Friday, September 1, 2017

YouTube...The New Visual University

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For the millenials, YouTube has become the go-to place for learning things quickly.   It has quickly replaced the book as the place where learning takes place.  The visual has won over the written word. This will have and is having tremendous implications.
Read In New Wide Format (or Internet Explorer Users)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

TOP 10 trippiest Vive VR experiences

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Spirit Realm
This is a list of cyberdelic VR experiences for the HTC Vive. None of these are games, and they should be used responsibly.  

You can download these experiences on Steam unless otherwise noted.

10. best synesthesia: Hot Sugar Presents the Melody of Dust


Let's call this one a weird music discovery experience. Stoner rock heads must check out Mountain Mind, appropriately subtitled, A Weird Headbang Experience.



9. best video: Surge

This digital evolution fantasy is a beautiful thing. Short empowering music video.

8. best sandbox: Boxplosion


Hundreds of boxes exploding right in front of your face. Combine this psychedelic particle sandbox with your own music. DNV also made Dimensional Intersection, a VR audio visualizer. Neither pictures nor video do it justice.

7. best bad trip: Directionless

Directionless will trip you in unique ways. If you're into odd horror, also see The Cubicle..

6. best chill out: L U N E


Here comes the pleasant come down. The Lune literally comes down and washes over you. Cabbibo has many other psychedelic experience worth checking out free at http://cabbibo.is/ .

5. best closed-eye visuals emulator: Spirit Realm

Very deep trip. Awesome while it lasts. I really want to see more like this.

4. best prehistory: The Muybridge Mausoleum

Archaic Revival! MM feels very earthy. I give it 5 dried grams.

3. best outer space: Irrational Exuberance: Prologue
Dramatically hatch into a stunning universe. Also see Spacetours VR, and zone out in our solar system.

2. best museum: Museum of GIF Art
Museums translate very well to VR. Dali 17 (currently not available on Steam) and Eye of the Owl are naturally surreal, and would fit perfectly on this list, but MoGA takes our museum top spot due to the museum's cyclical layout which parallels the nature of a GIF. Very meta indeed.

1. best pareidolia: Blortasia
So zen. Everything looks like running paint. The lost continent of Blortasia is yours to explore.


Buzz Aldrin and the Outdated Dream

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The argument against sending flesh to Mars. Originally published 2017.1.30 on LinkedIn Pulse.
American legend, Buzz Aldrin, was greeted with rock star status at Beijing's GeekPark Innovation Festival (GIF'17). Buzz shared some fun tales about his trip to the moon -the first selfie in space was cute- but it was far more priceless to hear him compare and contrast on big government and private enterprises in regards to space exploration. To hear these insights coming from a man who was central to one of humanity's largest scientific endeavors--he was perfect to headline this year's GIF.

We explore, or we expire. -Buzz Aldrin, GIF'17
Buzz Aldrin has a clear view of government's role in what America achieved in 1969. "Apollo could not have happened without many people working together towards a shared goal", he said. Government was necessary for such a large project, yet no one can ignore the recent achievements of SpaceX. In certain aspects of space exploration the private sector has produced amazing innovation, most notably the reusable rocket. "Rockets are expensive, and then it just goes into the ocean", the one use rocket clearly pained Buzz for many years, "Let's try to use it again. I tried to tell the government to do that." Perhaps feeling his suggestion fell on deaf ears, he went on to say, "In my experience, government is not innovative." Now, fast forward five decades and "some people with a private company say, 'I can do that all by myself'", and that is exactly what SpaceX did.
However, a reusable rocket is not Buzz's end game. not even close. The man dreams of going back to the moon, to establish a permanent base there, and to send humans to Mars. Buzz knows this is not feasible by private companies alone, nor even one nation alone. Buzz Aldrin, calls himself a Global Space Statesman, but is he really just a Global Space Salesman peddling a used dream? Throughout the presentation, he did a great job selling Mars to the crowd in Beijing, "I believe China should be part of this mission.", and while SpaceX is also thinking about the Red Planet, the Apollo 11 astronaut questions Elon Musk and company in the scope of their vision, "[they] haven't thought of what to do once we get to Mars. What do we live in? It takes a joint effort."
Go to Mars, but don't come back. -Buzz Aldrin, GIF'17
This dream of going to Mars seems to be trending. Last November, humanity+ (h+) teamed up with the Global Innovator Conference (GIC) for The Future Wild Dream discussion forum. The forum, hosted by Wei Sun, had no shortage of wild dreams; José Cordeiro handled a radical life extension doubter with examples of amazing developments in the field. Ben Goertzel talked about the wildly large scope of artificial intelligence and possible ranges of consciousness, while Adam Ford explored a few wonderful implications of the emerging global brain. This forum was the best I have attended on transhumanism yet, but even this historic forum started off with a debate on sending fleshy humans to Mars. The consensus at this forum was not to abandon plans for Mars, but not a top priority either. When questioned if we should we go to outer space or inner space, Ben Goertzel said, "We could do both", but I'm not to sure we can afford to do both. Mars is an outdated dream. Here are three reasons why.
  1. Promoting the dream of migrating to Mars potentially diminishes the will to maintain a habitable planet Earth. As of last year, China became the world leader in green tech investment. We must prioritize funding. Even when SpaceX comes up with exciting cost cutting measures, getting to Mars will still be very expensive. Too expensive to move billions of bodies. The climate crisis is an existential threat. Let's save Earth first.
  2. Mars is a dead planet inhabited by robots. Let's send more robots! Buzz Aldrin told the audience, "In the past year, I have been part of a virtual reality project to simulate what it's like to be on Mars." Buzz is onto something with his virtual reality simulation, Apollo 11 Experience. Using virtual reality (VR) in lieu of traveling is shaping up to be one of the technology's greatest aspects. Google Earth VR is receiving awards and inducing epiphanies--something I predicted years ago. Sports viewing is also experiencing a VR revolution. I suggest we send camera equipped drones to Mars. Then, we can experience Mars without leaving Earth. Drones can send us VR feeds from the Red Planet.
  3. Human beings are weak and heavy.  During the Space Race, that Buzz clearly remembers, the Soviet Union was pioneering early transhumanism. They wanted to create supermen that could endure the hardships of space, but even if we toughen up, we are still massive in comparison to a piece of computronium the size of a football, which by Ray Kurzweil's estimates could hold all of human intelligence. We should be prioritizing transcending biology. Not only could travel be a heck of a lot easier then, but we would also be super intelligent, and death would be virtually eliminated.
I wanted to change the name of 'science fiction' into 'technology projection'... try and make it true. -Buzz Aldrin, GIF'17
Super intelligence is the next great dream. In 1969, landing on the moon was an epic achievement of mankind, and Buzz Aldrin will forever be a hero. Since then, the only human accomplishment to eclipse the lunar landing has been the Human Genome Project. I predict humans will never step foot on Mars, even if world governments foolishly decide to prioritize a mission to the dead planet. The Law of Accelerating Returns strongly suggests a technological Singularity is near. We will achieve post-humanity before our flesh hauling rockets can make it to Mars.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The *New* Public Phone Will Conquer the Last Mile

