GuestBlogger's Blog Posts

President Elect Obama and the Transition to the Shift Age

November 21 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

Cross posted from Evolution Shift

We are now in the transition from the Information Age to the Shift Age. In recent columns I have positioned the recent financial melt down and global economic collapse as the beginning of a painful transitional restructuring between ages. Just as the 1970s with all its stagflation and unprecedented turmoil was the transitional period between the Industrial Age and the Information Age, so is this time a transitional period between the Information Age and the Shift Age.

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Your Balance in Times of Extreme Change - The Opinion of the Dalai Lama

October 22 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

Cross-posted from

The changes that we observe around us are accelerating, and in a positive feedback loop the successive cycles feed on the previous ones’ effects. The source of these changes is technology, as application of the increased knowledge we have of the world around us. As individuals, and as societies we have demonstrated to be very capable of adapting to the changes of our environment, but this necessarily has limits.

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Growing smartphone use will have dramatic impact on disaster response

April 09 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 11 Hot

By W. David Stephenson
This piece was originally posted here on Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al.

Smartphones now account for 10% of all cell phone sales, according to research released Monday at the Smartphone Summit in Vegas (and their sales are about to overtake those for laptops). When that happens, I’m predicting that, among the huge changes having data storage with you at all times will mean, will include major differences for disaster management and terrorism survival.

This is an issue near and dear to me. Those with long memories may remember that I got my start in homeland security creating a series of “Terrorism Survival” modules (I no longer maintain them, sadly, since the sales were never enough to justify the expense) that could be downloaded to your smartphone. Users could navigate from the broadest category of preparations or response to extremely detailed information in only 3 clicks. In a worst-case scenario, where users weren’t able to communicate at all, they still had the most important information literally in the palms of their hands (I calculated that having the same information in the original paper forms would have required that each time you left the house in the morning you’d have to heft a 300+ page bundle — and when things went to hell in a handbasket you’d still have to figure out where in that bundle the relevant information was located!). (cont.)

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Mind-Reading Machines

March 19 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 15 Hot

By Edward Willett
This piece was originally posted here on Edward’s blog Hassenpfeffer.

I’m a hard-line skeptic when it comes to the topic of ESP (extra-sensory perception). I don’t believe in telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, or people bending flatware just by looking at it.

That said, I’m pretty confident that in the near future mind-reading will be possible. Not for us, though: for our machines.

In fact, machines can already read our minds, to a limited extent.

Just recently, Ambient Corporation demonstrated a neckband that translates thought into speech…sort of.

It takes some training to use, and requires “a level above thinking,” according to Michael Callahand, inventor of the Audeo with fellow University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Thomas Coleman and co-founder with Coleman of the Ambient Corporation.

Rather than broadcasting a person’s thoughts, it picks up on nerve signals deliberately, but soundlessly, sent to the vocal cords, and relays those signals wirelessly to a computer, which then converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.

The current system only recognizes about 150 words and phrases, but an improved version is supposed to be out by the end of the year that doesn’t have a vocabulary limit, because instead of recognizing specific words and phrases, it will identify the distinct bits of sound, called phonemes, that we use to construct complete words.


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Amores circuitos

March 14 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 11

By Melanie Swan

This piece was originally posted here on Melanie’s blog Broader Perspective.

The potential replacement of humans by robots for love and sex is not shocking, it is preferable. It could be more satisfying for everyone, sexually and emotionally. Just as the simultaneous relationships of polyamory require a more mature level of self-knowledge and interpersonal communication, so too could synthetic partners take human skill sets to a whole new level. What would it be like to have a relationship with an AI that knows you better than you know yourself?

Sex with robots is far more efficient, it avoids the whole search problem and many other problems. Randomness, variability, and exploration are lauded, applauded and possible, not shunned and shamed. Not to mention far more acceptable than being gay or non-mainstream sexually in any way in current society.

Adios taboos. How could sex with robots be avoidable in a society demanding ever higher levels of self-expression and fulfillment?

There are too many other dynamics in interhuman relationships for ongoing sexual fulfillment, a quick glance at craigslist will easily confirm this. Sex could become like going to the bathroom, something most people prefer to do alone without other humans around. It is very personal.

Would YOU have sex with a robot?

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Dreamers of a Better Future, Unite!

March 13 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Space   Year: General   Rating: 16 Hot

By Athena Andreadis

This piece was originally posted here on the blog Starship Reckless.

Views of space travel have grown increasingly pessimistic in the last decade. This is not surprising: SETI still has received no unambiguous requests for more Chuck Berry from its listening posts, NASA is busy re-inventing flywheels and citizens even of first-world countries feel beleaguered in a world that seems increasingly hostile to any but the extraordinarily privileged. Always a weathervane of the present, speculative fiction has been gazing more and more inwardly – either to a hazy gold-tinted past (fantasy, both literally and metaphorically) or to a smoggy rust-colored earthbound future (cyberpunk).

The philosophically inclined are slightly more optimistic. Transhumanists, the new utopians, extol the pleasures of a future when our bodies, particularly our brains/minds, will be optimized (or at least not mind that they’re not optimized) by a combination of bioengineering, neurocognitive manipulation, nanotech and AI. Most transhumanists, especially those with a socially progressive agenda, are as decisively earthbound as cyberpunk authors. They consider space exploration a misguided waste of resources, a potentially dangerous distraction from here-and-now problems – ecological collapse, inequality and poverty, incurable diseases among which transhumanists routinely count aging, not to mention variants of gray goo.

And yet, despite the uncoolness of space exploration, despite NASA’s disastrous holding pattern, there are those of us who still stubbornly dream of going to the stars.


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