Collective Thinking

In terms of the Internet, it’s like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a… collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It’s a hugely impactful thing.

   ~ Elon Musk 

 

How to Create a Mind

Both hardware and software are progressing exponentially.  If logical thinking were the essence of intelligence, then computers would already be superior to us.  The area where humans still have an edge is our emotional intelligence.  Emotion is not some sideshow or distraction to intelligence.  Being funny, being sexy, expressing love – those are the cutting edge of human intelligence.

   ~ “Can We Reverse-engineer the Brain”, interview with Ray Kurzweil, by Brian O’Keefe, Fortune Magazine, January 2013

 

Computing Form Factor

Computers have been getting smaller and closer to our faces since their very beginning.

First they were in big rooms, then they sat on desktops, then they sat on our laps, and now they’re in our palms. Next they’ll be on our faces.

(Eventually they’ll be in our brains.)

   ~ “The end of the smartphone era is coming”, Nicholas Carlson

It’s over, and then it begins again…

Big business may stumble upon and commodify hackers’ breakthroughs, but the hackers will simply move on to new frontiers.

   ~ Steven Levy, Hackers

 

We Are Already the Borg

Science fiction’s cyborg was a literal chimera of meat and machine. The world’s cyborg was an extended human nervous system: film, radio, broadcast television, and a shift in perspective so profound that I believe we’ve yet to understand it.  Watching television, we each became aspects of an electronic brain.  We became augmented.  In the Eighties, when Virtual Reality was the buzzword, we were presented with images of…television!  If the content is sufficiently engrossing, however, you don’t need wraparound deep-immersion goggles to shut out the world.  You grow your own. You are there.  Watching the content you most want to see, you see nothing else.

The physical union of human and machine, long dreaded and long anticipated, has been an accomplished fact for decades, though we tend not to see it.  We tend not to see it because we are it, and because we still employ Newtonian paradigms that tell us that “physical” has only to do with what we can see, or touch.  Which of course is not the case.  The electrons streaming into a child’s eye from the screen of the wooden television are as physical as anything else.  As physical as the neurons subsequently moving along that child’s optic nerves.  As physical as the structures and chemicals those neurons will encounter in the human brain.  We are implicit, here, all of us, in a vast physical construct of artificially linked nervous systems.  Invisible.  We cannot touch it.  We are it.  We are already the Borg, but we seem to need myth to bring us to that knowledge.

 ~ William Gibson, Distrust That Particular Flavor

Technology

I remember the people I’ve heard complain about the very texture of digital images, filmless film:  how it lacks richness, depth.  I’ve heard the same thing said about CDs.  Someone once told me that it was Mark Twain who turned in the first typewritten manuscript, and this was generally thought to be a Bad Thing:  Work composed on a machine would naturally lack richness, depth.

But surely, says a very American part of me, things (if not people) can get better, and what the early stages of one technology take away can be restored in a later stage, or by a newer technology piggybacking on the first.

   ~ William Gibson, Filmess Festival, Distrust That Particular Flavor

A New Era

I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology.  A new era is beginning, just like the digital one was when I was his [Reed] age.

Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson

 

The Zen Mind

Rules of Technology

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.  The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

   ~ Bill Gates

 

Intelligence

The ability to use limited resources optimally, including time, for survival.  

Shaping resources for practical purposes and transcending the comprising materials.

Technology.