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Archive for March, 2007

busy…busy..

March 23, 2007 Leave a comment

Gosh.. been mentally busy, really… future is knockin’ on my door.. and it is a hard customer to manage..

Lots of different things are coming about my path, lots of different options may actually become a potential choice..

Gosh… need some time to consider the whole thing in a proper way, without missing any details..

In the meanwhile, I am listening from Velvet Underground to Ojos de Brujo via The Killers.. just talking about options!!!

Categories: General stuff..

The Space Council is here!! (almost..)

March 16, 2007 Leave a comment

When I was bit more than a toddler, I started reading massively.. it was my personal way to travel, to imagine, to picture different reality from the one sourrounding me, in a small seaside village in Tuscany (not bad, mind you..)..

So, Malaysian pirates and princesses, canadian adventurers, explorers, african tribes and a lot, a lot more were populating my days, each of them telling me that the world was a much larger, different, interesting, fascinating place than I have ever imagined!! Great!! But not enough…

One day I believe it was my old uncle or my grandpa (apologies to both of you, wherever you may be, for not remembering well..) that bought me three books, all looking pretty much the same, a yellowish cover with some red finishing and weird pictures in the middle of the cardboard front cover..

The author was a never-heard-before bloke, and he was seemingly a scientist, or something, and pretty much a powerhouse on.. space!!! freaking outer space, Mars, Venus, the entire universe, and robots, androids, everything you may think of that wasn’t there (yet) and thus, blimey, stunning attractive to the curious boy I was (am.. apart from the boy thing..).

The old chap was Isaac Asimov, the three books were the David Starr trilogy, the adventures were amazing.. you may have read them or not, yet great stuff…

There was, there, in the books, a planet Earth I was unable to grasp and perceive, all one big place, governed by a Planet Council or something the like, a superior group of wise people, very much concerned about balancing life on little Earth and the exploration and government of the Solar System and the space in general..

Freaking great, for once someone in charge, and capable of doing something barely clever, on top of taking some serious risk (like leaders generally do..) in sorting out the problems bothering the entire Mankind..

Now, it is about today news that 14 major space agencies across the globe are uniting forces and energy to create a pan-national space force to explore and streamline efforts in Space…

It is a weird bunch, including US (almost obviously but not quite..), and Italy, Japan, China, Britain, France, India, Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Germany, Australia and ESA, the European Space Agency. Old enemies and new born alliances, former super-powers and new-kids-on-the-block….

It is not yet the council old Isaac was telling us about, but it is a nice step and, allow me to say, a little reward for a boy that at the end of the game loved to believe all those pages might eventually turned to be true!!!

Categories: For thoughts.., mankind

Post humans?? …

March 15, 2007 2 comments

Weirdly enough.. do you remember that silly, high-schoolish movie about two geeks building up a fab woman via a pc (guess she was Kelly Le Brock.. God bless..)?

Now it seems that post-humans are due anytime soon… or, at least, it seems this is more than a viable options for little, weak humans to overcome the boundaries of biology, the limitation within own synapses and headbutt against evil machines!!

A bunch of highly qualified and skilled humans, including Stephen Hawkins, Bill Joy, Arthur Clarke, and Ray Kurtzweil, are forecasting a nearish future in which human will not only interact with machines, but to some extent will be “participating” to the silicium ecosystem, insofar biomechanical implants will empower some human characteristics (vision, hearing and so forth..).

So, discussion is whether this is an ethic standpoint and whether it can be taken further down the road, as the most aggressive post-humanism scenarios are vaticinating an upload of human brain and “intangibles” (soul? feelings? free will?????) into a machine-led organism, thus overcoming some physical and intellectual limitations and, at the end of the game, death.

Vint Cerf, highly reputed Internet evangelist (despite working in the Google empire..), actually believes the biomechanical enhancements of human functionalities may be ethically and more generally acceptable and applicable without major philosophical implication (such as the Braingate neuro-motorial implant, or the artificial hand developed by an Italian research center) whilst there are more pressing ideological issues for the cognitive mashup “humans-machines”. As he clearly states, we do know how the human body handles and uses external stimulations, whilst we are still quite far away from grasping the inner functioning of human mind…

Yet, it seems that there is very little under the Sun, changes are only in the technology means that modern alchemists are using to find the Philosophical Stone, the source of eternal youth et alia.. stretching beyond our natural boundaries, climbing the sky, browsing the outer space, go down to the infinite small .. all attempts to avoid one, irrefutable truth.. we are just humans. Point.

The rest is speculation, discussion, noble wording out a feeling of inadequacy against the Perfect Unknown.. Still, quite an interesting stuff altogether… Post Humans?? We have to perfect the Current Humans, nevermind the others..


