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Giulio Prisco (M, 63)
Budapest, HU
Immortal since Oct 31, 2010
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giulioprisco.com
Turing Church
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    From Rourke
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.


    The teleXLR8 online talk program based on OpenQwaq has been covered by Hypergrid Businessas an online open TED, using modern telepresence technology for ideas worth spreading, and as a next generation, fully interactive TV network with a participative audience.

    TED (the well known Technology, Entertainment and Design global set of conferences and talks on “ideas worth spreading”) is a role model. teleXLR8 offers similar content with fully interactive online talks and discussions using modern video conferencing and virtual reality technology, almost as good as being there in person.

    The previous phase of teleXLR8 project, based on Teleplace, has been running as a free, invitation-only beta on the Teleplace servers and network infrastructure since March 2010, and produced many online talks by well-known emerging technologies experts and futurists, and online extensions to conferences such as the ASIM 2010 Conference, satellite to the Singularity Summit 2010, and the TransVision 2010 Conference. In the latter, streamed interactively as a full 2-way “mixed-reality” event with both local and remote speakers, the participants in Milan were joined by remote participants from all over the world. The Turing Church Online Workshop 1, held on Saturday November 20 2010 in teleXLR8, explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″.

    All talks have been recorded on video and posted to video sharing sites the day after the talk. The videos have been seen by tens of thousands of viewers and covered by important technology oriented websites including internetACTU, IEET, KurzweilAI, H+ Magazine, Next Big Future, HyperGrid Business and Slashdot.

    At the end of 2010 the teleXLR8 project, based on the industrial strength commercial Teleplace platform, was put on hold waiting for funding.

    In May 2011 Teleplace made the visionary decision to open source their technology as OpenQwaq. This permits continuing teleXLR8 as a free, invitation-only program based on OpenQwaq, with more frequent talks, workshops and conferences.

    The initial release of OpenQwaq was functionally equivalent to Teleplace with the exception of the video subsystem used for webcam videoconferencing, video playback and session recording, because the proprietary video codecs used in Teleplace could not be included as open source. The OpenQwaq development team and 3d Immersive Collaboration Consultants (a value added OpenQwaq consulting and hosting company) have then integrated the open source video and audio codecs used in the VLC media player.



    In August 2011 the teleXLR8 project has been re-launched. See my short presentation Welcome to the 2011 season! The first talk has been announced by KurzweilAI: “teleXLR8 is reopening on Sunday 21 10 a.m. PST with a talk by [experimental quantum physicist/programmer] Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!. The teleXLR8 online talk program is “a telepresence community for cultural acceleration,” as their blog puts it. Translation: an audiovideo seminar — think TED in Second Life, plus webcam videoconferencing and video session recording."

    Suzanne outlined the basics of Quantum Computing, described the the D-Wave One quantum computer, and explained how to program it. See the D-Wave blog Hack the Multiverse for more. The talk covered an introduction to quantum computing and the technology of building quantum computers, then moved into a tutorial discussing Energy Programming: A new way of programming unlike anything else in existence, with a special treat for those attending the talk: A chance to navigate one’s avatar around a lifesize virtual copy of the D-Wave One quantum computer.

    More than 30 participants attended the talk and asked many interesting questions in a lively Q/A session after the talk. This talk has been the first field test of the new OpenQwaq server hosted by 3d Immersive Collaboration Consultants, which has performed very well. For those who missed the talk, the full video coverage is on the teleXLR8 video channel on YouTube:

    VIDEO A – 1h 33 min, recorded by Giulio Prisco
    VIDEO B – 1h 43 min, recorded by Frederic Emam-Zade, includes 10 min of chat before the talk, taken mostly with a zoom on the viewgraphs
    VIDEO C – 1h 50 min, recorded by Jameson Dungan, includes 18 min of chat before the talk, taken from a fixed point of view

    The same videos are available on the teleXLR8 video channels on Blip.tv and Vimeo.

    The teleXLR8 project will continue with more frequent talks, seminars, online conferences and mixed-reality extension of traditional conferences, interviews, talk shows, and e-learning courses. Thanks to the built-in video recording feature of OpenQwaq, we will post the full video coverage to our video sharing channels on Blip.tv, Youtube and Vimeo after a few days. Participation in the realtime interactive sessions is free, but invitation-only: if you wish to participate, please contact us, join the mailing list or the groups on Facebook and Linkedin, and ask for an invitation.

    teleXLR8 is not for profit, and running on open source software strongly reduces the operating costs, but we still have to pay for server resources, bandwidth and manpower. We will not charge attendance fees, but encourage donations from users and actively look for sponsors. These days, Internet users expect everything to be free online, but of course there is no such a thing as a free lunch. Google and Facebook are free... or are they? In my articles here, I have often voiced my concern for the freedom of the Internet, which should not belong to governments and giant corporations, but to the user community. I think supporting innovative community projects based on open source software is a good way to protect our Internet.

