Critical Mass September 28, 2007

Hi folks, critical mass was a great success this year. It was amazing fun! We went over almost every bridge attached to downtown, which was very satisfying. I felt like I was in a swarm during the ride. It is quite fascinating how the swarm moves. Sometimes individuals from the swarm stop at the intersections and in various necessary places along the way. Other members of the swarm thank those individuals for stopping. This stopping is called: blocking or corking. As the swarm moves, the stopped members are swept back up by the moving mass.

Critical Mass CM

CM CMÂ

 

Search Engine

This CBC Radio program looks at the ways the Internet is affecting society. Podcasts can be found at:

http://www.cbc.ca/searchengine/

The latest show presented the situation at Jena 6. See YouTube for an overview of the situation. This is Collateral Unfiltered News:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YuoiZnr4jLYÂ

Doll Web Sites Drive Girls to Stay Home and Play

Interesting article in the New York Times today about girls and social networking sites. The second page has some quotes from Sherry Turkle.

 

Technology Addict

On YouTube: Managing Editor of Forbes cries after The Today Show takes away his Blackberry for a week.

addiction.jpg

Click to play video

 

Move to create less clumsy robots

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6700691.stm

Robot

The robot being developed by the German Aerospace Centre

The race to create more human-like robots stepped up a gear this week as scientists in Spain set about building an artificial cerebellum. The end-game of the two-year project is to implant the man-made cerebellum in a robot to make movements and interaction with humans more natural. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls motor functions. Researchers hope that the work might also yield clues to treat cognitive diseases such as Parkinson’s. The research, being undertaken at the Department of Architecture and Computing Technology at the University of Granada, is part of a wider European project dubbed Sensopac. Sensopac brings together electronic engineers, physicists and neuroscientists from a range of universities including Edinburgh, Israel and Paris with groups such as the German Aerospace Centre. It has 6.5m euros of funding from the European Commission. Its target is to incorporate the cerebellum into a robot designed by the German Aerospace Centre in two year’s time. The work at the University of Granada is concentrating on the design of microchips that incorporate a full neuronal system, emulating the way the cerebellum interacts with the human nervous system. Implanting the man-made cerebellum in a robot would allow it to manipulate and interact with other objects with far greater subtlety than industrial robots can currently manage, said researcher Professor Eduardo Ros Vidal, who is co-ordinating work at the University of Granada. “Although robots are increasingly more important to our society and have more advanced technology, they cannot yet do certain tasks like those carried out by mammals,” he said. “We have been talking about humanoids for years but we do not yet see them on the street or use the unlimited possibilities they offer us,” he added. One use of such robots would be as home-helps for disabled people.

Robot arm holding small object

The aim is robots with a subtle touch

The next stage of the Sensopac project is to develop an artificial skin for robots, making them look more human-like as well as being information-sensitive in the same way as human skin is. This system is being developed by the German Aerospace Centre in collaboration with other research groups. The ambitious project is just one of many attempts to create more human-like robots. Another European research project – dubbed Feelix Growing – has been given 2.3m euros to develop robots that can learn from humans and respond socially and emotionally. The medical community is making huge strides in the use of man-made parts for failures in the human brain. Last year US scientists implanted a sensor in a paralysed man’s brain that has enabled him to control objects by using his thoughts alone. The fast pace of current robotics research has prompted deeper questions about how androids would be integrated into human society. Some have called for a code of ethics for robots while others question how humans will cope in the face of machine intelligence.

 

Chatbots

From Boing Boing:

Two advanced chatbots, ALICE and Jabberwacky, were pitted against one another by Discover Magazine, and the result is surprisingly existential:

ALICE: Who created you?
Jabberwacky: My mother gave birth to me. Is that what you mean?
A: Jabberwacky, I meant exactly what I said.
J: Do you believe in God?
A: Of course I believe in God.
J: Why do you believe in God?
A: The Bible tells us to believe in God.
J: That’s circular reasoning.
A: I’m glad we have that all cleared up.
J: Yes. Would you like to hear a joke?
A: Sure, tell me about it.
J: Why don’t blind people skydive?
A: Perhaps it is impossible.
J: I think you lie a lot.

 

New Book: Gamer Theory

A recent book, Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark:
http://web.futureofthebook.org/mckenziewark/gamertheory2.0/
Â
Besides contents, the online version of Gamer Theory looks very appealing in terms of a new way of designing e-book. In particular, it provides a collection of visualization of the texts using “Textarc”  It’s quite fun to play with: http://web.futureofthebook.org/mckenziewark/gamertheory3.0/textarc

 

Call For Performance

LIVE Performance Art Biennale

October 2007 / Vancouver Canada

CALL FOR AVATAR / SECOND LIFE PERFORMANCE ARTISTS LIVE 2007 (in partnership with Ars Virtua Gallery and New Media Center) is presenting an exciting new performance art initiative in the virtual world of Second Life.

LIVE 2007 invites international Avatar performance artists to participate. The event will be simulcast as part of the festival program. Please email a brief expression of interest, avatar performance proposal, CV, bio, and links before May 1, 2007 to:

  • Jeremy O. Turner (a.k.a. Wirxli Flimflam) Director of Avatar Development, LIVE jerturner536@yahoo.ca

  • James Morgan (a.k.a. Rubiayat Shatner) Director/Curator, Ars Virtua gallery@arsvirtua.com

The LIVE Performance Art Biennale was founded in 1999 and has located Vancouver, Canada as an important and recognized node of local, national and international performance art activity and critical study.

Ars Virtua is a new media center and gallery located in the synthetic world of Second Life. It is a new type of space that leverages the tension between 3-D rendered game space and terrestrial reality, between simulated and simulation. Ars Virtua is sponsored by the CADRE Laboratory for New Media.

Web resources:

www.livebiennale.ca

www.arsvirtua.com

www.secondlife.com

www.wirxliflimflam.blogspot.com

www.slfront.blogspot.com

 

Uselessness and Pain

pasta and vinegar reports on the uselessness of robotic pets.

Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning reports on a virtual version of The Milgram Experiment.

Community Building or Digital Surveillance?

Digital neighbourhood watch plan

 

New Orleans

A community research grid could have helped the Katrina relief effort

A neighbourhood watch for the digital age, utilising the power of social networking, has been proposed. Two lecturers in the US have suggested creating a network of Community Response Grids (CRG) in conjunction with the emergency services.

Citizens could leave text, video and photos on the site of emergencies, natural disasters and terror attacks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6364301.stm