Bird" discount for AC2004 extended to October 12th!
to the number of requests for an extension to the early bird deadline,
we've pushed back the cut-off date to Tuesday, October 12th. Until
that time, conference registration is $350 regular and $150 for
students. Don't forget to take advantage of these extremely low
rates before they fly away!
Virtual Space Debate Spotlight:
Jack Emmert vs. Steve Salyer (Cory Ondrejka Moderating)
Money in Virtual Economies: The Future of User-Created Content”
Jack Emmert is lead designer of City
of Heroes, a new and wildly successful massively multi-player
online game (200,000 paying subscribers and growing), and Creative
Director of Cryptic Studios.
is President of Internet Gaming
Entertainment (IGE), the world’s largest secondary market
for goods and currencies from massively multi-player games and virtual
Steve and Jack will make legal, dollar, behavioral, and design forecasts
for the virtual property markets within massively multi-player games,
debating the practice from seller and designer viewpoints, and business
vs. gaming intentions, respectively. This debate will clue attendees
in to a gigantic emerging market and fascinating culture that most
of us haven’t yet considered. The dialog should produce a
few new business plans and also be a whole lot of fun. Listen to
Bill Gurley's massively
multi-player market talk from O'Reilly's Web 2.0 Conference
for a strong introduction.
In late 2001,
then-CSU Fullerton economist Edward Castronova
published a landmark paper entitled “Virtual
Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market Society on the Cyberian Frontier”
describing how markets for virtual items within the massively multi-user
virtual world of EverQuest
were translating into real dollars. An excerpt from the abstract
hourly wage [for a player in “Norrath”, the online world
of EverQuest] is about USD 3.42 per hour, and the labors of the
people produce a GNP per capita somewhere between that of Russia
and Bulgaria. A unit of Norrath's currency is traded on exchange
markets at USD 0.0107, higher than the Yen and the Lira… Perhaps
the most interesting thing about the new world is its location.
Norrath is a virtual world that exists entirely on 40 computers
in San Diego. Unlike many internet ventures, virtual worlds are
making money – with annual revenues expected to top USD 1.5
billion by 2004 – and if network effects are as powerful here
as they have been with other internet innovations, virtual worlds
may soon become the primary venue for all online activity.
paper highlighted the emerging real world significance of massively
multi-player online worlds and became the most downloaded paper
on the Social Science Research Network. Since then, massively multi-user
virtual worlds have only gotten more popular, more complex, and
more connected to the real world through various social, creative,
and economic systems (including secondary market sellers like IGE
and Gaming Open Market).
Some people are literally making a living trading in virtual goods
and currencies. There is now an annual conference at the New York
Law School dedicated to sorting out the legal implications of this
of Play), and Castronova has been honored with a tenured professorship
at Indiana University where he is being encouraged to focus
more exclusively on virtual worlds studies.
Debate moderator Cory Ondrejka is VP of Product
development at Linden Lab, the creators of Second
Life—a unique massively multi-user online world built
and owned by its users. Cory will also deliver a keynote presentation
in the Virtual Space theme entitled, "Living
the Dream: Business, Community and Innovation at the Dawn of Digital
Some read ahead articles, audio and video:
recommended new listen) Bill
Gurly on MMOG – mp3 from the O'Reilly's Web 2.0
Conference, October 7th
recommended reading) When
Play Money Becomes Real – article,
Introduction to Virtual Item Trading –
by Edward Castronova
Gaming’s Quiet Revolution – video (Second
Life), Tech TV
Game? Outsource It – article, Wired News
Future of City of Heroes: Cryptic Studios Interview
– from Games Domain
on the Edge: Digital Worlds Which Embrace the Real World
– essay, by Cory Ondrejka
Cryptic Prophecies of Jeff Goldblum Applied to Massively Multiplayer
Video Games...In a Good Way, of Course – blog
entry, Future Salon
Earns Significant Salary Trading Virtual Goods –
post and thread, Terra Nova blog
Terra Nova blog
(AC2004 Media Sponsor)
Speaker: Christine Peterson, Championing Nanotech Innovation
Christine Peterson, Vice President and Founder
of Foresight Institute, will give a talk AC2004 called "Championing
Christine Peterson writes, lectures, and briefs the media on coming
powerful technologies, especially nanotechnology. She is Founder
and Vice President of Foresight
Institute, the leading nanotech public interest group. Foresight
educates the public, technical community, and policymakers on nanotechnology
and its long-term effects.
