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Rene Daalder
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jan 18, 2007
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    From Xarene
    Los Angeles and the Human...
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    Some nothings are like...
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    Utopia Always Comes First
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    rene’s projects
    Polytopia
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

    Branding the Species
    Background: Voyager’s Interstellar record is a disk with encoded information that was attached to two space probes currently making their...

    The Total Library
    Text that redefines...

    Start your own revolution
    Catching up with the future. All major institutions in the world today are grappling to come to terms with the internet. The entertainment...

    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...

    The great enhancement debate
    What will happen when for the first time in ages different human species will inhabit the earth at the same time? The day may be upon us when people...

    Proposal for a multimedia...
    A musical mindstorm on the nature of sound, light, space and subjective experience powered by locally produced energy, heralding the ending of the...

    Designing Science Fiction...
    The course will be loosely inspired by the movie (and the book) The Man who Fell to Earth in which David Bowie plays an extraterrestrial visitor...
    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.
    As the intellectual contours of Polytopian existence are coming into focus in Wildcat’s recent writings, the condition he describes still leaves us without the more conducive sense of a “mind habitat” expressed in this pre-polytopian post. When SpaceCollective received an invitation to join the upcoming Singularity Summit in San Jose it made me think that several posts by Wildcat and other contributions to the site are exploring the existential implications of the same trajectory that will ultimately lead to the Singularity, albeit in a more engaging and creative way. Sort of like we represent the Humanities in conjunction with the Singularity's Science & Technology focus. I must admit that I was impressed with the recent announcement by Intel’s chief technology officer’s pledge to bring the Singularity within reach 4 decades from now.


    Image: CERN's Large Hadron Collider

    I'm not suggesting that Polytopia should be looking for similar validation (to my knowledge none of our contributors are engineers), but it wouldn’t hurt if our own discourse would somehow become more actionable, even though I'm still not quite sure how that can be accomplished. Obviously, continuing to think about the subject and articulating a more complete philosophical vision remains extremely valid, especially if it becomes a more collective exercise. But we should simultaneously capitalize on the creative bend of the SpaceCollective community and revive earlier expressions of interest in creating models for a new society. Coining the name Polytopia was a great start, and, as Alan Smith has proven with his post about Nationhood giving a visual identity to such an initiative has a lot of potential to effectively brand the proposal for a newly established Society of Mind and turn it into more of a perceptual reality. Writing manifestos, bylaws, etc. can be an exciting thing to do as well, and Spaceweaver's commitment to develop the concept of Polyethics will give the project critically important added substance. Practical contributions like notthisbody's post Towards a Polytopa are of course very welcome as well.

    Another potent aspect of the Polytopian position is that its principles can be considered revolutionary and could well be framed in terms of a movement. If people know it or not, they are already partaking in a revolution which may be largely invisible but is nevertheless a pivotal world-transforming event. However, I feel that our own acute sense of already being part of this all-encompassing transformation is one of the impediments that has prevented us as like-minded thinkers and creators to coordinate our efforts and give projects like Polytopia the critical mass needed to manifest in the outside world. Just think about it, the Singularity movement came about simply because sci-fi writer/academician Vernor Vinge established the initial concept, which was then embraced by the more practical thinker/inventor Ray Kurzweil and now Intel’s technology director. As a result a broadly recognized idea has taken root in the world built around little more than a catchy word, a succinct definition (the moment when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence) and Intel's co-founder Gordon E. Moore’s formulation of his now famous law.


    Illustration by Bryan Christie

    In light of the tremendous power of thought and creativity which has emerged on this site in a mere 8 months, I find it hard to believe that SpaceCollective wouldn’t be able to similarly push the envelope to the next level. I dare say that we are equally committed to pursue our own viable ideas, and on a creative level represent as versatile a force as anyone currently involved with the Singularity. Besides, Intel’s commitment as well as Moore’s law are working as much on our behalf as that of the Singularitarians. In fact, we’re in this together with them – as long as we continue to assert our own agenda and fulfill at least some of its potential to engage in the larger scheme of things. To be continued.
    Fri, Sep 5, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Collapsing time and distance

    To further investigate the far-reaching implications of a virtually optimized future, let’s once more revisit the emergence of today’s live/work movement as it plays itself out both in the inner cities and the suburbs.


    Illustration by alborz

    • By 2006, the expansion of home-based workers in the U.S. grew twice as quickly as in the previous decade.
    • In some regions, such as the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, almost one in 10 workers is a part-time telecommuter.
    • At many companies — IBM, Sun Microsystems, and AT&T among them — upward of 30% of their employees work from their home office.
    • Demographers forecast that by 2015 there will be more individuals in the region working electronically from their house than there are people making use of public transit.

    Once upon a time the information many of these tele-commuters needed to do their job was only available at their corporate offices. Since then, some of the most important and recent data, which used to be contained in numerous filing cabinets has been transferred to the computer. At first the data were stored in massive mainframes which only the corporation could afford (along with other equipment such as typewriters, telephone switchboards, the telex and the fax machine). But today every one of these functions can be performed from any cheap lap top computer.

    • Today, almost every aspect of conducting business has been migrated to a digital utility whose technology extends far beyond its corporate premises. This utility connects all computers, facilitating 55 trillion links, 100 billion clicks per day and 2 million emails per second.
    • Even inter-office communication often takes place online, sending an email from one adjoining cubicle to the next, traveling around the world with the speed of light only to arrive with only a fraction of delay at their destination a few feet away.
    • For all practical purposes, there no longer is a difference between people performing administrative work from an office, a WiFi-equipped coffee shop or for that matter their homes which have been fully equipped to produce the same letters, spreadsheets and data for years.
    • With geographic location no longer an issue, in the last decades a substantial part of the US service industry has been outsourced to places as far away as India.
    • Phone operators and help desk consultants are seamlessly integrated from one society into the next halfway across the globe in time zones as different as night and day.
    • Believe it or not, but the fast food order at your local McDonalds drive-through stand is now discreetly taken by Internet phone operators in India. Apparently, this transcontinental procedure has considerably sped up the way your order of French fries is being processed at your local fast food joint.

