Commitments are Very Close.
Would you like ASF to produce another Accelerating Change
conference this September rather than have to wait until 2005? We
need to know now if you are planning to register this year. Either
or a simple RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
including your name and "I commit" will suffice. Tell your future-oriented,
Thanks to the
forty wonderful folks who sent in commitments for AC2004 last week.
We are very close to having our necessary numbers for the conference.
We'll tell you in the next Tech Tidbits (Monday,
July 26th) if we have enough commitments for this September.
take a minute to check out the AC2004 conference
website: We will bring you 36 world-class
speakers over two and a half days, six keynotes, three debates,
a Virtual Worlds demo, and another DVD conference record. Rates
are $350 for Early Bird, and $150 for Student registrants.
Note that AC2004 is priced well below other top-quality strategic
technology, business, and humanist futures conferences such as AlwaysOn
($1,795*), Business 4Site ($1,095*), MIT Emerging Tech ($995*),
O'Reilly Emerging Tech ($1,145*), Telecosm ($1,495*), and Pop!Tech
Your vote matters. First and foremost,
we seek to best serve our constituency of acceleration-aware
science, technology, business, and humanist strategic thinkers.
Let us know if you'll be joining us
at Stanford this September.
DVD's Are Done
Our 10 disc set of ACC2003 speaker
DVDs are available at a very low rate of $99 to get these
speakers' important ideas out to the widest possible audience.
If you'd like your own set, you can
order them from ASF by phone (major credit cards accepted) at (650) 396-8220.
Electronic commerce coming next.
prep for our next Accelerating Change, Tech Tidbits will
feature at least three items weekly, arranged by our three conference
themes. Have your own breaking news to submit? Let us know at mail-at-accelerating.org
Extends Life: No Dieting Needed, William Cromie, Harvard
Gazette , 14 July 2004 (3 pages)
by John Smart]
It's a dirty secret in anti-aging research that virtually nothing
reliably extends animal life. Well, almost nothing. The gold standard
is an intervention that will extend life in all known species, from
bacteria to buffalo, and until recently, the only thing that has
ever delivered that kind of performance to date is Caloric Restriction
(with Optimal Nutrition). CRON is an acronym for semi-starvation,
a regimen with too many side effects to be used by more than a handful
of individuals seeking to increase either their lifespan or healthspan
(mentally and physically productive years).
what if an inexpensive supplement could reliably extend our lives
an additional ten to twenty percent? Sir2, or resveratrol, an extract
of red grapes, is one of a very small number of candidates that
have done exactly this in species as diverse as yeast, S. cerevisiae,
and Drosophila. This is rare evidence that the intervention
might actually work well in more complex animals, like dogs and
Sinclair, a Harvard Medical School scientist researching
the compound, plans to start a spinoff company to explore resveratrol
and other synthetic STACs. If history is any guide (all the failed
efforts in rational drug design), he will be unlikely to synthetically
improve on nature's evolutionary exploration. But he could come
up with ways to make resveratrol cheaper, more bioavailable, and
from a number of supplement makers, such as the Life
Extension Foundation. It may be one of the most important discoveries
we've yet made in this long-overhyped area. Neverthless, it might
easily take 20 years to provide the first convincing life extension
data in humans. Also, a number of unknowns could still shoot it
down: it may not provide the same marginal benefit in humans, the
doses necessary for a longevity effect may be impractically high,
safety is an open question.
I suggest resveratrol is one of the first of a new class of compounds
that provides good evidence that we will eventually see life extension
supplements as additives in the food of most first world societies,
additives taken by the vast majority of a life-desiring public.
Walt Truett Anderson and other futurists have noted
that one of the unmet promises of biotechnology is to deliver a
world where vibrant 80-somethings are commonly seen in positions
of industry and authority. A world top-heavy with tolerant individuals
who have lived long enough to see the myriad exceptions to their
points of view, people who retain enough mental flexibility to admit
they are often wrong. A culture that views 50 year olds as still
a bit "green," needing guidance and a little more life
experience. I'm looking forward to that type of wiser, safer world.
Let's hope it can be delivered sooner, rather than later.
Scrapbooks to Share,
Neil McManus, NY Times, 15 July 2004 (3 pages)
by Jerry Paffendorf] Webjay
(think: Web-DJ) is a free download that makes custom play-lists
out of URLs, allowing users to mix music, text, pictures and video
files in a controlled sequence without having to host those files
themselves. This is as much a tool for curating, managing and contextualizing
online news as it is a medium for expressive mixmanship. A dynamic
presentation is as simple as pasting a series of URLs. The tool
is sparking a flurry of new web creativity, and efforts so far vary
from straight-up song lists to elaborate audio-visual compilations—some
didactic, some funny, some fascinating.