    In an interview published on H+ Magazine, I said: “I use Teleplace [now OpenQwaq] because, based on my (quite extensive) knowledge of and experience in this sector, at this moment Teleplace [now OpenQwaq] is by far the best operational technology for online meetings, workshops, presentations, seminars, conferences and e-learning.” Modern desktop telepresence technology can effectively open conferences to remote participants and, with OpenQwaq, online meetings and conferences have already passed the tipping point of critical usability and performance. Online events are now a very useful complement, or a faster and cheaper alternative, to traditional conferences.

    teleXLR8 is described as a “telepresence community for cultural acceleration” because interactive and immersive telepresence technology, with integrated videoconferencing, document sharing and collaboration in 3D virtual reality, can accelerate global cultural development by permitting people to fully participate, interactively and immersively, in their favorite interest groups and intentional communities, independently of their geographical locations. The explosion of the Internet in the 90s has, by permitting the rapid spread of world-changing ideas, initiated this process whose results are beginning to be very clearly evident in today’s world. The explosion of telepresence in the 10s will accelerate it forward. By reducing the need for physical travel, telepresence can also make our planet greener, and give us a better quality of life. More on our manifesto “Telepresence Education for a Smarter World“.
    Sat, Aug 27, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: internet, telepresence, openqwaq, telexlr8
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    One month after the introduction of Google+, the debate on "real vs fake identities" goes on. I see a lot of that on Google+ and Facebook because I have many Second Life users in my network, and many of them have chosen to be pseudonymous.

    In particular two of my best friends, Khannea Suntzu and Extropia DaSilva, have made this choice. Khannea I have also met in brickspace, but I have never met Extie's "primary" in brickspace (Extie maintains that she and her "primary" are two separate identities, and I think she is the one who knows best about her own life), and probably I never will. I know Extie via her writings, and a long online friendship. To me, Extie is as real as my neighbor in brickspace. More real, because my neighbor is an idiot and Extie is a great person and a great thinker.

    But Google (in its Google+ profiles) and Facebook are deleting pseudonymous users because they are not "real". I think at least Google will back off at some moment with some face-saving declaration, and there are indication that they will accept pseudonymous profiles. But the trend remains, and it is a disturbing trend.

    At this moment, I am representing myself online via the same name that is printed on my passport and my credit cards. This has not always been the case, and perhaps it will not always continue to be the case. I do have some semi-pseudonymous identities like Eschatoon Magic and Perplexing Poultry, but I only wear them in Second Life and they are easily traceable back to me. I also have a couple of truly pseudonymous identities, watertight nyms that it would be very difficult to trace back to me (difficult as in the NSA could probably break them but it would cost a lot of money), but I don't really use them.

    Using my "real" name and identity online is convenient for me, because I try to make a living as a consultant, software developer and producer of "serious" online events. In "Google+, the pseudonym banstick, and the netizen cultural schism", Emlyn O'Regan says it better: "The integrated identities tend to work in the web 2.0 universe. Silicon valley seems to be the cultural center of this. They meet the same people online and offline; people who have startups, tech bloggers, money guys, opinion leaders of all kind. Their identity is their primary asset, it’s got their reputation attached to it. To them, it’d be mad to have a separate online and offline identity, and seems kind of sinister; what reason could you have to split your reputation, really, other than that you are trying to hide something?"

    Emlyn continues: "But the separate identity people are actually part of an older tradition (and yes this environment is old enough to have an older tradition). It’s the tradition of the Handle, and it comes from back when computer networks were esoteric, back when using them was a marker of class...". This is very true: back in the 90s we all used nyms, and this was seen as something normal and proper.

    I often voice my very deep concerns about our once free Internet becoming the property of nanny states and greedy corporations, and I think we must protect the Internet at all times. Our society is becoming a global nanny state and a dictatorship of self-righteous control freaks and idiotic "moral majorities", and we should keep and protect at least some pockets of personal freedom and privacy online.

    Or else (see below). At this moment I am not affected by real-dentities-only policies, because I chose to represent myself via my legal name anyway. I must also confess that, sometimes, I am mildly annoyed by some aspects of my pseudonymous friends' behavior. But I am happy to accept a moderate level of annoyance for the privilege of living in a free society, and I try to be tolerant of others' little annoying habits because I hope they will be equally tolerant of mine. And I remember:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.


