News for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Tinkering in the Rift

These remarks have a timestamp.

- xx

TIME STAMP: 1380964654

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 5 / 2013 @ 4:17:34 EST


It REALLY only works in the Rift

TIME STAMP: 1380969654

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 05 / 13 @ 5:40:54am EST

I AM A SPACE FANBOY … WAIT … Rendering is Done now. Okay. Again; I am a space fan boy ever since I was a little kid. Everything space is awesome. I was so full of myself. I actually looked down on people who couldn’t name at least nine planets. And their moons.

Now, these days there are so many inner-solar-system objects with a name, that I can’t keep track anymore. Ever since Pluto became a dwarf planet, we’ve started naming every rock in the Solar System. Still, When exploring them with an oculus rift is AWESOME!!!

TIME STAMP: 1381533780

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 11 / 2013 @ 18:23:0 EST

Gnuif, before he dives into Ciess

Gnuif dives in the rift for Ciess on VRJam,

Here on Facebook ( ? <– I don’t know what I’m doing ) or on google ( ? <– I really, fucking, don’t know what I am linking)

TIME STAMP: 1382922420

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 27 / 2013 @ 20:7:0 EST

Also this post on Oculus Rift Forums, that may help some people;

Actually, you can do real time image manipulation

You need to click on this to enlarge

Okay, with After Effects you can get a convincing Oculus Rift 3D view, by using the “CC Lens” (I think the CC-effects ship with After effects).
By Trial and error I found that a CC Lens, centered in the middle, with a Size of 60 and a Convergence of -100 will give the desired effect.

Now I had my Rift on loan for the weekend a couple of weeks back, so I can’t experiment with it anymore, but here is the simple setup, that worked for me.

The CC lens will emulate the HMD warp shader’s lens bending, and by creating 2 camera views in After Effects you can emulate, or recreate a z-buffer. I’m assuming that a HMD Warp shader can be easily set up with Adobe Pixelbender, but I did not have time to test that out. So here is the walk through of a poor mans HMD Warp shader in After Effects CS4

1) First create your scene, you only need 640 pixels in width, but I created mine in full width at 1280 pixels ( x 800 of course). It doesn’t really matter as we will be cropping it later on. Make sure your scene has 3D objects in it, moved along the z-axis, otherwise it would be pointless looking at it in the rift ;)

2) Drag your scene-Comp scene into 2 new compositions ( which are 640×480 ) make them a 3D layer, add a Camera and let the camera look at the scene-composition you just dragged there.
Now Position the camera’s slightly apart in each of the compositions. I have mine in the ‘left’ composition at 400,400, -1777 and in the right composition at 300,400,-1777. I assume that by playing with the x (moving them further apart) you can make the depth of your scene more profound while viewing it in the rift.

3) make a final composition, 1280×800 and put your 2 camera compositions in it, next to each other. Now apply a ‘CC Lens’ – effect to each composition and put it on size 60, Convergence -100. I found these values through testing, so they might be optimized, but they worked for me.

4) Finally, Render the scene and view it with the Oculus Rift.

5) Profit :)

afx cs4 project file:

Procreation, a prelude to the 22nd century

But the children of the future had learnt the arts, Immunity of mind, body, spirit and hearts, They kept on evolving ’til they the reached the stage, When the children of the future finally came of age. For death had taught them what life was worth, And had prepared them for the task of leaving planet earth. Then a starship came from deep within outer space, And took the children of the future to join the cosmic race. YouTube Preview Image - Apollo 440, Children of the future

As some of you may have gathered it has finally come to this; I’m going to be a father now. I’m not planning to bore you all with sappy thoughts on fatherhood and sound-echo-images of the child; but I have been thinking about the world and especially the future that my daughter will be entering.

Is this thing on ?

Is this thing on ?

Believe it or not, I’ve been thinking long and hard about this post. Even asked a lot of people their thoughts on the subject, and found that the future is always in motion. The question I’m proposing here is simple. What kind of world will my daughter grow old in. What will be the current state of affairs somewhere near 2112 ? And of course this all was written to have a good laugh somewhere near 2040.

