For a long time, I was a crusty critic of twitter, I would now say wrongheadedly so.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
It isn't easy to understand why the American response to comparably lethal mass-casualty events involving bombs and involving guns are so very different -- the one seeming to result always in more citizens under more surveillance, the other seeming to result always in more guns on the streets -- but in the aftermath of the latest illustration of this rather joyless and surreal ritual pairing of re
In works like Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Tim Wu has written clear and incisive critiques of a whole generation's conjoining of facile to flabbergasting market libertarian/ crypto-anarchist/ neoliberal assumptions and aspirations and conceits to an irrationally exuberant, digi-utopian, techno-triumphalist hype endlessly promising an end to borders, nation-states, identities, limits-to-growth. Of course, by 2006 the writing was really on the wall as far as the crypto-anarchistic Extropian no death! no taxes! Cyberspace home of mind crowd went -- and, gee, just sayin', some of us were already pointing out how imbecilic this sort of vision was in 1996, if not well before then -- but, the point is, Tim Wu was a critic of a prevailing techno-utopian ideology that symptomatically played out in variations and in levels of intensity across layers of discourse from the pages of WIRED to B-movie plots to ad copy to editorials to DARPA reports.
Over at the IEET, the Institute for Ethics (where actual ethics are rarely discussed) and Emerging Technologies (where the technologies are rarely actually emerging), futurologist Dick Pelletier has penned another of his incomparably desolating consolations, this one entitled (I kid you not), Overpopulated Earth?
Paul Krugman is right to say that the cancellation of Google Reader provides yet another demonstration of the failure of private profitability to provide for the maintenance of public goods, even though I disagree that it seems hard in the least "to envision search and related functions as public utilities," which is i
Claiming he has "lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, [and] the failure of its intellectual culture," Tim O'Reilly fears that too many today "lack the will and the foresight to face the world's problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance." More specifically, he warns that "conservative, backward
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April 20, 2014 - DNA extracted from the skin of a 35 and 75 year-old male has been injected into four denucleated human eggs to produce clones of the skin donors. The stem cells extracted from these embryos matches their male donors.
April 20, 2014 - The Arctic is the one area of the globe most susceptible to atmospheric warming and according to the latest data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA, the season of
Watch what happens when beer drinkers around the world find out that because of climate change a pint of their favorite beer and ale may cost much more, and taste different as well.
The Toronto-Dominion Bank, currently vying for the number one position in Canada, and a growing player in the United States, issued on April 14 a special report, Natural Catastrophes: A Canadian Economic Perspective. The document doesn't directly talk about climate change but it is inferred throughout. Instead, it talks about "weather conditions" and their socioeconomic impact.
Opportunity, the little Martian rover, continues to click after a decade on the planet's surface. It is a remarkable story that the technology continues to function providing new discoveries for scientists here on Earth. Opportunity's original mission along with its companion, Spirit, was for 90 days.
Biometrics has been hailed by some as a wonderful way of determining someone’s identity, and by others as a security mechanism that is far too easy to spoof. I generally fall in the second category. I don’t mind using it for simple unimportant things like turning on my tablet, on which I keep nothing sensitive, but so far I would never trust it as part of any system that gives access to my money or sensitive files.
April 17, 2014 - Yesterday my blog posting focused on NASA's efforts to involve the public in designing better oxygen recovery systems.