Pardon my husky voice.It’s dusty here, or I’ve got a Supercold and the future’s all out of throat lozenges; take your pick.
I realize that many of you are thrilled about a possibly-imminent Singularity.I realize this because the young me is among you right now.Anyway, that Singularity sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?Well, it could be, but please heed this warning: If you don’t take certain precautions, your cool Singularity could get damn nasty; and I mean five-stories-tall-robots nasty and scary-robot-motorcycles nasty and ruggedly-handsome-robot-human-hybrids-who-steal-a-movie-right-out-from-under-you nasty.And do I really need to mention the dust problem again, or the Supercolds…
…and the unfortunate lack of throat lozenges around here?
Edging out the forthcoming Singularity Movie (not to be confused with this web version), here comes Transcendent Man, a new documentary film that portrays Ray Kurzweil and his vision of a, well, transcendent future for mankind. The film appears to be packed with star-power and will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC this April. The trailer below indicates 1) a focus on universal human transcension (a positive expansion of human perspective, imho), and 2) an attempt at objective framing by allowing in some critical voices, but none of the heavy hitters - appears to be mostly straw men. While I am optimistic the film will represent a socially necessary forward push of philosophical futurism, many futurists and I will ultimately judge this work on its analytical and objective qualities. That said, I'm hoping it delivers and eagerly await its broader release (probably via a cable network).
Some choice excerpts from the producer's press release:
Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is making its way into the sports medical profession. It's pretty straight-forward and basically takes a person's own blood, separates the red blood cells and the plasma and takes the resultant concentration of platelets and injects them back into an injury site to promote quicker healing. Hines Ward's (Pittsburgh Steelers) recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament in time to play in last month's Super Bowl brought attention to this new technique.
This type of treatment bodes well for faster healing from injury and possibly greater performance too but raises ethical questions in the world of professional sports.
If you enjoy futuristic gadgets and evolution then this Saturn-commissioned steampunk commercial should be right up your alley (hi-def version here):
Though I'm sure it's primarily intended to wow, I enjoy the robotic take on evolution because of how it removes the emotional animal component and places the emphasis on basic form. It's very transhuman in spirit. Unfortunately the sky does not open wide to a transcendent singularity at the conclusion of the video, which would have made it super-viral among the growing singularitarian community, but I'm sure that we'll see newer, more philosophically advanced car commercials in the near-future. ;)
Upwards of 50 million people have access to web video through their televisions today thanks to Google, Sony and Nintendo, who have collaborated to bring YouTube videos to the Wii (50 million units sold by March) and PS3 (12 million units sold) through a custom version of the popular site modified for larger home screens.
From the YouTube blog:Currently in beta, the TV Website offers a dynamic, lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of your remote control. With enlarged text and simplified navigation, it makes watching YouTube on your TV as easy and intuitive as possible. Optional auto-play capability enables users to view related videos sequentially, emulating a traditional television experience. The TV Website is available internationally across 22 geographies and in over 12 languages.
Many bloggers, including this one, have been anticipating this moment for some time, speculating that 2009 will at last be the year of Web Video on TV. Today's mostrous event clinches that moniker, making it extremely likely that by year's end upwards of 100 million game console viewers will have access to YouTube and other web video broadcast platforms through their traditional televisions. (Simply factor in the XBox reaction and ongoing Wii and PS3 sales.)
2009 promises to be a big year on the media landscape as next stage public adoption of online product will spur tremendous growth. Here are 5 things to watch for:
Tweet! Twitter explodes and joins the parade - MySpace --> YouTube --> Facebook --> Twitter - as an elite meme that everybody has heard of. In the process it requisitely transforms into a corporate tool and attracts an older demographic cohort.
Online Advertising Hangs Tough Despite all of the end timesrhetoric,online advertisingactually increases 10%. The efficiency of the web is wreaking havoc on traditional media. Companies still need to advertise their products and eyeballs are continuing to flock to the web. Bang for the buck and big metrics make web media undeniably compelling.
The Future Gets Hot The present stinks and people will turn their attention elsewhere. While many will pine for a return to the past they will be forced to look ahead. The doom and gloom of the economic meltdown and global warming combined with the incredible pace of technological change provide a fertile backdrop for projection. ABC's 2100, Discovery's 2057 and plenty of content about the next decade will push this meme to the forefront. Sweet.
