Registration Now Open!
up now with your Accelerating Times discount code (AC2005-ATIMES,
entered in all capital letters) and get $50 off! This
special $300 conference rate is available to AC2005 returnees and
ATimes readers until May 31st.
will feature 40+ world-class speakers and 350+ distinguished attendees
discussing the increasing intelligence of machines (artificial intelligence
or AI), the evolving effectiveness of technology-aided humans (intelligence
amplification or IA), and how these two powerful trends will shape
our future. Our scintillating speakers include: mathematician and
science fiction author Vernor Vinge, inventor and
author Ray Kurzweil, biophysicist and complexity
science author Harold Morowitz, president
of DEVONtechnologies (creators of DevonThink), Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann,
co-creator of Mozilla Firefox, Blake Ross,
AI leaders David Fogel and Robert
Hecht-Nielsen, and special host Moira Gunn
of TechNation. Many more
to come! See
what last year's attendees had to say.
Salon Blog Is Live;
First SL Future Salon Meeting Tonight!
Visit our blog
to get the latest on futurist community activities in Second
Life, the world's leading 3D digital world. At 5:30pm PST
tonight, ASF community director Jerry Paffendorf
is launching SL
Future Salon. Like its real world counterparts in four US cities,
our SL Future Salon will provide an open opportunity to
explore social, business, and technological futures with one to
three specially invited speakers at each meeting.
speakers, including Randy Moss of the American
Cancer Society's Futuring
and Innovation Center, will be talking by streaming audio to
the assembled group. Up to 50 online avatars (your
avatar is your "digital twin") can participate. If you
have a computer with a newer graphics card, you can participate
by downloading the program
and paying a one-time-only fee of $9.95 to activate it. If not,
you'll need a newer graphics card (like the ATI Radeon 9800, $160
at any computer store) before you can participate.
We have 34
RSVP'd participants for tonight, so there are still a few open spaces.
Once you've downloaded the software and know that it runs on your
computer, go to the blog for directions to the salon. Email jerrypaffendorf(at)accelerating.org
if you need help. To receive reminders for the speakers and topics
of future salon meetings, sign up at our Second
Future Salon discussion and notification list. Set your preferences
to "Special Notices" if you only want salon notifications
digital with us! We hope to see a lot of you “in-world”
for this innovative new salon series.
New AC2004 Audio
Wright's inspiring talk "Sculpting
Possibility Space" and the "Real
Money in Virtual Economies" panel discussion featuring
Brian Green, Jamie Hale, Daniel James, and Steve Salyer
and hosted by Cory Ondrejka are now available
as a podcast (streaming or download) courtesy of Doug Kaye
at our media partner, IT
You can regularly check the free AC2004
audio archive at IT Conversations, or register for email
notification of new postings.
"When you're finished changing, you're finished." - Benjamin
In Your Future?
by John Smart] What's the best way to do email
and SMS (short message service) messaging on the road? It isn't
using a regular cellphone, that's for sure. According to the 2004
Guiness Book of World Records, the current record holder for
typing using an ordinary cell phone keypad is Kimberly Yeo
(picture right). She clocked in at 36 wpm for a preassigned 26 word
sentence, but real world speeds are closer to 12 wpm, three times
as slow as most people can handwrite (33 wpm).
keyboards (picture left) which have a layout optimized for screen
tapping, are an increasingly popular choice. The forty participants
in the 2004 Dom
Perignon speed contest using Fitalys on their Palm PDAs recorded
an average of 52 wpm, using another preassigned sentence. The winner
was Jim Belich, with a speed of 81 wpm.
QWERTY thumb keyboards ("thumboards") like those on the
BlackBerry 7520 (picture right) or Treo 650 appear to be the fastest
yet. Jim won the 2002 Dom Perignon contest at 84 wpm on a thumboard.
As further advantages
over the Fitaly keyboard, thumb keyboards are quieter, there's no
stylus to lose, and they even help improve people's hunt and peck
speed on their other QWERTY's. It seems that thumboards presently
deserve to lead the marketplace, at least until someone comes up
with a better way to torture our fingers anyway. Thanks to Ted
Acceleration Story in Five Spaces
covers world news and insight in five "spaces," giving
one to three briefs in each space. The story of accelerating change,
the most fascinating story of our time, appears to be one of movement
from outer, to human, to inner, to cyber, and ultimately, to hyper
space, the world beyond the present. Each of these deserves understanding
for a multidisciplinary perspective on the future:
Space (science, environment, universal systems theory)
Human Space (bodies, behavior,
minds, human systems theory)
Inner Space (energy, small
tech, computer "bodies", inner systems theory)
Cyber Space (computer
"behavior", computer "minds", cyber systems
Hyper Space (hyperphysics
(black holes, multiverse), hyper systems theory)
you have important stories to share with our 3,100 acceleration-aware
readers, we'd love to hear from you
science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics, research),
the natural and built environment, universal systems theory (developmental
physics, hierarchical substrates)
Global Energy Saturation: Energy
Needs, Choices, and Possibilities: Scenarios to 2050,
Shell International, 2001
[JS] Interested in understanding the future of
world energy use? I recommend this 33 page report for some deep
insights. Perhaps the most important slide is on page seven, energy
use per capita, reproduced below. This IMF/BP data shows that in
every economy where incomes go above $15,000/year (e.g,
the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia), national growth in energy use
per capita slows dramatically, then effectively stops. This saturation
may be due to several factors: the increasingly service-intensive,
information-intensive, and "virtual" nature of developed
economies, the sharply fixed basic needs (transportation, housing,
etc.) of human beings, the increasing sustainability politics of
affluent nations, and finally, the incredibly rapidly advancing
energy efficiencies of all our replicating machines (unlike the
replicating bodies of their human users). At $25,000/year, energy
growth per capita becomes so slow that it is effectively saturated.
Europeans like to say that Americans are much less interested in
energy conservation than they are, but the graph clearly shows that
we have saturated in our energy growth as well. The only difference
is that our culture saturates at 350 Gigajoules/capita, while Europeans
saturate at 150. This 2X difference seems almost trivial by comparision
to the exponentiating capacities of our technological infrastructure.
this energy saturation graph with knowledge that our entire world's
population will saturate circa 2050, at some 9-11 billion people,
and then start shrinking therafter, and we can see that the total
energy consumption of our species has a very finite upper bound.
It's true that the development of the emerging nations will keep
the energy growth curve steep for another generation or two in emerging
nations, but there's plenty of evidence that later developers like
India and China, using "leapfrogging technologies", require
far less energy and time to reach the $25,000/year GDP at which
their own energy use will saturate, just like ours has.
first scenario in the Shell article, Dynamics as Usual,
seems by far the most likely going forward. The second, Spirit
of the Coming Age, was an interesting exercise but seems unlikely
to happen as written, even if fuel cell technology innovation occured
as projected, which is improbable given its anemic record to date.
One good insight from the Dynamics scenario is that if
oil prices increase further in the next two decades, which is far
from certain given accelerating efficiencies in production (what
Shell strategists call the "dematerialization" of the
energy industry), natural gas will become the bridge strategy that
we will use to allow us to reduce our oil use. Furthermore, if atmospheric
CO2 levels continue to climb for the next decade, it is likely that
we'll accelerate both natural gas use, which lowers CO2 emission
over oil, and next generation nuclear power plant construction,
which has no greenhouse gas emissions at all.
2050, several major factors will permanently change our energy environment.
First, given their slow but steady development trend, we can see
that distributed renewable energy technologies like solar power
will finally be cost-competitive for mass use. Second, we'll have
a flat or declining world population, living in societies that have
all entered the energy saturation domain to varying degrees. Third,
and perhaps most importantly, we'll have several broad classes of
human-surpassing technological intelligence all around us. So while
energy infrastructure development is very important today and smart
energy decisions will continue to be critical for at least two more
generations, we can already see that our species future energy needs
will be amply-supplied in a world of declining human population
and energy use, abundant sustainable energy sources, and exponentiating
technological intelligence. I would expect computational scarcities,
not energy scarcities, to be the important political issue in that
fascinating environment. If you'd like to fund or help us produce
studies analyzing how to responsibly accelerate this transition
to tomorrow's significantly more intelligent, efficient, and energy-rich
environment, send us an email
bodies (biology, health, neuroscience), behavior
(business, education, foresight, governance, innovation, pre-digital
technology, society), minds (psychology, spirituality), human systems
theory (ecological psychology, memetics)
Trading Comes of Age: Cracking
the Street's New Math, BusinessWeek, 4.18.2005
Makes First Move Toward Computerized Trading, SFGate.com, 4.21.2005
The AI Age has begun in earnest in the financial community. Computer
models, sold by various wall street and independent software vendors,
now execute more than half of all stock trades, permanently relegating
biological intelligence to a secondary status for this task.
Even the staid
New York Stock Exchange has just
purchased Archipelago Holdings,
a computerized stock trading network, that will allow it to elminate
historic floor trader jobs. It is a move the Big Board has fought
for decades, but one that efficiency is finally dictating as a necessity
for financial survival.
Not only exchanges
but all major investors are going this way as well. Algorithmic
Trading, which splits up large buy and sell orders into small trades,
done secretly over time, is the fastest type of automation. But
there are also "Black Box" proprietary arbitraging systems,
and older Program Trading systems that are also widely used today.
trading is being eliminated because all the leading trading firms
have figured out how to do more and smaller trades with automated
software, and thereby gain superior returns. The average size of
an NYSE trade has dropped from 1,477 shares in 1998 to 400 today,
according to BusinessWeek. Volatility in many equities
is such that if you try to push through larger orders, the market
can easily move against you in the short run. Algorithmic trading
is a lot cheaper than humans, costing less than a penny per share
vs. up to six cents for full service human trades. It's also easier
to conceal from other traders who might discover your activity and
seek to make money off you if, for example, you are reducing your
5% stake in a company to 2% over a matter of days or weeks. What's
more, algorithmic trading of individual stocks doesn't add to market
volatility, so it hasn't been banned in volatile markets the way
program trading (which involves bundles of 15 or more stocks worth
more than $1 million) has since the 1987 market crash.
the past 18 months every major brokerage house has been spending
millions getting into this technology. Industry analysts Aite
Group project that 40% of all U.S. equity trades will be done
by algorithms in 2008. The change has already come with all the
large brokers, and will move to the the smaller mutual and pension
fund managers next. Over the past two years Banc
of America Securities has let go of almost half of their human
traders so far, while at the same time increasing their equity trading
volume by 160%. Today, half of their trades are made with algorithms,
compared to none two years ago.
far might the intelligence of these AI algorithms develop? Quite
a bit farther, if you think about it. Algorithmic trading is just
the first major step toward human-competitive trading intelligence.
Doing good data mining off of public financial information, applying
sophisticated models of crowd behavior to news, doing better assessment
of emerging markets and companies, and achieving better arbitraging
are just a few of the types of trading where AI systems might increasingly
outcompete human judgment, at least in the first, most data-intensive
transition to greater automation can be disruptive in the short
term, but the productivity gains are outstanding. While many jobs
will be eliminated, those that remain will become increasingly interesting
and informative. Let's make sure we accelerate this natural and
empowering transition wherever gains are provable, and take care
of those displaced in the process.
Links Free Radicals to the Spectrum of Autism,
Robert Lee Hotz, Los Angeles Times, 4.3.2005
No one yet knows the causes of autism, or why its prevalence has
increased 10-fold in the last fifteen years (better screening? new
environmental factors? both?). Interestingly, pediatrician and biochemist
Jill James at the U. of Arkansas has discovered that
the antioxidant glutathione is abnormally low in the blood of 95
autistic children sampled in a recent study.
deficiency is a reasonable candiate for one pathway to autism as
it eliminates free radicals, preventing premature aging to the brain
and other organs. It also neutralizes heavy metals such as mercury.
If this study holds up to further sampling it might lead to a test
for kids who are naturally susceptible to the disorder, and perhaps
to a dietary therapy as well.
energy, small tech (nanoengineering, miniaturization),
computer "bodies" (automation, computer hardware, nanotech,
robotics), inner systems theory (acceleration, efficiency, miniaturization,
Law at 40, The Economist, 4.19.2005
by Jerry Paffendorf] As you may have read elsewhere
on the Web, April 19, 2005 marked the 40th anniversary of Moore’s
Law. This, of course, is Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s
famous 1965 observation that the number of transistors on an integrated
circuit (an approximation of raw computing power) doubles roughly
every 18 months while keeping the same dollar cost.