    Given this reality, it doesn’t compute that local commuters are suffering hours in rush hour traffic in order to perform their daily tasks from a random cubicle in Buffalo, while their order at the local McDonald’s is instantly processed by someone in Bangalore. In fact, the tasks these workers perform are no longer bound by the limitations of time and place, which would suggest that the ubiquitous office towers to which they commute may sooner or later become the remnants of an obsolete legacy that has outlived itself. Who knows, the very spot where employees now sit in their cubicles - surrounded by a few snapshots of their loved ones - may one day be re-zoned to become the very living room of their future live/work condo.

    To be clear, none of the earlier mentioned facts are meant to deny the advantages of people working together in science labs, think tanks, creative work places, or for that matter academic programs. But when movie director Peter Jackson can direct the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording sessions for Lord of the Rings while reclining on a couch in New Zealand, surely accountants must be able to share their bookkeeping efforts without wasting time and energy on daily commutes. The same goes for numerous other professions, ranging from managers and salesmen to all manner of creative people, many of whom have proven to be much more effective once they have joined the remote work force.


    Optimization At Work

    The initial inspiration to embark on this inquiry was to emulate computer optimization software’s capacity to de-fragment and reorganize layers of inefficiently stored digital data. In this particular instance the objective was to probe the outmoded organization of people who transport themselves to obtain locally archived information rather than accessing searchable data files from wherever they may geographically be. In the process I tried to demonstrate how today’s invisible digital utility can at least partially be measured in dimensional terms by its potential to free up actual space in the “real” world. Opportunities for optimization were targeted in areas of manufacturing, education, retail and office space as well as self-storage facilities, all of which suggested potential for imminent change. Even if one were to disagree with some of the specifics of the various scenarios, the overall data shows an unmistakable trend that appears to be largely overlooked by politicians, urban planners, public intellectuals, corporate CEO’s and environmentalists alike.


    Illustration by alborz

    First of all, we tend to greatly underestimate the digital realm’s potential to restore our choked-up infrastructure by reducing traffic to the level it was originally meant to accommodate. What if we could cut highway traffic by 30 or 20 or even 10% simply by moving the results of people’s labor back and forth from their computer to the main office in “real time”? Such a development would almost overnight give rise to more efficient life-styles and a freedom of movement we have not known for decades.

    • It would significantly reduce our average carbon footprint while cutting down on stress and frustration.
    • Increase mobility while providing a solution to runaway fuel prices
    • Create additional living spaces without erecting new buildings.

    Clearly, the implementation of a comprehensive live/work policy alone would do more for our overall quality of life than most environmental plans currently on the table. Some of the results might be accomplished on a corporate or even grass roots level by employers and their staff without much intervention of politicians, urban planners or government funding. After all, the required virtual infrastructure has long since been integrated in people’s lives and has become absolutely essential to younger generations whose lives seamlessly unfold at the intersection where the virtual and the physical meet.

    If you lived here, you’d be home now, the old billboards used to say. But the idea of “home” has been greatly expanded since then. So much in fact that an updated version of the slogan might read: If you lived here, you’d be everywhere at once...

    The world has been outfitted with a new operating system, just when we needed it.

    May the Age of Optimization begin.


    End of Part III.
    Also see Part I and Part II
    Fri, Sep 5, 2008  Permanent link

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    Academia in the age of the search engine

    Historically, the world’s universities have been the elegant search engines of the past. Professors would take their students into the library where they would single out a particular book and hand it over to their disciples, ritualistically sharing the cultural canon on which our civilization is built.


    Image: Teaching at Paris, in a late 14th-century Grandes Chroniques de France. Source

    It is a distinguished system that has been working well for centuries. But even with today’s embryonic search technology students are able to obtain a fair amount of the wisdom they need from a worldwide utility consisting of invisible machines that are able to share their knowledge electronically, while instantly becoming expert at any number of disciplines. In addition, an ongoing exchange takes place in which a multitude of internet users are customizing and updating information by sharing, annotating, and linking it, creating different contexts and connections, which are in turn picked up again by machines throughout the system, and so on - ad infinitum. Here are some of the future implications that might be considered by the academic world:

    • Rapid technological and societal change has created a student population that is consistently more tech-savvy and ahead of the curve than most of the faculty that is teaching them.
    • To keep up with this situation, the institution will have to accept the idea that two brains (human and computer) are better than one, while acknowledging a more dynamic model of information exchange whereby students are encouraged to teach other students as well as their teachers, who in turn may provide the students’ self-acquired knowledge (mostly based on copious online research) with a more rigorously informed and/or creative framework.
    • Given the fact that education increasingly takes place outside the class room or the libraries that used to be central to the academic program, future students may begin to question the value of moving across the country or even continents to study on distant campuses. Especially considering the substantial cost of this education which is often paid for in the form of student loans that may burden them for years to come, particularly in an unreliable job market.
    • One thing is for certain, significant changes are afoot even for the most venerable of institutions. MIT’s public education program, for example, makes its entire curriculum freely available to anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world.
    • Currently all of the university’s 1800 courses can be accessed on the web, drawing 1.4 million visitors every month, 60% of them coming from outside North America. This type of virtual education can be greatly enhanced by bringing certain aspects of a college education into the online environment, like remote virtual audiences with favorite professors, which in the near future should become commonplace.
    • As it stands, even today’s college-bound students spend most of their time doing homework off-campus and online, while on a personal level they have learned to stay in touch through social networks, cell phones and instant messaging, considerably reducing their dependency on the institution’s physical facilities.



    • Image by Phil Wheeler

    • Staunch believers in the social incubation period commonly offered by universities may take note that, besides today's prevalence of online social networks, other social aspects of collegiate lifestyles can easily be replicated wherever young people congregate, from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to downtown Los Angeles and other low rent neighborhoods across the country.
    • Assuming that the virtualization of academia will continue, we can even imagine how in the future empty dorms and other vacated facilities on America’s sprawling campus grounds may house a mixed student population the same way today’s local arts districts are now populated by creative individuals.

    As we shall see, this scenario would be consistent with similar trends developing in several other areas of contemporary life.


