My bookmarks for June 7th through June 11th

Here’s what I tagged on between June 7th and June 11th:

Made it to Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo

Originally uploaded by BillT.

So time to go exploring beyond the view from my hotel room… here til Sunday, one day conference so time to have a look around, though doing anything other than getting a sense of this megacity is of course impossible.

My bookmarks for May 31st through June 6th

Here’s what I tagged on between May 31st and June 6th:

The bustle of participation

I’m one of the bloggers over at the New Statesman New Media Awards blog.  Latest entry considers what Sam Johnson might have made of Twitter…

I’ve been up for an hour. In that time I’ve updated my Facebook status and dismissed various invitations to become a Zombie or share virtual fish or garden plants, sent a few Tweets, looked through the various blog postings that Bloglines has picked up from the RSS feeds I subscribe to, added new services to Friendfeed and replied to a dozen emails.

I’ve been far too busy to do any work, massaging my online presence, keeping up to date with the chatter and making my modest – fewer than 140 characters on Twitter – contributions to online discussions,

And in the midst of this hard work I remembered one of my favourite essays, written in 1759 by Samuel Johnson and published in ‘The Idler’.

Read the whole thing here.

Putting the people to work

In his excellent science fiction novel ‘The Diamond Age’ writer Neal Stephenson describes a world in which nanotechnology and nanobots are commonplace and ‘Matter Compilers’ can create objects at will.

However there are no artificial intelligences on his imagined earth, the technology having failed to deliver on the promises made by generations of researchers.  Computers do lots of things, but they are unable to replace or even convincingly impersonate humans.

One consequence of this is that some of the characters in the book make their living by providing voices for virtual reality-based entertainment since although computers are able to produce convincing 3-D worlds they cannot, in Stephenson’s alternative reality, substitute for real human intonation or emotion.

It’s an interesting idea, and when I first read the book in 1995 it resonated with my view that while non-human intelligence is perfectly possible we will never actually manage to create it ourselves because intelligence emerges from biology not technology.

Continue reading “Putting the people to work”