I wouldn't have predicted ABC News going all bleak futurist, but they did. Earth 2100 is a massive online roleplaying game that starts out with global turmoil and devastation. And they're going prime time with it.
The project is pretty ambitious, but considering the recent popularity of games like Superstruct and Second Life, there should be no doubt that participation will be high. To participate you need to record a short fictional video depicting something in 2015, then, based on those submissions, the ABC News people will design a scenario for 2050, then 2070 and finally 2100.
Been wanting to tinker with Augmented Reality? Now you can try it out with your iPhone. Go to Metaio and try out their Augmented Reality iPhone App for free (and unlike the last AR gadget we linked you to, these instructions are in English). You can determine his size, make him run around, even print it out on a holiday card so friends and family can see him. Enjoy!
Movies sometimes have some pretty fantastical devices which we find hard to believe. There's the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the deneuralyzer from Men in Black and of course the holodeck from the Star Trek franchise. But some movies contain nifty gadgets and technology that seem simple enough to build or develop with current technologies. I mean, it's almost 2009 for christsake.
1. Safety Foam from Demolition Man
In the movie Demolition Man, Stallone's character John Spartan gets into a high-speed car accident during an electric car chase through the future streets of San Angeles. Instead of smashing to tiny bits, a foam fills the car and solidifies, saving his life and leaving him totally unscratched. It would seem easy enough to create such a foam (there might be problems with people inhaling it as it expands) so why the heck isn't it in cars yet?
2. Cold Fusion from The Saint
In The Saint, Simon Templar steals notes from a scientist which, when arranged properly, show how to make cold fusion work. While research into cold fusion technologies is progressing, it's kind of surprising there hasn't been a breakthrough yet in the field. You'd think someone could at least prove that it can or can't work by now.
"You can have children reading about Alice in Wonderland ... and Alice can pop out of the page, and have a tea party on the page."
Every amazing new technology needs to be wrapped in an equally elegant high-demand application if it is to diffuse past just the military on through the human masses. Often the first killer app is targeted at youth (ie, Facebook, Club Penguin, MMORPGs), then gradually spreads upward to older generations that require more convincing and immediately useful applications.
When it comes to augmented reality, it's possible that a company called Mixed Reality Lab (MXR), a spin-off owned by the National University of Singapore, is on the verge of creating such a cross-over app: Virtual 3D Pop-ups for Children's Books.
Coming on the heels of MXR's real-time augmented battlefield displays, the new Magic Books product aims to generate revenue from mommies and daddies who feeled compelled to get their kids interfacing with the most advanced new media.
VHS, tape decks, wood paneling, oh my! The past conjures up warm memories that are greatly associated with chocolate-chip cookies and watching Saturday morning cartoons. These gadgets should be able to bring up a memory cloud a la Wile E. Coyote. So whoever thought that VHS tapes would just disappear into the night, they were sadly mistaken.
1. M21 Flat Panel TV: With the mixture of old-school flair and modern technology, this Brady Bunch-esque flat screen TV will be a highly coveted tech toy among the retro and TV fans alike. You could watch your favorite Brady Bunch episode, hint – the episode where Greg and Marcia were both running for class president, on a TV that highly resembles said time period.
2. Touch Screen Boom-box PC: Do you remember hanging out after school? All of your friends sitting around the boom-box after basketball or volleyball practice listening to the four at four. It was just the thing to do. The boom-box revolutionized a generation and now it has been integrated into the digital-age. This 80’s staple features an LCD screen and runs a Linux/Windows dual boot.
3. NES TV Remote Control: Growing up, the Nintendo system was the must-have system for every video-game enthusiast. This NES controller turned TV remote is a retro-gamers’ dream. It combined their two true loves, old-school video game systems and tech toys.
With web and interface technology advancing rapidly, the television medium is quickly approaching a new age in which sitting on the couch facing a screen will no longer be the most popular way to consume broadcast content.
Long gone are the days when everyone would crowd around the television at 9:00pm every Thursday night to catch the latest Seinfeld episode.
According to the Nielsen ratings, it appears the annual new season blitz that once drew in more than 20 million viewers is on the decline. Among the top ten shows of the first week of premieres were Dancing with the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy. Each received respective numbers of about 20 million and 18 million viewers as compared to over 25 million just 5 years ago.
So what’s the reason for this sharp drop? Some have speculated that last year’s writers’ strike had pushed people to the cable networks. Other contributing factors include the increasing abundance of cable channels and time-shifted viewing.