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The sharing economy of bicycles set the precedent.

For many decades bikes ruled Beijing. Then, along with China’s massive exodus out of poverty, the bicycle started to give way to a growing subway system, personal transportation devices like the Hoverboard, and cars. Despite headache inducing traffic jams, today's people who can afford a car, often want a car. This unfortunate luxury status has left us all coughing up smog. Couldn't sharing be more fashionable?

In early 2016, there was no sign of this letting up. It seemed the bicycle was going the way of dark green trench-coats. Fast forward just a few months and these colorful bikes started popping up everywhere; unrestrained to a docking station, left for anyone to QR scan and ride. Today, everyone in Beijing knows about the sharing economy of bikes. With rates starting as low as half a kuai per half hour, almost anyone can afford a ride. These bikes have proven to be the quintessential component in the quest to connect the last mile of public transportation in Beijing.

This year’s Beijing International Bicycle Exhibition (2017.7.8-10) is subtitled, Sharing Economic Golden Epoch, but with so many new shared bike companies entering the fray, the domain of shared bicycles appears saturated. None-the-less, Mobike and Ofo are heroes. They brought bikes back to China, and I am eager to see the latest innovations at this year’s BIBE show.

The sharing economy of bicycles previews the power of ephemeralization and the Internet of Things to come. Bikes made a comeback in sharing form. What's next?

the return of the public phone

Imagine going into a fast food restaurant -or any public venue registered as a pick up/drop off location-, picking up a cellphone, scanning your fingerprint, and having your profile downloaded from the cloud. This is now your phone for a negligible hourly rate. Once you're done, log out and leave the phone at any registered venue. It's now free for the next user to come along and log in.

There is a mutualistic relationship to be had between the shared phone companies and the hosting venues. Come to a '*New* Public Phone booth' to pick up a phone, and stay for a burger.

Who's it for?

While the sharing economy of bikes tackled the last mile in a very literal sense, the sharing economy of phones would mainly target the last mile of those who do not yet have a phone; those who can not afford a phone, tourists, people "off the grid", or those who simply choose the benefits of sharing over ownership.

Basic Access: The cost to produce a Mobike has been reported at ¥3000 per bike. Today, an android phone can easily be found on TaoBao for one-tenth that price. Perhaps users can donate a phone into the shared phone pool, giving them X amount of free credits for their submission. Basic shared phones can be made available for an extremely negligible price per hour, maybe even free.

Premium Access: Ownership is passé. Access is in. Rather than spend a burdenous ¥7000 on the latest and greatest phone every 6-12 months, many people may choose to pick up a premium shared phone instead. The competition will be fueled as it is today, with neat functional features and slick design, but the profit will be in the service fees, targeted ads, and/or data mining. Not in the hardware.

but won't people steal them?

To prevent theft and harvesting of parts, the *New* Public Phone can be glued shut, similar to how late releases of the Nintendo Wii were glued shut to prevent modding the console. If you pry it open, you will destroy it.

Who will charge the battery?

Many of the shared bikes today have solar panels on them, often on the floor of the basket. Cellphones can also have integrated solar panels. If that doesn't pan out, a credit can be awarded for charging the phone prior to logging out.

So, if the target audience is phoneless, how do they even register to use the *New* Public Phone?

Registration to use the phone can be done right on the phone. When you pick up a *New* Public Phone, you either choose register new account or login scan. Similar to Mobike registration, a new user can register by taking a couple selfies with their photo ID and a few finger print scans, right on the shared phone itself.

The ownership era will end.

When approaching zero marginalized costs, the *New* Public Phone will be readily available. If your current phone's hardware is still relevant, it can be tossed back into the pool for credits. There will come a time when street trash projects holographic coupons, begging to be picked up off the ground.

This white paper is presented by Beijing Technium 帝都科魂 ; committed to building an inclusive future. The sharing economy of phones will bring more people into the connected age.