    The optimization of urban space

    These days an increasing number of US cities have a local arts district where vacated office buildings and warehouses have been converted into live/work lofts, ideally suited for a community that is spared the drudgery of having to commute to work every day. As it happens, these repurposed buildings date back to the industrial revolution which came to an end when today’s digital infrastructure facilitated the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to third world countries. Such shifting spatial requirements from one era to the next can be expected in other areas as well. To pick just one example, the world’s built environment houses a huge volume of paperwork, which, analogous to the National Archive’s 650 miles of book stacks, referred to in part 1 can potentially be collapsed into a few feet of digital storage space. Below are a few examples:


    a. Paperwork

    The following numbers demonstrate society’s outrageous dependency on paperwork:

    • 90% of corporate memory is stored on paper.
    • The total stock of paper held by US companies consists of 130 billion sheets, which works out to approximately 650 million cubic feet, adding up to six of the largest office towers in the world.
    • The average document gets copied 19 times.
    • Professional people spend 5-15% of their time reading information, but up to 50% looking for it (which in the age of search borders on absurdity).
    • There are over 4 trillion documents in the US alone, growing at a rate of 23% per year.
    • It takes 200 million average-size filing cabinets to fit all of these 4 trillion pages, adding up to 1.2 billion square feet of office space. That’s enough square footage to cover two Manhattans.
    • Worldwide estimates would amount to 500 million filing cabinets occupying 3 billion square feet of office space, or nearly 5 Manhattans.

    Besides the apparent inefficiency of this system, there is another price to pay:
    • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
    • In fact, each year Americans throw away the equivalent of more than 30 million trees in newsprint alone.
    • In total, the amount of wood and paper we throw away per year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.



    b. Self-storage space

    As with all issues of space, the United States is by far the most profligate when it comes to the all-pervasive self-storage phenomenon. This is especially remarkable considering that the average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s and now stands at 2,349 square feet.

    • There are 41.000 (!) storage facilities across the country, compared to 600 in the UK and 100 in Australia.
    • The monthly storage space Americans are currently renting is estimated at a total of 2.194 billion square feet, which at 78 square miles amounts to an area more than 3 times the size of Manhattan.
    • In fact, for every man, woman and child in the nation there is 6.86 sq. ft. of self storage space, which would make it physically possible for every US citizen to stand at the same time under its total expanse of corrugated roofing.

    Most of the time these self-storage areas tend to be deserted, suggesting that the stored contents are of marginal value to their owners. Typically, these consist of redundant items like tax returns, canceled checks and other personal documents, as well as books, CD's, etc. To the extent that these belongings are worth saving at all, most of them could be much cheaper stored online where it would take up little or no space while remaining organized and accessible. Not just for the short term, but as personal time capsules which could be of future archival or statistical interest.


    c. Audiovisual media

    Moving on to film and video:

    • The US Government stores about one billion feet of archivally significant film material.
    • Spread out over 384 facilities, this combined film footage could circle the globe 400 times.
    • If all of this information would be encoded and compressed into video files which could be referenced online, its 200 Terabytes of data could easily be stored on a server the size of a home closet.
    • At this point we’re not even talking about the towering amounts of canned celluloid distributed for centuries by the Hollywood film industry, which is about to save huge sums of money on storage space and transportation bills thanks to the advent of digital projection as well as Video On Demand which spells the imminent demise of the physical wares currently fighting for shelf space in the video store.
    • Similarly, TV broadcasters all over the world are moving away from videotape to become a file-based medium. As they migrate the ever-growing contents of their vaults to a super efficient digital utility, their way of interfacing with the public will change completely once their medium will adopt the interactivity of the Internet.


    d. Internet retail

    iTunes, whose entire music inventory takes up a negligible amount of server space, sells over 1 billion songs per month, beating former US record holder Walmart whose big box operation maintains a massive warehoused inventory of 4 million CDs and DVDs.

    • The iTunes model is being carefully watched by major retailer Amazon who cornered the online market by selling millions of books online and cutting out the stores.
    • Judging from Amazon’s recent introduction of its Kindle electronic reading device it seems apparent that the company is now developing its own strategy to forego the physical products that initially made them one of the most successful online retailers.
    • For the moment Amazon still misses a truly effective way to entice people to engage with written content to be read on screens. However, the rapid descent of newspaper circulation in favor of the internet speaks volumes, and for those who prefer it, foldable electronic paper is on its way. Besides, it won’t be long before we will be able to "goggle" into a fully immersive information space, offering variable modes of perception for gaming, teleconferencing, 2D and 3D movies as well as a convenient interface for reading.

    e. Games at the intersection of virtual and physical space


    Another interesting example of physical space being partially subsumed by the digital realm is Nintendo’s revolutionary Wii controller. This highly successful gaming device so seamlessly straddles the intersection between the analog and the digital domain that one can easily imagine how its interface could precipitate the end of bowling alleys, tennis courts, and perhaps even the closure of your local gym. More than just another example of the virtual appropriation of physical space, the Wii’s success story in particular serves as convincing confirmation of a major shift in the way our existence is beginning to simultaneously take place in the overlapping realms of physical and virtual realities.

    End of Part II.
    Also see Part I and Part III
    Tue, Aug 26, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: The Total Library
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    Man is no longer the measure of all things. The dimensions of human endeavor have expanded from bodily cubits to incomprehensibly tiny angstroms and incomprehensibly large light years. Architecture, comfortably situated in the middle of this spectrum, and rarely departing from human dimension by more than one or two orders of magnitude, has correspondingly lost authority.

    — From “Digital Ground” by Malcolm McCullough


    Introduction

    A few decades ago, speaking about the potential of Virtual Reality, futurist philosopher Timothy Leary observed that “the idea for you to trap yourself in a 300 horsepower vehicle, emitting toxic waste and fighting the freeways, or worse, fighting New York traffic to lumber and bring your body to a place where you’re going to do mind work, ranks down there with cannibalism.”

    Since then, the number of miles Americans drive has risen at more than double the population growth. And even while more than half of the areas of our cities is covered in roads and the US spending $30,024,236,000 annually on national highway improvements, people’s mobility is continually on the verge of coming to a grinding halt. Not to mention the fact that fossil fuels keep throwing the world into one crisis after another.


    In a simultaneous development, we are now routinely transporting our simulated “bodies” to alternate online worlds, where, besides social activities, we are doing most of our mind work in an inter-connective space shared by 1.5 billion internet users. However, as our activities keep migrating from the physical realm to this emerging digital infrastructure we have yet to grasp its power to transform the world to a much larger extent than is commonly realized.

    In this series of posts I will try to explore some possible consequences of the rapidly advancing virtualization of the world which can, at least partially, be measured in terms of its potential to free up space in the “real world.” Next I will try to demonstrate how the virtual and the actual worlds will continue to complement each other and eventually will become the integrated spaces of the future where the atomic and the digital will converge.