Before thinking about the future, one has to think about the past first, so I compiled a little list of technology that has been invented the last 100 years:

1900 - Flight, vacuum cleaner

1910 - Radio tuner, Motion Picture

1920 – TV, Penicillin, Jazz

1930 – Radio telescope, Tape recorder, Jet engine

1940 - Color Tv, Computer, LSD, A-Bomb, ( hypertext ), Microwave

1950 - Videotape, Credit Card, H-bomb, Pill, Synthesizer, Solar Cell, Optic fiber, fortran, modem, laser, microchip

1960 - Moon Landing, audio cassette, practical computing ( like the game spacewar, the Basic programming language,  the Computer Mouse, RAM, arpanet and the barcode), Compact Disk prototype

1970 - floppy disk, LCD, microprocessor, VCR, pong, ethernet, MRI, cell phone

1980 - home computer, CD-ROM, mobile phones, doppler Radar, HDTV

1990 – WWW/HTML, Java, Human Genome sequenced

2000 -the Social Web, lab-on-a-chip

2010 - Interactive Television, Mobile Computing, Emergent Nanotechnology

Keep in mind that the development of technology is actually accelerating, which means that we will be making the same technological process of the past 100 years, in the next 50 years, and again in the next 25 years and so on. Here is a graph showing how that works for computing power:

Exponential Growth of Computing

So the next 40 years will be relatively easy to predict technologically, as the basis of these technologies are already here.

The single most important development in the next 30 or so years, is a technology that is already emerging and is called 3D-printing. The significance of being able to print anything, everywhere can hardly be over-estimated. Especially considering that the printing of human tissue like meat and bone is just around the next step (also being experimented with, with great success).

2020 - 3d printing, The Web of things ( also called 3.0) , self-driving cars, quantum computing

2030 - AI reaches human levels ( Robots do everyday tasks ), Mind/Machine interfaces,  Holographic television, vat-grown meat is becoming commonplace

2040 – Nanotechology becomes widespread, (human) tissue regeneration, lucrative mining missions to nearby asteroids, Y2K38-Bug

2050 - Cultural Boiling point, Singularity, Significant lengthening of life expectancy

And this is where things get difficult, we will probably reach what some call ‘the singularity‘ in 2045, incidentally, by that time my daughter will be the same age as I am now.

You can follow the links and read up on what that means, but in short there is a fair estimate that humans will no longer be the smartest things on the planet. Computers and artificial intelligence will outsmart us by far, as a $1000 dollar computer will have the processing power of all human minds combined. Nobody exactly knows what this means, but we will be able to process and generate more information in seconds, than we have generated and processed in the 5000 years before. This too is a logarithmic scale.

After that, what happens is anybodies guess, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll assume that we just go on living and are able to keep on to an ever accelerating pace of technological advancement.

Now there are three ‘black swans‘ in the coming years, actually there are many more, but the problem with black swan events is that they are hard to predict. So here goes:

Faster then Light Travel

We currently assume that the fastest way that anything can travel anywhere is at the speed of light. This means that reaching the nearest star ( Alpha Proxima Centauri, 4.22 LY) or at least the nearest star of which we know has a planet ( Gliese 581, 22 LY ) takes at least 4 and 22 years. As we are unable to actually reach the speed of light the duration of a trip to any of these stars would take hundreds or even thousands of years on known propulsion methods. Even if we perfected our most promising propulsion methods, like solar sails and nuclear fission, we would at best reach something like 10% of speed of light. Proxima Centauri would still be 40 years away at that speed, and Gliese 581 would still take well over 200 years to reach.

There is however a rather serious proposal of sorts called the Alcubierre Drive ( basically a Warp engine from Star Trek ) and a more exotic theory proposed by a German fellow named Heim Theory, explaining how space-time might be expanded and contracted to actually build an Alcubierre Drive using massive magnetic forces.

Now if somewhere, someone comes up with a workable theory or prototype to reach faster-then-light speeds, within the coming decades, that would mean all bets are off instantly. If distances of say 10 lightyears could be travelled in months rather then decades, we would be able to visit nearby stars and explore and colonize our own solar system with ease. Hell, at those speeds we could travel across the milky way within 1000 years!

In this article however I’m assuming that we do not come up with a workable solution for the FTL problem, and base all forecast involving space travel, on the axiom that we only perfect existing means of space travel (ie. solar sail, nuclear propulsion etc.)

Understanding of Gravity

It’s almost incredible when you think of it, but science can’t make heads or tail of this crazy little thing called Gravity. Yes, we know that mass generates gravity, and since Einstein we know that this is probably caused because (large) mass disturbs space-time. And that is about it.

We know what it does ( keeps planets in orbits, pulls us towards earth etc. ) but we have no clue as for how and why. If somebody somewhere was to postulate a coherent theory for gravity, allowing us to manipulate and generate gravity we can start building flying cars, faster-then-light engines ( see the prior paragraph ) and start generating almost infinite amounts of energy.

Alien Contact

This is actually a no-brainer, but alien contact, like an epidemic or a world-war would alter our flow of technology. Even if the aliens were just far away and we only got a glimpse of them, we’d probably start making rockets real fast. If they were to visit us however, we find ourselves making weapons on a massive scale, real fast. Finally if they are just here, to run a galactic super highway right through our planet… well, we would be fucked.

To finish it of, alien contact, like all black swans in the list, could have happened yesterday and throw of every reasonable prediction of future technology. If no black swan occurs, these predictions might carry out in a reasonable fashion. It was quote doable for Jules Verne to predict a moon landing and a sub-marine. The internet and the rise of the information age was also quite predictable in the late 19th century. As were flight and the automobile.

The only problem is that although the concept of future technology may be right, the actual implementation and utility is usually way of. Leaving the people in the future to have a good laugh at your expense.

The book reader of the future (April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics)

The book reader of the future - April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics)

So for the remaining 70 years I’ve tried to incorporate some black swan-events on the list, extrapolated other technological trends that seem reasonable for the late 21st century.

2060 - (Commercial) Space exploitation takes of, Permanent Human presence on the Moon, Mannend mission to Mars, Man/Machine merger. Completely customized designer babies for the rich. Teleportation of molecules.

2070 - laser powered nuclear fusion, Unmanned probes to Sedna and the Kuiper belt, Replicators become common.

2080 - Picotechnology leaves the prototyping phase, Antartica becomes habitable, break-troughs in our understanding of Gravity

2090 - Manned missions to the Jovian system, Teleportation or larger objects leaves the prototyping phase

2100 - Manned mission to Saturn, Contact with an alien civilization

2110 – Invention of an FTL drive, moving into a type I civilization

Note that I’m focussing solely on technological advancements. I especially left any social, political, environmental and demographic influence out of the list, as they tend to over-complicate matters and are harder to predict with any accuracy.

A final thought

So, what kind of world will my little girl finally grow old in ? Chances are it will be a cleaner and more healthy world. There is a fair chance that limbs and other body parts can be grown back and that most common diseases are treatable. Also the life expectancy will probably be much higher.

We have left the days of the information age well behind us, the web and screens will feel the seem way old radio’s and photographs feel to us now. Computers are as inspirational and fun to be around as regular people, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had implemented some form of equality act for robots and other intelligence, artificial or otherwise.

In this new age of abundance of information, instantaneous experiences through virtualisation and communication, our last real effort is exploration of the stars.

Unless we all go out blast to bits by an anti-matter bomb or sucked in to a rogue black hole.


"I never worry about the future. It comes soon enough." - Einstein

This entire post was an elaborate scam to post pictures of my adorable daughter, but you knew that, right ?

Posted: September 3rd, 2012
Categories: media, nerd, philosophy, propaganda, research, technology, weird
Comments: No Comments.

24 songs that are worth $675.000 and a strange statistic involving “god” and “fuck”

Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.
- Robin Williams
YouTube Preview Image

Today I learned that Jammie Thomas has been sentenced to pay 675.000 dollar for downloading 24 songs through Kazaa. Which comes down to 22.500 dollar per 5 Mb, 128 bit MP3 file. In the days of Kazaa MP3 hadn’t the quality that we are used to now.

Twenty four crappy mp3 files. Which songs I wonder are worth so damn much?
Wikipedia had the answer:

The 24 songs

Artist/Band Song[36] Release Date
Aerosmith Cryin’ 1993
Bryan Adams Somebody 1984
Def Leppard Pour Some Sugar on Me 1988
Destiny’s Child Bills, Bills, Bills 1999
Gloria Estefan Rhythm Is Gonna Get You 1987
Gloria Estefan Here We Are 1989
Gloria Estefan Coming Out of the Dark 1991
Goo Goo Dolls Iris 1998
Green Day Basket Case 1994
Guns N’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle 1987
Guns N’ Roses November Rain 1992
Janet Jackson Let’s Wait Awhile 1987
Journey Don’t Stop Believin’ 1981
Journey Faithfully 1983
Linkin Park One Step Closer 2000
No Doubt Different People 1995
No Doubt Bathwater 2000
No Doubt Hella Good 2001
Reba McEntire One Honest Heart 1998
Richard Marx Now and Forever 1994
Sarah McLachlan Possession 1993
Sarah McLachlan Building a Mystery 1998
Sheryl Crow Run Baby Run 1993
Vanessa Williams Save the Best for Last 1992

I am the XangadiX and I will review each song in 140 characters.

