecosm. In that kind of world, it will be convenient and practical for us to react to articles like this by changing our preferences such that we buy as few Dow products as possible until they are willing to take some action X, as proposed by NGO group Y. In that kind of world, the power of the many will hold accountable the excesses of the few. I'm looking forward to this coming era, and there's a lot we can do today to make it emerge sooner, rather than later. Thanks to Chris Phoenix and Mark Finnern.

Tools
Free Conference Calling
[JS] Dump your telco's "3 way calling" service and move up to FreeConference.com. A number of free sister sites for Europe can also be found on their homepage. They can handle a minimum of 25 on the line at once. Combine this with good speakerphones for everyone at home or office and you've got instant community. We have been using it for a few months now and are quite happy with it. FAQ is here. Thank you IDC and the internet!


Inner Space

Microtech
Industry Gears Up for Two Headed PC Processors (Free, Registration Required), Matthew Fordahl, Kansas City Star, 12.20.04
[JS] Announcing the advent of multicore microprocessors for our personal computers (network and server computers have dual core architectures for a couple of years now). This is the beginning of the "three dimensionality" of our ubiquitous PC hardware, as predicted by Ray Kurzweil in 1999. Multicore chips are slower, but they have significantly lower power consumption, which gives us relief from the overheating problem the smaller the die size goes. If I were beginning my career as an electrical engineer today, N-core technology would be fun and challenging opportunity. Nicely done!

Nanotech
The Promise of Coal Liquefaction
[JS] Why isn't coal liquefaction ever discussed by those who say we are running out of fossil fuels? Some energy futurists need better long term vision. See this executive summary of Nanotechnology Now's insightful "Nanocatalysis and Fossil Fuels" report. It tracks the dramatic advances in coal liquefaction technologies in recent years, and mentions the high-grade gas that China is now extracting from its gargantuan coal reserves. See "First Coal Liquefaction Centre Set Up in Shanghai", 3.12.2004, for more on this fascinating story. Will the U.S., Australia, and many other coal-rich nations eventually do the same?

Coal liquefaction is still a low yield process, but given the amazing efficiencies of inner space, whenever we choose to do the research, I would bet liquefaction doubles in efficiency/halves in cost on the order of every few years, due to advances in nanocatalysis and process automation.

After all, that's exactly what has happened for three decades now in desalination technology, which gets half as expensive roughly every 5 years. In the early 1980's desalination was primarily a research effort, like coal liquefaction today. Only Saudi Arabia could afford to use it commercially at that time. Today, desalination is a thriving industry expanding in arid regions all over the world, and it will be cheaper than most every other source of potable water within just another decade or so.

Scholars Probe Nanotechnology's Promise and Potential Problems, Toni Feder, Physicstoday.org
[Commentary by Iveta Brigis].
Corporations, governments, universities and others spent an estimated $8.6 billion on nanotechnology research and development in 2004. The US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)’s 2004 budget alone was $961 million. These numbers indicate that studying inner space is "in."

While developing the possible practical positive applications of nanotechnology, the scientists and businesspeople behind nanotech have an equally important task: finessing nanotech’s public image. The nanotech world has learned from the difficulties of GMO development that it must respond to the needs and wants of the public to maintain long-term support for its mission. As one example, the DoE's Molecular Foundry puts on Saturday morning nanotech classes at U.C. Berkeley for students and the public. Attendance is packed.

A take home lesson: The public is asking the nanotech world to control the acceleration of this science until we get a better sense of the consequences of nanotechnology. And the nano world is responding: Eleven percent of the NNI’s budget goes to research on health and environment.

New innovations from the nano frontier (at least the way the marketeers see it) will ensure that nanotech stays in the public eye for years to come. Are you a golfer? Nanodynamics’ new golf ball is expected in stores this spring. The ball is purported to "correct its own flight," so it flies straighter than conventional balls and is supposed to be more controllable on the putting surface, too. We'll see. The cost? $7-$8 a piece.