    Virtual Filmmaking

    In the early days of computing, in pursuit of a good yarn, I stumbled upon the idea that motion pictures of the future might one day forego physical reality and be generated electronically. In the resulting screenplay that was based on this idea, this technological breakthrough caused an uprising in the ranks of the town’s filmmakers and stars, challenging their very notion of what it means to be human.

    Needless to say that at the time the powers that be in Hollywood were at a complete loss about the concept. But a few decades later, Computer Generated films proved to be among the most successful genres at the box office, and today even so-called “live-action” blockbusters are largely software-based. It won’t be long until the motion picture industry will be virtualized to the point when film crews no longer have to scour the earth in search of cheap locations and tax incentives, from Romania to the Philippines, while lugging around truckloads of heavy equipment, star trailers, traveling kitchens, portable toilets and so on. Instead of logistics that are more fitting for military operations than for the creation of cinematic illusions, movies of the future will primarily be conceived in the digital domain, allowing for much greater identification, heightened immersion and game-like interactivity.

    Along the way I had the opportunity to produce the world’s first catalog of sampled sounds for Emulator's electronic keyboards, storing the musical instruments of an entire philharmonic orchestra on a pocket-sized floppy disk. It would become the seminal moment in my understanding of how computer technology would continue to transform the world. Within a year or so many television shows and low budget movies were no longer scored by live musicians but by individual composers in their home studios. Simulated symphonic film scores emanated from their keyboards, enhanced by an occasional violin overdub to give large string sections a more acoustic feeling, or infused with human breath blown into a plastic tube attached to the keyboard to add life to the sound of a sampled saxophone. As is usually the case with technology-driven progress, people’s fears that this breakthrough would render musicians obsolete did not come true. But it was yet another important step in the rapid virtualization of the culture, which was inevitably enriched by putting an otherwise inaccessible musical palette in the hands of numerous talented musicians at a minimum cost.


    A culture worth saving

    Meanwhile, the digital age is in full force on other fronts as well as Search engines are promising to give everybody access to the aggregate knowledge brought forth by human culture. Recently, I had some firsthand experiences with a number of institutions whose existence appears to be under siege due to the public’s changing relationship with all this information. For a project I’m currently working on, I visited the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle public library, which is a gorgeous architectural ode to the book, expressing great optimism about a culture worth saving. But in reality, the library holds only 780.000 books, all of which can be contained on one external hard drive you may find on sale for $240 at your local electronics store.

    Although the librarians don’t like to talk about it, they suspect that at this juncture the future of the book is hanging in the balance. Their apprehension is based on technological developments that are beginning to turn their profession upside down by offering people unprecedented online access to the very information that was once their exclusive analog domain. They suspect that their own livelihood may be in danger once Google launches its advanced search engines which according to the company will function “like reference librarians with complete mastery of all human knowledge,” providing people with search results far beyond what’s possible today.


    Image: Biblioteca Angelica, Rome, Italy

    Today, large scale book digitization projects are well under way. Other than complicated copyright issues, this is not nearly as intimidating a proposition as it would seem. Just consider the following statistics taking the Library of Congress as their starting point:

    • The Library of Congress is the largest print library in the world with a collection of 26 million published works, making up the majority of all existing books, half of which are in the English language
    • This may seem like a lot of books, but in the digital age it doesn’t represent much data. By comparison, the same amount of information as is printed in the total number of existing books is posted online every two months
    • If we consider that it would take one person roughly a year to digitize 3000 books, this means that all 26 million titles can be scanned by the population of Detroit in the course of one long weekend
    • In terms of computer storage the average content of a scanned book takes up one megabyte, adding up to a total of twenty six million megabytes. This means that the combined text of all published books amounts to just 26 terabytes of data, which can be stored on a server taking up less shelf space than the 32 volumes of the combined Encyclopedia Britannica.
    • To put it differently, the 650 miles of books stored on the stacks of the Library of Congress (roughly covering the distance from Chicago to New York) can be collapsed into a few feet of digital storage space
    • Obviously this does not mean the demise of the Library of Congress but the launch of a parallel digital archive which will make these books universally accessible and conducive to search

    Thus, the digitization of the Wisdom of the Ages that was once verbally passed on from one campfire to the next, then copied in long hand, and published in print, will soon be liberated from its heft and become available online, where its contents will be saved from obscurity by making it instantly available to all Internet users.


    End of Part I.
    Also see Part II and Part III
    Tue, Aug 19, 2008  Permanent link

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    When we launched SpaceCollective towards the end of 2007 we had no idea whether the “forward thinking terrestrials’’ we were hoping to attract were actually out there. All we had to go by was our sense of the zeitgeist and the hypothesis that we are currently living through a period of exponential change that has the potential to transform human nature, using as our reigning metaphors the networked intelligence of the web, technology-induced evolution and the new space age.


    Image from Node Garden by Jared Tarbell, 2004

    While students at UCLA in Los Angeles and Vienna’s School for the Applied Arts were in the early process of beta testing the site, scores of aspiring members somehow found our unpublicized URL and were applying for membership to our yet to be launched invite only community. Without any publicity or public beta, an instant network of forward thinkers from all over the world had spontaneously sprung into existence. Since then SpaceCollective has become a veritable think tank about the future hosting thousands of highly astute contributors and hundreds of thousands of page views per month.

    The community we established appears to be filling a gap in the culture, which relegates almost everything that lies in the future to the realm of science-fiction. Our ongoing involvement with major universities made it clear that the academic environment, which routinely passes on the wisdom of the ages, offers no formal curriculum that addresses the future. The same can be said about other institutions like the government and even the Internet itself, which offers few opportunities for future-oriented discourse.

    The consensus appears to be that the future is based on conjecture rather than empirical observation and therefore has little or no relevance to academia or the general populace.

    As a result, the precious preserve of the past is left in the respectable hands of tenured professors, while most known futurists are outsiders making a living as fiction writers (i.e. Neal Stephenson), musicians (Brian Eno), journalists (Joel Garreau) or inventors (Ray Kurzweil).

    SpaceCollective appears to be a similar ragtag group of individuals, coming from various creative backgrounds and sharing the interests and concerns of these avowed futurists.