Aerosmith, “Crying”

The only reason to think about Aerosmith is when you might find yourself thinking about Liv Teyler’s dad. If you have to think about Aerosmith, think about the video of this song and turn the volume off.

Bryan Adams, “Somebody”

I know of a broad movement, demanding apologies from Canada for all their so called musicians; Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion and … BRYAN ADAMS. He is the first who’s head should be on a stake on the shores of Canada!

Def Leppard, “Pour some sugar on me”

I had to look this one up. Now I am scraping my ears out with a blunt knife and a sleek pen I found. Is there a way to unhear?

Destiny’s Child, “Bills Bills Bills”

Everything ever produced by destiny’s child will kill most of the microbiodome in your gut and leave you with an irritable bowel syndrome.

Gloria Estefan, “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”

I was 8 when this song was played on the radio. I completely forgot about the song but now it’s in my head again. Traumatizing me again. Can’t… get it … out of my HEAD … . I want my mommy.

Gloria Estefan, “Here we are”

When I looked this one up I got Justin Bieber commercials. So here is a dubsteb remix of Justin Bieber getting shot (in HD): YouTube Preview Image

Googoo Dolls, “Iris”

“And I don’t want the whole world to see me …”, maybe you shouldn’t make a song and make an ass of yourself behind your telescope. Dushback.

Greenday, “bascet case”

Actually, this is one of the XangadiX theme songs. This song is amazing, it describes the whole purpose of XANGADIX’ rantings in technicolor:

Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I’m cracking up
Am I just paranoid?
Am I just stoned?

Guns and Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”

Axle Rose is a prophet and all nineties kids are his disciples. On second thought, the red haired Indiana boy sounds awfully outdated these days.

Guns and Roses, “November Rain”

Eleven minute entourage for the Amazing Guitar solo by Slash

Janet Jackson, “Let’s wait awhile”

I was still waiting for November rain to finish when I started this one, it’s a terrible combination. And I think I have conjured twenty-three Pokemon with down syndrome :-/

Journey,  ”Don’t stop believing”

Never heard of this. It’s terrible. It starts with “yeahiyeah”. And I know a gerbil is violently smacked to death if somebody sings “yeahiyeah” on Youtube.

Journey,  ”Faithfully”

Why donwload another aberration of these “Journey”- fellows. Putting this on your computer should cost you 22.500 dollars. In fines. Moron.

Linkin Park, “One step closer”

Once there was a band with amazing bass and guitars and drums and DJ and rap and rock and hiphop and everything nice. And then there was another band. And then another. And another and after a lot of bands, it was done. And after all bands were done, and had gone home, and the lights had gone on in the morning. And everything was well again. Then came Linkin Park.

No Doubt, “Different People”

Aah… the tank-girl days of Gwen Stefani, very nice indeed. If you are into Stefani. Even if you don’t like the music that much anyway …

YouTube Preview Image

No Doubt, “Bathwater”


No Doubt, “Hello Good”

What’s with all this No Doubt. Have you any idea what these songs are worth? ( 22.500 dollars apparently ) Only ‘different people’ would have been enough. Damn, that’s an expensive misdownload.

Reba McEntire, “One Honest heart”


Richard Marx, “Now and Forever”

Awh freck! My dick has hidden itself well within my belly. Now I’ll be incontinent for three whole days again. Darnit!

Sarah McLachlan, “Possession”

Wait wut? Ow, no. I fell asleep just now. Did I miss something?

Sarah McLachlan, “Building a Mystery”


Sheryl Crow, “Run baby, run”

A baby cannot run. That’s the whole point of being a baby. If it could stand up and walk around it would be a Toddler, now wouldn’t it. Stupid.

Vanessa Williams, “Save the best for rest”

I hate Tennis. And I didn’t knew Vanessa Williams could sing! And she can’t. In fact, although the video and music would have you believing otherwise; she doesn’t actually sing.
Vanessa Williams makes your ears bleed. Which is quite something else altogether.

Well now, that little exercise has cost me 675.000 dollars. Appearantly browsing youtube was costly back in 2007.

This is madness.

A Strange statistic

And now, for that fascinating statistic I have been promissing:


This is a google trend index for the search volumes of the word “god” and the word “fuck”. Amazingly they have been keeping pair for the last 8 or so years. Although “fuck” seems to be winning these days …


Posted: August 25th, 2012
Categories: media, nerd, philosophy, web, weird
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Our culture is reaching the boiling point

“As I understand it, at the last count human information was doubling around every 18 months. Further to this, there is a point somewhere around 2015 when human information is doubling every thousandth of a second. That means that in each thousandth of second we will have accumulated more information than we have in the entire previous history of the world. At this point I believe that all bets are off. I cannot imagine the kind of culture that might exist after such a flashpoint of knowledge. I believe that our culture would probably move into a completely different state, would move past the boiling point, from a fluid culture to a culture of steam.”

from ‘The mindscape of Alan Moore

Yes, you have to spent well over an hour listening to the man who gave us Watchman. And who also came up with the dresscode of the global Occupy movement in ‘V for Vendetta’. He may be a bit eccentric, but remember that Alan Moore forsaw important parts of the future in his visions. In this video he argues that after the ‘cultural boiling point’, all bets are of, as we move from a fluid culture to a culture of steam.

Now press play on tape:

YouTube Preview Image

He traffics in fiction, not in lies.

Meanwhile, the Occupation spreads

“first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
- Ghandi

“And furthermore, I think The Financial System should be destroyed”
- free after Cato the Elder

As I still am a professional VJ I used my gig at Korsakoff, last VJ cafe as an chance to present my new set ‘#occupy Chaos’, of which I will dump some Livemixes on Youtube (or somewhere … ). Still need to figure out some music, I’m thinking about ‘fight the power’ or ‘get up stand up’, still not sure.

But I must admit that I’ve never received so many hugs, ‘boxes’ and handshakes then I did when I premiered that set last tuesday.

Meanwhile the ‘metamovement‘ is gathering some serious pace the last days, and it looks like important parts of the world are joining the occupation this Saturday (15 okt). Will this finally amount to anything? I don’t know, but we need to try. Now. Get over to for more info and of course the inevitable

Note to self; need to update the homepage too. Need to get moar out there…


The old man spoke out about OccupyBoston, his home town

YouTube Preview Image

Moar on this on the interwubs:

Be sure to check the 4 part edition of “MELTDOWN” at AlJazeera at

And Russia Today has an exellent coverage over at

Complexity – Secret Life of Chaos

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

- Douglas Adams, the restaurant at the end of the universe

This is worth an hour of your time:

YouTube Preview Image

#UPDATE, BBC has removed this video, so I’m switching to the Chinese video sites;

or :

Here is the chatlog on this one; includes tags and videos:

* FatChat
<00:16> Complexity_-_secret_life_of_chaos_-_bbc_2010
<00:55> carbon, water, air ...
<02:34> okee, klinkt vet :)
<02:38> ORDER and CHAOS
<02:54> vette visual
<04:11> /wiki alan_turing
<04:50> enigma ?
<05:39> mathematical equation for human intelligence
<06:56> morfogeism ?
<07:39> self-organisation
<08:29> citaion needed
<10:04> citation needed
<10:08> vette pic!
<12:48> fucking matrix
<14:18> female hormone injections ?
<14:24> what hormonens?
<14:55> xlife
<15:31> vette visual
<16:20> i think
<16:21> pic seems ligit :p
<17:39> ?!
<17:56> :D
<21:47> nice industrial visuals
<24:01> on newtonian physics
<24:06> wiki\
<25:09> zou het klokken kunnen syncen op 2 verschillende plaatsen ?
<25:09> = note, dan ebberts; after effects expressions
<26:24> nice visual
<26:34> CHAOS!
<26:36> KAOSSSss
<27:10> lol juressic park reference!
<27:47> Lorenz
<28:51> last one is the right one
<29:32> butterfly tornado guy
<30:51> quote: end of the newtonian dream
<33:41> spontaneos pattern emergence?
<35:05> coupling or feedback
<35:43> whahahaha
<35:49> video feedback :)
<36:16> bwahahahahahaha
<36:23> vette installatie met de lucifer
<37:03> spooky bit
<38:24> diffusion ?
<38:31> quote pattern is waiting to happen
<39:06> mandelbrot
<42:05> boom van pascal
<43:02> fractal
<44:08> lol
<44:11> thumbprint of god
<44:52> z=z^2 + c
<47:42> wow
<48:34> far fetched :p
<49:19> evolution
<51:19> the Computer
<52:08> wie is dit ?
<52:15> follsom ?
<52:27> folsen ?
<54:07> wow ?!
<55:14> self organisation
<57:37> and god said the word, and the word was god
<57:50> johannes ?
<58:54> BBC4
<58:54> subs


