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digital cartographers, narrative realization. image workers & pixel [re]searchers. emographers. memetic mappers. space cadets. polytopians.
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    From Wildcat
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    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

    A series of rambles by SpaceCollective members sharing sudden insights and moments of clarity. Rambling is a time-proven way of thinking out loud,...

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    Catching up with the future. All major institutions in the world today are grappling to come to terms with the internet. The entertainment...
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    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.
    This is a comment that grew too long - a continuation of the polylogue following Xárene's post, Social Networking Tools and Our Future Society

    It got me thinking about two experiences I've had recently.


    The first one involved someone that I met who had just moved to Europe 20 days before from New York. He moved here to be with his girlfriend, who he'd been together with for two years - all in cyberspace. They met on myspace - talked on the phone - video chatted (and who knows what else). Finally it came down to it - she asked him if he would move to Europe - against the advice of all of his friends and family, he left his stable job after saving up for a few months and bought a one way ticket.

    Now, 20 days later he's spilling his guts to me as we sit outside on a break from a freelance gig. He's telling me that their relationship is completely different from what they experienced in cyberspace. Physically, it's awkward, "even our first time having sex was really wierd". They tried to take it slow and it's not helping. Now he's having doubts, and so is she.

    I ask him, "so the communication is completely different than it was when you guys were together online?"

    "yes, completely, yes. We used to have such long conversations - I think our longest was 14 hours on the phone - this girl changed the way that I live my life, and I know I changed her's too - and now I don't even know what's going on. She throws up barriers in real life. I can't talk to her completely openly without her misinterpreting what I'm saying, or me misinterpreting her. I'm trying hard to keep the same level of communication, the same openness that we had online - but its completely different. Completely different. I don't know what's going to happen now. I'm trying my best, but I thinking this was a big mistake. But I'm not gonna give up."

    What this guy's story helped me understand is that there are significant barriers that can crop up in the transition from cyberspace relationships to real life. In this case, cyberspace allowed them, somehow, to both escape their physical environment and interaction with the people around them - and they were able to be completely open and experience deep and meaningful communication between each other. When they came together physically, the translation of that strong communication had to undergo a change - and it wasn't a smooth process.

    On the flip side, here is an example of social networking that brought two people into close communication, and futhermore inspired a leap into the physical. Whatever the outcome of that physical communication that they have is up for grabs. As he said, he's not gonna give up". He wanted to try, to really try to make it work. But I believe thought needs to be put into this area - what are the challenges of virtual relationships gone 'real' and 'real' relationships going virtual (we already know some about this - as many communicate with our 'real' life friends in cyberspace.

    I don't know how this story ends, I haven't seen him again - but to overcome those problems requires, I believe, is the utilization of aspects of communication in both meatspace and cyberspace - making the best of what both have to offer.


    Recently a friend of mine from high school died. She had been terminally ill for years, was expected to die young, and was already years past her life expectancy. I found out about her death during an online chat with a very close meatspace and cyberspace friend. She was going to the funeral the week after.

    Finding out about a death through the internet is a increasingly more common thing, I believe. I have a friend who doesn't want to look up someone they know to see if they're still alive, as the last time they saw them was several years ago and he was very sick. They just don't want to find out through the internet.

    Started with finding out about deaths through letters, then the telephone - it's removed the physical aspect of death for those who aren't there - or don't feel the absence in meatspace.

    I am a member of facebook - I've never been able to get into it competely - it was the same with myspace - I can't be bothered to update my status every day, tag people in photos, etc. But I'm still there, still communicate with people when I need, and still observe. I use it for, I suppose you could say, useful communication.

    Whatever the case, the other day I was scrolling through my list of friends, and saw my dead friend's profile. It struck me - here she was still alive.

    The definition of "Friend" needs to be examined - the last time she wrote on my wall on facebook, I never responded. The idea of a friend (when speaking about it in terms of someone you got to know in meatspace then transitioning in some part to cyberspace) has spawned a strange type of aquaintance - before if you did not keep up with that person in real life, they probably were not your friend. or at least a relationship was not being continued. There's a dichotomy between how meaningful an online 'friend'ship (as facebook and myspace define the term) is without any giving and receiving. It's almost as if it's in stasis until there's a reason for one of you to contact the other, or if you meet in real time (but you're still caught up on all the new gossip that's happening in their life whatever the case).

    Which brings me to what my friend who was at the funeral told me. She said the funeral was very awkward. There were a huge amount of people there who didn't know the deceased very well, who were never real friends with her in the physical, but were her 'friends' on myspace and facebook. No one knew what to say to each other, and she (as a very close friend of the deceased) felt that awkward energy, almost like a class reunion where no one's having any fun, but you HAD to come to see what everyone else was doing.

    But its not up to me to judge anyone who was there either way. Maybe those who did not befriend her in the physical befriended her in cyberspace, and when she died were able to feel a stronger connection with her and made the jump to the physical (albeit, a bit late). I don't know.

    But as I looked at her profile two weeks after her death, looked at her wall and read the posts that people had left -

    *************** wrote at 4:06am
    I havent seen you online recently. Whats going on?

    *****************wrote at 11:29pm
    to my dearest - i have been stalking my i chat for you... please sign on because inevitably i will be on

    then, a few days later...

    ********** wrote at 4:41am

    I'm so sad.

    From **** to ***** - you were always an inspiration to me.

    You have left a legacy that is nearly impossible to duplicate.

    Cheers to an amazing woman.

    I'll miss you.

    ************ wrote at 8:26pm
    I will always love you like a sister. You will always be dear to my heart.

    wrote at 7:20pm
    ****** I will always remember hanging out at family reunions when we were little and talking our parents into letting us have a sleepover that night, playing at your house when our parents got together for dinner and so much more...

    You were an inspiration me and to so many others.... You will always have a special place in my heart! I will miss you :)

    There are still being photos tagged of her - her facebook page is still present, though it has transformed from her living online presence to a digital monument to her - inaccessible to anyone else. The transition is almost seamless - if it wasn't for a few references to what happened, she could still be alive to all those who have been waiting for a response to their posts on her wall. She is most likely still alive to some.

    I don't know exactly what to make of this transformation, though it has affected me deeply, perhaps even deeper than the news itself that she died.

    I'm leaving this open...I don't know how to approach this issue of digital death, digital gravestones, or living online monuments and how they differ from our physical experience of them. I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    But this all got sparked from the idea of meaningful interaction and Xarene's last post.

    In response to Xarene's question:

    What can we do to ensure that digital habitation of the human specie does not result in the demise of the specie?

    Our cyberspace interaction is in its infancy. The current structure of social networks allows only rudimentary interaction that allows it to be very easy to be superficial (but as read above, can bypass physical barriers as well).

    Physical touch and interaction is important. I would venture to say that social interaction in cyberspace and meatspace are about the same mix of superficial and meaningful. A given person will have greater ease in one or the other, depending on their individual circumstances.

    Xarene, as I understand your concern, it is the loss of physical sense interaction that you critique.

    Rene, you then point out the very crux of the issue - Western culture's obsession with mind-body split and the fear that technology will take over in some science fiction type manner. This is also connected to the dichotomy between the rational and the emotional in Western culture, which is in fact unnecessary and in need of balance.

    It is my opinion that the depth of our interaction with one another, as well as the emotional, empathic connections between each other, can be heightened in both meatspace and cyberspace to create more meaningful interaction in both.

    Xarene, I'd like to hear what you think about Mirror Neurons in the brain found during research on Mirror-touch synesthesia, and how this could be one of the 'tools' in cyberspace.

    This relates to what you said about the importance of not just a physical contact (for they're not touching) but an empathic one. This, for me, shows as well the possibilities of empathic connections in cyberspace.

    But I'm just imagining a time in which I can interact with someone in the physical at the same time as interacting with them in cyberspace - another way of saying this is interacting through both my senses and tele-senses - and that dynamic exponentially increasing the depth and value of both.

    As the technology that extends our tele-senses progresses, we will have more and more access to meaningful cyberspace and meatspace interactions, and new and exciting ways to combine the two! the most exciting part for me.

    It is rather the interface, as it exists today, that is limiting. The interface, rules, and programming of social networking sites defines this interaction to a certain extent. Beyond that, of course, you could say that people could and should use these same interfaces for much more valuable purposes - which is true, but we must continue to work towards the implementation of these tools to enable valuable interaction.

    What are the ways in which technology can bridge the gap between cyberspace and meatspace and define possible connections between the two? What interfaces can be used to enable a balance between them?

    The identification of these tools will allow us to work towards a balance of sense and tele-sensual interaction, and therefore new and involving ways to reconcile this mind-body, rational-emotional split.

    Please share your experiences of love and death in cyberspace - perhaps if we can understand how these two basic experiences can change in cyberspace, we can use that knowledge to help us bridge the gaps that create the unbalances of our interaction.
    Tue, Nov 25, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    In the Polytopia, everyone can customize their interaction with cyberspace and meatspace. There are no set dimensions nor set rules. As has been said before, the Polytopia is multi-dimensional by nature, and therefore will open up as yet unforseen possibilities to interact with our mental and physical environments, not to mention allow people to interact with each other using modalities not possible before.

    Those with mental (dis)orders, even those which cause significant personal damage such as some cases of schizophrenia, etc., cannot be too quickly ignored just because they do not share the same interaction with reality as we do.

    At this point and time we're not even aware of how many different levels of interaction and communication are going to open up with this new technology. And as these new ways to interact in our own languages open us up to the world around us and each other, there is the possibility of a whole new slew of mental (dis)orders that will also arise.

    In the future, the inability to communicate with the world as 'most people' do will not be considered in the respect that it is today. So now, we should learn and be open to to these people who interact differently with our environment than the 'norm' currently accepted, and aspire to do our best to learn their languages.

    "Ironically, the way that I move when responding to the world around me is described as "being in a world of my own" whereas if I interact with a much more limited set of responses and only react to a much more limited part of my surroundings people claim i am "opening up to true interaction with the world". They judge my existence, awareness, and personhood on which of a tiny and limited part of the world I appear to be reacting to. The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization that some people do not consider it thought at all but it is a way of thinking in its own right." - silentmiaow

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    What if our current view of human history which Darwin's theory of evolution propagated is fundamentally flawed?

    As we head into a time in which we are faced with more technology than wisdom to know what to do with it - where on the horizon is bioenhancement, extended life span, machine-mind interfaces and much much more, where we are starting to run into the idea of "accelarated evolution", I believe it important that we take a look at our current view of human evolution and its history.

    At the moment, the overwhelming majority of scientists (but not all), and especially laymen, follow the view of evolution first put forth by Darwin and furthered by many scientists and discoveries since. It is the preeminent theory of human origins, and has had many effects on our current world model.

    You can see the effects of Evolution everywhere. Just today I saw an ad in which a human regresses all the way into a reptile. It's very deeply ingrained in western culture. Kids grow up seeing it used in so many different contexts, to explain so many different processes besides human evolution. It's used in culture, business, economics, social networks – it can be applied to any system, and very often, is.

    Lets take a look at what effects the theory of evolution has had on our current world model.

    First of all, the theory of evolution gave science its real stronghold in the models of belief of the western world.

    An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
    — Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, page 6

    Not just applying to athiests, it put forth a viable, realistic, and most of all, imaginable explanation of human origins, which has also been adopted by religious institutions today. Even the Royal Church of England recently issued a posthumous "apology" to Darwin for condemning his ideas during his lifetime.

    What the theory of evolution did, to start with, was challenge the reigning King of human knowledge during recorded history, Religion.

    In my opinion, the challenging of western religion was necessary. Western religion in whatever way did not satisfy a large percentage of the population (it still doesn't). Western religion had grown throughout the centuries into a lumbering behemoth, a ship sailing the seas that had been patched and repatched (but still leaks, there is a crew always manning the bails), with many good, but many bad captains who steered them into wars and took advantage of their charge.

    But this is not something that's regulated to religion alone. It applies to any institution, whether we look at a religious institution, or a political one - many that start out with good intentions turn bad.

    Science and the promotion of the Rational, at this time, was all good intentions. Let us not rely on half-witted explanations about the world that don't make much sense, but let us rely on Scientific Theory and the inexorable FACT.

    But institutions, once headed on their way, resist a change in momentum.

    In the 20th century, science has taken hold as a new religion. Not that the two are incompatible - far from it. but so much trust is placed in Science that, many times, it is considered heresy to go against commonly-held beliefs.

    And it is, in many cases and from conversations I have had with people, almost heresy not to believe in Evolution.

    It's hard to argue the idea of evolution. We are always evolving - from birth to death, physically and emotionally. Our bodies evolve, our minds evolve - the entire universe is in a constant state of change. Nor do I disagree with the idea of natural selection - these things have stuck with us precisely because they make so much sense because we see them all around us all the time.

    I do not find fault with these ideas. What I am interested in exploring is the effect that Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism and the idea that humans evolved from primates has had on how we view our species.

    So let's leave aside personal attacks on Darwin (don't kill the messenger) and concentrate on the effects that his ideas have created.


    Evolution gave rise to the idea that people could manifest their own 'natural selection.'

    In short, eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention.[2] Throughout history, eugenics has been regarded by its various advocates as a social responsibility, an altruistic stance of a society, meant to create healthier, stronger and/or more intelligent people, to save resources, and lessen human suffering. (from wikipedia)

    Before WWII, it spawned the ideas of compulsory sterilization, and became a widespread concept finding homes (and over a hundred thousand compulsorily sterilized people) in Japan, Cyprus, Sweden, England, and the United States.

    Eugenics is most often related to the Nazis and the idea of "purifying" the undesirables and creating a Super-race of Aryans. After WWII and the genocide, many disassociated themselves from the concept of Eugenics, because Hitler had related his ethnic cleansing to it.

    Now we're about to hit a whole new level of Eugenics. Another link to the Great Enhancement Debate.

    Nor does it end with Hitler. Marx, Lenin, and Stalin also cited Darwinism as proof of their ideologies:

    "On Lenin’s desk in the Kremlin there stood, for most of the years he worked there, a strange bronze statue of an ape gazing with an expression of profound bewilderment and dismay at an oversize human skull… It was the only piece of sculpture on the desk, the first thing that met the eye; and whenever Lenin looked up from his desk to gaze at the very large photograph of Karl Marx, he would inevitably see the ape…

    For a Russian intellectual to dispute Darwinism or any other acceptable scientific theory was to commit a heresy"

    “the Life and Death of Lenin,” by, Robert Payne

    …After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, Marx dashed a note to Engels, saying, ‘This is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our views.’