For Further Research

Nanotechnology: Any fabrication technology in which objects are designed and built by the specification and placement of individual atoms or molecules or where at least one dimension is on a scale of nanometers.
Nanometer: One billionth (10-9) of a meter.
21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, passed in 2003.
Wikipedia on Nanotechnology. A great history and overview of the science.
Foresight Institute, the oldest nanotech analysis and advocacy group.
Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, a newer advocacy and policy recommendation group.
IBM Nanotechnology Research
Greenpeace’s Nanocautionary Report “Future Technologies, Today’s Choices: Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics

Femtotech
Nuclear-Powered Microbatteries
[JS] IEEE Spectrum Online's Dec 2004 feature article, "The Daintiest Dynamos," by Amit Lal and James Blanchard, tells an amazing story about the newest innovations in Radioisotope Energy Generators (REGs), tiny batteries that have thousands of times greater energy density than today's best chemical batteries, and which are entirely appropriate for everyday use.

REGs have been in use since the 1960's to power satellites. They were called SNAP (Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power) generators back then, for those who remember their history. Even back then a serious technology roadmapper could have predicted that they might eventually outcompete all other battery sources, as their energetics and simplicity are so appealing.

Today's chemical batteries improve their efficiencies about 5% per year, which makes conventional chemical energy technology effectively stagnant by comparison to our Moore's law driven improvements in processing, storage, and bandwidth. Can inner space research programs get our energy storage technology back on an exponentiating track? Todays clean and safe MEMS REGs make it clear that they can, and will. This would be a fabulous field to work in, if you've got time and energy to spare. Thanks to Jim Spohrer for the link.


Cyber Space

Metaverse
Virtual Island Sells for $26,500 in Cyber Assets, by Will Knight, NewScientist.com,15.12.04
(Also blogged on Corante)
[Commentary by Jerry Paffendorf] A 22-year-old Australian gamer, David Storey, has purchased a 6,000-acre piece of virtual property inside of the massively multi-player game Project Entropia—a game that, like the digital world of Second Life discussed in previous Tech Tidbits newsletters, allows users to convert real world money into virtual world currency and vice verse. Storey now has the right to tax other players who hunt and mine on the land (called Treasure Island) and to parcel it out to buyers looking to build their own homes and businesses. In a statement released by Project Entropia’s creators, MindArk, the new virtual land baron says he wants to “create a thriving, fully functional settlement for all to enjoy.” Depending on the future success of Project Entropia and, specifically, player interest in the Treasure Island territory, Storey stands to make a profit on his investment.

Serious interest in the creation, ownership, and exchange of virtual goods, services and land for real money is poised to go mainstream in the near future, with much higher participation due to come from casual gamers and non-gamers participating in new breeds of open-ended digital worlds. For the last two years, lawyers, game designers, and social scientists have been gathering at the New York Law School’s State of Play conference to discuss issues of real world law as applied to these issues within virtual worlds (highly recommended video archive here. Indiana University professor Edward Castronova (“the Adam Smith of virtual worlds” according to Wired) has noted that “The minute you hardwire constraints [read: scarcity] into a virtual world, an economy emerges [and] One-trillionth of a second later that economy starts interacting with ours.” So, as author and virtual world entrepreneur Julian Dibbel dubbed it, it’s high time you prepare yourself for the "unreal estate boom".

Betsy Book over at Virtual Worlds Review has written some interesting articles on her site (itself a great general into to virtual worlds) addressing the role and desirability of place (and by extension property) in virtual worlds, including Traveling Through Cyberspace: Tourism and Photography in Virtual Worlds (which has lots of nice screenshots from a variety of 3D virtual worlds). Cory Ondrejka, VP of Product Development for Second Life, also has an interesting short paper called A Piece of Place: Modeling the Digital on the Real in Second Life that presents a theory of place in digital worlds modeled on the real world. These two works should go a long way towards answering the "Why?" question for those who shake their heads at this sort of thing (as in Why in the world would anyone even think of buying something you can’t catch, paint green, and sew a button on?).

Automation
Event-Driven Architecture (EDA)
[JS] If you were at Accelerating Change 2004, you probably recall that Shai Agassi's excellent keynote addressed this subject. EDA and web services are the newest revolution in transaction automation across the enterprise, quietly saving companies billions of dollars annually, and playing critical roles in who wins the consolidation game in mature industries.