    Thanks to another pseudonymous Internet user, Singularity Utopia (whose profile was deleted from both Facebook and Google+), for pointing out the relevance of "First they came..." and coming up with the title of this post.

    My friend Khannea Suntzu has written a vehement defense of the rights of pseudonymous Internet users, quoting the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "A Case for Pseudonyms". I definitely agree with Khannea that "Social Networks have become a necessity for a large segment of society and not being able to freely take part in these services represent a significant vulnerability for people in our society who want to communicate in some level of relative freedom." My friend Extropia DaSilva has framed her own defense of the rights of pseudonymous Internet users in a version of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changing", beginning with "Remember the 90s when the web was new?"

    I wish to invite everyone to read again John Perry Barlow's Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace: "Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather...". In an initial mailing list post with a draft version of the Declaration, Barlow had previously written: "Well, fuck them. Or, more to the point, let us now take our leave of them. They have declared war on Cyberspace. Let us show them how cunning, baffling, and powerful we can be in our own defense." This is the spirit of the free Internet (and society) that we must protect at all times. Unfortunately we are forgetting our beautiful dreams and becoming sheeple.

    I really hope we-the-sheeple wake up some day and start kicking some ass before it's too late.

    How should we kick ass? I left a comment on Extie's TIMES A-CHANGIN’, edited version below:

    You know that I fully support the right to be pseudonymous on the net, and the right to hide your name, age, gender, location etc. As you say, this is what things were done in the 90s.

    But Facebook and Google are businesses. They are there to make money. You and I don’t pay them a cent. Instead, they make money with targeted ads. They want to know your age, gender, and location because this information is useful to target ads. They want to know your name because they wish to use it to correlate the info in their databases with info from other sources. I doubt they give a damn about the name on your passport, but they want to know the name on your credit card, which is usually the same.

    Added note: Nanny states are much worse than corporations. Corporations only want your money, but nanny states control freaks also want your soul. They want to know your name, age, gender, location, sexual preferences, religious beliefs and thoughts, and someday soon they will want to know which hand you use to wipe your own ass, because they want to control you from the cradle to the grave. Give me an evil greedy corporation anytime.

    In the 90s we were only a few thousands of Internet users, and we earned the right to our free Internet by using it, recommending it to others, and also writing code and running web servers. Some did a little, and others did a lot. Instead of complaining against a ugly world we tried to build a beautiful one. Perhaps TIMES A-CHANGIN’ because we-the-sheeple are too lazy to take things into our hands?

    Don't expect nanny states and greedy corporations to give you freedom, because it is not in their interest. They want a society of good sheeple and good consumers. Freedom cannot be given. Only taken.

    What Facebook and Google choose to do with their money is not our business. But we have open source, decentralized, P2P distributed alternatives like Diaspora built by-the-people and for-the-people, where nobody would (or could) question your right to be pseudonymous and disclose only the info that you want to disclose, or none at all. Instead of complaining against Google and Facebook why don’t you support Diaspora? if you have the skills you can contribute to the codebase or run a Diaspora server, if you have some money you can support them financially, and if you have neither you can… just USE DIASPORA: since the growth rate of a social network is exponential, you can contribute a lot just by using it. If you don't like Diaspora for some reasons, think of something else (I have a hunch that a tweaked BitTorrent protocol could power a social network).

    Added note: they want to know your credit card number (and the name on it) to use it as a means to control you. Paypal started in the 90s as a subversive Internet initiative, and now it is more regulated than a bank. USE BITCOIN. After writing this enthusiastic article about Bitcoin, I have lost some money to a scammer who requested a Paypal chargeback after receiving the Bitcoins he paid, and I am sure they will side with the scammer to discourage Bitcoin users. Of course I will be much more careful next time, but I will continue to use and support Bitcoin.

    Don't buy paper books from dinosaur publishers who overprice their books, but buy e-books from new DRM-free publishers like Smashwords. Don't buy movies from dinosaur publishers who overprice their DVDs, but support new content distribution models like VODO. If the quality is not good enough for you, write or produce something better, or support those who do. Let's boycott the system and repeat with Barlow "We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before." LET'S TELL THE OLD WORLD TO GO FUCK ITSELF.

    I wish one percent of the energy used to complain could be channeled to developing and supporting a free Internet. It would start growing very fast.
    Wed, Aug 3, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: internet, freedom, pseudonimity
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