12 July 2011
11 July 2011
9 July 2011
8 July 2011
When you're awake you have a very real sense of the here and now, or being "aware", of seeing the world as it is.
When you dream you are also fairly convinced of the reality of your dreaming world. At least to a point.
And then you wake up.
The question is: is there a point at which you wake up from reality as we know it?
There is a long tradition of movies, books, philosophical ranting, and so on on this topic. From Alice to the Matrix to Baudrillard.
What is changing is there are now technologies that are probably going to manufacture realities for us.
As scientists understand the brain better, they will find the parts to prod and poke to turn the sense of "reality" on and off. One minute the illusion will seem entirely true, the next minute you will wake up and it will seem entirely false.
And what happens when we flick this switch regularly throughout the day - for work, for amusement, and so on. Is there any reality at all?
7 July 2011
There's a golden rule of storage; what needs to be stored will expand to fill the storage available.
As computers network, automatically aggregate data - words, videos, audio, games, etc - they generate lots of sensory input. Information increases to fill the mental capacity available.
And this isn't just the case for the people using machines. It's also the case for the people writing the software to make machines work.
It only takes grade-school arithmetic to appreciate just how bad [software code] can be. If you have a million lines of code, at 50 lines per "page", that's 20,000 pages of code. How long would it take you to read a 20,000-page instruction manual? The effort to simply browse the code base and try to discern its overall structure could take weeks or even months, depending on its density. Significant architectural changes could take months or even years. More here
According to Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist working at Intel, the "demands of our devices exceed our capacity to meet them".
Either the technology starts to filter things for us, or we become sated and unable to take in any more. (And once the computers filter things for us, on any useful level, the things start thinking for us. I've written about this before.)
6 July 2011
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