I’ve heard people wonder about what sort of artificial intelligence or biological system is involved in google. Web searches are really quite mechanical. Here’s an overview of what really goes on within Google.
(If you like this sort of thing, see my backgrounder on Baysian Filtering of Spam.
In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence. On the atomic and molecular scale, data is recorded by sensing and probing in a very abstract manner, which requires complex and approximate interpretations. More than in any other science, visualization and creation of a narrative becomes necessary to describe what is sensed, not seen. Nevertheless, many of the images generated in science and popular culture are not related to data at all, but come from visualizations and animations frequently inspired or created directly from science fiction.
From “The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science” in Volume 1, Issue 1, of Technoetic Arts, a journal of speculative research, by Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna, some legitimate hardcore nanotechnologists. Gimzewski won the Forsight Insitute’s Feynman Prize in 1997 for leading the team that made that nifty IBM logo written in atoms.
Your wetmachine host (that would be moi, John Sundman) and prolific wetmachiner and legal good-guy Harold Feld will be panelists at the Science/Speculative Fiction convention (“con” )
Arisia , to be held in Boston this weekend.
(It was at last year’s Arisia that Harold & I met, and I was so impressed with his general smartosity that I invited him to blog here. Lord only knows why he accepted the offer.)
If you’ve never been to an SF con (as I had not been before 2000), let me warn you that, in full conformity to stereoptype, cons are populated by weirdos. However, con-goers, who sometimes call themselves Fen, are some damn smart and well-read and thoughtful and articulate weirdos. And actually, come to think of it, now that I’ve been to about a dozen cons and have been on more than a dozen panels myself, I guess I’m one of the Fen too. Damn, how did that happen?
Slashdot put me on to this link about scientists claiming ability to predict earthquakes, basically based on the same kinds of data and statistical methods that I imputed to Monty Meekman (page 63 in the first edition). However, whereas Monty evidently could predict earthquakes to the minute, the UCLA scientists (at the above link)are claiming that they can predict to within months. So I guess Monty is still on top.
At some point I will post a more thorough “Acts of the Apostles technology siting” story, in which I’ll provide links to random stuff I invented for “Acts” that has since made its existence in our universe. It will have about 15 entries.
I’m still trying to cajole (??) Ron, heretofore silent Wetmachiner, to write the story for me, because he’s been sending me “AofA Technology Sighting Newsflashes” for about three years. But if Ron continues to maintain radio silence I may have to take matters into my own hands. Hope I don’t have to! Ron, that’s a hint.
Next time my bizniz takes me to San Francisco I’m going to make a pilgrimage to see the works
Mark Lombardi, the self-murdered artist/martyr of the conspiracy-obsessed.
I only recently learned of Lombardi’s work. Evidently he had been a minor artist with a small cult following until September 11, and since then he’s become, so far as I can tell, a minor artist with a large, fanatical and growing cult following.
His preoccupations closely parrallel mine– we both subscribe to Ishmael Reed’s notion that history is the story of warfare among secret societies. But whereas I tend to think obsessively about technology and write stories, Lombardi thought obsessively about money and power and drew pictures.
I should point out that when I say “minor artist” I mean no slight. This fellow’s work absolutely captivates me, and if I don’t manage to see it in San Francisco I’ll drive to Iowa, if I have to, to see it in person.
The inevitable end of year/start of year column of rehash and predictions. No doubt I’ll regret this column next December, but if you’re interested in my predictions for the future of file sharing in 2004, read on.
My colleague Cheryl Leanza and I wrote an article for the American Bar Association Communications section defending media ownership limits and explaining why the old rules should be retained. It’s written with lawyers as the target audience, but we think we put it in English. It is available here.
Stay tuned . . . .
Well, actually my boss, Andrew Jay schwartzman, and my organization, Media Access Project. But since MAP has only three attorneys and one admin staffer, I think I’m entitled to crow a bit.
The WSJ is a pay site, so I can’t provide a link. And copyright prevents me from reprinting the editorial — which appeared in the print addition of the WSJ on Dec. 30, 2003.
But to see my more detailed comments, see below.
I’ve spent my adult life in dread of it. These guys are awaiting it like hyperchristians awaiting the second coming. Or so it would appear. Actually, I didn’t spend a lot of time at their site because it’s so unreadable. One would think that techoidolators would at least make a passable attempt at using technology to promote their point of view. Oh well.
Bernard Lewis has two books out this holiday season: “What Went Wrong?” and “The Crisis of Islam.” WWW was written before 9/11 and published just after, but has been rereleased to take advantage of the surge of interest in the Middle East.
Lewis’ work is interesting and insightful, but overpriced. Especially since much of what he says can be found in various articles over the last 15 years and available via Google. So I recommend the books, but only when they go on sale after the holidays.