General consensus is that the law, strictly defined as transistor-doubling
on an IC, can hold for perhaps another decade (two or three new
chip generations) before physical limitations are reached at the
level of atoms. By that time, however, engineers will be onto something
else as the long-accelerating trend in computation looks to jump
substrate and fill up three-dimensions.
by his “law” (which the physicist Carver Mead,
not Gordon Moore, first promoted as such), Moore has since come
to view the relentlessness of this deep doubling trend, which has
held up amidst frightening economic and scientific complexity, as
a beautiful thing: “Moore's Law is a violation of Murphy's
Law. Everything gets better and better.”
on ASF’s brief history, the first Accelerating Change
conference in 2003 asked, “What will the world look like if
Moore’s Law holds for another 30 years?” This remains
an open and important question, and one that we are trying to help
understand from historical (see Ray Kurzweil’s
of Accelerating Returns), current and future perspectives (see
Listen to a recent
interview with Gordon Moore, courtesy of ITConversations.
An interesting New York Times article
about Moore's Law and inventor Doug Engelbart,
and an LA Times article
that ends with this great fact: "Last year more transistors
were produced, and at a lower cost, than grains of rice, according
to the Semiconductor Industry Association. Moore estimates that
the number of transistors shipped in 2003 was 10 quintillion, or
10 to the 18th power — about 100 times the number of ants
estimated to be stalking the planet." Thanks to Norman
(co-evolution, automation, symbiosis), computer "minds"
(computer software, simulation), cyber systems theory (holism, information,
intelligence, interdependence, immunity)
Lifeblog and Yahoo 360°
Mobile Blogging (moblogging) Steps Closer to Emergence...
[JS] Phones have almost reached the point where
they can quickly upload to a webblog pictures, text, and brief audio
and video snips as events are happening in your life. Nokia's software,
for "life sharing" with your friends, and Yahoo
360° (a beta project you currently need an invitation to
join) are currently pioneering this fascinating new trend.
seven megapixels for the latest (Samsung
V770, right), camera phones can already make high resolution
poster prints of your life experiences. Just a few years hence,
imagine getting slideshow updates on your PC of what your friends
are doing and seeing out in the world, realtime, with their text
commentary in caption at the bottom, both time and proximity sortable.
("So who's doing what this weekend?")
if you could also have these latest pics, text captions, and GPS
coordinates from your buddy list friends all auto-downloaded to
your cell phone on 20 minute increments? That would be a whole new
level of symbiosis with your digital tribe. See Howard Rheingold's
Mobs, 2003, for more on this emerging trend.
new paradigms (including evolutionary development),
hyperphysics (black holes, multiverse, string theory, supersymmetry),
hyper systems theory (computational limits, emergence, phase transitions,
technological singularity hypothesis, developmental singularity
Dvali Says Change in Laws of Gravity, Not "Dark Energy,"
is the Source of Cosmic Acceleration, ScienceDaily,
March 10 2005.
Fascinating proposal from one of today's most promising cosmologists
and particle physicists, NYU's Georgi Dvali. He
proposes that our observed recent era of cosmic acceleration is
occuring due to a change in the strength of gravity at large scales.
Specifically, he proposes that gravitons escape into the extra dimensions
of spacetime that are predicted in string theory whenever they can
travel certain critical distances, which increasingly becomes possible
the larger the bubble of expanding spacetime. If true, this model
would eliminate the need for "dark energy," a concept
that still has no firm theoretical or empirical basis to date.
notes that unlike many aspects of string theory, this theory of
large scale modification in the laws of gravity may already be testable
by some of today's most sensitive cosmological experiments. He proposes
that the Lunar Laser Ranging
experiment, which precisely monitors the lunar orbit using lasers
reflected off the moon by mirors left there by Apollo 11 astronauts,
is one such candidate. We live in a very exciting time in astrophysics.
We are beginning to develop a testable picture that our universe
is increasingly entropic at cosmological scales, yet increasingly
more ordered, intelligent, and accelerated in special localized
all deserve a little fun every day. Send your entries for the next
by Iveta Brigis] Dopamine
is an engaging and relevant film. Three San Francisco twenty-somethings,
working to create simple software-based AI named Koy Koy, struggle
with the question: Is love more than just a series of chemical reactions
in our brains and bodies? Filmed in 2002, it premiered at the 2003
Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Feature
Film Prize. I definitely recommend this DVD, available at Netflix
or your local video store.
is seeking submissions for our Accelerating
Times (AT) web-based publication. AT
is a "free and priceless" monthly to bimonthly newsletter
covering scientific, technological, business, and social dialogs
in accelerating change. Anyone may submit scan hits, article links,
original papers, questions, reader feedback, and artwork to mail(at)accelerating.org.
Accepted work will appear, fully credited, in future issues.