She directs the Foresight
Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, organizes the
Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, and chairs the Foresight
Vision Weekends. Later this month, she will chair the 1st
Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology: Research, Applications, and
With Eric Drexler and Gayle Pergamit, she wrote Unbounding the
Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (Morrow, 1991, full
text online), which sketches nanotechnology's potential environmental
and medical benefits as well as possible abuses. An interest in
group process led to coauthoring Leaping the Abyss: Putting
Group Genius to Work (knOwhere Press, 1997, full
text online) with Gayle Pergamit.
to the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab at AC2004
Bailenson, head of the
Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, will be speaking
on his research and presenting new VR technologies at Accelerating
Change 2004. There will be two tours of his lab (Thursday, November
4th, 6-8 PM and Sunday the 7th, 6-8pm) where visitors are encouraged
to demo lab projects such as this
Jeremy is a great mind in the field of virtual reality and mediated
social interaction, and this is a rare opportunity to experience
the state-of-the-art in those technologies while conversing directly
with one of the researchers behind them.
AC2004 Filling Up: Sign Up Soon!
is the premiere conference broadly exploring the opportunities and
challenges of accelerating technological change. Our conference
exists to network the world's most broad minded, transdisciplinary,
systems-oriented, future-aware, practical and passionate speakers
and participants, and to collectively consider the staggering
changes occuring annually on our increasingly intelligent planet.
Every year the connections you make here will be among the most
important, productive, and informative in your life.
In today's fast-paced
technological environment, understanding and guiding accelerating
change involves a new way of thinking, learning
to see the most powerful and broadly applicable innovations, processes,
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
a DVD conference record. Check out our PDF
are $350 for Early Bird, and $150 for Student registrants.
We have 350 spaces at the event (300 for registrants, 50
for speakers and volunteers). Register while spaces are still available!
Before 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
Hurricanes, Ross Hoffman, Scientific American, October
2004 (6 pages)
by John Smart]. The more transparent every aspect of the
modern world becomes, the more conscious we are of the immense damage
caused by natural disasters. Hurricane Ivan, for
example, recently created $11 billion in property damage, and we
can expect many more such storms in coming years. After 25 years
of relative quiet from 1970-1995, NOAA researchers believe we may
be in for a decades long period of hurricane hyperactivity. So far
this year eleven named storms have emerged in the Atlantic, and
seven of these have caused damge in the U.S.
month's SciAm discusses the research of Ross Hoffman's
simulation group, and his proposal that we might tame hurricanes
just a few decades hence by space based solar powered satellites
(SPSs). In 1968, Peter Glaser proposed using solar
powered satellites to beam down microwaves for power on earth. He
proposed tuning the microwaves to minimize climate interference.
For hurricane control, by contrast, the microwaves would be tuned
to be preferentially absorbed by atmospheric water vapor, much like
the waves in your microwave oven. Hurricanes have low pressure centers
which should be disruptable by countervailing atmospheric heating,
and are also sensitively steered by high pressure fronts on any
side. It might turn out to be easier to steer them away from land
than to dissipate them. The prospects for global humanitarian benefit
here are tremendous: with a little international cooperation we
can (and likely eventually will!) build a hurricane control system
that would gently keep all our named storms away from landfall.