The original FatChat(tm) on Marduq
A new interpreter for wiki using popcorn

Singularitarian Anonymous

“How you doing, Dixie?”
“I’m dead, Case. Got enough time in on this Hosaka to figure that one.”
“How’s it feel?”
“It doesn’t.”
“Bother you?”
“What bothers me is, nothin’ does.”
“How’s that?”
“Had me this buddy in the Russian camp, Siberia, his thumb was frostbit. Medics  came by and they cut it off. Month later he’s tossin’ all night. Elroy. I said, what’s eatin’ you? Goddam thumb’s itchin’, he says. So I told him, scratch it. McCoy, he says, it’s the other goddam thumb.”

When the construct laughed, it came through as something else, not laughter, but a stab of cold down Case’s spine.

“Do me a favor, boy.”
“What’s that, Dix?”
“This scam of yours, when it’s over, you erase this goddam thing.”

- William Gibson, Neuromancer

It appears that my thinking on immortality catagorizes as “singulatritarian“.  I wasn’t aware of that and nobody bothered to come around and tell me that. I had to read it in Time magazine.  Kurzweils thesis is quite interesting and a heavy influence on my own thoughts on computers reaching near-human intelligence.

Exponential Growth of Computing

The Theory of Kurzweil is simple, yet elegant. It all starts out with Moore’s law, which states that “The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years”. This law has been surprisingly consistent the past three decades or so. Put another way; computational power for a standard desktop computer (or any computer for that matter) doubles every two year. This inevitably leads to a logarithmic graph reaching up, up and further up, towards a computer with near-infinite computational power.

Now take Moores law and plot it on a timeline, adjust a bit for computational powers – calculated in operations per second – and try to figure how many of those operations a human brain does. Here is where the whole thing starts to reek a bit, but I’ll get to that later. Kurzweil assumes that a human brain does about  1000 trillion operations per second, which is just about the speed of the latest supercomputer ( at least according to this article ).

Within a few years ( somewhere near 2015) our desktop computers will reach the computational level of the human brain; but more importantly, as Moores law progresses, we’ll have computers with the computational power of all human brains around 2040’s or thereabouts. This point in time Kurzweil calls the ’singularity’. Any prededictions beyond that point are meaningless because we, humans, will no longer be the most intelligent being on this planet.

“What we do know is that sometime in the early 21st century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at ourselves as we gave birth to AI”
- Morpheus in “The Matrix”

To Kurzweils credit, he has done a lot of predictions that actually came true (among which the prediction that a human would be beaten at chess by a computer around 1998; it happened in 1997).  Although I do believe in simulation of human intelligence, I doubt very much if consciousnesses will come into the machine in 2015 or thereabouts.

Another problem with Kurzweils projection is the hypothesis of “the Quantum Mind” (or Quantum Consciousness) .  Roger Penrose, the famous mathematician, together with Stuart Hameroff developed a thesis now catagorized under the name “the quantum mind“.  It states that the brain does not only function on a molecular level, but also on a submolecular or quantum level. Now I won’t go into that to deep, since this theory has many quirks of its own, but I’ll try and jot down the git of it.

Hameroff, an anesthesist, wondered about people having memories of surgeries they had. Some people could recount details of an operation, while they under narcosis. Maybe, he figured, the mind operates on a lower level then we assume where some quantum effects take place; like quantum entanglement. Maybe the mind keeps together while in a sedated state and can even travel outside the body without losing cohesion. Now I know, this sounds very far out there, but it appears that there is some evidence that the brain actually has some parts ( the microtubule to be excact) that operate on sub-atomic level.

