The Human-Human Interface


Personal Infrastructure

Sorry for the hiatus – still recovering from the influx of novelty at the Consumer Electronics Show a couple weeks ago. Soon I’ll be posting several Top Tens from the Show. In the meantime, here’s one fave:

The world’s first credit card ssized USB Flash drive. This is an interesting technology angle to me –despite cell phones and PDAs, I still am not going anywhere without my wallet. So I’m all in favor of tech adapting to me rather than vice versa.


Personal Infrastructure

What’s this got to do with Neurosphere? I dunno. I’m a soccer dad, what can I say?

Personal Shopping Accessory

Personal Infrastructure

As I pack to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I am gearing up for a wave of personal infrastructure. Amazon Japan has introduced a new feature called “Amazon Scan Search.” After users download an application to their cell phone free of charge, they can scan barcodes of ordinary products, which in turn enables them to search the cell phone version of for the respective product. I wonder, if you’re already in Wal-Mart, haven’t you already assumed you’re getting the lowest price??

“Designed for on-the-spot price checks.”

Declaring War on Ourselves

The World Right Now

Homeland Security priorities have given rise to immense investments in technology to increase awareness of the World Right Now, albeit with a narrow goal. But quoted below in the mission statement of homeland security company Global Defense Corporation, “Given the scope and resources of our adversary” This is precisely the point, and why civil liberties guardians are dead on, yet only half right. The Bush administration is spying on all its citizens, as well as anyone from around the world who interacts with any of our citizens. Court orders or not, (and there should be) the point is, that is indeed the scope of the adversary – everybody in the world. Not everyone in the world is planning to fly a plane into a building, but the enemy is precisely interconnected with the rest of us to such a degree that it becomes impossible to separate them out. A quote from my book:

…The war on terrorism as proclaimed by President Bush is the incipient form of conflict within a neurosphere, not across borders but within the skin of a single global entity. The war will not be confined to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or any small collection of countries. The Al Qaeda network is said to operate within more than 60 countries. It is a stunning fact that they operated most successfully in Florida, a state it will be hard for Mr. Bush to declare war upon. And it seems increasingly clear, after a year of war, that the supply of fresh recruits to the terrorist cause continues to grow…

“Why GDC Was Established: Given the scope and resources of our adversary, most now recognize that time is of the essence in ensuring we deploy appropriate innovative technologies to respond to the asymmetrical threats that face the nation. The critical challenge now for the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and other United States and global agencies involved in responding to global security threats, is to rapidly identify, validate and deploy innovative technologies to address identified agency needs.”

Awareness of Growth, Growth in Awareness

The World Right Now

I have written about location-based technology for 911 on cellular telephony as an enabler of greater awareness of the world right now (companies like Intrado). Here’s a twist on the technology, targeted at the organic network growth of wi-fi. This is a powerful convergence of phenomena.

Bain Capital Ventures, which pools funds from major tech companies like Intel and Nokia, said Thursday it’s backing Skyhook Wireless in a $6.5-million first round of funding…The technology is seen by many as fundamental to enabling location-based services, like driving directions, targeted advertising, vehicle or asset tracking, as well as social networking applications that could communicate location information to a user’s friends and coworkers.

Skyhook Wireless provides a software-only positioning system that leverages a nationwide database of known Wi-Fi access points to calculate the precise location of any Wi-Fi enabled device.

Wi-Fi Does the Metropolitan

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

WiFi marches on. Ad-supported made me think Google, but see the note at the end of the article that Google’s offer to build wi-fi out in nearby Mountain View apparently did not call for advertising. Not to look the gift horse in the mouth, but I just can’t believe that. The street light mounting makes me think of cable television network development, which ultimately depended on legislated access to telephone poles (the Pole Attachment Act of 1978). Is this a return to local regulation of telecom – the trend of the last 25 years has been way in the other direction.

“Mountain View-based MetroFi is expected to announce today that it plans to bring free, advertising-supported wireless Internet service to all 130,000 residents of Sunnyvale… Those citizens can get free online access using MetroFi’s network if their computers can pick up wireless Internet, or WiFi, signals. For free access, customers must accept a half-inch advertising strip — much like “banner” ads commonly found on Web pages — at the top of their Web browser at all times.

MetroFi uses a technology called mesh networking, where hundreds of transmitters installed on street-light poles create Internet hotspots like those found at many coffee shops.”


Wholeness and Virtual Communities

I love the fact that there is now such a thing as “Christian content partners”. Praise Jesus, babe.

“FaithMobile, a cellular service for Christians in the US and the UK, has been launched by Good News Holdings LLC and The Barna Group. The service provides faith-based content created specifically for cellular phones including Bible verses, ringtones, and inspirational audio and video mobisodes.”

The Dalai Lama on Neuroscience

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

I guess I’m getting philosophical at this time of year. Here’s a recent speech by the Dalai Lama to the Society of Neuroscience. Buddhism is one of the models of wholeness that I point to in my book, and for which I’m seeking empirical evidence in the world of technology.

“…in the Buddhist investigation of reality, at least in principle, empirical evidence should triumph over scriptural authority, no matter how deeply venerated a scripture may be…Since the primary motive underlying the Buddhist investigation of reality is the fundamental quest for overcoming suffering and perfecting the human condition, the primary orientation of the Buddhist investigative tradition has been toward understanding the human mind and its various functions.

… Whatever the truth about the final nature of consciousness – whether or not it is ultimately reducible to physical processes – I believe there can be shared understanding of the experiential facts of the various aspects of our perceptions, thoughts and emotions.

…If it turns out, as the Buddhist tradition implies, that mental practice can effect observable synaptic and neural changes in the brain, this could have far-reaching implications. The repercussions of such research will not be confined simply to expanding our knowledge of the human mind; but, perhaps more importantly, they could have great significance for our understanding of education and mental health. Similarly, if, as the Buddhist tradition claims, the deliberate cultivation of compassion can lead to a radical shift in the individual’s outlook, leading to greater empathy toward others, this could have far-reaching implications for society at large.

…Rather, I am speaking of what I call “secular ethics” that embrace the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power – principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of this religion or that religion. I personally like to imagine all human activities, including science, as individual fingers of a palm. So long as each of these fingers is connected with the palm of basic human empathy and altruism, they will continue to serve the well-being of humanity. We are living in truly one world.”

For more on similar topics

click WHOLENESS on menu at left.

The Intangible Neurosphere

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s another effort toward building a Neurosphere without benefit of wires. These are wonderful thoughts, but I’m trying to track in this web site trends that are a little more, uh, concrete. But maybe I’m just not sensitive enough – just because I can’t perceive it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“Dear Don, Thank you for taking part in the IONS Monthly Intention Program. You make a difference by setting these intentions for world change on the first of each month. By being a part of this program, you are connecting with a group of powerful people who are all generating strong intentions.

December Inspiration: In many traditions and cultures, the darkest time of year is the time for drawing inward towards family and celebrating the light in its many manifestations –with decorative lights, fires, and celebrations of holy days. Light is often used as a metaphor for consciousness itself. So one way to approach December (at least in the northern hemisphere) is as a time to re-ignite our own consciousness and reconnect with whatever we hold sacred. This re-connection with light runs throughout much of the fanfare, ritual, parties, and present-giving of this time of year. All can be seen as ways to re-activate our conscious nature, celebrate our connection with others, and revitalize our being after an active year of work in the world.”

Declining the Neurosphere

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Some of course, believe that an interconnection of human minds through the ether is not such a good thing. It’s good that scientific research is proceeding in this, ah, sensitive area.

Abstract – Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as

the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified.