The Human-Human Interface

World Digital Library

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s those darn Google guys again, this time teaming up to form a noospheric institution. Twenty years ago, I worked at the Library of Congress, in the Congressional Research Service. We wrote technical reports, based on Library collections and other sources, for the benefit of members of Congress in their deliberations on public policy. I always thought it was a no-brainer to make them available to individual taxpayers. When Billington came in at the end of my tenure, he proposed that. It only took about 15 years for the bureacracy to be overcome, and now some of my reports on energy policy are available if you google my name. Some institutions evolve faster than others.

“Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin announced today that Google is the first private-sector company to contribute to the Library’s initiative to develop a plan to begin building a World Digital Library (WDL) for use by other libraries around the globe. The effort would be supported by funds from nonexclusive, public and private partnerships, of which Google is the first.”

For more on similar topics

click WHOLENESS on menu at left.

The Internet’s Self Awareness

The World Right Now

The Internet tracking itself.

“The Internet Storm Center was created in 2001 following the successful detection, analysis, and widespread warning of the Li0n worm. Today, the ISC provides a free analysis and warning service to thousands of Internet users and organizations, and is actively working with Internet Service Providers to fight back against the most malicious attackers.”

“The CERT® Coordination Center is a center of Internet security expertise, located at the Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded research and development center operated by Carnegie Mellon University. It publishes daily advisories and incident notices concerning security bugs plus network security alerts.”

Regulating Archetypes

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Ursula King and other theologians influenced by Teilhard speak of “noospheric institutions” – Doctors Without Borders is one example. I don’t think Television Without Frontiers is the best example, but it’s interesting that the Internet was transborder from the get-go. Telecommunications technology is by nature more effective and capable without geographic constraints – but politics right now governs television technology because it is the battleground of our most sacred archetypes – from holy warriors to Janet Jackson’s breast. But the calls for control of the latter ring hollow – the genie is so far out of the bottle that proposed controls function solely as political litmus tests.

The “Television without Frontiers” directive (89/552/EEC), adopted on 3 October 1989 by the Council and amended on 30 June 1997 by the European Parliament and the Council Directive 97/36/EC, establishes the legal frame of reference for the free movement of television broadcasting services in the Union in order to promote the development of a European market in broadcasting and related activities, such as television advertising and the production of audiovisual programmes.

Baby Steps

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Drops in the bucket – note this “grant” is actually dependent on “donation of bandwidth”. There has to be a better way to attract capital to the developing world.

“This SGER proposes to develop a plan to extend international high bandwidth Internet connectivity to a group of up to four countries in sub-saharan Africa. The lack of such connectivity has been a major impediment to the development of the Internet in Africa. To accomplish this, it will investigate a unique opportunity to obtain a donation of bandwidth on fiber optic submarine cables that are currently being installed…Linkages will be developed with scientific and health/medical communities that have research projects involving US/African collaborations. Partnerships will also be explored with US agencies that fund research in the target countries.”

The Universe Right Now

The World Right Now

“Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”

Subconscious of the Blogosphere

The World Right Now

Another glimpse of the global train of thought. A little skewed by the source being bloggers only – the number one ranking as I type this is a site about technical solutions for RSS feeds used by many blogs – but I suppose true for Google zeitgeist as much as any other – all of them a subset of a global mind, until one gets used by 100% of all the 6.5 billion users…

Tip of the NeuroHat to Ben Houston

Biometrics Today

Personal Infrastructure

Biometrics caught my attention years ago as a means for individuals to interface with machines without using a keyboard, mouse or touchpad. This was before 9-11 though, and since then all manner of homeland security funding has inundated the industry. Here’s a government (National Security Agency) founded consortium devoted to the subject. Look at the recent Biometric conference to get a sense of the government and industry interests involved – I will be investigating each as I suspect the advances in the field, like all Defense Department funding targets, will be huge and have interesting and unexpected civilian benefits. These advances may contribute to a better interface to the World Right Now.

“The Biometric Consortium serves as a focal point for research, development, testing,?evaluation, and application of biometric-based personal identification/verification technology.”

There’s also a corresponding industry trade association.

The Neural Interface Moves Deeper

Personal Infrastructure

As neuroscience identifies more and more neural correlates of movement and thought, prosthetic interconnection seems to follow on more closely.

“For years, researchers have dreamed of devising prosthetic devices that paralyzed people could operate by brain signals alone. So far, patients’ brain waves (electroencephalogram recordings) have controlled simple computer programs, and robots and cursors have moved under the guidance of brain cells that dictate motion (Science, 24 January 2003, p. 496). Until now, however, nobody has succeeded in tapping the messages of higher-order neurons involved in planning and motivation for potential use in prosthetics. On page 258, neurophysiologists Richard Andersen and Sam Musallam of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and their colleagues report eavesdropping on neurons in a cognitive brain area involved in planning–but not executing–future arm movements.”

Meanwhile, the Center for Consciousness Studies coordinates the ongoing attempts to nail down the neural correlates of consciousness, assuming that is they can define what consciousness is. The contention of some is that neural prosthetics tackly the “easy problem” – what neurons are associated with what activities. The “hard problem” is, where in the brain is located “the feeling of what happens”.

Neural Prosthetics Update

Personal Infrastructure

A selection of prosthetics sites. These prosthetics are controlled entirely by connection to the residual limb muscles of individuals who have undergone amputation. The prosthetic limbs use a combination of hydraulics, processors, and sensors to transmit information back up through the limb muscles to enable walking, running and other activities. (I love the applet on the Hanger site showing a man dancing, quite stylishly thank you, with a prosthetic leg.) These individuals in turn are the most likely to explore the frontier of neural prosthetics when that technology is ready to, if you will, take the next step.

Liberating Technologies:

Hanger Orthopedic Group

C-Leg microprocessor-controlled knee

For the human element, here’s the personal site of Cameron Clapp, a triple-amputee after being hit by a train. I challenge you not to be inspired.

the Neurophere Subconscious

The World Right Now

I always liked this feature from the Webcrawler web site. It used to be called the Webcrawler Subsconscious, which fits the Neurosphere profile more precisely. (If you look at the “unfiltered” version, it’s even more primal.)

“Ever wonder what the rest of the world is searching for?”