Nachison, director of the Media
Center at the American Press Institute, notes: "People
aren't just remixing music, they're remixing the news." As
the list of mixable digital ingredients grows, and the ease of creation
increases, individual content mixers have full range to decide what
to include in their own personal broadcasts, all without having
to host the actual content.
While the platform
is new and in need of refinement, the direction is suggestive. An
emerging breed of Information Jockeydom, beyond or complimenting
textual blogs? Internet "Tivos" automatically searching
for and uploading URLs to play-lists for easy viewing? More copyright
nightmares and endless arguments over fair use (seemingly a given)?
The next must-take step for independent newscasters? Seed for a
thriving art form? We'll be discussing these emerging issues and
others in the Virtual Space theme at Accelerating Change
2004. I hope you can join us.
Blinkx!, Om Malik on Broadband Blog, 17
June 2004 (6 pages)
by John Smart] Technology writer Om
Malik has a nice blog exchange on Blinkx,
a new free beta software interface tool. Think of Blinkx as a lite
version of the popular X1 Search
Magazine Review), the blisteringly fast hard disk indexer
that is available for $99. Both Blinkx and X1 allow 2004 computer
users, stuck here with today's laughably primitive computer search
utilities, to more easily find things on their hard drives now,
rather than in the long-awaited Longhorn future (the next generation
Windows OS). The Blinkx client pre-searches your hard drive and
indexes locally stored email messages (Outlook, Outlook Express
and Eudora at present), attachments, Word documents, and several
other file types. Blinkx broadband, another beta tool, shows context-related
websites in a bottom-fourth screen when you are searching the internet.
This program isn't nearly as useful, for several reasons. A "related
sites" window just adds to information overload for typical
users. But it's nice to have a click away when you want it. Google
has a similar system coming out soon (code-named Puffin), as does
Microsoft (MSN). As does Yahoo. Capitalism in action!
Blinkx as a local search tool works and is available now, and the
free download just a click
away for acceleration-aware readers. I recommend installing
it if you don't have a hard disk indexer and aren't ready to pay
$99 for the excellent X1.
Chandratillake, Blinkx co-founder, was
previously CTO at Autonomy,
a company that develops software tools for indexing and accessing
"unstructured information," the 80% of data that is not
already organized inside easy to understand file trees or broadly
accessible databases on any enterprise network. This software is
particularly useful for very large companies and institutions. Back
in 2000 Autonomy launched a free download similar to Blinkx called
Kenjin, a public version of their corporate search product, but
it was too underpowered to actually work. Fortunately times change,
technological capacity exponentiates, and perhaps today's server
farms can deliver context-sensitive search at a level that is useful
to the average web researcher. Besides sleeping well at night, I
hope the good folks at Blinkx are able to get some economic value
for the work they are doing accelerating productivity with this
free tool. Without a Google-sized hardware platform I doubt Blinkx
will be able to compete independently in context-sensitive search,
but they may make a great partner.
search is an early form of natural language processing (NLP). As
some of Om's readers note, Latent
Semantic Indexing (LSI) algorithms are where we need to go to
do professional context-sensitive document comparisions. Clara
Yu et. al explain that LSI "considers documents
that have many words in common to be semantically close, and ones
with few words in common to be semantically distant. This simple
method correlates surprisingly well with how a human being, looking
at content, might classify a document collection. Although the LSI
algorithm doesn't understand anything about what the words mean,
the patterns it notices can make it seem astonishingly intelligent."
Let's hope we see LSI-based systems emerge soon. Their
ability to help people network, to find partners with specific skills
and knowledge, and to perform a host of other connecting and interaction-accelerating
functions will be simply astonishing.
will your personal and professional websites look like when we have
an LSI-equipped internet? Thanks to Sponge Nebson
for the hit.
Call for Submissions
is currently requesting submissions for its Accelerating
Times (AT) web-based publication. AT is a "free
and priceless" newsletter featuring broad coverage and incisive
editorials on scientific, technological, business, and humanist
dialogs in accelerating change. Anyone interested in submitting
original material relevant to the broad study and analysis of accelerating
change may do so via email to mail-at-accelerating.org. Submissions
may take the form of articles, papers, scan hits, questions and
even cartoons (for you illustrators out there). Contributers will
be notified of their acceptance status in a timely fashion, and
accepted work will appear, fully credited, in future issues of Accelerating
Times. Visit http://singularitywatch.com/news.html
for more details.