Once built, we would probably be able to use the same system to
take the edge off of our worst blizzards, monsoons, possibly even
the political issues are difficult, and caution will be needed to
ensure the system is minimally disruptive to global climate, but
what could be a better role for NASA than a partnership with NOAA
and global weather monitoring agencies to get a test system up and
running over this next decade? This would be a hugely practical
step beyond the current NASA mission.
also possible that expensive microwave generating satellites wouldn't
be necessary. Simply accurately reflecting light from space, if
adequately focused, might do the same thing, with enough inexpensive
Russians pioneered space mirror research back in 1993 and again
in a failed attempt in 1999 (the image to the left is what their
1999 mirror would have looked like if it hadn't failed to deploy
once in orbit). This 25 meter mirror was expected to create a five
to eight kilometer wide circle of light on the ground. A sufficent
array of these might raise local air temperature by a few degrees
wherever they were aimed, enough to either steer or dissipate a
storm. The devices themselves might be astonishingly simple: a large
aluminized mylar sheet with a gyroscope at its center might make
a functional repositionable mirror. Mylar, if you recall, is an
unusually strong polyester film invented by DuPont back in 1952.
Here it is (right) hoisting a car back in that optimistic era. We
are still coming up with new uses for our amazing 20th century materials
be giving a talk on this and other fascinating technology proposals
at the Space
Frontier Conference 2004 in Long Beach this October
8-10. Now that the X prize
has been won (by Burt Rutan's elegant SpaceShipOne),
we need to think of bold new visions for the human value of pioneering
space. I believe it is becoming clear that the more we improve our
understanding of "inner space" (materials science, ever
shrinking computation, simulation, energy) the sooner we improve
our capacities in "outer space." The converse is also
true: the better our outer space manipulation capacities become,
our greatest payoff is always enriched inner lives for all humanity
(dramatically better living conditions, more opportunities for personal
growth, innovation, and creativity, better universal and self-understanding).
Special thanks to Iveta Brigis for the scan hit.
universe will limit technology, Belle Dumé, PhysicsWeb,
7 May 2004
[Article contributed by Tech Tidbits subscriber Wayne Radinsky.]
Quoted from the introduction to the article: The acceleration
of the expansion of the universe places limits on future developments
in technology according to two US cosmologists. Lawrence Krauss
and Glenn Starkman of Case Western Reserve University have shown
that the acceleration could put a fundamental limit on the total
amout of information that can be stored and processed in the future
(arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0404510). They also calculate that Moore’s
Law will remain valid for no more than 600 years -- although workers
in the semiconductor industry are more pessimistic and think that
the famous law will break down in the next decade or two.
Solution for Car Thefts, Stephen Leahy, Wired.com, 10 August
2004 (2 pages)
[Article contributed by Tech Tidbits subscriber Peter
Voss.] Quoted from the article: Australia has implemented
a tiny solution to reduce its big car-theft problem: plastering
thousands of plastic microdots on late-model vehicles.
as grains of sand, up to 10,000 DataDots are laser-etched with vehicle
identification numbers and spray-glued on the engine and most other
parts, making it very difficult to "re-birth" cars or
sell cannibalized parts. The dots glow under a black light for easy
spotting and can be read with a 30-power magnifying glass.
Kerry, action hero, Tom Loftus, MSNBC, 17 September 2004 (1
by Jerry Paffendorf.] Kuma
Reality Games, pioneers of “news gaming," have a
release in the works that recreates then-25-year-old presidential
candidate John Kerry's 1969 journey down the Mekong Delta in a Swift
Boat on the day he earned his Silver Star. According to the Kuma
site the download will include "[a] broadband video news show,
real-world intel, satellite images and the background you need to
understand a key issue in this year's presidential election."
Here's an excerpt
from the article quoting Kuma's CEO, Keith Halper (an
AC2004 speaker) :
level of rancor has been so high and what is lost is the details,"
said Halper referring to the attacks on Kerry's Vietnam service
by the partisan group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. "People
want to know, what did Kerry do? What did swift boats do in Vietnam?