    Unlike the majority of people whose lives tend to be rooted in the past, and the more blessed among them who manage to exist in the here and now, these forward thinkers appear to be living on the threshold of the imminent future. Not because of their superior intelligence, but because of their intuitive capacities. Where others experience the world in terms of the fixed and the firm, they see reality as a scrim revealing the future potential of things.

    Although this mindset may offer some people the advantage of a certain foresight, it also puts them at odds with the establishment, whose job it is to preserve the status quo rather than promote potential. Thus, in order to exercise their autonomy of thought, it makes perfect sense for them to retreat beyond the scrim to the parallel universe of the internet to dream up new strategies for transcending the stagnant world at large.

    “In the future, the importance of geography will be matched by the importance of values and ideas,” writes Alan Smith in a recent SpaceCollective post about a foreseeable Nationhood made up of “overlapping islands of thought.” meganmay brings his point home by observing that “more than any other website, SpaceCollective is where minds meet outside of bodies.”


    Image from Nationhood: The future of Nationalism by Alan Smith

    In what seems to be like an update to virtual reality, which transports simulated “bodies” to alternate worlds, many internet users share the familiar sense of extending their minds into a virtual head space which they collectively inhabit.

    This sensibility is articulated in a couple of video Epiphanies by Richard and Xárene who call this online space “home,” while the most commented upon post, Proposal for a New Society, features several manifestoes for an online state called InterNation.

    Both of these notions were recently expounded in separate posts by one of the site’s most prolific futurists, Wildcat, who tackles the concept of an interactive home for what is becoming a society of mind with unprecedented clarity:

    The infoverse is where we will live. And we need a home. A mutually supportive habitat of sorts. A mind habitat, an infotat for our minds, for we are infonauts.” He goes on to wonder whether “the little corner in the vast infoverse” we’ve come to know as SpaceCollective may be the home he has been looking for.

    Over time an unspoken consensus about the nature of Wildcat’s “mind habitat” has taken shape in several extensive posts by SpaceCollective members. For example, in “My cranium is open source?” versatile futurist philosopher Spaceweaver writes that "in the future the very definition of individuality will probably be derived not from the arbitrary conditions of one’s biological makeup, but rather how one is connected and to what. The degree of individuation will depend on (the) difference in interconnectivity.” In conclusion he observes that “becoming interconnected minds who share all resources (i.e. computation power and bandwidth) might become an increasingly attractive existential option.”

    Following up his post about a “mutually supportive mind habitat,” Wildcat has a go at the unresolved Proposal for a New Society and takes a leap forward by drawing up an ad hoc constitution while coining a brilliant catch-all name for his project. Here’s an excerpt of the thought process that brought him to this point:
    “My aim in this proposition is to emphasize that the concepts of Utopia and Dystopia are anachronistic, outdated and outright obsolete. In their stead I shall try and propose a fresh perspective on the notion of the future of humanity, a natural humanity, perpetually evolving. The future of humanity I propose is one of Polytopia, a term designating an open ended and emergent process of co-evolution and cross-fertilization considering all and any conscious aware entities.”

    The word Polytopia is a derivation of the Latin terms Poly (many) and -topia (places, or states of mind), which according to one of Wildcat’s definitions suggests “an open source collaboration between consciously aware entities towards an increase in combined interactive intelligence.”

    There have been many attempts by the collective to infuse shopworn words with new meaning for purposes of future discourse. Al advocated an online dictionary for “new words and new understandings of old ones,” while Obvious proposed “hyper-textual mind maps" as a representation of his thoughts”, and Spaceweaver maintained that “metaphors are the landmarks of the evolution of language.”

    In an earlier post Wildcat himself announced that “the emergence of a new language, is nothing less than the emergence of a new human being. These two must come together.”

    So he kept struggling to coin new words for the different conditions he has been trying to articulate. At one point he defined the inter-connective mind as the ColleX which among other things is meant to be “a descriptive term designating the fundamental emergent direction of a group of sentient beings.” But despite the usefulness of its meaning, the word apparently lacked the required ring to enter into SpaceCollective’s consciousness. Until further notice the same may have happened to his “Transbeing” (to replace Transhumanist) or to Al’s coinage of the “Internation.” Yet occasionally someone happens upon a phrase that has the potential to establish a new paradigm, like Jung’s Collective Unconscious, William Gibson’s Cyberspace or Vernor Vinge’s Singularity. And as far as I’m concerned Wildcat’s Polytopia should go down in history as just such a term because it so well describes the inter-connected future we are pursuing in this little corner of the vast infoverse.

    I am a Polytopian.
    Thu, Aug 14, 2008  Permanent link

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    Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes. A better procedure is to pretend that those books already exist and to offer a summary, a commentary.

    These words by genius Argentinian author and ex-librarian Jorge Luis Borges are close to my heart. Most people I know love books but my feelings about them are somewhat more ambivalent. For years I used to have a phobia for libraries that had less to do with my early anti-intellectual tendencies than with the institutional smell of musty ideas.

    Over time I became more appreciative of the knowledge and inspiration that could be derived from the occasional book, but more often than not I resisted reading every word between its covers. Only every once in a while did I hang on to every phrase in an attempt to postpone reaching the last page, unwilling to be faced with the emptiness that would await me in the absence of its fiction.

    Today, I’m much too vested in non-linearity, interactivity and immersive media to pay much attention to novels, and when I’m reading non-fiction books I often limit myself to the introduction and the end, while skimming through the content in between. Nevertheless I am surrounded by people who are writing and publishing their work in hefty volumes which may take up as much shelf-space as the Bible. I also have friends who are avid collectors of autographed first editions and others who are promoting beautifully crafted hand-made books, some of which can be seen on SpaceCollective (here and here). But to me books are rapidly becoming precious artifacts from an era that is about to pass.

    Recently I visited the public library in Seattle, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas who loves the print media and is the author of some of the above mentioned hefty tomes. His impressive building is an enticing sanctuary for the book, inspiring its visitors with an almost ecstatic optimism about a culture worth saving. The sense of exhilaration evoked by the architecture makes one look at the books as treasured objects for the ages. However the sense of euphoria lessened when it dawned on me how few people visited the library’s spiraling book stacks. Many more of them were frequenting the endless rows of computers, furnished by the city’s corporate giant Microsoft. Meanwhile the majority of visitors were sitting idle in the community spaces, neither reading nor surfing the web but simply getting through the day. The building’s most successful function, it turns out, is that of a public shelter for the homeless.