    Ann Coulter

    The Rise of the Rational and the fall of the Subjective Experience

    I'll venture out onto a limb and say that once a viable explanation of human origins was created, a paradigm shift in thinking started, and the scientific western civilization began to believe that it would be able to try to explain everything using scientific theory. And began to believe, in fact, that science should be trusted more than our own experience.

    Even today, we hear, be rational. Did you see something unreal? Be rational. It couldn't be real. Those don't exist. Are you sure you saw it? You aren't fooling yourself? You know the mind is a tricky thing. Many trust what is told to them so much that even if they see something that completely contradicts what they are told, they will explain it away to themselves because it can't possibly be true.

    Take Synesthesia. It's an emotional experience. Some research was done on it during the 1910s and 1920s, during the same time as Color Organs and Orchestras were in vogue. Much “synaesthetic” artwork (that made by non-synaesthetes) and poetry was made during this time. But then Behaviorism took hold, along with Freud - and started trying to explain emotions rationally as manifestations of the subconscious - again based on the idea that we are creatures that have developed a certain way and therefore can be predicted in some way or another. There was no further research done on synesthesia until the 1980s.

    Then, in the early 1980s, when Dr. Cytowic monitored the brain waves of his friend and first subject of study with synesthesia, they were able to confirm that brain activity was taking place during the synesthetic experience in that particular part of the brain.

    His subject was deeply relieved that the machine proved his experience real. It wasn't enough that he knew he was really experienced what he was - he trusted science more than his personal experience, enough that if the machine had not verified his experience, he would have believed that he was actually crazy.

    What's the message here? You can't trust yourself. Trust science. Trust fact. You can't trust what you feel.

    Man Evolved from Apes

    Much of the western world went from "Man descended from the heavens" to "Man evolved from Apes" in 50 years. To me, that's a pretty big change in the way of thinking. On one hand you've got this celestial idea of Man, and on the other, you have this bestial, primal idea, which has shaped to a certain extent what opinions western civilization has formulated about the relationship between man and animal.

    Well, knowing that made it much easier for people to say, well, this is it, we evolved from animals and we're not much better than a step above them. What makes us so different? Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller were proponents of Darwinism as well - this ruthless "survival of the fittest" in daily life, capitalism, and war.

    It also put a timetable on human history.

    According to Darwinists, the first undisputed fossil evidence for life on earth goes back about 2 billion years. They say the first apes and monkeys appeared about 40-50 million years ago. The first ape-men (called Australopithecus) appeared about 4 million years ago. These were followed by other apemen called Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Neanderthal man. The first human beings of modern type (Homo sapiens sapiens) appeared only 100,000 or 200,000 years ago. Civilization, according to modern scientists, is less than 10,000 years old.

    Michael Cremo

    The ability to explain away human origins simply and understandably produced a great change in the past 100 years and gave western civilization and science the ability to change Man from a mystical creature to an evolved beast - science has proceeded much along this path in explaining away so called 'mystical experiences', but not just those - anything that science can't explain has been able to be put under these pretenses.

    Now is the time where I do here proclaim I am of sound mind, body, and reason - am not a conspiracy theory propagator - so journey down this path with me and explore openly with me.

    The proof for the current view of human history is not as strong as we've been taught it is. Much is based off of conjecture, unreliable dating methods, and of course, that lumbering behemoth that is institution.

    In Michael Cremo's book Forbidden Archaeology, he documents a vast amount of anamolous scientific evidence and archaeological finds that points to the idea that humans have coexisted with the Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Neanderthals, all the earliest humanoids, and declares that Homo Sapiens Sapiens have existed upon earth far longer than the theory of Evolution supposes.

    Over the last 150 years, there has been a systematic discreditation of evidence that does not fit in with the evolutionary theory - scientists have been blacklisted, evidence hidden, samples have disappeared from collections, systematically put down as frauds, but most often ignored until they fade into obscurity.

    He also takes a look at the evidence that is cited to support the theory of Evolution. Much evidence that the Evolutionary Theory RELIES on has undergone little to no real scientific skepticism - dating methods have been tried and retried until the desired age was found. There is a double standard involved in how the evidence and samples are treated.

    The archaeological community balked at the book. It went so far that Michael Cremo wrote another book, called Forbidden Archaeology's Impact, which is documentation of all the letters, reviews, and correspondance that Michael Cremo had as a response to Forbidden Archaeology.

    If you go on, you'll see many comments calling him a crackpot, a creationist, a member of a Vedic Institution trying to push its ideology.

    Or, if you have an open mind, you'll recognize when a challenge is brought to the table, won't dismiss it off-hand and will give it the scrutiny it deserves, according to the scientific process.

    Many would say, why would the archaeological and anthropological community be against the finding of evidence that does not support Evolution?