Tibco is one example of an innovative company creating new "rich clients" that take advantage of the emerging web services infrastructure. Janice Carter and William Grosso had Luke Birdeau of Tibco speak on this at their Emerging Technologies SIG in Palo Alto this December. You might get on their mailing list if you live in the SF Bay Area. A quote:

"The Internet is rapidly moving into its next phase of evolution. Concurrent with the dominant trend towards service-oriented architecture on the server side, a new generation of presentation tier capabilities called "rich clients" are enabling companies to deliver the look, feel and performance of desktop installed software solutions that far surpass the limits of HTML while retaining the best of the Web's centralized application management and distribution characteristics."

Such systems leverage existing browser technology to enable feature rich, high performance applications. EDA is a fascinating new field of innovation. Where will tomorrow's intelligent avatar-equipped, 3D browser go? One thing's for sure: it will include a fusion of technology competencies best seen today at companies like Microsoft, Google, SAP, and Second Life. Thanks to Mark Finnern for the link.


Hyper Space

What I Believe But Cannot Prove: Speculations on Evolutionary Development and the Cosmic Purpose of Accelerating Change, John Smart, 2005
I wrote this 1,000 word piece as a personal response to the 2005 World Question at Edge.org: "What Do You Believe is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?" Belief plays an important role in all our lives, and this question brought out a number of the beliefs underlying my own intution with regard to accelerating change. It is one of several possible proposals for hyper space as the developmental destiny for local intelligence.

Black Hole Computers (abstract only, fee required), Seth Lloyd and Y. Jack Ng, Scientific American, November 2004
[JS] A fabulous article about new insights in quantum information theory and the perception of the universe as an ultimate computer. Seth Lloyd is a professor of quantum mechanical engineering at MIT and a designer of quantum computers. Y. Jack Ng is a professor of physics at UNC Chapel Hill, and researches the quantum structure of spacetime.

This is some of the most fascinating work in physics today, and I see it as a significant step closer to the model that black hole physics, a hyper space threshold, is a "universal developmental attractor" for local computing systems. I expect this to be one of the most important new stories of accelerating change in coming years.


Fun

We all deserve a little fun in every day. Send us your entries for the next issue!

Humor
Season's greetings over at Despair.com. Thanks to Brent Bushnell.

Play
LiveYourAdventure.com
[JS]
Mark McMahon is a Tucson dentist who sold his practice and took a three year trip through South America, just because he could. He has a great sense of humor and I've just burned up more time than I should reading some of his fun journal entries. May this inspire you to take your own trip as well. Motivating and inspiring new experiences are right next door to all of us, if we just take the time to look!


Call for Submissions
ISAC is seeking submissions for our Tech Tidbits (TT)and Accelerating Times (AT) web-based publication. TT and AT are "free and priceless" biweekly and biannual newsletters covering scientific, technological, business, and humanist dialogs in accelerating change. Anyone may submit reader feedback, scan hits, article links, original papers, questions, and artwork (for you illustrators out there) to mail(at)accelerating.org. Accepted work will appear, fully credited, in future issues.

ISAC

AC2004 Audio

AC2K5: Save the Dates!

Dennis Whipple Donation Fund

The Acceleration Story... in Five Spaces


NEWS

Asian Tsunami Disaster and Early Warning Systems

Argo Robotic Sub Network: Oceanic Transparency

Eyes, Defense, and the Evolutionary Arms Race

Templeton Project on Educational Acceleration

Interview with David O'Reilly of ChevronTexaco

Human Performance Enhancement in 2032: A Scenario for Military Planners

Social Security Complexities

Bhopal Disaster, 20 Years After

Free Conference Calling

Industry Gears Up for Two Headed PC Processors

The Promise of Coal Liquefaction

Scholars Probe Nanotechnology's Promise and Potential Problems

Nuclear-Powered Microbatteries

Virtual Island Sells for $26,500 in Cyber Assets

Event-Driven Architecture (EDA)

What I Believe But Cannot Prove

Black Hole Computers

LiveYourAdventure.com

 

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