Now a friend that actually scans human brains in an MRI machine for a living estimates that the size of actual quantum processes are of by a factor 100 (at least). That is to say, most processes in the brain take place on a scale that is a hundred times bigger then the quantum universe. Penrose argues however that physicists see the universe either as Newtonian ( classic physics, relativistic physics, ‘big’) or on a quantum scale. Surprisingly little research has gone into places where those two world meet, like – presumably – in the microtubule.

Either way, if the brain can tap into this little known world of extra processing power – 100 to 1000 times smaller – and if the brain is indeed  capable of processing cubits, then we shouldn’t be measuring the human brain against a 1000-trillion-operations-per-second-computer but against something in the scale of 100.000 trillion cubit computer.
Which is to say, a computer that is much bigger then what we will have developed the coming century. I must point out though that Moore’s law is logaritmic in nature, which means we will get there eventually as computing power will increase up to an almost infinite level.

Penrose came to the same conclusion as Hameroff in a much more pragmatic way. Penrose considered Godels theorem, which in essence states that a system can never undestand a system of which it is itself part. So humans can never understand the universe completely as we are part of it. Neither can the brain understand itself, as it is of course part of itself.  Ergo; we can never build a computer that emulates the brain, as we are using our own brains to create it.

Quoting it directly from Wikipedia;

“Penrose presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of humanconsciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.”

I admit that I had to take a little detour, but I’m getting to my point in a bit.

Remember that I said the human brain will not be running on a computer any time soon, at least not in the coming century because of the quantum processes that might go on in there. That doesn’t mean the brain can’t be simulated on a computer in the next decade or so. That we can’t write a program that pretends to be a person and does it so well, that it fools us all.

As I’ve said here, and perhaps more profoundly in my article about being the first immortals, I do believe that some of us – of our generation – will be among the first immortal beings. Even though Penrose seems to be a terrible spoil sport in this regard.
The question I raise is philosophical; does it matter that we’re not actually simulating a real brain. That we’re merely simulating a person up to the point that is consistent enough with the actual flesh to fool everbody else. ( Or to pass the Turing-test). Here’s how I put it earlier;

“My personality can be uploaded or at least be simulated within 50 years. After I die my children and grandchildren will be able to talk and converse with me long after my death. I will be able to reflect and think about the times ahead and about the state of the world in 2070 and beyond.”

Is the simulation me? Or is the simulation my former self, a mere replica, a construct of a person?

“Now of course my immortal personality is simulated; but the human brain doesn’t make that distinction; if my virtual self has lived for 300 years, the simulation is, arguably, more ‘real’ then my own, fleshy, personality as it has ‘lived’ longer then the original. Simulation is not as bad as most people would think. Baudrillard argues that although we might think different, most of our perception is created upon simulated experiences. And even ‘real’ experiences are nothing more than fragments of real observation added with closure.”

And that is where things get Philosophical; let’s say both men are partially right, and we are able to simulate humans in such a way that is completely indistinguishable to others (to other humans). That would mean that we are probably postponing the ’singularity’, but we are then nearing a Ghost-in-the-Shell-like future (or Asimov-like future, whomever you prefer). We  have to ask ourselves what we believe consciousness really is. A future in which machines we’ll ask us if they do not deserve to be called conscious as we do.

And this will all occur well within our lifetime.

Then the world changed…

I didn’t do anything, as we were to busy smelling each others farts.
-You, probably me, talking to your kid in thirty years time. Explaining why it is such a mess then.

This is one of those posts, that should start with something about how long I haven’t posted  on this blog. Although that would be true, and it would make an okay opening I guess, I am starting with something else. Something you’ve all heard about by now, even those suckers who are trapped on this page by a Google on ‘ duct tape’ .  I mean you, accidental visitor who searched for duct tape. And who choose ‘images’ on Google to search. And couldn’t help yourself when you saw this picture on page 2. And thank you 14000 visitors a month.

Yes, now you are here on a completely different subject. It is not what you are looking for, but read on anyway; All of you who read this, just click ‘more’, and read on for a bit. It is needed and it is important.


Youp is at wonder

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

- René Magritte

Once in a while students do come along that really amaze me. This year I had a bunch of those and as it was the last year the faculty existed, I couldn’t have hoped for a better end of the semester.

