Episode 3.01 GETTING SINGULAR with Vernor Vinge

Over a billion seconds ago, sci-fi legend Vernor Vinge conceived of a “Technological Singularity”, when our machines outthink us. Should we worry?

Be sure to read Vernor’s 1993 paper, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” – it’s linked here.

The Next Billion Gadgets – AUGMENTED REALITIES

VR pioneer Tony Parisi tours CES to discover ‘cybershoes’, RealMAX augmented reality spectacles, Vuze+ 3D cameras — and explores how 5G mobile networks will transform media creation & consumption.

Tony gets excited by the Realmax augmented reality spectacles…

The Next Billion Gadgets – CARS

The Consumer Electronics Show has become a key automotive conference. Automotive journalist Sally Dominguez explores a new generation of connected, autonomous – and helpful – vehicles.

The BYTON M-BYTE is a brand-new vehicle, launched at CES 2019…
Designer Benoit Jacob talks about the 40-plus-inch display forming the entire dashboard.

The Next Billion Gadgets – HOME

From faucets you can speak with, to lawnmowers that drive themselves – artificial intelligence was everywhere at CES 2019.

Kohler Konnect integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit (Siri) – “pour a litre!”
Bosch showed off an autonomous lawnmower – but is it really AI?
Meanwhile, Dr. Genevieve Bell felt the charms of Sony’s Aibo…
Neutrogena uses the smartphone to scan and create a unique face mask.

Happy Holidays!

In Los Angeles, recording some of the interviews we’ll bring you in Series 3 of The Next Billion Seconds, when frequent guest Rob Tercek drew this (freehand, unprompted) on a paper tablecloth at a local Indian restaurant, Electric Karma. 

A drawing by Rob Tercek

Wishing all of you the happiest of holidays and a joyous next 31,557,600 seconds.

1968: When the World Began – RETURN TO A SQUARE

50 years later, both creators and keepers of the flame for the ‘Mother of All Demos’ reflect on how 1968 changed the world — for all of us.

On 9 December 1968, Doug Engelbart gave the ‘Mother of All Demos’ – and the world changed.

On 9 December 2018, some of the luminaries of the Internet gathered to commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the Mother of All Demos.

We had a chance to talk with some of them, weaving their stories together into one of our own…

Elizabeth ‘Jake’ Feinler ran the Network Information Center for SRI.

Marc Weber is a curator at the Computer History Museum.

Charles Irby walked into the Demo by accident – and it changed his life.

Jeff Rulifson was lead software architect for the oNLine System.

Bob Taylor was head of the IPTO at ARPA – taking over from Ivan Sutherland, who took over from JCR Licklider. The Demo was his idea.

Andy van Dam is a professor at Brown, and a luminary in the field of computer graphics.

Vint Cerf is the father of the Internet.

Howard Rheingold was so impressed by NLS that he talked his way into Doug’s Human Augmentation Research Center at SRI.

Sir Tim-Berners Lee is the father of the Web.

Tony Parisi is the Global Head of VR/AR Brand Solutions at Unity – and co-creator (with Mark Pesce) of the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML).

1968: When the World Began – THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS

9 December 1968.

Modern computing begins with a ‘Big Bang’ — visionary Douglas Engelbart’s demo of a system designed to make everyone smarter.

 

 

Read Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think” on the Atlantic Monthly’s website.

Read Douglas Engelbart’s mind-bending 1962 research proposal, “Augmenting Human Intellect”.  Augmenting Human Intellect PDF

Here, in its full hundred-minute glory, is THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS:

1968: When the World Began – SWORD OF DAMOCLES

Ivan Sutherland – the Albert Einstein of interactivity – created SKETCHPAD, the first application that let users ‘draw’ onto a computer display. Five years later he followed that up with his ‘ultimate display’ – inventing virtual and augmented reality with a device nicknamed the SWORD OF DAMOCLES.

JCR Licklider‘s 1960 paper “Man-Computer Symbiosis” touched off a new wave of thinking of the computer as aid and amplifier of human capacity.
Read the PDF:  Licklider – Man-Computer Symbiosis

A video from Lincoln Labs, demonstrating some of the features of Ivan Sutherland’s SKETCHPAD, the first program that allowed you to draw to a computer display of an interactive computer, the TX-2:

And here’s the PDF of his 1965 paper: Sutherland – The Ultimate Display

By 1968, Sutherland was ready to show his ultimate display at the Fall Joint Computing Conference in San Francisco. Here’s what his ‘Sword of Damocles’ looked like in operation:

The proceedings for the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference paint the picture of computing at its pivot from arcane to mainstream, growing into greater interactivity. Here’s the stellar list of papers – featuring two by Sutherland, both foundational to VR and 3D graphics: FJCC Proceedings

1968: When the World Began – Part One: THE PIVOT

In ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’, the first exhibition of computer art, curator Jasia Reichardt presented a world where computers create with us.

Jasia introducing works in the Cybernetic Serendipity show:

Jasia’s 2014 retrospective of Cybernetic Serendipity:

In 2018, Jasia gave an hour-long public lecture on the 50th anniversary of Cybernetic Serendipity:

The book accompanying the Cybernetic Serendipity was recently republished to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the exhibition – read all about it (and maybe buy yourself a copy) here.

What can you say about Norbert Wiener?  Norbert invented whole branches of mathematics and computer science – and gave us the prefix ‘cyber-‘.

Rowland Emett‘s Forget-Me-Not with Peripheral Pachyderm

John Whitney‘s Permutations is among the very first computer animations:

Running Cola is Africa is one of the pieces from the IBM Computer Technics Group in Tokyo – and a very early piece of computer art:

Both Genevieve and I have a real soft spot for another work, Return to a Square:

In 1962, IBM taught a computer to sing ‘Daisy’ — which became the core scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  

 

Announcing “1968: When the World Began”

Mark Pesce & Dr. Genevieve Bell have co-written a four episode podcast series – “1968: When the World Began” – exploring transformations that completely rewrote the relationship between ourselves and our machines. 

On the 9th of December in 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave the ‘Mother of All Demos‘ – the most important hour in the history of computing, one that drew back the curtain on the world we all live in today.

Engelbart’s demo was the culmination of a wave of change that crested in 1968.

“1968: When the World Began” looks at the confluence of art, interactivity and intelligence augmentation that played out against the most chaotic year of the 20th century.

Episode One: THE PIVOT drops on Friday!

Episode 2.13 Peer to Peer Planet with Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwen’s P2P Foundation helps humanity share the best ideas at global scale, giving us a leg up through some tight years ahead.


 

(Over the next days we’ll be linking to all of the great projects Michel mentioned in his wide-ranging chat. Please stand by.)

 

Episode 2.12 Strategic Amplification with Danah Boyd

Social media promised a voice for the marginalised and powerless. Danah Boyd shows us how our voices – amplified – redefined power.

Wonderful links from points mentioned in our conversation, courtesy of Danah:

Here is Danah’s incredible RE:PUBLICA talk from May 2018.  Trust me, you will not regret taking the 50 minutes to watch this.


And Richard Metzger’s funny, poignant and farseeing opening of DISINFOCON, back in February 2000: