Tag Archives: Accelerating Change

Capturing the Moment (and More) via Cellphone Video

Cell phones, the internet, blogs and web streaming technology have created an almost seamless interaction between any event you witness and the world wide web. 

Source, September 13, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/technology/14novel.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


    STILL keeping in touch with friends by texting? [Still waiting until you get home to upload those videos of human rights violations and political faux pas?] How old-fashioned. Some early adopters of technology are now using their mobile phones to send not typed words or photographs, but live video broadcasts. They’re streaming scenes from their daily lives — like trips to the mall, weddings, a new puppy’s antics or even a breaking news story that they happen upon. 




    “You can record whatever’s happening around you and send it back to wherever you’ve embedded your channel,” Ms. Thompson said. “You don’t have to set up a camera — it’s really instant.” 


    Viewers can respond immediately to videos, typing messages on their keyboards, for instance, and sending them along to a live session. The typed chat appears instantly at the bottom of viewers’ screens. 


    The relatively simple technology, which requires no television cameras or satellite links, has much potential, Ms. Thompson said, although the quality will vary when users stream live video, depending on the available bandwidth from the provider. 



Aussie science to make net 100 times faster

Original, July 9, 2008 http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23997209-2,00.html

COMPUTER users frustrated by slow internet connections could soon be surfing the web 100 times faster, all thanks to new Australian technology.

University of Sydney scientists say they have developed a new technology that could speed up the internet – and not cost users an extra cent.

Described as “a small scratch on a piece of glass”, the university’s photonic integrated circuit boosts the performance of traditional optic fibres, Professor Ben Eggleton said.

“This circuit uses the ‘scratch’ as a guide or a switching a path for information – kind of like when trains are switched from one track to another – except this switch takes one picosecond to change tracks,” Prof Eggleton said of the technology developed over the past four years.

[Smarter than Humans?] Why We Can Be Confident of Turing Test Capability Within a Quarter Century by Ray Kurzweil

Original, July 13, 2006 http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0683.html?printable=1

Of the three primary revolutions underlying the Singularity (G, N, and R), the most profound is R, which refers to the creation of nonbiological intelligence that exceeds that of unenhanced humans. A more intelligent process will inherently outcompete one that is less intelligent, making intelligence the most powerful force in the universe.

While the “R” in GNR stands for robotics, the real issue involved here is strong AI (artificial intelligence that exceedshuman intelligence). The standard reason for emphasizing robotics in this formulation is that intelligence needs an embodiment, a physical presence, to affect the world. I disagree with the emphasis on physical presence, however, for I believe that the central concern is intelligence. Intelligence will inherently find a way to influence the world, including creating its own means for embodiment and physical manipulation. Furthermore, we can include physical skills as a fundamental part of intelligence; a large portion of the human brain (the cerebellum, comprising more than half our neurons), for example, is devoted to coordinating our skills and muscles.

Artificial intelligence at human levels will necessarily greatly exceed human intelligence for several reasons. As I pointed out earlier machines can readily share their knowledge. As unenhanced humans we do not have the means of sharing the vast patterns of interneuronal connections andneurotransmitter-concentration levels that comprise ourlearning, knowledge, and skills, other than through slow,language-based communication. Of course, even this methodof communication has been very beneficial, as it has distinguished us from other animals and has been an enabling factor in the creation of technology.

Human skills are able to develop only in ways that have beenevolutionarily encouraged. Those skills, which are primarily based on massively parallel pattern recognition, provide proficiency for certain tasks, such as distinguishing faces, identifying objects, and recognizing language sounds. But they’re not suited for many others, such as determining patterns in financial data. Once we fully master pattern-recognition paradigms, machine methods can apply these techniques to any type of pattern.2

Quantum Leap: Researchers have controlled the position of a single electron in a silicon circuit.

Original, July 17, 2008: http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/21086/?a=f

An international team of researchers has shown that it can control the quantum state of a single electron in a silicon transistor–even putting the electron in two places at once. Their discovery could help pave the way toward a practical quantum computer.

Quantum computers take advantage of the strange properties of subatomic particles to perform certain types of calculations much faster than classical computers can. Researchers are exploring a host of different approaches to quantum computing, and some have even built primitive quantum circuits that can perform calculations. But practical quantum computing would require the ability to manufacture devices with millions of quantum circuits–rather than the 12 or 16 achievable now–that can be integrated with more-conventional electronics.

Questioning the Coming Internet Clog by Ed Gubbins

Original, August 15, 2008 http://telephonyonline.com/home/news/internet-traffic-growth-decelrating-0805/

One of the nation’s top authorities on global Internet traffic growth says his latest data show no reason to fear network capacity shortages, as traffic growth may even be slightly decelerating.

Updating data collected from Internet exchanges around the world, professor Andrew Odlyzko, director of the University of Minnesota’sInterdisciplinary Digital Technology Center,reported late last week that Internet traffic rates in the US and globally are continuing to grow at a rate between 50% and 60% (largely unchanged from recent years) — rapid growth that nonetheless belies dire predictions of an escalation that would clog today’s networks.

“There is still not [sic] sign of the threatened deluge that was supposed to clog the Internet,” Odlyzko wrote in an email late last week announcing the new data. “Growth rates, if anything, are tending down.”

Digitizing Old Text and Fighting Spam, Too by Phil Berardelli

Original, August 12, 2008 http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/814/1 


The next time a Web site asks you to read a string of crooked letters as a security precaution, don’t grimace. You could be helping to digitize a deteriorating historical document. A team of computer scientists has taken a common Internet tool for screening out spam and adapted it to help convert text from old books and manuscripts into electronic files. The effort might not put professional transcribers out of business, but it could cut the cost of creating digital libraries. 


In the battle between Web security designers and spammers, programs called Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) have proven an effective foil. The programs require online users to read a distorted word or line of text and retype it in a designated box–something that few optical scanners or digital-text readers can do. Insidious programs deployed by spammers can penetrate sites such as Gmail and lift their e-mail address lists. CAPTCHAs block the attempt by requiring an extra step before providing access. They are used online about 200 million times every day.

 Computer scientist Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues thought all that effort could be put to another use, too. “Since each [CAPTCHA] takes about 10 seconds of human time,” von Ahn says, “we figured humanity as a whole was wasting about 500,000 hours every day typing.” And that much time constituted a valuable resource in efforts to digitize old books with deteriorating pages and faded text.