De omnibus dubitandum
31 Mar 2009
Today it’s exactly 10 years since The Matrix premiered. This cinematographic amalgam of pop-culture and sci-fi influences is arguably the most important movie of the first decade of the 21st century. The impact this film has had on modern culture is difficult to overestimate. So let’s give a big Happy Birthday to Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and Agent Smith.
“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”
3 Dec 2008
Cory Doctorow and Ben Rosenbaum have co-written a novella for inclusion in the Fast Forward 2 SF anthology. This novella, called True Names, has now been released independently as a freely downloadable Creative Commons licensed work.
It’s a fantastic piece of speculative fiction, revolving around the struggles of sentient programs running on galaxy-devouring self-replicating nanomachine-computronium. It contains Matrix-esque mindbends of simulations-within-simulations and ends with a mightily satisfying twist.
If you’re at all into post-Singularity sci-fi, this story is highly recommended. The PDF of this awesome novella can be downloaded here.
(Via Boing Boing)
4 Nov 2008
Yesterday I visited the 8th Mobile Monday event in Amsterdam. I’d been meaning to attend a MoMo much sooner than this but something always came up or it just wasn’t convenient. But this time Bruce Sterling was one of the speakers, and a chance to see one of my childhood SF icons was too great to pass up.
The theme of this edition of MoMo was “How mobile is changing society” and all four speakers addressed this topic in their own way. Yet the similarities between their visions were overwhelming. They all spoke about contextual services, of how your mobile is turning into much more than just a phone and is becoming a device that delivers services to you depending on where you are and what you’re doing.
Bruce Sterling’s talk lived up to the audience’s high expectations, as he literally climbed the pulpit (the venue was a converted church) and preached to his disciples, the ‘mobile sinners’ as he called us. He spoke of the internet of things, about the explosive growth of connectivity and how we’re building our technological future on an unstable, volcanic foundation.
Great stuff for technophiles like me. Yuri van Geest, one of the founders of MoMo, confessed to me that he’s trying to get Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge to come speak at future editions. If he actually manages to get that arranged there’s no way on this earth I’ll be missing out.
27 Oct 2008
Kevin Kelly has written an exceedingly interesting essay about the emergence of a global internet intelligence which he calls the One Machine. It’s a long read but definitely worthwhile if you’re at all fascinated by the idea of Gibson-esque emergent AI’s:
This megasupercomputer is the Cloud of all clouds, the largest possible inclusion of communicating chips. It is a vast machine of extraordinary dimensions. It is comprised of quadrillion chips, and consumes 5% of the planet’s electricity. It is not owned by any one corporation or nation (yet), nor is it really governed by humans at all. Several corporations run the larger sub clouds, and one of them, Google, dominates the user interface to the One Machine at the moment.
4 Jun 2008
The folks at German design bureau Blutsbrüder have come up with a supercool series of photo/CGI composite images featuring all kinds of future-tech gadgets and contrivances. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into that sort of thing. I sure am.
19 Mar 2008
This concept of a futuristic, augmented reality device is something I’d fork over major cash for right here and now. I’m afraid we’ll have to wait a while though before those type of metaverse devices will hit the streets.
(Via Dutch Cowboys.)
12 Oct 2006
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the ideas of the Technological Singularity and its cousin Transhumanism. David Brin has written an insightful essay about possible roads towards, and away from, the singularity, and expresses hope in the eventual outcome (and manages to sneak in some criticism of current government policies in between the lines). It’s a long essay but definitely worth a read if you’re in to the subject matter. I linked to the printer-friendly version as the original web version was horrifically mutilated by dozens of useless links.