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Stuart Dobson (M)
Melbourne, AU
Immortal since Dec 1, 2008
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We all change. The future is emergent and dynamic, evolving with our minds and our society. Technology plays a fundamental part in this evolution, this evolution of complexity. So I ask, how does technology affect society? How does technology affect our minds and then society in turn? How does our economic and political system affect society and technology? What are the products of this evolution – and what are our goals?
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    Turning VR Inside Out


    With the current state of virtual reality, it's unlikely that virtual supermarkets will take off in the near future. They're just too...clunky. However, one distinct possibility is a reversal. Computer controlled reality.

    RFID will play a large part in this. The data it will provide will change the way we look at reality. By reporting and recording our locations and activities, it will digitise us - turning us into real life avatars.

    In virtual reality, everything we do can be recorded. The software can record our every movement and interaction. This will soon be possible in real life, thanks to RFID and our interactions with computer interfaces.

    Real life benefits will get us to adopt the data collection methods without question. Contact lenses or eventually brain modifications of some kind could provide us with a computer interface while in the real world. In the meantime, we'll have to make do with the iPhone. Right click a person on the street to see that person's shared details - subscribe to their Twitter feed or download their blog. Perhaps they could, from time to time, broadcast from their own eyes, allowing you to essentially inhabit their body. Extreme sports participants could make a fortune out of this, especially once physical sensations can be shared.

    The information recorded about us will then take a similar shape to credit card records of the present, only far more in depth. This is not conspiracy paranoia, this is based purely on the corporations' desires (and our own) to record our data. Our purchases already provide a profile of us. In the future, our travel could be logged to provide "statistical data" for the authorities. Our work history and qualifications could be recorded in new and interesting ways. An extremely in-depth analysis of our health could be recorded on a continual basis and shared with our doctor. With enough information about enough of our actions, and the profile that is put together could eventually create some serious possibilities. What if our past could be mapped out so accurately that our future could be predicted?

    Think about it; if you know the exact position, mass, and direction of every particle in the universe, in theory you should be able to predict their next moves, based on what is around them and the current laws of physics. Although chaos theory puts a dampener on this, human beings are far more predictable. With enough historical and psychological data on a person, which can be collected post hoc in a triple blind test method, we can provide immensely powerful speculation techniques. Prediction of entire populations needn't be far behind.

    But you don't need me to tell you about this. Isaac Asimov's been talking about it for years. I just don't think he imagined we'd make it so easy.

    Fri, Dec 5, 2008  Permanent link

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    notthisbody     Fri, Dec 5, 2008  Permanent link
    Though you've brought up a stimulating point, I disagree with you on the possibilities to predict future behavior becoming that strong.

    I agree with the following:

    With enough information about enough of our actions, and the profile that is put together could eventually create some serious possibilities.


    But not this:

    What if our past could be mapped out so accurately that our future could be predicted?


    I think it's impossible. Here something comes to mind about the definition of the past and future. we're talking about a time where every action that we can make can be recorded, and possibly we can even re-live it down to the exact sensations we experienced at the moment. There would be the possibility to augment these experiences, these memories (here you must go into the structure of memory and how we recreate an experience every time we access a memory). By augmenting those past memories/experiences we are therefore changing some aspect of what we are in the present.

    It gets complicated here. Very complicated, if you're talking about predicting behavior with an individual who can augment yit's own past experiences to change who/what yit is now.

    What you're talking about is predicting Habit - which IS something that can be predicted (never to 100%) with data collection.

    I'm not limiting the prediction to habit - as you mention it is also applicable to health.

    But infallible prediction is just not possible - especially if technology gets better and better at a true 'randomization' engine.

    What would happen if I instruct my Intelligent Agent to turn on "Habit Randomization" (or...i hesitate to say...Action Randomization) - and put it in control of my consumption, plan for the day - knowledge gathering - whatever! I don't necessarily have to stick to that random habit, but by randomization lets say I've learned about something I never heard of before and then realize my desire to do something about/become involved with /or simply ignore (possibly with a consequence on conscience?)

    Once the power of Intelligent Agents is in the hands of the individual instead of the company (as it is now with advertising, profiling customers, recommendation engines, etc.), profiling will become person specific and completely based on the unique user's preference (and personal profile) set for how powerful it can be - rather - how powerful the user desires it to be.

    My belief is that each individual has depths that they themselves may not even know, but can arise in the most uncommon ways.

    We're not going to know the exact position of every particle in the universe soon at all - for with technology we've opened up pandora's box and no one can predict where, or when, we're going to hit bottom.

    I'm with you, that these profiles will open up huge possibilities. But lets not go towards it with the point of view that we're going to eventually KNOW EVERYTHING. This point of view shapes the approach towards how we put this technology into use, and this is an approach that I do not regard as the most wholesome.



     
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