Categories: For thoughts.., mankind

Just to keep going…

March 9, 2007 Leave a comment

Right.. been away for a few days but it was quite worthwhile..

Livigno, in the Valtellina area of Italian Alps, was absolutely wonderful, as it always is this time of the year..

Nice snow, wonderful rides, a few people around but not the holiday crowd we may get in early January.

I got a few days’ lesson with the guys from Madness, the snowboarding school I have been in touch since last year.. this is a great bunch of people, fun to be with and absolutely..well.. MAD!!!

I was teached by Federico, great snowboarder and, apparently, an even better surfer, and at the end of my four days spell I was riding down pretty good..!!

On Wed 7th it was snowing quite hard since early morining, I shoot off the flat by 9am.. all the rides were like covered with 30-40cm of fresh snow.. great!! Absolutely wonderful!!! There were really few people skiing, I had the most amazing time since I was surfing in Tuscany at dawn!!!!

Snowboarding is a strange feeling.. despite the necessary technical skills, the overall sensation is like riding in total freedom, the snow is cracking away and you run down.. a frontside steep turn and your left hand touches the fresh snow and follows the board in its run..

Will post some pictures soon, in the meanwhile I am staring at the walls outside my office window and I am puzzled about the meaning of all this.. is it a huge cashpoint I am joining every morning or is a real, proper, satisfying job???

Lunchtime.. off we go…

Categories: General stuff..

BTW…

March 1, 2007 Leave a comment

… it is finally March!!!

Don’t you feel like March is a nice thing to see on a calendar? It is always, and I mean it, always nice to turn to the agenda, to anything and see the magic word.. rebirthing is a fact, here..

Do you happen to feel like walking instead of closing yourself up in a metalic, stinky box with other people or just a massively pissed off “you”, and look around in bewilderment of nice pinky flowers?? Is it pure madness, since I don’t digest nicely coloured pills for lunch..

Still, I am looking outside the office window and, apart for the grimy rooftops, I can see light, and it is past 5pm… feel like.. feel like something that brings me back to years and years ago, when “possibility” was the beloved daughter of “unknown”, “rich” was sprouting from “pennyless”… is it really true then that the most important factor in human’s life is not fulfilling dreams but having something to dream about??

Gosh, guess I should get a life.

Categories: General stuff..

..from infra-idiot to ultra-Einstein.. (guess my placement..)

March 1, 2007 2 comments

It is very interesting to notice that, using an example quoted in “Artificial Intelligence as a positive and negative factor in global risk” (Bostrom-Cicovich), that the small difference from 0,9994 to 1,0006 would imply “no critical status” or “potential doubling of neutron intensity (taking it from the Fermi nuclear pile experiment in 1942). You all know what this is all about, don’t you???

Now, the issue here is posed against human evolution. Since the critical threshold has been reached sometimes in our past, giving mankind the possibility to move from caves to skyscrapers in an evolutionary blink, and considering that the structure of the “creative engine”, aka brain, has evolved slowly, is the magnitude of change caused by an unprecendented level of interactions and information exchange between areas and neurons of our brain never in touch before??

Is the small increment causing such a turmoil of change??? Is it another form of Moore’s Law?? Again???

And, more important, there are phenomena that are suggesting that we are heading towards a similar evolutionary ramp up???

Transhumanists do believe that there should be a Singularity, a steep, beyond belief, technology upgrade that will disrupt the linear evolution and growth of mankind. Basically and nicely put, we will arrive at the crossing between “infra-idiot and ultra-Einstein”. I don’t know if I like the idea.

There is a conceptual approach that intrigues me: when approaching AI discussion, there is a strong tendency to put in the image of hyper-powerful hardware as a boosting factor, rather than discussing and appreciating what Intelligence is. This all comes down to the importance of the “soft” side of the intelligence, the most “intangible” compared to the hardwired components, clearly more measurable. Quote “improvements in understanding are harder to report on, and therefore are less reported”. How true this is!!!

We tend to “humanise” items, made them “visible” in a tri-dimensional space….powerful hardware is brute force, ruthless processing of unintelligible permutations to create a complex ecosystem, so utterly entangled that is comprehensible (computable) only by an even more powerful hardware. Is an exponential Gordian knot of perceived intelligence? Is Singularity acting as Alexander, cutting through complexity to drive a totally new space of perception? Interestingly enough, Moore’s Law comes into the plot, allowing us to tie Gordian knots faster and in more intricate fashion without evident understanding (albeit details and knowledge limit the extent of “possible”).

This is a worrying conditions, as we may be so very close to a “critical” status, on a threshold of unparalleled growth, and still we are set apart from fully exploiting it by a missing piece of knowledge, what is all about this soft side of intelligence…

Are we talking “soul” here?

OK, need to revise a couple of things, discussion is open..

Categories: For thoughts..