    The same is true for other public libraries all across America, but in the context of this celebrated building it is particularly poignant. It is as if some of the architect’s genuine respect for the book is extended to the lives of the many aimless drifters who are filing in every day during opening hours. Like the books that are patiently waiting for someone to take them off the shelves, the lost souls are lounging day in and day out on the stylish Vitra furniture hoping for a better day. They are the disenfranchised counterparts of the wistful library visitors in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, a cathedral filled with books and the thoughts of readers.

    But rather than being a nostalgic place full of people stuck in a luxurious waiting room, Koolhaas’ library appears to be in a strange sort of suspension waiting to be delivered into a future that seems to be taking shape all around its occupants. This effect is greatly enhanced by the glass structure’s panoramic view of cloud formations drifting over Seattle as if in time lapse. Everything here seems to be temporarily on hold in an otherwise proactive environment that is ready to respond to whatever may come.



    As it happens, it takes very little effort to discern the writing on the wall in the most literal way. On LCD screens mounted above the Help Desk a data visualization by George Legrady shows items being checked out at a remarkably slow pace, revealing an unexpected amount of titles that would be deemed utterly redundant by most educated people. Looking around the library the average demographic of its users turns out to be middle aged. In fact, in a city of half a million people, a paltry 1000 items per month are taken home out by teenagers, primarily checking out CD’s and DVD’s.



    In my post SpaceCollective’s Grand Narrative I mentioned that all the world’s books gathered in the digital domain will take up no more than 26 terabyes of disc space which can be contained on a bookshelf barely big enough to hold all 32 volumes that make up the Encyclopedia Britannica. By contrast, online competitor Wikipedia, whose content was generated in just a few years, contains 1 billion more words and can be accessed anytime and anywhere from a database stored on invisible servers. And despite being a paean to printed culture, the stacks of Seattle’s library hold only 780.000 books, all of which can be easily contained on an external hard drive that you can find on sale right now for $399 at your local department store.



    In fact, future readers won’t even need a hard drive to bring the entire library into their home, where the online books will be infinitely more accessible than the originals which can neither be searched nor bookmarked, and not even quoted without retyping the text. Currently a book’s foot notes only serve as instructions for scholarly research, as opposed to the links in digital publications which will bring old texts further to life. Not to speak of the digitization of important literary archives that are now buried in the dark basements of universities, accessible only to the most diligent of researchers. The truth is that once the books are digitally available an entire universe will open up around each and every one of them as its contents are let loose on the world, which will be a milestone of the same order as the emergence of the printing press, which initially made books available to the masses.

    People often jump to the conclusion that digital technology threatens to bring about the end of books, but the opposite is bound to be true, as may be demonstrated by the Total Library project that is being launched on SpaceCollective. Obvious goes as far as to suggest that as “mass produced information slowly moves from the printed page to the computer screen, to hand-held digital-ink devices, so the value of the printed word will transmogrify.” There can be no doubt that in the digital age the significance of the books’ contents will more than ever live up to Obvious’ claim that they will once again become “equivalent with the contents of consciousness.” But to what extent this exalted status will be passed on to the actual printed book remains to be seen.



    At the very minimum we can rest assured that the stacks of Seattle’s library will remain the dedicated home to numerous bound editions which, like wizened elders, have been taken out of circulation, while being endowed with the highest status a library book can attain, clearly marked on their withered bindings: FOR REFERENCE ONLY.
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    In response to Sjef et al.

    Commenting on Sjef’s rant about the mediocrity of some of SpaceCollective’s recent content Spaceweaver calls “most of human activity boring and pointless.” This apparent discontent with the current output on the site has started a discussion which prompted several of our core members to stir things up by reinforcing SpaceCollective’s ambition to fight rather than suffer the complacency of the world at large.

    I agree that recent posts have not been as thought-provoking as they have been in the past and I've also been wondering what to attribute that to. After all, the same cast of characters that made things happen here before is still around, and since the site is by invite only, every newly invited person is directly related to our founding members. It has crossed my mind that the waves of great posts we have experienced up to this point have been the result of new members pouring out their best stuff in the beginning, and then slacking off a bit. Let’s face it, all of us have only so much to say at a time and it is unrealistic to expect that someone will hit a nerve in the community every time out.

    This is why SpaceCollective strongly believes in the Projects that have been lingering but are now waiting to get organized. We are looking forward to Obvious’ Total Library book project, which was enthusiastically supported by Meika and others, and to the resurrection of Megan’s Internation project that has been very active in the past. Other good candidates are the Great Enhancement Debate for which Spaceweaver provided a solid foundation, and the respective language projects that Al and Wildcat seem to have been gearing up for, as well as Sjef's own inquiry into extrapolations of the past as a method for future prediction. As a matter of fact, an extraordinary amount of great content has been generated here in a very short time, dealing with Language, Consciousness, Space, the Singularity, the juxtaposition of Artifice and Nature, the intersection between Art and Science, the world’s future Archives, etc.

    The problem with a site that ventures out into so many directions at once rather than being narrowly focused, is that all these promising threads may end up being buried under a never ending stream of new posts. The trick to prevent ideas that could have significant traction from getting lost in a jumble of less relevant entries clearly lies in the organization of the information that's already there and then build upon it. Assuming that the most recent tools SpaceCollective has developed for this purpose are functioning as well as they should, the challenge now becomes how to harness all this content. Analogous to the majority of information that was put online by the people in the span of one short decade, SpaceCollective members have generated an extraordinary amount of valuable content in a matter of months. This includes cutting edge art and architecture projects conducted at major universities by some of the most talented professors and creative forces in their respective fields, like Greg Lynn, Casey Reas and Rebeca Mendez. These projects represent yet another wealth of information that will have to be better organized in terms of public exposure.

    As it happens, the internet as a whole is currently struggling with exactly these issues, and our joint efforts to come up with better ways to preserve and publicize the output of our fledgling think tank fits right in with several attempts by major players to organize the world’s information. One possible strategy we are investigating right now is to allow the site’s projects to exist as independent satellites of SpaceCollecive with independent URLs so that each of them may become a destination in its own right. Any suggestions that may be helpful with respect to the reorganization of the site's unique content will be greatly appreciated. Rather than being discouraged by a few less than stellar posts, this is the time to join forces and act upon our own auspicious beginnings so that the world will take notice of our collective resolve to forge ahead no matter the odds. The truth is, we’ve only just begun.
    Sun, Mar 16, 2008  Permanent link

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    Western intellectual tradition looks at Body and Mind as separate things existing in different worlds, whereby the first is subject to the laws of physics and the second is a world onto itself constructed of language, feelings and perception, based upon which we build the tenuous story of our Selves. The whereabouts of the Self in relation to our physical body is somewhat of a mystery because it is impossible for us to imagine how something so intangible could be made out of flesh. In his classic book The Origin of Consciousness, psychologist Julian Jaynes describes the soul as “an introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all — what is it? And where did it come from? And why?”