What types of missions did swift boats go on?"
Jesper Juul posted this open question on the persuasive
nature of games on his blog, The
wonder if games are persuasive when they represent historical events.
After all, the game is likely to have several possible outcomes,
and the outcome you want for the John Kerry game probably depends
on what outcome would fit your pre-existing convictions?”
Halper will be speaking at AC2004 on his vision for expanding Kuma-style
Gamers, Losing Their Way (free registration
Chris Richards, Washington Post, 5 October 2004 (3 pages)
[Commentary by Alvis Brigis.] Interacting with
the virtual frontier has its advantages and disadvantages. As a
new dimension of possibilities opens up in virtual spaces, the level
of human attachment to these environments is growing. Therefore,
just as people can become addicted to all sorts of behavior in physical
spaces, they are now becoming addicted to patterns of behavior in
virtual worlds. The article I've selected this week talks about
the explosion in gaming addiction and offers some basic advice on
what to do about it. Interestingly, 12-step programs are one solution
that seems to be working for some of these dependent gamers.
Aldrich, AC2004 Virtual Space Change Leader
have thought about interfaces as different ways of controlling real
or computer environments. We are just now seeing the results of
designing sophisticated interfaces to optimize the learning and
transfer of skills, especially soft skills such as leadership. By
getting it right, students can practice subtle balance and timing,
not just recite high level models or linear processes. Every educational
experience, from schools to corporation to the military, will be
impacted by this new super-content, and probably sooner than we
Marks, AC2004 Interface
technology will make similar strides in the coming years that display
technology (computer graphics) has made in the last few years."
is an extremely exciting time in the game industry. The compute
power that we can bring to bear at a reasonable cost will enable
some amazing new user experiences in the next few years."
Film Review of Ghost
in the Shell 2: Innocence, by Jeff Thompson
by Jeff Thompson.] Last
week's Tech Tidbits linked an article
by James Pinkerton comparing two current movies, Sky Captain
and the World of Tomorrow, set in the 1930's, and Ghost
in the Shell 2, set in the 2030's. Sky Captain is
not really an attempt to visualize the future, but rather to nostalgically
present how people viewed the future in the 1930's. There are airplanes
that turn into submarines, wrist radios and giant mechanical robots.
The movie does reveal one fascinating thing: for all their imagination,
no one in the 1930's imagined the most important development which
the future would bring only a decade later: the electronic computer.
At the core of robots in the movie are gears, not digital processors.
Power is about having bigger metal feet that can crush cars, not
about being able to manipulate information faster. (It wasn't until
1937 that Alan Turing showed that a general purpose computer, like
the one you're reading this article on, was mathematically possible.)
Contrast this with Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,
which gets it. There are many reviews, like this
one which will confirm that the mix of hand-drawn animation
and 3D computer graphics is gorgeous. At the end of the first Ghost
in the Shell movie, the main character's police partner is basically
uploaded, becoming pure information on the world's data networks.
In the second movie, he wanders through the sensory overloaded urban
landscape, vaguely missing his partner and trying to solve a case.
He mostly does this by interviewing one person after another who
questions what it means to feel like an individual when the world
has so clearly been shown to be a just sea of information created
by ubiquitous computing and instant communications which link everything.
Among the philosophizing and eye-popping scenery, there is indeed
a plot involving the case (remember the movie title) which is a
literary device to ask the question: In a world where information
devices can turn the whims of anyone, even a little girl, into a
reality that reaches out across the world, who can truly be innocent?
Both the main character and his uploaded partner (and hopefully
the audience if they were paying attention) are left wondering how
to proceed when physical space has been turned into mind space,
and like it or not your fate can be determined by the naive - but
not innocent - impulses of a random child. Maybe even the ever-resourceful
Sky Captain would realize that the threat in the future is not an
army of giant robots, but the precipice of confusion and cognitive
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