One of the productions that really stood out was that of Youp Kruisdijk, who made a short film that I can only describe as  ”Margritte in motion”, which is to say that it poetically handles with a lot of subjects like manipulation, definition, perception and in the end reality itself. I could go on about it, but who reads these little texts anyway?  Just press play, select High Definition and go for full screen.

Important Service Announcement

YouTube Preview Image

Yes. This may be just what you needed to know.

Posted: July 21st, 2010
Categories: philosophy, weird
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Quotes on Cultural Industry in several languages

Ze noemen dit het ‘kapitalistische apparaat’. Vlaams auteur Gust de Meyer beschrijft de cultuurindustrie in zijn boek cultuur met een kleine c als volgt:

De visie van de Frankfurters is, schematisch , dat de massamaatschappij centraal en vanuit bovenuit wordt gedomineerd door een apparaat dat in de plaats komt van de onafhankelijke sociale groepen en instituties van weleer en dat de mensen passief, apathisch, amorf, ongeïnteresseerd en geatomiseerd maakt en daardoor rijp voor irrationele politieke bewegingen als het fascisme. De gecentraliseerde massamedia staan repressief ten dienste van het dominerende apparaat, oefenen macht en controle uit via de culturele superstructuur van de maatschappij, doen niets anders dan het bewustzijn van de mensen manipuleren via de ideologie van de cultuurindustrie, verstrekker van barbaarse onzin, van conformiteit bol staande boodschappen en van de mogelijkheden om uit de realiteit te ontsnappen.”’

Taken from “Creatie vs. Manipulatie”, in the process of Writing by Youp Kruijsdijk

Made me think of:

Aber bei synthetischen Computerbildern sieht man ganz klar, daß diese Bilder aus Kalkulationen entstehen, denn es werden Algorithmen in den Computer gefüttert, diese werden digital umcodiert, und diese umcodierten mathematischen Ausdrücke erscheinen dann als Bilder auf den Schirmen.

Infolgedessen bedeuten diese Bilder die Kalkulation und nicht mehr die Welt. Es sind keine Abbilder, sondern Projektionen aus Kalkulationen.

Das hat mich zu dem für mich sehr grundsätzlichen Satz geführt, daß wir dank dieser neuen Bilder nicht mehr Subjekte der Welt sind, sondern Projekte auf die Welt, daß wir nicht mehr subjektiv, sondern projektiv leben.<39>
- Friedrich Kittler in props to Spinster at V2

Posted: March 30th, 2010
Categories: Algemeen, media, philosophy, politics, propaganda, research, site, technology, work
Tags: , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

The timeless web isn’t static

” And they call it a mine… A MINE!!! ”

It’s all a matter of connecting the dots, really. –

[ published as ROUGH ]

At Rethinking media, a couple of months back, Matt Thompson ( who co-made the famed Epic video up at the Museum for Media History ) spoke on the “timeless web”. He the run down up on his Newsless. ( and even more )

Basically he his arguing that the way we process information is superfluous at best. Although we keep on reading the ‘developing story’, we don’t take the time to run down through the basic system knowledge:

” It turns out that in order for information about things like the public option and budget reconciliation to be useful to you, you need a certain amount of systemic knowledge to be able to parse it. You need an intellectual framework for understanding health care reform before the episodic headlines relating to health care reform make any sense. “

This rougly translates into Google and the NY Times collaboration called Living Stories. Which is basically monitoring stories and updating them, deeping them out.

YouTube Preview Image

At the Mine I elaborate on this with wakes of tag-clouds. The main point here is to get a slow, organic visual representation of the news in general and certain stories in particular. Still under development, of course ;)

This got me thinking on a lot of stuff. Of course Matt Thompson is absolutely right as he states that the current way of monitoring information is like a horseless carriage. Trying to make sense of information through fragmented and partial bits and pieces is useful in some ways, but is a lot easier with some basic understanding of the words.

Still, when the system knowledge is acquired, there stays a need to ‘follow’ the ‘developments’ . Judging by living stories, the system knowledge is displayed in neat info-graphics, video and news-analysis and then updates regularly.

Through twitter and blog searches however it is also possible to get not only the news, but also what is happening with the news, or what the people involved have to say about it.

Posted: March 24th, 2010
Categories: media, nerd, philosophy, research, web, weird
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: No Comments.