Episode 4.07 – Should a video game simulate the whole world?

We’re rapidly erasing the boundary between the make-believe worlds of video games and the real world of sensors and visualisation. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to fly over the whole world – with all the cities and countryside presented in detail – just as they are in reality. Is it now possible to “fly” through everything we know about the world – from ground level, up to the heavens?

In this episode we’re joined once again by the amazing Dr. Mike Zyda – founder of the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. In 1997, Mike authored a hugely influential study that got the US military to adopt video game technologies for simulation.

One of his first projects was “America’s Army” – a video game that simulates the training recruits undergo on their way to becoming soldiers.

The boundaries between simulation and visualisation become very blurry when we head up into Near Earth Orbit – that’s everything below about 1000km above Earth’s surface.

Andreas Antoniades’ firm Saber Astronautics uses a mixture of observation, simulation, and visualisation to create a ‘mission control’ that looks, well, a lot like it would if you were in space (click “Login as Guest” below to see it for yourself):

Once again, big thanks to my nephew Andy for sharing with us his experiences of flying a Cessna 152 – both in simulation and for real!

Episode 2.03: The Future is Local with Jess Scully

For two and a half thousand years, cities and politicians have grown together. The city gives politicians a platform, a stage – and a demanding public. Always economic powerhouses, our cities also hold the key to an urban future where city-states like Singapore rise in prominence.

We talk to Sydney City Councillor Jess Scully about how best to grow a ‘world city’ like Sydney over the next billion seconds – and what it means to have a political career in a time when every citizen has social media to amplify their voice, their beliefs – and their anger.

The future is here – and it’s local. In this clip, Jess talks about the importance of Sydney to Australia’s economy:

In our interview, Jess mentions the DECODE Project – designed to give people rights over the data collected about them. Read about DECODE here.

The City of Sydney wants to increase the housing supply – and this article explains why that’s more difficult than it might appear. 

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Episode 1.04: Tales of Autonomy with Genevieve Bell

When you give cows a voice, who listens? Connected lights and thermostats are great, but what happens when cows get connected and start milking themselves? What do we learn when we track our house cats when they’re not at home? How does the connected world reveal itself to us – and what are we learning from it? These questions – about autonomy, agency and authority – form the focus of anthropologist Genevieve Bell’s work, less for what they reveal about these animals than what they illuminate about ourselves. Are we listening to the connected world?

Here’s a taste:

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Episode 1.02: Apps, Data and a Connected World with Andy Polaine

Dr. Andy Polaine helps companies design “living services”, the sorts of things that all of us interact with every day on our screens, through our smartphone apps, and behind the scenes. Should we trust those services? Andy offers some suggestions on how we can take a look ‘under the bonnet’ of the connected world.

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