    In his recent book Into the Silent Land neurologist Paul Brooks writes that the increasing ability of science to reveal in fine, bare detail the neuro-biological substrates of the mind may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the “self” which we have carefully assembled to negotiate our social environment. After all, these “brain mechanisms, tightly bound to language, are the channels through which biology finds expression as culture, a means of distributing mind beyond biological boundaries.” If this sacred myth of selfhood and souls were to be despoiled by science “it could threaten our ethics and systems of justice and our entire moral order, all of which are founded on the notion of society as a collective of individual selves.” On the other hand, science writer Jonathan Lehrer calls the brain the most complicated object in the known universe and argues that it is “not reducible to the callous laws of physics.” In his book Proust was a Neuroscientist he concludes that “we are made of art and science. Like a work of art, we exceed our materials. Science needs art to frame the mystery, but art needs science so that everything is not a mystery.”

    Which brings us to a post by Obvious, whose Manifesto for the Forthcoming calls for SpaceCollective to develop a new kind of forward looking narrative shaped by mythology that will allow science to become more than just a rational enterprise:
    One of the main problems facing the scientific community of today is that the general populous finds no 'meaning' in its enterprise. There is, and never has been, a drive from the rational community to order their percepts in terms of narratives or myths. In fact, according to what I have just said, it may very well be impossible to do such a thing - science is about truth, not about meaning and most especially not about narrative meaning.

    Nevertheless, he continues:
    The current stand-off in America between the religiously inclined and the scientifically enabled is a result of this contradiction. If science, rationalism and 'Utopian Singularity Thinking' is ever to make a mark on the masses it MUST reorder itself into narrative forms which innate human capacities can find palatable. The Grand Narratives of Religion, in all their dangerous naivety, have hold over the populace because they work with the human faculties of narrative and mythology.


    As it happens some of my favorite narratives are told by smart science writers like Steven Johnson (Emergence) as well as scientists like the earlier mentioned Julian Jaynes and microbiologist Lynn Margulies (Microcosmos) or for that matter the accounts of interstellar space by her ex-husband Carl Sagan. Currently I’m checking out Joel Garreau’s Radical Evolution, a provocative account about the curve of exponential change we are riding today and Nicholas Wade’s Before the Dawn, which reads like a historical novel, recovering the lost history of our remote ancestors by unlocking our DNA lineages. Every one of these epic inquiries is a great example of the unfolding narrative of science which on some level can be considered the Greatest Story Ever Told. But it is by definition a work in progress with countless chapters yet to be written, and failing to deliver on Obvious’ mandate to assert ”a hold over the populace” because it doesn’t offer any character development nor the resolution people are demanding from their stories.

    Obvious' suggestion to put the story of Science in direct competition with the Grand Narratives of Religion is a task the classic science-fiction canon has often tried to undertake by making liberal use of Biblical conceits. The sci-fi genre as a whole is full of creation myths, messianic heroes, salvation and personal redemption. One time sci-fi author Ron L. Hubbard took this mentality to the next level by writing an actual Gospel for his Church of Scientology. And Vernor Vinge’s Singularity theory has overtly rapturous overtones, especially when promoted by Ray Kurzweill who has been writing the movement’s Bible. But none of these writers have come close to delivering on Obvious’ call for mass appeal either.

    If anyone can deliver on that score one would think that Hollywood’s scriptwriters should be able to give the Holy Scriptures a run for the money. What else are the movie studios but the pillars of an organized populist religion, filling the world’s cinemas with popcorn munching worshippers? Unfortunately, Hollywood has no inclination whatsoever to provide an alternative for religion’s Grand Narratives. To the contrary, when it comes to the subject of science most movies resort to Biblical fire and brimstone tactics, relentlessly manipulating the people’s deep-seated fears for the future. In one cautionary tale after another, mad scientists threaten to push mankind over the edge. And without fail, these characters who set out to change the world are depicted as Frankensteinian ogres whose final comeuppance warns humanity that tampering with the Natural Order will inevitably cause us to screw up.

    A striking example of how ill-equipped Hollywood is to tell the story of Science is provided by the numerous failed attempts to make a biopic about one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla. The long list of filmmakers who tried includes, among others, Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch and Robert Zemeckis, not to mention bookshelves full of scripts. None of them however have succeeded at getting a movie off the ground based on this fascinating genius because his life does not fit the prerequisites for what Hollywood considers a good story.

    After all, instead of the usual female Love Interest, Nikola Tesla was in love with a pigeon; and he deprived his life’s story of a convincing Bad Guy by not feeling the slightest animosity towards Thomas Edison despite the fact that Edison ripped him off for billions of dollars, leaving Tesla destitute. On top of that, Tesla performed the most outrageous scientific feats such as creating man-made thunder and lightning as well as self-induced earthquakes with the unadulterated excitement of a mad scientist “playing God,” and yet he managed to steer clear of the typical comeuppance. Nevertheless, his defiance of every possible narrative convention doomed the heretic scientist who invented the Electric Age to everlasting obscurity.

    As it happens, I’m writing this post while visiting the campus of UC Berkeley, the famous research university in Northern California, which is the birth place of both the atomic bomb and the Unix computer operating system as well as the intellectual home of 61 Nobel Prize winning scientists, most of whom are suffering from obscurity. Because narrative tends to be closely related to the Humanities, the discipline’s stories are much wider spread. As opposed to Science, which is always in flux and fully prepared to be proven wrong by the most recent discoveries or breakthrough lab results, the Humanities effectively promote the traditional narratives from which societies are built.

    Looking out through the window of my hotel room I see hundreds of students from all over the world scurrying like ants across the campus, collectively carrying the wisdom of the ages in their bulky backpacks full of books. Many of these backpacks are likely to contain a thesis or a book whose contents may inform these students throughout their lives, like the characters in the sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, each of whom memorized a literary masterpiece to save its contents from oblivion in a book burning society.