    Galaleio was considered a heretic. Darwin was considered a heretic. An institution resists change. Pride is at stake. Professional reputation is at stake. I won't go into the depths of Forbidden Archaeology here (if you're interested you can find it and read it on your own), but it suffices to say that IF ONE OF THE PIECES OF EVIDENCE is real, then the entire modern view of human history needs to be rethought - textbooks need to be rewritten - and humankind will need to consider other alternatives to our view of human origins.

    I, for one, think this should come now, at the time where we are heading towards an advanced evolution or (d)evolution which is in our hands.

    As in Wildcat's post on Richard Dawkins speech (for those of you who don't know – Dawkins is one of the foremost proponents of Darwin's theory and often referred to as a neo-darwinist) – we will never be able to understand the world fully, because of the middle-sized universe in which we inhabit limits us from understanding the full universe. Or, said more eloquently,

    Perfect knowledge cannot be received with imperfect senses. Only through perfect senses can perfect knowledge be received.
    - S. P.

    We don't have perfect senses (and in my opinion never will, in this existence), but we are starting to expanding those senses that we do have – and more of our surroundings are becoming understandable. But there is a caveat:

    The problem arises when these theories and hypotheses become mental constructs— it is a short hop in the collective consciousness from "the theory supported by the most scientists" to "scientific fact". New data that falls outside these constructs (that is, data which "flies in the face of accepted scientific wisdom!") are assumed to be anomolous, and are tossed aside; data that supports, fits the constructs is sought out and embraced.
    Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes often described his detection method as scrupulously collecting facts, while AVOIDING the formation of theories. Keep collecting facts— without the blind spots imposed by hypotheses— until you have ruled out all possibilities but one. That remaining possibility, no matter how improbable, is the one true possibility.

    - Anonymous Comment, Review of Forbidden Archaeology's Impact

    I don't care for the one true possibility, nor am I particularly striving to find it – what I am most interested in is staying away from the creation of these “blind spots”. These blind spots are what do the damage – they are those which create misunderstanding, ignorance, arrogance, and ideologies which are not driven by the desire to understand more but by the wish to uphold (I)deals – I deals - ideals (however flawed) by sacrificing possibly beneficial change.

    So far we have just been talking about physical evolution – but what about mental evolution? Cultural evolution? You could say that we are no better, or perhaps even worse, than our predecessors – we still cheat, lie, steal, kill, and commit a futher host of injustices. We waste our time passively, watching silly videos and keeping up with localized and blown-out of proportion dramas, La Societe du Spectacle - whereas we could use that time for positive action, if the will was there. Whereas 1000 years ago we lived in relative harmony with our environment (by meaning not doing lasting damage to the world), now, we are well on our way to destroying it (but, trying to save it, like a high school student cramming before a final exam).

    I propose a segregation and differentiation of the Theory of Evolution as just that, a theory of human origins, and the Idea of Evolution itself when applied to systems – culture and memes, economic systems, and our own, always continuing personal evolution. I believe the connection that the two have at the moment can be a very detrimental one.

    Let us divorce ourselves from scientific theories and free ourselves from assumptions.

    We must rethink our origins to rethink our future.
    Tue, Oct 21, 2008  Permanent link

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    In my last post, I went over several challenges facing Polytopia. Now, I will attempt to share what are the requirements that our technology must fill to adapt to this system, with the goal not be to limit, but to unlimit what the Polytopia can be.

    How I see it is that the infoverse opening up is developing, and developing into a collective that is using the technologies at hand to further its (meta)senses. Our (meta)senses are just beginning to reach out there into the infosphere, more and more nodes are opening up to us to learn, share, communicate. What to speak of physically, as in The Great Enhancement Debate.

    Tele-synaesthesia: virtual interactions between the tele-senses, developed by means of new technological means in order to overcome the constraints of the human senses.

    Dr. Hugo Heyrman, from Telesynaesthesia: the telematic future of the senses

    edit: for some reason these two links are coming up as 'scribd' links, and dont' work. Here's the links.

    Dr. Hugo:

    I agree with Wildcat & Djiezes completely in their statements:

    Polytopia-Because emotions communicate our states of mind
    Polytopia- Because we are Empathy infobodied.

    I think the whole post is worth a reread. A Polytopian Existence. Now we must find something that allows us to inhabit that Existence, never forgetting about the most important aspects - we are emotional, empathetic creatures.

    Next, I suggest we take a look at Steve Mann.

    He's been working on wearable computing since it was possible to understand what that could be. He's also written a couple books on the subject. There was also a documentary about him. Below is a diagram I created of his Fundamentals of wearable computing.

    So we need an OS that can makes possible the aspects of wearable computing, and must adhere to the six signal paths of wearable computing. Synergy, in particular, is worth mentioning. Here's what Mann says.

    Rather than attempting to emulate human intelligence in the computer, as is a common goal of research in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the goal of wearable computing is to produce a synergistic combination of human and machine, in which the human performs tasks that it is better at, while the computer performs tasks that it is better at. Over an extended period of time, the wearable computer begins to function as a true extension of the mind and body, and no longer feels as if it is a separate entity. In fact, the user will often adapt to the apparatus to such a degree, that when taking it off, its absence will feel uncomfortable, in the same way that we adapt to shoes and clothing to such a degree that being without them most of us would feel extremely uncomfortable whether in a public setting, or in an environment in which we have come to be accustomed to the protection that shoes and clothing provide. This intimate and constant bonding is such that the combined capabilities of the resulting synergistic whole far exceeds the sum of either. Synergy, in which the human being and computer become elements of each other's feedback loop, is often called Humanistic Intelligence (HI).
    -Steve Mann

    I find the concept of Humanistic Intelligence far more interesting than Artificial Intelligence.

    Lets add all this into the mix, and look again at Wildcat & Djiezes' definition of A Polytopian Existence.

    A Polytopian existence is thus:

    1. Multidimensional by nature
    2. Integrative by necessity
    3. Emotional by disposition
    4. Informative by structure
    5. Empathic by character
    6. Evolving by direction
    7. Narrating by function

    I believe that we need a bio-architecture for the infoverse. A self-organizing system, that's completely scalable. We are all made up of atoms...

    I think there's a propensity in man's creation of systems to try and fit, accommodate, cater to, and manipulate. We can't go towards this with an eye of making the infoverse fit into a particular system. We have to think about how we can best accommodate the polytopia that sustains the infoverse. I believe that we need a bio-architecture for the infoverse that will fulfill the links between The Bioperson, The Extended person, and The Infoperson. A self-organizing, decentralized system that's completely scalable, and in which billions can inhabit.

    What do we need now?

    So lets see....we've got to have a system that can interface and take advantage of my wearable computing, first of all. There will be many input devices - people will choose what works best for them, their choice in how they relate to the bio-structure. In other words, it should be designed to be able to be connected to now, using the devices we have at hand (cellphones, bluetooth, wifi, iphones, blackberries), and let the technology and hardware develop and further enhance our connection to the infoverse. But how to visualize all this?

    Let's start at the top - but I warn you there is no bottom.

    So, we have:

    1. A physical presence.

    The first layer is the physical. We use technology to capture sensory information, and use existing information, and feed it into..

    Steve Mann also brings up an interesting point about privacy in speaking about - surveillance, sousveillance, and equiveillance

    2. A presence in a representation of the physical.

    The second layer, a virtual earth display, open source, where you can place yourself. Here you have access to any events, people around you, a mix of Twitter, Google Earth, Vlogs and Glogs - any and all open signal cameras in your vicinity.

    Check out Photosynth. Its a program for reconstructing a certain space based off a search of all the photos taken there. It's now open for anyone to create their own space by adding in photos. Technically, we not far from letting us do the same with video.

    This is a live representation of the world, but there are other dimensions available there. There's the past of a place, the now a place, and the future of it. Not to mention the fictions of it.

    3. A presence in the infoverse

    Lets say that a Presence in the infoverse refers to a home base, a desktop, an OS. It can move, extend itself, grow, inhabit spaces - there are all sorts of different wormholes or synapses out from it working off a semantic system. The synapses you travel are be infused with meanings.

    I like the idea that wormholes are rips in the dimensional wall. Our Presence can be present in multiple dimensions. It already is in our regular internet browsing. We all multi-task online.

    4. The presence of our Agent and/or Agents

    Time for the Semantic web to come in, and the idea of "agents".

    I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.

    -Tim Berners Lee

    Lets look at what humans have done pretty well - we've created websites, social networking sites, flash sites, networked video and computer games, it goes on and on - we've created so many realities, or dimension - each with their own (metaphysics) - how does the interface and the environment allow you to use it? Web 2.0 has opened up regular websites from just clicking to adding comments to applications on facebook. But they each have defined their own (meta)laws and (meta)physics for interaction with that environment.

    So our Presence must be able to accept these "Bodies" whatever that may be as defined within said environment. The body is just a method of interacting with the environment - not our sole Presence.

    This is becoming clear with some metaverse softwares working on cross-over with Second Life. And how its crossing with physical life through user input devices - which will of course be built into our wearable computing.


    So we have:

    - A multi-dimensional (meta)environment in which you can easily enter many worlds with different physics and laws which must be followed due to the construction of the dimension itself.

    - which is linked to the physical world and our own virtual presence(s).

    - which gives us the ability to create our own Infoverse narrative,

    - the choice of inhabiting any environment we want,

    - the choice of interfacing with it how we want,

    - the ability to move within it; the synapses are our pathways.

    - the ability to create and define our own synapses/wormholes/pathways and travel through those others have created and defined.

    - the ability to create a world of our own dimensions with its own (meta)laws in which we and/or others can inhabit

    - which will reach into the physical world - when we can communicate with someone across from us in a room without speaking

    - the ability to lead others through a/our particular path of research or thinking

    - the ability to alter the reality that our physical bodies inhabit by altering how we experience it through our senses...

    Already many web 2.0 applications are taking advantage of this interconnectiveness and making these things possible, and more are being invented every day. Blogs, feeds, Twitter, facebook, myspace, instant messaging, Twine, Delicious, Clipmarks, the list goes on and on and on.

    Our system must visualize the inbetweens of all these different systems and encompass them. And give us a home.

    We can see it. We just need to fill in the spaces.
    Mon, Sep 15, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    This is part I of a two-part post on my thoughts on the Polytopia. In this first one, I will aspire to present the challenges we will face in Polytopia. In the next post, I will examine possible vaccines and counterpoints that could be built into the architecture, as well as possible constructive uses that could help all of us grow.


    I think the exponential growth in technology and its affect on the way we live, communicate, and interact with our environments have far exceeded the change that's necessary in human consciousness to inhabit the Polytopia to its greatest advantage and native use.


    What paradigm shifts will the human race encounter with the coming change?

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    - George Santayana

    Entering the Polytopia requires a shift in thinking. At the moment, where we're heading is towards constructing a reality that will have all the same problems that we have now.

    Lets take Second Life, the most popular metaverse software out there at the moment. It's becoming a macrocosm of what we already live. People buy, sell, fill up their spaces with their objects, create an identity based off of appearances - just through a different medium than our own reality. But its pretty much continuing in the same vein (some might take issue with me here, but the change that I want to see is a complete one).

    And what about ID in the Polytopia? I feel this is a major issue in which much thought is already being devoted to, I'm sure, within both organizations and governments. OpenID already exists. Must we register our "person" in order to access? This will become even more serious when digital terrorism starts being able to profoundly "disease" our own personal existence in Polytopia. Who can be excluded? Will you be able to be "banned"? How might access to the Polytopia be used to exclude parts of the human population (through the physical or through the access to the metaphysical)? In an argument for an ID system, it could be said that once "agents" or "bots" become saavy enough to impersonate a human being's presence in the Polytopia, should there be a way to identify them as such? I do not know if I'm for an ID system or against it, but it is a major issue.

    If we start inhabiting the Polytopia now or in the near future (I'm talking about the majority of the population - that's why I feel comfortable bringing these issues up in this community), I say we will create the same "society" that we already live in.

    Lets not go too deep into the Singularity, uploading our consciousnesses, etc. etc. We know that's on the horizon, and approaching quickly. but that brings up a whole other set of problems - for instance, what does a computer virus become when it starts infects our consciousness? To tell you the truth, I don't know if we'll get to that point. We're too immature as a whole. I find it amazing that in the last 100 years, we've gained the ability to destroy our world using nuclear technology, and we haven't yet.

    As Buckminster Fuller said (I'm paraphrasing), when we're born and grow up, we adapt to the technology available to us. These new generations are growing up with the reality of our technology, as a given. The human mind will adapt.

    By the time we have the possibility to inhabit this Polytopia (and before we're able to upload our consciousness), we will still be reliant on our bodies - basic things do not change - we still need to be born, develop physically, eat, shit, procreate (if its so desired) and die.

    The ability to create human-based avatars within the metaverse software is a handicap, in my opinion. We need to have the freedom to leave behind our bodies in the physical world, not just create new ones in the virtual.

    We are not this body.

    This does not mean that we leave behind our bodies, but rather establish what the relationship is between the two.

    I think the growth of our access to and interaction with information, the physical world, communication, and social interaction will profoundly change how we answer the question,
    who am I?

    This is by no means a complete breakdown of the challenges. Why I post this here is to create an active discussion about it. Let us use our collective intelligence to first of all, be aware of the challenges that we face and to design an architecture that forces us to address these issues, not enter with blinders on. Our idea of what the Polytopia needs to be is already behind where current technology is leading us. We need to get ahead. And fast.

    I propose to start a project here on SpaceCollective which is devoted to exploring the possibilities, challenges and architecture of the Polytopia.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Sun, Sep 14, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: polytopia, metaverse, future
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    After reading through the posts on Polytopia, we realized that our research has led to the right place.

    NotThisBody has been doing research to do with the creation of a 3d, hypermedia, collaborative sense-making environment (whew). Most of Wildcat's ideas and thoughts, we agree are necessary in this new platform.

    Here are some things that we have run into along the way - what NotThisBody is interested in is becoming involved with a community who's desire it is to be the first inhabitants the Polytopia.

    What sparked the beginning of research was a desire for a virtual black space, where audio, video, text, etc. could be added in, links could be made between objects, and could be used by many users at the same time.


    Research led to Compendium, a concept mapping program which is pretty much exactly what we were looking for, except not in 3d. It is a flow-chart creator on your computer. By far the best program that we found, among the many out there. You can create a node, edit the content of that node, and link to any type of file, web page, photo, sound - but they can not necessarily be viewed within the program. There is a language that links them together called IBIS (issue-based information system) where you can specify the relationship between nodes - supports, denies, challenges, relates to, etc.