    Ironically, one day ago I interviewed Brewster Kahle who runs the Internet Archive, which he envisions as the digital equivalent of the fabled library of Alexandria that was burned down by the masses who were complete strangers to the knowledge that was gathered there (coincidentally dimitridb recently posted a movie of Carl Sagan talking about the subject here).

    According to Kahle there are roughly 26 million books in the library of congress, the largest print library in the world. This may seem like a lot of books, but in the digital age it doesn’t represent that many data. On the web, for example, an equivalent amount of information as is printed in the total number of books is posted online every two months.

    When you consider that at the moment it takes one person a year to scan 3000 books, it means that all 26 million titles can be scanned by the population of Detroit in the course of one long weekend. In terms of computer storage the entire content of a book on average takes up only one megabyte. Twenty six million megabytes translates into 26 terabytes, which can easily be stored in a box that comfortably fits on one small shelf.

    Thus, the Wisdom of the Ages which was once verbally passed on from one campfire to the next, then copied in long hand, published in print and now made available online, is bound to lose some of its mythical aura, just like Paul Brooks’ speculations about the detrimental impact the mapping of our brains might have on the sacred myth of our selfhood and souls.

    But the flipside of this potential disillusionment with our innate proficiency is that our overall knowledgebase keeps on growing exponentially as we are acquiring online access to virtually everything known by man. Now that technology is merging ever closer with our minds, it is to be expected that our brains will soon be able to intimately interact with vast amounts of intelligence at the speed of thought, and potentially much faster than that. Unlike the characters of Fahrenheit 451, our augmented minds will not just contain the subject matter of one book, but the equivalent of the library of Alexandria as well as the aggregated content posted by billions of internet users.

    Just as I was grappling with all this, Obvious popped up on SpaceCollective to remind us of the book project he intends to launch at the inauguration of our new project interface. His initiative, which is generating considerable enthusiasm on the site, may seem somewhat at odds with this post, but on a deeper level it isn’t. As opposed to the massive amount of ephemeral online information, the books that represent our evolutionary history are most likely to persist as the intellectual fossil record of our civilization while our Grand Narrative continues to evolve as a living, nonlinear, open-ended work in progress.

    Thu, Mar 6, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: The Total Library
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    Recently I came across an interesting argument between Kevin Kelly and Ray Kurzweil wherein the two men discuss the foreseeable future when exponential change will have given rise to computers with superhuman capabilities, unleashing unimaginable levels of intelligence. Whereas Kurzweil sees this event, known as the Singularity, as a technological big bang beyond which everything will change, Kelly suggests that this evolutionary growing spurt will occur more like a phase-shift that won’t appear discontinuous to us. In his opinion we’ll “sail through this transformation without really noticing it.” Kurzweil admits that when the Arpanet went from 10,000 nodes to 20,000 in one year, and then from 40,000 to 80,000, it was of interest only to a few thousand scientists. It would take at least a decade before the internet’s true potential started to sink in, by which time it had already changed the world as we know it to an extent most people have yet to grasp.

    Even though Kevin Kelly recognizes the exponential growth of the different aspects of information technology, he is skeptical of Kurzweil’s Techno Rapture which by 2040 is supposed to change our lives to the point where all bets for the future will be off. Writing about similar transformative events in his essay We Are The Web, Kelly observes that historically such pivotal moments are only recognized in retrospect:
    “Every few centuries, the steady march of change meets a discontinuity, and history hinges on that moment. We look back on those pivotal eras and wonder what it would have been like to be alive then. Confucius, Zoroaster, Buddha, and the latter Jewish patriarchs lived in the same historical era, an inflection point known as the axial age of religion. Few world religions were born after this time.”

    A similar example of such a transformative event is the convergence of the inventors of modern science in the 17th Century.

    It is Kelly's belief that “three thousand years from now, when keen minds review the past, our ancient time, here at the cusp of the third millennium, will be seen as another such era,” when linking the world’s minds into the machine will have provided us with a radically new way of thinking. He maintains, however, that once again people alive during such an axial age - which in this case would be us - won't be able to acknowledge the transformative nature of their era.

    Ironically, as we are well on our way along the impending trajectory delineated by Kurzweil, Kelly seems to ignore the fact that the same exponential rate of change hurtling us towards the Singularity, has long since provided us with the collaborative interfaces that allow our networked communications to travel at the speed of light, collapsing his 3000 year timeframe into a few fleeting nanoseconds.

    As a case in point, it has been very exciting upon the recent launch of SpaceCollective to all at once come in contact with many thinkers who are perfectly attuned to our moment in time and ready to catch up to the future. It's been great to see the variety of their inquiries pushing the envelope in one post after another. To learn more about the Singularity, for example, I recommend reading Wildcat's post on the subject. Other topics range from Virtual Worlds, the New Space Age and various scenarios for enhancing the human mind and body, to the founding of Online Societies, our ongoing separation from the natural world, and - perhaps most surprisingly - the shortcomings of human language, considered by some the very foundation of consciousness itself.

    It has been very encouraging to read posts of numerous members for whom English is a second language, appropriately providing our online brainstorm with a global point of view. Meika, 3LSZVJA9, Wildcat, Spaceweaver, monolith, Megan, Al, Duly, Sjef, Dimitrib, FrankLloydWrong, Richard and many others contributed posts and comments that deserve to be archived for future reference in the Project spaces which will soon be in place. Nina kicked off a transhumanist debate that will no doubt get a lot more attention once the project is properly featured. Students of design and architecture schools are proving that in the internet era the dynamic of education is changing to the point where students are teaching students and their own teachers no less than teachers are teaching them. We particularly enjoyed the work of Norah G., Sarahs, Lisa Hogberg, Henry, Joshua and Can. With a number of new academic projects to start off 2008, we’re eager to explore how interdepartmental, cross-institutional courses, paired with the interaction between students and public members may suggest different educational models for our time.

    In the few weeks since our launch, we have received several hundred thousand page views. However, since we unanimously appreciate everyone currently contributing to the site, we are leaving the initiative to grow the collective at the discretion of our members, each of whom may invite whoever they believe can play a role in establishing SpaceCollective as the viable think tank it aspires to be.
    Mon, Jan 21, 2008  Permanent link

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