    NotThisBody already uses this program to organize all of its research and to allow further discovery and thoughts on all of this.


    The desire for a 3d space like Compendium led us to Cobalt, a metaverse operating system still in development. Based off the programming language Squeak, this is a scalable, collaborative 3d environment in which media can be added within the landscape - video, audio, web browsers, and portals into other spaces. Still very early in development, this program does not just exist on the web, it encompasses the web. Here is a post we added on the google group Cobalt highlighting what we think are the current needs of Cobalt.

    I see Croquet as having so much possibility, and would love to help it's development any way I can.

    Compendium is where I get my reference for this from - it's a program that has a very strong and user-friendly functionality. It's open-source. You can download it at

    I'm not a programmer, therefore would have no idea how to add this functionality.

    Pretty much, this is how I would the added functionality working in Croquet -

    say you have a file, note, reference, whatever, that you bring in.

    The first part of it, I believe, could be user-created - out of the blank spheres or shapes, etc. These would be the different types of nodes (this is not a complete list - some of them appear in Compendium, some don't - Compendium allows for a user-created "stencil" allowing users to add their own types of nodes - although I believe it would be important to have an as-completed-as-possible set, for reasons I will explain when it comes to structure.

    Reference (can be video, sound, website, etc. - since croquet already has this, it would just be a matter of being able to identify it as
    List (almost like a portal)

    This is by far not a complete list - but I think this would set a good basis. Compendium has "maps" which already work in the way of portals - infinitely expandable and shortcuts from one map to the other.

    Okay. So we have our set of nodes. Next is the information contained in these nodes. The functionality would work in the same way that Croquet has different 'actions' that are on top of an item. At the moment you guys have the Hand, +,-, X, and arrow.

    Compendium is set up in much the same way - except there are more options. On the four corners of the Node, you have

    Views (other maps/portals it appears in)
    # of Items it holds (for maps/portals)

    I will go through these one by one.


    When you double-click a node, there you have

    Where you can add notes - also where you can see when it was created, see in what "maps" it appears (if more than one), etc.

    When you add a note, and close the Node Contents view, a small star appears. Move your cursor over it, and you can read a piece of that note.


    You can also add tags - this is tied into the different types of nodes above. Compendium has them as:


    As I look at this list - I realize that it's less important to create the different visual types of nodes as explained above than to create a well-constructed "tagging" system (though a visual representation of the tag somehow would be very useful)


    This is fairly self-explanatory. There is a small number in one of the corners, and by scrolling over it you can see, and if you want, jump, to any other views where this node exists.


    How many nodes are in the map/portal - self-explanatory. Added functionality could be added to this function, to be linked with searching, possibly. (i.e. how many portals it holds, the links to other places.

    Actually, thinking about it, this could be a place for a visualization of the Contents - tho I have no idea how. Maybe you see how it fits into the overall metaverse view.

    Next - IBIS (issue-based information system)

    Compendium includes this system to link objects together. First of all, they use a directional arrow - it can be to/from, from/to, or both ways. or no arrow, just a link. Compendium is also used to great effect for live dialogue mapping, which I think relates to Croquet's collaborative creation. (sorry to reference Compendium so much, but as I said, my research on 3d visualization started with finding a 3d version of Compendium, and it seems quite well-formed)

    This system includes:

    Responds to
    Objects to
    Expands on
    Related to

    These are all color-coded. As well there is the functionality to add a more precise definition of the link, by adding text to it.

    Okay. Now we get to the hardest part, in my opinion. As Matt said, there is a big difference between the structuring of elements in 2d vs. 3d. And when it would come to a world, I don't think you could rely on users creating this structure, especially in a 3d space. I know that in Compendium, I have my own way of structuring my knowledge to make it the clearest for me, and it's sometimes a struggle. In a 3d space, I doubt if I could keep it clear.

    This is why I think it would need a structuring program for this type of work - possibly based on geometric shapes - I'm not sure - this is where I get hazy. But the implications that that would have would be that the metaverse would need a structuring program working full-time
    - a program written to keep it as clear as possible - this is why I think one based on geometry might work.

    The closest thing to this structuring program I can think of is a game that I saw, used with a multi-touch system - You have a series of connected nodes, and you have to "solve" the geometry by dragging nodes in and out - like a game of cat's cradle, in fact. I guess some of the structuring method could also be based on the "tags" and "node types" to further specify how it's structured.

    The Bridge Project

    I found this just recently. The project is from 2006, and it seems as if the author is now spending most of her time in Second Life.

    She seems to have a good handle on creating it, as well as the ideas of the Polytopia discussed here. She also discusses rhizomatic growth, which is of interest.

    The purpose of this post is for others to share information on what they ahve found that is out there and available so we can try to find a platform to support Polytopia. To us, so far Cobalt is the closes thing we've found, but has quite a long way to go. We'd like to hear other's thoughts.
    Fri, Sep 5, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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